June 2nd, 2015

Can Mars One colonise the red planet? The Guardian

When NASA’s first rover set down on the surface of Mars in 1997, its streamed colour images caused an early internet sensation. After centuries of dreaming, here we were, at eye level to our closest potentially habitable neighbour, and the sight was as bleakly majestic as we could have imagined: a rocky, red desertscape on a scale entirely alien to Earth. One mountain, Olympus Mons, was the largest in our solar system (three times the height of Everest, with a footprint the size of Sweden); dune-seas swept its northern hemisphere while 7km-deep canyons veined the south.

Watching on a clunky desktop computer in the Dutch university town of Twente, 20-year-old Bas Lansdorp’s first thought was one of wonder; his second of longing (“I want to go there!”), then the melancholy realisation that, being Dutch, he could never fly with NASA. So he’d have to do it himself.

December 18th, 2013

An Updated Mars Exploration Family Portrait The Planetary Society

The Mars Exploration Family Portrait shows every dedicated spacecraft mission to Mars, and now includes India’s Mars Orbiter Mission and NASA’s MAVEN. The dates listed are for launch.

February 13th, 2013

Step into the Twilight Zone: Can Earthlings Adjust to a Longer Day on Mars? Scientific American

“Mutinous” is not a word frequently used to describe teams of NASA scientists and engineers.
But that’s precisely the term employed by Harvard University sleep scientist Charles Czeisler to explain what happened when the group operating the Pathfinder mission’s rover in 1997 was required to live indefinitely on Mars time.
“They didn’t really have a plan for dealing with the Martian day before they went up, and the rover lasted a lot longer than it was supposed to, so they actually had a mutiny and wanted to shut the thing off because they were so exhausted,” he says, drily adding the obvious: “NASA wasn’t too happy with that notion.”

October 10th, 2012

Adjusting to Sol Takes Toll on Mars Rovers’ Teams Space Safety Magazine

It accounts for no more than 39 minutes and 35 seconds but the difference between the terrestrial “day” and the Martian “sol” can really mess up human circadian rhythms. It is like skipping one time zone every day, leading to a permanent need to adjust to a feeling of mild jet lag. As everyone who ever experienced jet lag knows, deviating from the internal clock usually leads to sleepiness and impairs the ability to concentrate and think clearly.
As NASA’s Curiosity rover continues its journey over the Red Planet’s surface, this adjustment to space jet lag is exactly what the operations team in NASA’s JPL are going through. The mission requires them to steer the rover in the real Martian time making it impossible to follow a 24 hour schedule. The results of a study conducted on the engineers operating the previous Martian lander Phoenix could help with this challenge.

June 26th, 2008

Martian air once had moisture, new soil analysis says UC Berkeley

A new analysis of Martian soil data led by University of California, Berkeley, geoscientists suggests that there was once enough water in the planet’s atmosphere for a light drizzle or dew to hit the ground, leaving tell-tale signs of its interaction with the planet’s surface. The study’s conclusion breaks from the more dominant view that the liquid water that once existed during the red planet’s infancy came mainly in the form of upwelling groundwater rather than rain. To come up with their conclusions, the UC Berkeley-led researchers used published measurements of soil from Mars that were taken by various NASA missions: Viking 1, Viking 2, Pathfinder, Spirit and Opportunity. These five missions provided information on soil from widely distant sites surveyed between 1976 and 2006.

July 24th, 2004

Israeli calculations helped ‘Spirit’ and ‘Opportunity’ rovers land on Mars ISRAEL21c

After the rovers ‘Spirit’ and ‘Opportunity’ landed on Mars in January 2004, international excitement was so great that NASA received over 6.5 billion hits on its website in less than two months. Helping the wildly popular Mars program get off the ground, so to speak, were some calculations of an Israeli scientist, Prof. Joseph Appelbaum of Tel Aviv University, along with colleagues at NASA.

July 7th, 2004

The 2003 Inductees : Mars Pathfinder Sojourner Rover The Robot Hall of Fame

The Mars Pathfinder Sojourner Rover, a lightweight machine on wheels, accomplished a revolutionary feat on the surface of Mars. For the first time, a thinking robot equipped with sophisticated laser eyes and automated programming reacted to unplanned events on the surface of another planet.

March 26th, 2003

Yingst wins NASA grant to study Mars rocks University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

R. Aileen Yingst, adjunct assistant professor of Natural and Applied Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, has won a $153,950 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to conduct a study that may provide clues about the origin and history of the planet Mars, and also offer revelations about earth. Yingst will study rocks observed during the 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission when instruments landed on the surface of Mars transmitted information about the planet to scientists on earth. Results of the study may help to answer important questions.

September 28th, 2002

NASA’s Mars Pathfinder: Five Years Later

Five years ago, on September 27, 1997, NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory began to lose communication and battery power to the Mars Pathfinder mission, ending its highly successful exploration.

September 27th, 2002

Five Year Retrospective: Mars Pathfinder Astrobiology Magazine

Five years ago today, on September 27, 1997, NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory began to lose communication and battery power to the Mars Pathfinder mission, ending its highly successful exploration. The Pathfinder lander, formally named the Carl Sagan Memorial Station following its successful touchdown, landed on July 4, 1997 with its Rover, called Sojourner.