MarsNews.com
May 29th, 2015

We Need Three Planets to Keep the Human Race Alive, NASA Scientist Says Motherboard

It’s no secret that uncurbed climate change and population growth are going to (and already have) put stress on the planet. But the situation is getting so bad that one prominent NASA scientist says we have to start thinking about terraforming Mars and that, in order for the human race to survive at current levels, we will eventually “need at least three planets.”

“The entire ecosystem is crashing,” Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist of NASA’s Langley Research Center said Thursday. “Essentially, there’s too many of us. We’ve been far too successful as the human animal. People allege we’re short 40-50 percent of a planet now. As the Asians and their billions come up to our living systems, we’re going to need three more planets.”

May 28th, 2015

More THE MARTIAN Images Feature Matt Damon Surviving Ridley Scott’s Red Planet Collider News

20th Century Fox has released more The Martian images online after releasing the first few this past weekend. Based on Andy Weir’s self-published 2012 novel of the same name, the movie revolves around an astronaut who finds himself stranded on Mars after he is injured and presumed dead by his team. With limited resources and a finite amount of time before his oxygen runs out, Mark Watney (Matt Damon) must use the power of science to keep himself alive on the red planet.

May 28th, 2015

Blue Aurorae in Mars’ Sky Visible to the Naked Eye NASA

For the first time, an international team of scientists from NASA, the Institute of Planetology and Astrophysics of Grenoble (IPAG), the European Space Agency and Aalto University in Finland, have predicted that colorful, glowing aurorae can be seen by the naked eye on a terrestrial planet other than Earth — Mars.

Visible Martian aurorae seemed possible after the SPICAM imaging instrument on-board the ESA satellite Mars Express spotted aurorae from space in 2005. Those observations were confirmed in March 2015 by the NASA-led MAVEN mission, which completed 1,000 orbits around the red planet on April 6, 2015.

Through laboratory experiments and a physical numerical model developed at NASA and IPAG, the study shows that, on Mars, aurorae also occur in the visible range. The most intense color is deep blue. As on Earth, green and red colors are also present. Several times during a solar cycle, after intense solar eruptions, these lights are bright enough to be seen with the naked eye.

May 27th, 2015

NASA Begins Testing Mars Lander for Next Mission to Red Planet NASA

Testing is underway on NASA’s next mission on the journey to Mars, a stationary lander scheduled to launch in March 2016.

The lander is called InSight, an abbreviation for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport. It is about the size of a car and will be the first mission devoted to understanding the interior structure of the Red Planet. Examining the planet’s deep interior could reveal clues about how all rocky planets, including Earth, formed and evolved.

The current testing will help ensure InSight can operate in and survive deep space travel and the harsh conditions of the Martian surface. The spacecraft will lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and land on Mars about six months later.

The technical capabilities and knowledge gained from Insight, and other Mars missions, are crucial to NASA’s journey to Mars, which includes sending astronauts to the Red Planet in the 2030s.

May 26th, 2015

New Project Aims to Establish a Human Colony on Mars NASA

MarsPolar, a newly started international venture is setting its sights on the Red Planet. The project consisting of specialists from Russia, United Arab Emirates, Poland, U.S. and Ukraine has come up with a bold idea to establish a human settlement on Mars’ polar region, the part of the planet with abundant quantities of water ice. The targeted area could be very interesting in terms of alien life hunting as the MarsPolar team puts it: “life begins where the water exists.” The plan is to create the colony around 2029. “We want to send to Mars a crew of 4-6 astronauts, every 2 years,” Roman Juranek, the project’s Director of Communications for Poland, told astrowatch.net.

Juranek and his colleagues would like to see SpaceX’s Falcon 9 or Falcon Heavy rocket to launch the mission and also the company’s Red Dragon spacecraft to deliver cargo and crews to Mars.

May 22nd, 2015

A Webcomic About A Disgruntled Mars Researcher You Need To Start Reading io9

Der-shing Helmer, creator of The Meek, is back with a new webcomic, and it’s set on Mars. In Mare Internum, an entomologist arrives at an isolated Mars research station just as another researcher has been fired. But before he departs, these two scientists will learn a great deal about each other’s troubles.

Quick content warning: the comic opens with a character contemplating suicide.

First off, to answer a question fans of The Meek might have, Helmer has said that, yes, she’ll be returning to her fantasy webcomic later this year.

But in the meantime, now is a great time to hop on Mare Internum. It’s just getting started, but it’s already telling an intriguing story with the same level of rich and expressive art that Helmer devoted to The Meek. After a dispute with his commander and the loss of his popular research robot, Michael Fisher has been fired from his position and is scheduled to return to Earth. On the day he’s supposed to depart, Rebekah “Bex” Egunsola arrives, fresh-faced and eager to explore the possibility of farming crickets on Mars.

May 21st, 2015

Mars mystery: ExoMars mission to finally resolve question of life on red planet euronews

The ExoMars 2016 mission will try to answer one of the toughest and most intriguing questions of space exploration: is there or has there ever been life on Mars?

Getting to Mars, landing there safely, and then beginning the search for life is a huge scientific and technical challenge for the huge team behind ExoMars, a joint ESA and Roscosmos project to search for life on Mars. It is the world’s biggest ever mission to the red planet.

The first spacecraft is almost ready and Maurizio Capuano, the ExoMars 2016 Program Manager, accompanied Euronews’ on a privileged close encounter with the probe at Thales Alenia Space’s facility in Cannes, southern France.

“This is ExoMars 2016 which next year will land on the red planet. The lower part will go into orbit around Mars, putting out its solar panels to get energy from the sun, and the upper part is the lander which will land directly on the Martian surface completely autonomously,” he explained.

May 20th, 2015

Elon Musk and Craig Venter Want to Print Life on Mars Motherboard

Elon Musk knows that Mars will not be terraformed in his lifetime. Still, the SpaceX and Tesla renaissance man does have a vague plan on how to seed life there: He wants to team with legendary geneticist Craig Venter to print life on the Red Planet.

Printing life is not something that’s going to be done tomorrow, but, as we’ve covered before, it’s not a line of thinking that’s totally unprecedented or outside the realm of possibility. Some of NASA’s very best scientists believe that in order to colonize other planets, we’ll need to encode the human genome into bacteria, send those bacteria into space, and reassemble the genomic data they carry once they finally land on another planet.

This is a school of thought that Musk also subscribes to, which is notable, because Musk is, at the moment, the single human most likely to enable our colonization of other planets.

May 19th, 2015

Here’s how to download the code NASA uses in its rockets Business Insider

Nerds and future billionaires rejoice: codes used on NASA’s rockets are now free and legal to download.

For the second year in a row, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has released its public software catalogue, a list of over 1,000 selected programs and codes available for download via the agency’s website.

With only a few restrictions, the release allows US coders and programmers to peak under the hood of NASA programs that the agency doesn’t deem too sensitive to share.

May 18th, 2015

NASA Challenges Public to 3D Print Actual Space Habitats for $2.25 Million in Prizes 3DPrint.com

D printing has become a technology that many people believe will help us live better, more efficient lives here on Earth. However, NASA as of late, has been focusing on using this same technology to help astronauts and space explorers live betters lives and travel further outside of Earth’s atmosphere. We saw this in their partnership with Made In Space last year which led to the first ever 3D printer, not only traveling into space, but also 3D printing real objects form the International Space Station. We’ve also seen it in the numerous competitions that NASA has held to entice the general public, and in many cases school-aged children, to develop products that can be 3D printed and used in space.

This weekend at Maker Faire, NASA and America Makes announce yet another 3D printing competition — one which takes things to an entirely new and exciting level.