If humans ever go to Mars, the worst of our impulses will accompany us there. The Red Planet will not rid us of murder, violence, and blackmail. There will be kidnapping, extortion, and burglary. Given time, we will even see bank heists. For generations, people have imagined life on the Martian surface in extraordinary detail, from how drinking water will be purified to how fresh food will be grown, but there is another question that remains unanswered: How will Mars be policed?
The piece of metal with the American flag on it in this image of a NASA rover on Mars is made of aluminum recovered from the site of the World Trade Center towers in the weeks after their destruction. The piece serves as a cable guard for the rock abrasion tool on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit as well as a memorial to the victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks. An identical piece is on the twin rover, Opportunity.
The rock abrasion tools were built by Honeybee Robotics in lower Manhattan, less than a mile from the site.
Volume Zero has announced winners of the Marsception competition, a challenge to envision a habitat for the first colonizers of Mars. Participants were prompted to consider research conducted within the facility as well as architecture to define a future civilization on Mars. The top three winners were awarded a total prize money of $4000, while ten entries received honorable mentions. The jury for the competition consisted of designers Daniel Caud (Tetrarc), Dr. Margot Krasojevi (Margot Krasojević Architecture), Shahin Heidari (New Wave Architecture) and Britta Knobel Gupta (Studio Symbiosis).
A Central Coast photographer captured a photo along Highway 1 that is out of this world.
George Krieger’s photo, titled “Mars Flection Glow,” shows the planet Mars reflecting off the Earth’s Pacific Ocean.
Krieger said his nighttime Tuesday drive along Highway 1 in Big Sur was shrouded in coastal fog. But farther south, the clouds cleared, revealing a dazzling starry night sky.
“After driving through heavy fog much of the way down past Big Sur, I finally got far enough south to capture the reflection of Mars off the ocean,” Krieger said.
“There are few objects bright enough to reflect light off the ocean from space. Mars is usually not one of them, but right now the nearby planet is is both closest to earth, and directly opposing the earth in relation to the Sun. This alignment makes the little Red Planet one of the brightest objects in the night sky,” Krieger said.
According to NASA, Mars was 35.8 million miles (57.6 million kilometers) from Earth at its closest point this morning. In August 2003, Mars was a smidge closer: 34.6 million miles (55.6 million km). Mars won’t be that close to Earth until 2287, according to a NASA update. Mars will reach opposition again before then. In October 2020, the Red Planet will reaches opposition and will be 38.6 million miles (62.1 million km) from Earth, according to NASA’s update.
You can see Mars tonight by looking to the southwestern sky. Weather permitting, Mars will be visible low on the southwestern horizon, with the moon shining to the upper left. Saturn will also be visible, as shown in the map below.
A close approach by Mars will light up the sky all night Friday, July 27, and many parts of the world will also be able to catch a “blood moon” at the same time in a rare astronomical double-billing.
Those outside the viewing zone can catch the event online through the Virtual Telescope Project.
Friday’s red moon comes as part of the longest total lunar eclipse of the century. The sun, Earth and moon will line up and our planet will cast a reddish shadow onto our lunar buddy. That’s how it gets the dramatic-sounding “blood moon” nickname.
Mars will also be part of the show because the Red Planet and sun will be on opposite sides of Earth, a phenomenon know as Mars opposition. Mars will be nearing its closest approach to Earth since 2003, making it look very bright in the sky. Its appearance near the blood moon after sunset will give viewers a double vision in red.
The eclipse will be visible in parts of Australia, Asia, Africa, South America and Europe. Sorry, North America, you’ll need to watch online instead.
Ikea is looking to space for inspiration–literally. The furniture company announced last week that it will be collaborating with NASA in order to learn about what life would be like on Mars, and how the company might apply the space agency’s knowledge of living in small spaces to its products.
For the company’s designers to understand what it might be like to live on Mars, Ikea sent five people to live for three days inside a model Mars habitation in the Utah desert. Built in 2001 by the Mars Society–an advocacy group dedicated to helping humans get to Mars–the Mars Desert Research Station hosts scientists and students for two to three weeks at a time, allowing them to simulate what life might be like on the red planet next door. The Ikea team went through a three-day version of a Mars simulation with the engineer and space architect Constance Adams, with lectures, daily routines, and even an excursion outside the building to see what working on the planet’s surface might be like.
Mars vanishes beneath the dust blanket! This animation created from my June 28th image and reference MGS map of the exact same longitude really shows what has happened on Mars in recent weeks! Thanks to @Tom_Ruen for the map link. pic.twitter.com/ETVIhjYcB5
— Damian Peach (@peachastro) July 2, 2018
A new animation helps us visualize just how massive the Mars dust storm is. This storm, which obscured the Sun and resulted in NASA’s Opportunity rover going into a deep sleep, at one point was “only” as big as North America. In the weeks following that detail, NASA continued to update the public on this storm’s size, using countries as a reference. A new image, though, shows us exactly how much of the Red Planet is covered by this storm.
Stargazers are in for a treat in July as Mars makes its closest swing by Earth, making it appear brighter than it has since 2003.
Over the course of the next several weeks, the distance between the Earth and the Red Planet will shrink as Earth passes between Mars and the sun. During the orbital fly-by, Mars will be its brightest on the morning of July 31.
In 2003, Mars came within 34.9 million miles of Earth, closer than it had ever approached in 60,000 years. This summer’s show won’t be quite as impressive as 2003, considering our neighbor planet will only be 35.8 million miles away at its closest. Still, backyard astronomers using telescopes should have a spectacular view of the Red Planet’s unique features.
“This Martian pass in July will be almost as good as the ultra-close opposition on 2003,” Dean Regas, an astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory, told Mother Nature Network. “Mars will easily be visible to the naked eye. In fact, you will be hard pressed to miss it. It will look like a glowing orange beacon of light rising in the southeast after sunset. It’ll be much brighter than any star, brighter than Jupiter, nearly as bright as Venus. And you’ll see it every night for the next several months.”
The next time Mars comes as close as it will this summer won’t occur again until Sept. 15, 2035.
Hops and Rye grow “fairly well” on Martian soil with the help of coffee beans and fertilisers produced back on Earth, according to a student experiment at Villanova University in Pennsylvania.
“I was trying to come with a project for the students to do, a catchy project that would be fairly easy,” Dr. Guinan, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, told the New York Times.
NASA’s Phoenix Mars lander have analysed Martian soil in great detail, and scientists have since replicated its unique characteristics in order to test its crop-growing potential.
Guinan ordered 45kg worth of “Martian soil” — which is made with crushed basalt from an extinct volcano in California’s Mojave Desert.
Guinan set his students to work. Each were assigned their own patch within a greenhouse and asked to grow crops of their choice in order to feed a hypothetical colony of migrants to Mars.
“I kept telling them, ‘You’re on Mars, there’s a colony there and it’s your job to feed them. They’re all depending on you.”