Stephen 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…
Tag Archives | Space Exploration
Assuming you believe that the United States actually put men and machines on the moon before (yes, there are still plenty of naysaying conspiracy theorists who think it was a grand hoax), then this is a case of going back to the moon. If not, then it could be the first time. Exciting! From the Telegraph:
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America is preparing to land a robot on the moon for the first time in four decades.
Nasa is looking for private partners to participate in the project that will see a new generation of rovers wandering across the moon’s surface.
The American space agency has set up a programme called Catalyst to exploit commercial opportunities offered by the moon.
It believes that eventually there will be a market for commercial cargo trips to the lunar surface.
“As Nasa pursues an ambitious plan for humans to explore an asteroid and Mars, US industry will create opportunities for Nasa to advance new technologies on the moon,” said Greg Williams, Nasa’s deputy associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.
There may be a perfectly reasonable explanation, but I certainly would not want to be left alone on Mars after dark. Via the Daily Mail:
A mysterious Martian rock that appeared in front of the Opportunity rover within days has left scientists scratching their heads. The rover, which landed on Mars in 2004, hasn’t moved in over a month as it waits for better weather on the red planet.
But a photo taken on Sol 3540 (January 8th, or the 3,540th Martian solar day since the Opportunity rover landed) shows a rock that wasn’t visible in previous photos taken on Sol 3536.
The discovery was revealed by Mars Exploration Rover lead scientist Steve Squyres in a keynote at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory last night.
Mars One hopes to announce a Big Brother-style reality show to help choose which of the 1,058 candidates for the one-way trip to Mars in 2025 will be among the 40 who make the final selection, with viewers voting on who should colonise the Red Planet. Paul Römer, co-creator and the first producer of The Big Donor Show and the Big Brother, is an ambassador for the project. CEO Bas Lansdorp has said: "We're in advanced negotiations with a major studio for an overall deal for film and television properties." 1,058 candidates survived the round one application process, which has weeded out more than 200,000 people since April last year. Organisers said they ruled out anyone "not taking the mission seriously". The shortlisted candidates come from 107 countries.
Calling all moon landing conspiracy theorists: did China really just make the first landing on the Moon in four decades? Or ever? AP reports on China’s lunar beachhead:
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China on Saturday successfully carried out the world’s first soft landing of a space probe on the moon in nearly four decades, state media said, the next stage in an ambitious space program that aims to eventually put a Chinese astronaut on the moon.
The unmanned Chang’e 3 lander, named after a mythical Chinese goddess of the moon, touched down on Earth’s nearest neighbor following a 12-minute landing process.
The probe carried a six-wheeled moon rover called “Yutu,” or “Jade Rabbit,” the goddess’ pet. After landing Saturday evening on a fairly flat, Earth-facing part of the moon, the rover was slated to separate from the Chang’e eight hours later and embark on a three-month scientific exploration.
Earthly problems are being spread to outer space. The International Business Times reports:
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On Thursday, the online payment giant PayPal announced PayPal Galactic, a collaboration with the SETI Institute aimed at developing new payment systems for the final frontier. The frontier is here: Virgin Galactic is launching its first public flight this Christmas, and space hotels could be in orbit around Earth as early as 2016.
“As space tourism programs are opening space travel to ‘the rest of us,’ this drives questions about the commercialization of space,” PayPal President David Marcus said. “One thing is clear: We won’t be using cash in space.”
There are lots of questions about what form a space-friendly money system might take. Will spaceships and habitats have the communications technology needed to transfer money? How will banks manage accounts for people living off-planet? How will government financial regulations pertain to people in space (perhaps to curtail a new kind of “offshore banking”)?
You may be skeptical, but I want to believe in the adorableness of Mars lizards. UFO Sightings Daily weighs in on an image taken recently by the Mars Curiousity Rover:
This odd creature was discovered on Mars by a person in Japan in March. This animal was not the first to be discovered in NASA photos but is in a long line of strange creatures. This one seems to resemble a rodent but also may be a lizard.
With water existing on Mars in small amounts, its possible to find such desert animals wandering around…although very rare mind you. Then again, is NASA placing animals from tiny cyogenic chambers inside the rover onto the surface of Mars to conduct tests?
The latest sensation from Mars? A penis drawing by NASA’s Mars Rover…
Silly, yes, but a certain population of the Interwebs is loving it, so much so that a surge in traffic crashed NASA’s site where the image is hosted.
We know what kinds of rodents and lizards we are sending up into space, but the question is, what sort will return? Yahoo! News:
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Geckos, mice and gerbils and other animals launched into orbit Friday to begin a month-long Russian experiment to study how space travel affects living creatures. The space mission, scientists assure, will return the animals to Earth alive.
A Russian-built Soyuz 2 rocket carried the Bion-M1 space capsule, with 45 mice, eight Mongolian gerbils, 15 geckos and numerous other species. They are expected to spend a month in orbit, flying 357 miles above Earth while scientists on the ground monitor the health of the capsule’s passengers.
While the project is run by Russia’s Federal Space Agency, an international team of scientists is overseeing the mission’s many experiments. Bion-M1 is Russia’s first mission dedicated to launching animals into space in 17 years. The last Bion mission carried rhesus monkeys, geckos and amphibians into orbit for 15 days in 1996.
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Mars One, the private company that hopes to land a person on the surface of the red planet by 2023, will begin accepting videos made by prospective astronauts along with a $25 application fee that will go toward funding the ambitious colonization project.
“We expect a million applications with 1-minute videos,” said Bas Lansdorp, Mars One co-founder. So far, 45,000 people have registered on the company’s mailing list, and 10,000 aspiring astronauts have expressed a desire to apply.
The 24 astronauts will be selected to establish a permanent Martian colony, as there are no current plans for a return journey from Mars. At a New York news conference scheduled for April 22, Mars One will further detail how those who are ready to abandon Earth can proceed.