MarsNews.com
May 27th, 2022

Marblemedia And Mezo Entertainment Find Life On Mars With Sci-Fi Adventure Series, Generation Mars

Robert C. Cooper COURTESY OF KHAREN HILL

Los Angeles/Toronto/ Vancouver – (May 26, 2022) – marblemedia and Mezo Entertainment announced today they are in development on a live-action sci-fi adventure series, Generation Mars (10×60’). Helmed by creator Robert C. Cooper (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Stargate) the series is based on the popular books of the same name by Douglas D. Meredith. 

Generation Mars chronicles humanity’s perilous extraterrestrial endeavour from the unique point of view of an extraordinary family. It’s an optimistic heart-pounding thrill ride based on hard science that will inspire adventure-seekers of all ages. 

Why would anyone have kids on a planet that always seems to be actively trying to kill them? Because the future may depend on it. The year is 2053 and twelve-year-old Cas is famous on two worlds. She’s a true Martian, the first human being born on Mars. Twenty years earlier the first settlers arrived from Earth, and now Cas is about to step outside and see the Martian sky with her own eyes for the first time.

May 6th, 2022

Mars Colonies Will Need Solar Power—and Nuclear Too

ILLUSTRATION: NASA

SCIENCE FICTION AUTHORS like Ray Bradbury, Kim Stanley Robinson, Andy Weir, and the creators of The Expanse have long envisioned how people might one day assemble functioning settlements on Mars. Now that NASA and the European Space Agency aim to send astronauts to the Red Planet within the next 20 years, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has talked about sending humans there as well, it’s time to address the practical questions involved in making those visions a reality.

One of the biggest: What’s the most practical way to power future Mars colonies? The seemingly simple question took UC Berkeley engineering students Anthony Abel and Aaron Berliner four years of hard work to figure out.

In findings published last week in Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences, they and their colleagues argue that both solar and nuclear energy sources can provide enough power for long-term crewed missions—but astronauts will face certain limitations, including how much weighty equipment they can bring from faraway Earth, how much energy solar panels can glean once there, and how well they can store energy for when it’s not so sunny. “It depends where you are on Mars,” Abel says of their results. “Near the equator, solar seems to work better. And near the poles, nuclear works better.”

March 15th, 2022

Astrolab Advances Lunar Mobility with FLEX Rover

Recently tested by retired astronaut Chris Hadfield, the adaptive, multi-use rover can autonomously swap payloads, mobilize astronauts and more, enabling the next generation of planetary exploration and discovery

Venturi Astrolab, Inc. (Astrolab), an emerging aerospace company formed by a team of industry leading planetary rover and robotics experts, announces today the development of the Flexible Logistics and Exploration (FLEX) rover built to enhance Lunar and planetary mobility. Astrolab aims to bring to market a fleet of FLEX rovers to provide the mobility required to support a sustained human presence on the Moon and Mars.

The FLEX rover’s unique commercial potential comes from its novel mobility system architecture, which gives it the ability to pick up and deposit modular payloads in support of robotic science, exploration, logistics, site survey/preparation, construction, resource utilization, and other activities critical to a sustained presence on the Moon and beyond. Built with adaptive utility in mind, FLEX can also serve as an unpressurized rover for a crew of two astronauts, in line with NASA’s Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) requirements.

March 1st, 2022

NASA Rover Spots Unreal Mars ‘Flower’ Formation

These tiny mineral formations give us a close-up look at the details of the surface of Mars as seen by NASA’s Curiosity rover. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Hello, beautiful! NASA’s Curiosity rover snapped a gorgeous, delicate formation on Mars that looks like it could be a branching piece of ocean coral. It’s not coral, but it’s worth contemplating how we see familiar Earth objects in random shapes on Mars.

The miniscule Martian sculpture invites poetic comparisons. It resembles a water droplet captured at the moment of explosion against a surface, or the tendrils of an anemone in a tide pool.

February 28th, 2022

Europe’s joint Mars mission with Russia postponed by war

This illustration made available by the European Space Agency shows the European-Russian ExoMars rover. On Monday, Feb. 28, 2022, the ESA said the planned launch of a joint mission with Russia to Mars this year is now “very unlikely” due to sanctions linked to the war in Ukraine. (European Space Agency via AP)

The launch of a joint Europe-Russian mission to Mars this year is now “very unlikely” due to sanctions linked to the war in Ukraine, the European Space Agency said Monday.

The agency said after a meeting of officials from its 22 member states that it was assessing the consequences of sanctions for its cooperation with Russia’s Roscosmos space agency.

“The sanctions and the wider context make a launch in 2022 very unlikely,” for the Europe-Russia ExoMars rover mission, the agency said in a statement.

The launch was already postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak and technical problems. It was due to blast off from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan in September using a Russian Proton rocket. Postponing a launch often means waiting for months or years until another window opens when planets are in the right alignment.

February 22nd, 2022

Understanding Mars helps rocket cargo on Earth, military official says

Blue Origin’s New Glenn is a heavy-lift launch vehicle capable of carrying people and payloads routinely to Earth orbit and beyond. It features a reusable first stage built for 25 missions. (Photo: Blue Origin)

Development of spaceships that can operate in the Mars environment is providing lessons for scientists exploring rockets that could deliver cargo across the Earth in an hour, the new head of U.S. Transportation Command recently said.

USTRANSCOM is responsible for surface, maritime and air delivery of equipment and supplies for warfighters using a mix of military assets and industry partners. Rapid advances in technological capabilities are now spurring the military to investigate space transportation as a complementary distribution mode within its supply chain.

The organization in 2020 began executing cooperative research and development agreements with industry and academia to understand use cases, feasibility and cost of hyperfast cargo delivery around the world. In December, Jeff Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin, entered into an agreement with Transportation Command to explore the possibility of using rockets to transport cargo and people.

February 21st, 2022

We’re Not Prepared for Contamination Between Worlds

Illustration: Angelica Alzona

Space agencies across the world have long been aware of the risks of biological contamination, with planetary protection protocols already being established back in the 1960s. These rules have been updated and tweaked ever since, based on the new endeavors at hand. Some of the rules are: everything should be assembled in sterilized clean rooms; every spacecraft should include an inventory listing all organic matter making it on the trip; the total bioburden—the surface presence of microorganisms—should be below certain thresholds according to the category of the mission; and so forth.

Just in 2020, NASA updated its planetary protection policy for the Moon and Mars. This is a big step because, while exploring Mars was basically prohibited by the old contamination protocol, now the reform supports a human mission to Mars and gives guidelines on how to do so safely.

February 18th, 2022

Maana Electric’s TerraBox turns sand and electricity into solar panels

Maana Electric’s TerraBox turns sand and electricity into solar panels. Credit: Maana Electric

The Luxembourg-based startup Maana Electric will soon be testing its TerraBox, a fully automated factory the size of several shipping containers that takes sand and produces solar panels. The company aims to send these small warehouse container-like boxes, capable of building solar panels using only electricity and sand as inputs, to the deserts of the Earth, in order to contribute to the fight against climate change.

If all goes according to the plans, the technology could reach the Moon, Mars, and beyond as well to help future space colonies meet their energy needs. The TerraBox fits within shipping containers, allowing the mini-factories to be transported to deserts across the globe and produce clean, renewable energy.

February 16th, 2022

Otherworldly Mars image shows ripples sculpted by dust devils

Chaotic mounds, wind-sculpted ripples, and dust devil tracks: This image shows a fascinating and otherworldly landscape near Hooke Crater in Mars’ southern highlands. The image was taken by the CaSSIS camera onboard the ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) on February 1, 2021, and shows part of Argyre Planitia, centered at 46.2°S/318.3°E.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released a hauntingly beautiful image of the surface of Mars, showing how the landscape there is sculpted by winds.

The image, taken from orbit by the ESA and Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), shows the Hooke Crater area in the southern highlands of Mars. The false colors are due to the filters used by TGO’s CaSSIS camera, which looks in the infrared wavelength to capture more details of the surface mineralogy.

February 14th, 2022

Jared Isaacman, who led the first all-private astronaut mission to orbit, has commissioned 3 more flights from SpaceX

The crew of the next SpaceX private astronaut flight, called Polaris Dawn, pose at SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas. From left: Anna Menon, who works to develop astronaut operations for SpaceX; Scott Poteet, who served as the mission director of the Inspiration4 mission; Jared Isaacman, who is financing the mission; and Sarah Gillis, lead space operations engineer for SpaceX. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Jared Isaacman, the billionaire entrepreneur who led the first all-private-citizen crew to orbit in September, has commissioned three additional spaceflight missions in what amounts to a privately funded space program with Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Like NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs at the dawn of the Space Age, the flights — dubbed Polaris, for the North Star — will seek to systematically chart new territory in bold, groundbreaking missions. In doing so, they would dramatically accelerate the progress of commercial spaceflight in what has become a new era of exploration, where private companies — and people — are claiming the rarefied territory that was once the exclusive domain of governments.

The first flight, which could come by the end of the year, will aim to send a crew of four farther than any other human spaceflight in 50 years and feature the first private-citizen spacewalk, Isaacman said in an exclusive interview with The Washington Post. The second flight also would be aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, the vehicle that NASA now relies on to fly astronauts to the International Space Station.

The third flight in the series, however, would be the first crewed mission of the next-generation Starship spacecraft, now under development by SpaceX and which NASA intends to use to land astronauts on the moon.