MarsNews.com
February 15th, 2017

Mars 2020: Could this be Red Planet round-trip?

NASA/AP

NASA/AP

Nearly 20 years after Pathfinder rolled onto an ancient Martian flood plain called Ares Vallis, NASA’s four Mars rovers have only covered about 38 miles of the Red Planet. That leaves plenty of territory for the next lander, Mars 2020, to explore.

At a conference last week, scientists determined three possible landing sites for the rover: Columbia Hills, Northeast Syrtis, and Jezero Crater. Orbital observations and previous rovers have found that the first two sites were likely once home to hot springs; Jezero Crater may have held a large lake.

“If you find where the liquid water was,” Bruce Betts, director of science and technology for the Planetary Society, tells The Christian Science Monitor, “if there were ever life on Mars, that would be a good place to look.”

This “follow the water” paradigm has guided NASA’s missions to Mars since the 1990s. The Mars 2020 mission, scheduled for launch in three years, continues this approach and adds a new goal: returning samples for Earth-based study.

February 14th, 2017

UAE seeks to build human settlement on Mars by 2117

Government of Dubai Media Office

Government of Dubai Media Office

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has unveiled a new project that aims to establish the first inhabitable human settlement in Mars by 2117.

The initiative called “Mars 2117 Project” was announced on Tuesday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, on the sidelines of the 5th World Government Summit, currently being held in the Emirate.

“The landing of people on other planets has been a longtime dream for humans. Our aim is that the UAE will spearhead international efforts to make this dream a reality,” said Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid.

February 3rd, 2017

The Space Between Us (2017)

STX Entertainment

STX Entertainment

The director of Hannah Montana: The Movie and screenwriters with connections to 1990s young adult television series “Charmed” come together to deliver The Space Between Us, one of the most baffling and inane films of recent memory.

The notion that a boy born on Mars, curious about and wanting to visit Earth, is an intriguing premise which, with the right writers and proper handlers, could be really all you need for a compelling movie. However, because we are marketing this movie to teens, we get what essentially plays like a pilot episode of a young adult television series on basic cable. And I don’t think this series would get picked up.

There is a decent enough, if not logically wacky, beginning: an astronaut (Janet Montgomery) discovering she is pregnant, while in flight to Mars, dies on the Red Planet moments after giving birth to a baby boy. When we cut to 16 years later, the baby, now a teenager named Gardner (Asa Butterfield), is surrounded by a bunch of scientists, a robot, and astronaut and mother-like figure Kendra (Carla Gugino), all on a colonized Mars.

Britt Robertson and Asa Butterfield in “The Space Between Us” | STX Entertainment

The colonization is the brainchild of Nathaniel Sanders (Gary Oldman), a lifelong lover of space who turned his youthful dreams into his life’s work, the billionaire scientist keeping Gardner’s existence a secret from the public the entire time.

January 31st, 2017

Love Science? Mars Needs You

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Mars has some impressive geological features across its cold, desiccated surface, many of which are similar to featured found here on Earth. By studying them, scientists are able to learn more about the natural history of the Red Planet, what kinds of meteorological phenomena are responsible for shaping it, and how similar our two planets are. A perfect of example of this are the polygon-ridge networks that have been observed on its surface.

One such network was recently discovered by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) in the Medusae Fossae region, which straddles the planet’s equator. Measuring some 16 story’s high, this ridge network is similar to others that have been spotted on Mars. But according to a survey produced by researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, these ridges likely have different origins.

This survey, which was recently published in the journal Icarus, examined both the network found in the Medusae Fossae region and similar-looking networks in other regions of the Red Planet. These ridges (sometimes called boxwork rides), are essentially blade-like walls that look like multiple adjoining polygons (i.e. rectangles, pentagons, triangles, and similar shapes).

January 24th, 2017

If You Were Me and Lived on … Mars

Join Carole P. Roman when she blasts off to colonize the planet Mars, in the newest book of her informative series. Learn about how life would be living on the Red Planet. Travel to Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system. Look into the sky and watch Phobos and Deimos, Mars’ two moons. Discover what you would wear, and how the seasons change. See Mars through the eyes of an adventurous youngster like you and understand what life is like in a trip of a lifetime. Don’t forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair traveler

January 23rd, 2017

Microbes Could Survive Thin Air of Mars

An artist’s impression of what Mars might have looked like with water, when any potential Martian microbes would have evolved.  Image credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser.

An artist’s impression of what Mars might have looked like with water, when any potential Martian microbes would have evolved.
Image credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser.

Microbes that rank among the simplest and most ancient organisms on Earth could survive the extremely thin air of Mars, a new study finds.

The martian surface is presently cold and dry, but there is plenty of evidence suggesting that rivers, lakes and seas covered the Red Planet billions of years ago. Since there is life virtually wherever there is liquid water on Earth, scientists have suggested that life might have evolved on Mars when it was wet, and life could be there even now.

“In all the environments we find here on Earth, there is some sort of microorganism in almost all of them,” said Rebecca Mickol, an astrobiologist at the Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and the lead author of the study. “It’s hard to believe there aren’t other organisms out there on other planets or moons as well.”

Mickol and her team detailed their findings in the paper, “Low Pressure Tolerance by Methanogens in an Aqueous Environment: Implications for Subsurface Life on Mars,” which was published in the journal Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres.

January 12th, 2017

To prepare for life on Mars, astronauts are going to … Utah?

Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto and Hugh Gregory collect rocks outside the Mars Desert Research Station during a previous Mars simulation mission in Hanksville, Utah. A new crew of six is set to begin a new mission this month. (Photo: George Frey/Getty Images)

Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto and Hugh Gregory collect rocks outside the Mars Desert Research Station during a previous Mars simulation mission in Hanksville, Utah. A new crew of six is set to begin a new mission this month. (Photo: George Frey/Getty Images)

This is the true story of six scientists, picked to live in a capsule in the middle of the Utah desert, work together and have their lives studied, to find out what happens when people stop being Earthlings and start being Martians.

While it’s too soon to say whether the crew of a certain long-running MTV reality show will make Mars its next setting, one thing’s for certain: if humans are really going to live on the Red Planet one day, we need to know exactly how that’s going to look. That’s where Team PRIMA 173 comes in. It’s a group of six highly qualified scientists, engineers, artists and leadership experts from around the world. Among the crew: Michaela Musilova, an astrobiologist from Slovakia; Arnau Pons, an aeronautical engineer from Spain; Roy Naor, a graduate student in planetary geology from Israel; and Niamh Shaw, an artist and journalist from Ireland.

They’ve all been selected by the Mars Society to take part in a scientific simulation project at the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah.

January 11th, 2017

Four extreme environments where humans are tasting life on Mars

David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images

David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images

No spot on Earth is a perfect match for Mars, but by training at some of Earth’s extreme habitats, space agencies including NASA and ESA are fine-tuning techniques for a trip to the Red Planet. New Scientist gathered postcards from four of them

January 6th, 2017

New image shows Earth and Moon from Mars orbiter

Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

There’s a lot of talk in our modern space race about getting to Mars, so every once in a while it’s nice to see what we’d be leaving behind if we did eventually make it to the Red Planet.

Thankfully, images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter can help us out with that. A new composite image released on Friday shows off Earth and its moon, taken when Mars was about 127 million miles away on Nov. 20.

The photograph is constructed from the best shot of Earth and the best shot of the moon from four sets of images, according to a post by Alfred McEwen, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona who is the principal investigator for the HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

January 5th, 2017

‘Mangal Ho’ will be first Indian comedy film set on Mars

The movie is a Musical Sci-Fi Comedy and is currently under production.

The movie is a Musical Sci-Fi Comedy and is currently under production.

Director Pritish Chakraborty has claimed that his forthcoming film “Mangal Ho” will be the first Indian science fiction comedy on planet Mars.

“It is the first entertaining comedy film in India on the topic of Mars. Our tag line revolves around the theme first Indian civilisation on Mars,” Chakraborty told IANS.

He added: “We are showing a time period that is 25 years ahead. The character of an Indian scientist has been played by Annu Kapoor who has a major role in the film. The technology we are using in the film is 50 to 100 years ahead of time. We are showing that if Indian brain is used rightly, they can achieve a lot.”

“Mangal Ho” is the story of an attempt to send a couple to Mars and to create a civilisation there, and has been portrayed in a light-hearted and humourous manner. Annu is the scientist who spearheads this ambitious mission. Actor Sanjay Mishra plays a Bengali businessman in the film.

Chakraborty wants to release the teaser of the film on January 26, 2017.