MarsNews.com
January 8th, 2019

SpaceX’s ‘Starship’ Hopper Prototype Could Make 1st Test Flight in Weeks, Elon Musk Says

“Starship test vehicle under assembly will look similar to this illustration when finished. Operational Starships would obv have windows, etc.” @ElonMusk

SpaceX could take its prototype Mars-colonizing spaceship out for a spin very soon.

The flight-test version of SpaceX’s Starship vehicle could be ready to take its first short “hopping” excursion in a matter of weeks, company founder and CEO Elon Musk said over the weekend.

“Aiming for 4 weeks, which probably means 8 weeks, due to unforeseen issues,” Musk tweeted on Saturday morning (Jan. 5), in response to a Twitter follower who asked when the first hopper test would take place.

SpaceX is developing Starship and a giant rocket called the Super Heavy to take people to and from the moon, Mars and other destinations throughout the solar system. (The reusable duo was previously known as the BFR, but Musk changed the name recently.)

The first crewed Red Planet mission for the rocket and 100-passenger Starship could come as early as the mid-2020s if development and testing go well, Musk has said.

January 7th, 2019

White wine on the Red Planet? Scientists in Georgia are hunting for a perfect Martian grape.

Georgia’s state-run grape library in Saguramo, north of Tbilisi, grows 450 local varieties and 350 foreign varieties of grapes for research purposes. (Amie Ferris-Rotman/The Washington Post)

Georgia promotes itself as the world’s birthplace of wine. So it seems only natural that the country is trying to figure out what varietal might be sipped one day on Mars.

That is the thinking behind the IX Millennium project, which is seeking to develop grapevines fit for the possible Red Planet agriculture pods. The team also wants to put a Georgian stamp on one of the more unusual research fronts related to a dreamed-of Mars colony.

But it’s definitely not without merits.

The research may help answer questions about radiation, dust and other challenges for life-sustaining agriculture on Mars. And after all, who wouldn’t want a glass of Martian wine to welcome a new year (687 Earth days long) on a new planet?

“If we’re going to live on Mars one day, Georgia needs to contribute. Our ancestors brought wine to Earth, so we can do the same to Mars,” said Nikoloz Doborjginidze, founder of Georgia’s Space Research Agency and an adviser to the Ministry of Education and Science, which is part of the wine project.

January 4th, 2019

Egypt on Mars

CUBE Consultants

CUBE is pleased to announce the international design competition for students and fresh graduates from around the world to explore and express their views on the future of Egyptian settlements on Mars through their innovative and visionary proposals.

“Mars Is There, Waiting To Be Reached.” -Buzz Aldrin

This competition is intended to envision a habitat for the first Egyptian colonizers on Mars. It challenges participants to design the future architectural prospect that would define a trend for the architecture of the upcoming human civilization on the Red Planet.

January 3rd, 2019

I’m Moving to Mars

4 FILMS | 16 MIN
Directed by Julia Ngeow

Would you travel to Mars if it meant staying forever? To some, a one-way ticket to another planet might sound daunting—but when Mars One, a European and American venture aiming to send human settlers to one of Earth’s closest neighbors, put out its first call for applicants in 2013, it received thousands of responses. In this new series of doc shorts, we meet five Mars One finalists eager to become the first extraterrestrial emigrants: a former military man, an architect, an engineer, and an adventurous couple who met through Mars One forums online. Find out why all of them are eager to join the first mission, projected to take off in 2031—and what they think will be the biggest challenges of becoming Martians.

January 2nd, 2019

Meet the people who plan to move to Mars in 2032

R Daniel and Yari Golden-Castaño are applicants for a 2032 civilian mission to Mars. TOPIC

Boston-based couple Yari and R Daniel Golden-Castaño met on a Facebook group for aspiring Martians, married on a day when the red planet was closest to the Earth — and have signed up to colonize the fourth planet from the sun.

“It’s just part of [my] childhood dreams,” said R Daniel, 36, an Army reservist who is studying computer science.

The pair are two of 100 semi­finalists worldwide who have been selected for the Mars One program — a Dutch organization’s scheme to launch a human colony on the planet by 2032. More than 4,200 candidates originally applied, and the group of 100 will eventually be whittled down to 24 trainees. They’ll be subjected to a decade of intense training: sequestered in a remote location where they will learn to grow food, repair technology and offer medical training. No one will be given a return ticket.

The 100 come from all ages (18 and over) and walks of life and were chosen for their adaptability, curiosity and suitability to work and live with others. Each submitted an online application with a short video and were interviewed about their motivations.

The Golden-Castaños are among five potential future Martians profiled in “I’m Moving to Mars,” a four-part documentary that premieres Thursday on Topic.com.

December 18th, 2018

NASA Begins America’s New Moon to Mars Exploration Approach in 2018

The first U.S. astronauts who will fly on American-made, commercial spacecraft to and from the International Space Station, wave after being announced, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The astronauts are, from left to right: Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, Nicole Aunapu Mann, Chris Ferguson, Eric Boe, Josh Cassada and Suni Williams. The agency assigned the nine astronauts to crew the first flight tests and missions of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon.
Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA welcomed a new administrator, Jim Bridenstine, deputy administrator, Jim Morhard, and chief financial officer, Jeff DeWit, in 2018. Their focus is on firmly establishing the groundwork to send Americans back to the Moon sustainably, with plans to use the agency’s lunar experience to prepare to send astronauts to Mars.

“Our agency’s accomplishments in 2018 are breathtaking. We’ve inspired the world and created incredible new capabilities for our nation,” Bridenstine said. “This year, we landed on Mars for the seventh time, and America remains the only country to have landed on Mars successfully. We created new U.S. commercial partnerships to land back on the Moon. We made breakthroughs in our quest to send humans farther into space than ever before. And, we contributed to remarkable advancements in aviation. I want to thank the entire NASA team for a fantastic year of American leadership in space, and I am confident we will build on our 2018 successes in 2019.”

In 2018, NASA celebrated six decades of exploration, discoveries and cutting-edge technology development for the agency’s 60th anniversary on Oct. 1. Bridenstine said, “President Eisenhower launched our nation into the Space Age and President Kennedy gave us the charge to reach the Moon. Over six incredible decades, we have brought the world an amazing number of bold missions in science, aviation and human exploration. NASA and its workforce have never failed to raise the bar of human potential and blaze a trail to the future. We celebrate our legacy today with great promise and a strong direction from the President to return to the Moon and go on to Mars.”

The Office of the Chief Financial Officer received a successful clean audit in 2018 – the eighth consecutive clean financial audit opinion for the agency. In addition, DeWit led his Strategic Investments Division in working with the Government Accounting Office to pass an official Corrective Action Plan for only the second time in NASA’s history, which will increase accountability and transparency into the costs of large programs and proactively improve NASA’s program and project management activities.

On Dec. 11, NASA recently marked the one-year anniversary of Space Policy Directive-1 (SPD-1), which provided a directive for NASA to return humans to the surface of the moon for long-term exploration and utilization and pursue human exploration of Mars and the broader solar system. Two additional space policy directives were enacted this year by the White House, with SPD-2 in February helping ease the regulatory environment so entrepreneurs can thrive in space, and SPD-3 in June helping ensure the U.S. is a leader in providing a safe and secure environment as commercial and civil space traffic increases.

December 17th, 2018

Acting Took Roxy Sternberg To ‘Mars’ Now She’s Wants To Explore New Terrain

Photo by Dusan Martincek for National Geographic

Roxy Sternberg is no stranger to American television.

The West London native has had significant roles on the NBC miniseries Emerald City as well as Into the Badlands on AMC and Netflix’s Chewing Gum. But her ensemble part on the National Geographic science-fiction drama Mars could be just the thing to help make her a household name.

Sternberg plays Jen Carson, an operations foreman for the Lukrum mining colony. Throughout the six-episode series, which is now in its second season, Jen and her colleagues represent the often-maligned business side of scientific exploration. The show is set in 2042, but the themes are rather current. Making matters more complicated, Jen is dating molecular biologist Levi Fiehler (Cameron Pate), creating a Romeo and Juliet kind of vibe for the two factions.

“Anything can happen,” the 29-year-old actress told ESSENCE of the conflicts on Mars. “But ultimately, we all have our best interests at heart and may the best man win. There’s some intimacy that happens. And we’re entering Mars and they’ve been there seven years. We’re humans and at the end of the day, we have certain needs.”

December 14th, 2018

Can humans have babies on Mars? It may be harder than you think

A family frolicks on the surface of Mars in an illustration.
ILLUSTRATION BY ROBERT MURRAY / MARS SOCIETY

Fast-forward to several decades or a half-century from now, and it’s not inconceivable that humans could be living on Mars—building habitats, trundling around in rovers, mining the subsurface for resources, and producing the first generation of bipedal Martians.

Except, no one really knows if humans can successfully reproduce in space, whether that’s during spaceflight or on another planet. To be clear, having sex in (much) lower gravity is a simple physics problem. But a host of unknowns swirl around how space environments affect the actual biological sequences of events that must unfold with precision for a new human to grow, from fertilization to weaning.

It’s not as though we haven’t tried to sort it out. Mice, rats, salamanders, frogs, fish, and plants have been the subjects of experiments looking at how spaceflight affects reproduction. To put it simply, though, the results so far are mixed and inconclusive.

“All of our big tech gurus out there who want us to be a multiplanet civilization—this is a key question that no one has answered yet,” says Baylor College of Medicine physician Kris Lehnhardt, who specializes in space medicine.

“Everyone is focused on the hardware, and the hardware is great, but in the end it’s the squishy meat-sack that messes everything up. Ignoring the human system, if you will, in future plans and designs is only going to lead to failure.”

December 3rd, 2018

Five planned missions to Mars

An artist’s impression of SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy Rocket. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Space agencies around the world are set to explore the red planet, while Elon Musk has even grander plans.

November 29th, 2018

Opinion: Mars Beckons

Niv Bavarsky

The science and technology behind NASA’s latest space explorer to land on Mars are so awe-inducing that it’s hardly surprising when scientists commenting on the triumph drop their usual jargon to speak like excited schoolchildren.

“It’s nice and dirty; I like that,” was how Bruce Banerdt, the principal investigator behind the InSight mission, reacted when, shortly after setting down Monday on the flat and featureless Martian plain known as the Elysium Planitia, the lander beamed back an image speckled with red dust. “This image is actually a really good argument for why you put a dust cover on a camera. Good choice, right?”

Unlike the [rovers], InSight — Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport — is meant to stay in one spot and deploy instruments to measure marsquakes (yes, on Earth they’re “earthquakes”) in order to learn about what’s going on in the innards of the planet. One gizmo will take Mars’s temperature by hammering itself 16 feet below the surface. Deploying the instruments alone is expected to take two months, and the entire mission is meant to last a Martian year, roughly two Earth years.

What for? A random sampling of comments from the public suggests not everyone is convinced that digging on Mars is money well spent. But the basic answer is that whether it’s practical or not, humans will continue to explore the heavens so long as the moon, Mars and the myriad celestial bodies beyond fire our imagination and curiosity. What happened in the earliest days of the universe? How were Earth and its fellow planets formed? And the question of questions: Is there life out there?