Tag Archives | Mars

Meet the people who have volunteered to die on Mars


Walker Lamond via BoingBoing:

Thousands of people are competing to be the first humans to travel to Mars and colonize it. The only catch–they can never come back. Ever.

Mars One, an interplanetary travel nonprofit, will soon select the next round of wannabe astronauts from the nearly 700 current finalists. While making a short movie about the competition for The Guardian, we at Stateless Media had a chance to speak to a few people vying for one of the coveted seats on a Mars One Spaceship. I learned the following: they are all really smart, incredibly brave, and a little bit crazy.

Actually, they’re a lot of bit crazy. And that’s a good thing. Because it takes a certain kind of person to choose to live the rest of their lives stranded on a desert planet with no breathable air, no Netflix, no Snapchat, no Game of Thrones, no General Tso’s Chicken, and no long, romantic walks on the beach.

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NASA Rover Finds Active and Ancient Organic Chemistry on Mars

The first definitive detection of Martian organic chemicals in material on the surface of Mars came from analysis by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover of sample powder from this mudstone target, "Cumberland." Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The first definitive detection of Martian organic chemicals in material on the surface of Mars came from analysis by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover of sample powder from this mudstone target, “Cumberland.” Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

via Nasa from December 16:

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill.

“This temporary increase in methane — sharply up and then back down — tells us there must be some relatively localized source,” said Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a member of the Curiosity rover science team. “There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock.”

Researchers used Curiosity’s onboard Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory a dozen times in a 20-month period to sniff methane in the atmosphere.

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NASA Is Launching a Spacecraft That Will Take Humans to Mars

Photograph by Kim Shiflett/NASA

Photograph by Kim Shiflett/NASA

Is there a new Space Race on the horizon?

via Bloomberg Business Week:

NASA is launching its boldest test flight in decades this week. An unmanned capsule will head off on Thursday to reach a distance of 3,600 miles from Earth—the farthest space mission with a craft designed to accommodate humans since the final Apollo 17 trip to the moon in 1972.

Called Orion, the program will mark a key initial step toward a human mission to Mars. Orion is also designed to excite the public’s imagination for deep-space exploration, much as the Apollo moon missions sparked an interest in space and produced civilian engineering triumphs. With the first test flight on Thursday, NASA wants to make it abundantly clear that much of the hardware that can get humans to Mars already exists and is ready to fly.

“My hope is that when we fly the capsule on Thursday, it will energize the public and energize that middle schooler [who] isn’t quite sure what he wants to do, but he likes math and science,” says Richard Boitnott, an engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center.

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NASA Contemplates Deep Sleep Option for Mars Mission

During interplanetary transit, the crew would receive low-level electrical impulses to key muscle groups to prevent muscular atrophy. ©SPACEWORKS

During interplanetary transit, the crew would receive low-level electrical impulses to key muscle groups to prevent muscular atrophy. ©SPACEWORKS

via Discovery News:

A NASA-backed study explores an innovative way to dramatically cut the cost of a human expedition to Mars — put the crew in stasis.

The deep sleep, called torpor, would reduce astronauts’ metabolic functions with existing medical procedures. Torpor also can occur naturally in cases of hypothermia.

“Therapeutic torpor has been around in theory since the 1980s and really since 2003 has been a staple for critical care trauma patients in hospitals,” aerospace engineer Mark Schaffer, with SpaceWorks Enterprises in Atlanta, said at the International Astronomical Congress in Toronto this week. “Protocols exist in most major medical centers for inducing therapeutic hypothermia on patients to essentially keep them alive until they can get the kind of treatment that they need.”

Coupled with intravenous feeding, a crew could be put in hibernation for the transit time to Mars, which under the best-case scenario would take 180 days one-way.

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Curiosity Finds a Weird ‘Ball’ on Mars

The 'ball' (left of center) can be seen in this sol 746 observation by Mars rover Curiosity's Mastcam. According to NASA scientists it is likely an example of a Martian concretion. NASA/JPL-CALTECH/MSSS

The ‘ball’ (left of center) can be seen in this sol 746 observation by Mars rover Curiosity’s Mastcam. According to NASA scientists it is likely an example of a Martian concretion.
NASA/JPL-CALTECH/MSSS

via Discovery:

If there’s one thing to be said for Curiosity’s mission on Mars so far, it certainly hasn’t been boring. Although the six-wheeled rover has taken thousands of photographs of Martian rocks, the rich diversity of Mars’ landscape has provided many beautiful examples of planetary geology and some geology that is downright weird.

Take this recent photographic example from the Mars Science Laboratory’s Mastcam camera that was uploaded to the mission’s photo archive on sol 746 (Sept. 11). While compiling a mosaic of images of the surrounding landscape, Curiosity captured a rather un-Mars-like shape atop a rocky outcrop.

There’s a perfect-looking sphere sitting proudly on a flat rock surface. It’s dusty, but under that dust it appears a little darker than the surrounding rock.

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Would You Rather Mitigate Climate Change or Terraform Mars?

Mars dayside in Celestia with Addon. Own work (Screenshot) by NikoLang via Wikimedia Commons.

Mars dayside in Celestia with Addon. Own work (Screenshot) by NikoLang via Wikimedia Commons.

The choices are yours and yours alone.

By Andrew Lilico via The Telegraph (please follow the link to read the entire piece):

One frequently quoted study of the global costs of mitigating climate change put them at around $3 trillion by 2100, with the main benefits being felt between 2100 and 2200. Here is alternative way to spend around the same amount of money with around the same timescale of payback: terraforming Mars. A standard estimate is that, for about $2-$3 trillion, in between 100 and 200 years we would be able to get Mars from its current “red planet” (dead planet) status to ” blue planet” (i.e. a dense enough atmosphere and high enough temperature for Martian water in the poles and soil to melt, creating seas) – achievable in about 100 years – and from there to microbes and algae getting us to “green planet” status within 200 to 600 years.

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NASA’s Space Suits for Mars Missions

mars space suitIt does now seem inevitable that there will be manned missions to Mars this century, so designing a practical 21st century space suit may not be such a crazy idea. NASA is showing off its designs, report via BBC News:

US space agency Nasa has been showing off the wardrobe essentials for future astronauts looking for a new outfit for their first flight to Mars.

Nasa said the Z-2 spacesuit was only a prototype, but elements of it would be incorporated into the suit worn by the first humans to reach the Red Planet.

The suit uses light-emitting patches and luminescent wire that could be customised to identify individuals.

The “technology” design beat two others with 63% of a public vote of 233,431.

The suit will be tested in Nasa’s pools used to teach astronauts to spacewalk
The others were:

  • a “bio-mimicry” suit, which mirrored the bioluminescence of aquatic creatures and the tough scaly skins of fish and reptiles
  • a “trends in society” suit, which reflected what everyday clothes may look like in the future
    Aesthetic appeal

The Z-2 will be built using 3D-printed parts, and 3D laser scans will ensure each suit fits each astronaut perfectly.

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Hawking: We’ll Colonize The Moon Within 50 Years, Mars By 2100

320px-Physicist_Stephen_Hawking_in_Zero_Gravity_NASAStephen Hawking joined in a two-and-a-half-hour live broadcast from the International Space Station and Mission Control in Houston on March 16th, telling viewers that our future is in space and that we’ll have colonized the Moon within 50 years and Mars by 2100. It’s a message he’s been preaching for some time and with thousands of people clamoring to join the one-way mission to Mars planned for 2025, it seems his message has resonance…

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