Mankind’s search for alien life could be jeopardised by ultra-resilient bacteria from Earth. David Derbyshire reports What was the most important discovery of the Apollo programme? Some have argued that it was the rocks that explained how the Moon was formed. Others believe it was the technological spin-offs. But according to Captain Peter Conrad, who led the 1969 Apollo 12 mission, it was life.
How bugs hitch-hike across the galaxy Electronic Telegraph
Bouncy parachute passes test for mission to Mars Electronic Telegraph
Britain’s attempt to send a space mission to Mars next year passed a major milestone yesterday when scientists successfully tested the parachute that will allow the craft, Beagle 2, to land safely on the Red Planet. The white nylon canopy, said to be the most efficient created, was attached to a metal weight and hurled from a balloon 350 ft above a Shropshire airfield. Fluttering in the dawn sunshine, it floated slowly to the ground.
Life on Mars Electronic Telegraph
In the red dust of the Utah desert, six scientists are dressed in home-made spacesuits and living in a large tin can. Their mission: to prove that sending man to Mars is easier than NASA thinks. Charles Laurence joins them in space The familiar landscape of planet Earth – trees, water, buildings, that sort of thing – has long since disappeared from my rear-view mirror, and so far there is not much evidence of life. The Mission Commander told me to follow the track across the stony red desert for about two-and-a-half miles, and keep looking carefully to the left for the “Hab”, or human habitation module. Mars, if this landscape is anything to go by, must be quite a place. The country here almost exactly matches the photographs of the Red Planet brought back by America’s Marina space probe. Narrow, flat-topped canyons known as mesas and shimmering plains stretch as far as the eye can see. Six top-drawer scientists are out here somewhere, living in a large, white tin can that looks like a stumpy grain silo with a conical roof, or a drawing of a spaceship in an old comic book, and dressing in spacesuits made from canvas and sticky tape. Whenever they venture out, they don helmets contrived from rubbish-bins and plastic light-fittings. Behind this odd behaviour lies a serious purpose (or at least an earnest one): to find out what it would be like to live on Mars, and whether humans could stand it.
Mission to Mars from Milton Keynes Electronic Telegraph
THE man most likely to answer the question “Is there life on Mars?” is not a Nasa scientist in a Houston laboratory but a 58-year-old, wild-haired professor who keeps cows on a farm in Cambridgeshire. Prof Colin Pillinger is the mastermind behind Britain’s first space probe, Beagle 2, which is due to land on Mars on December 23, 2003, and spend six months analysing Martian rocks, soil and gases for signs that the planet ever supported life. It is only Prof Pillinger’s enthusiasm and implacable faith that have turned into reality his academic obsession with the search for life on Mars. He is a specialist in analysing rocks from other planets and has extensively studied Martian meteorites.
Man on Mars by 2021, says Nasa chief Electronic Telegraph
Men will be walking on Mars within 20 years, the head of Nasa predicted yesterday. Daniel Goldin told a symposium on 40 years of American space flight in Washington: “We have been locked in Earth orbit for too long but we are going to break out. This civilisation is not condemned to live on only one planet.”
Firms offered a chance to advertise on Mars Electronic Telegraph
Companies are being given the chance to advertise on another planet. The Beagle2 lander spacecraft needs sponsors. In return, firms will get a chance to display their logos on the craft as it touches down on Mars in December 2003.