June 2nd, 2014

NASA to test giant supersonic Mars parachute off Hawaiian coast CBS News

The skies off the Hawaiian island of Kauai will be a stand-in for Mars as NASA prepares to launch a saucer-shaped vehicle in an experimental flight designed to land heavy loads on the red planet.
For decades, robotic landers and rovers have hitched a ride to Earth’s planetary neighbor using the same parachute design. But NASA needs a bigger and stronger parachute if it wants to send astronauts there.
Weather permitting, the space agency will conduct a test flight Tuesday high in Earth’s atmosphere that’s supposed to simulate the thin Martian air.
Cameras rigged aboard the vehicle will capture the action as it accelerates to four times the speed of sound and falls back to Earth. Viewers with an Internet connection can follow along live.

April 19th, 2012

NASA administrator: To Mars! CBS News

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden says it’s the “beginning of a new era” for NASA, now that the Shuttle program has ended and the massive craft are making their ways to museums. But nonetheless, he was “very emotional” watching Space Shuttle Discovery make its last flight yesterday to its permanent home at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center.
Bolden had “good times in Discovery” when he piloted two of its 39 missions — one that put the Hubble Space Telescope in order and the other the first with a crew that included a Russian cosmonaut.
NASA’s been in the business of “taking science fiction and turning it into science fact” for over 60 years, and Bolden says that’s going to continue.
The next destination? Mars. Bolden is confident “we’re going to go farther than the moon,” in the pursuit of putting humans “in the Martian environment by 2030.”

October 29th, 2009

Russia Proposes Nuclear Spaceship CBS News

Russia laid out its ambition to gain an edge in the space race by building a nuclear-powered spaceship. Federal Space Agency chief Anatoly Perminov told a government meeting that the preliminary design could be ready by 2012. He said it would then take nine years and 17 billion rubles ($600 million) to build the ship.
At the meeting on new communications and space technologies, televised live, President Dmitry Medvedev hailed the plan and ordered the Cabinet to find the money for it. But the stated ambition contrasted with slow progress on building a replacement to the mainstay Russian spacecraft, sounding more like a plea for extra government cash than a detailed proposal.
“It’s a very serious project,” said Medvedev. “We need to find the money.”

October 2nd, 2002

Picture Canada’s maple leaf on Red Planet, Garneau says CBS News

Canadian expertise in atmospheric science, geology and robotics could help land a probe on Mars by 2011, said Marc Garneau, head of the Canadian Space Agency. The former astronaut said the CSA recently received an invitation from NASA offering Canada the opportunity to become a $200-million partner on a 2009 mission for the Mars Science Laboratory.

March 21st, 2002

Mars Madness CBS News

People in make-believe space suits are exploring the Utah desert as if they really were 240 million miles away. “We needed a place on earth where we could practice for Mars. There’s no point going to Mars unless you can do something useful when you get there,” explained Robert Zubrin of the Mars Society. In a corner of some of this planet’s more forbidding landscape, the privately funded Mars Desert Research Station is a kind of outer-space camp for members of the Mars Society. At the camp, self-described space junkies spend two weeks simulating life on Mars, reports CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara. Among them are vacationing geologists and NASA computer scientists. Most of them are grounded in serious research and all want to go to Mars.

April 1st, 2001

A new Martian odyssey is about to begin CBS News

With memories of recent back-to-back failures still painfully fresh, NASA is leaving no stone unturned to make sure the $305 million Mars Odyssey probe makes it safely into orbit around the Red Planet later this year. The solar-powered 758-kilogram spacecraft is scheduled for launch April 7 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a Boeing Delta 2 rocket. If all goes well, the Odyssey orbiter will slip into a highly elliptical orbit around Mars on October 24.