September 27th, 2016

How Elon Musk Plans to Go to Mars Gizmodo

Interplanetary Transport System

SpaceX plans to build a “self-sustaining city” on Mars, according to its founder Elon Musk. But, while we now know a lot more about how SpaceX plans to get to Mars, details about how people will actually survive up there remain sketchy.

Musk dropped the news on Tuesday during an address at the International Astronautical Congress meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he had promised to reveal how the company planned to send people to live on Mars.

“I don’t have an immediate doomsday prophecy,” said Musk, but he noted that he saw only two possible paths forward. “One path is to stay on Earth forever, and there will be some extinction event. The alternative is to become a multi-planetary species, which I hope you will agree is the right way to go.”

July 13th, 2015

The Curiosity Rover Is Helping NASA Study the Far Side of the Sun Gizmodo


As Curiosity works its way up Mount Sharp on Mars, studying rock and soil samples, it’s also helping scientists observe sunspots on the far side of the Sun.

From its vantage point on Mars, Curiosity currently has a good view of the side of the Sun that’s pointed away from Earth, and its mast camera (Mastcam) is sending home images of sunspots that can help scientists better understand solar emissions.

That’s not just a matter of academic interest. Sunspots that form on the far side of the Sun will rotate to face Earth within a few days, since it only takes about a month for the Sun to rotate completely. “One sunspot or cluster that rotated out of Curiosity’s view over the July 4 weekend showed up by July 7 as a source area of a solar eruption observed by NASA’s Earth-orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory,” said NASA in a press release.

May 16th, 2015

SpaceX Just Dropped These Amazing Retro Mars Travel Posters Gizmodo

Everybody wants to go to Mars these days, not least of all Elon Musk, who might very well be hoping to retire there after he turns into a cyborg. But for those of you who haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, SpaceX just dropped some travel posters of the Red Planet to entice you.

For a company known for pushing the technological envelope forward, the Mars travel posters are endearingly retro. Like the exoplanet tourism posters NASA dropped earlier this year, this calls back to a simpler time, when science fiction was about valiant heroes with jetpacks and ray guns fighting bug-eyed space aliens. Let’s take a peek at ‘em.

September 26th, 2013

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Just Found Water in Martian Soil Gizmodo

Just when you thought ol’ Curiosity was digging in for the winter, the little discovery machine came up with a doozy: It discovered water in Martian soil. NASA scientists just published five papers in Science detailing the experiments that led to the discovery. That’s right. There’s water on Mars.
Impressive as it is, though, the discovery comes with some caveats. It’s not like Curiosity stumbled on a lost lake under a mountain or a stream trickling across the landscape. Rather, it found water molecules bound to other minerals in Martian soil. There’s kind of a lot of it, too. Researchers say that every cubic foot of Martian soil contains about two pints of liquid water. All things told, about two percent of the Martian soil is made of up water.

October 22nd, 2012

Is This the Spaceship That Will Take Us to Mars? Gizmodo

Somewhere deep at NASA’s Marshall Space Center, in an unmarked beige hangar, there is a spaceship. A spaceship built with spare parts, scrap hardware from the International Space Stations, a left-over aluminum-lithium cylinder and even museum mockups. One day, it may become the vessel that takes humans to Mars.
NASA engineers lead by Paul Bookout are talking about it at the the Fifth Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium, happening now in Huntsville, Alabama. Bookout’s team is working with a team from the Johnson Space Center in Houston led by astronaut Benjamin Alvin Drew, a USAF Colonel who’s been to space twice, including on the last mission of the Space Shuttle Discovery.
According to Bookout, the team is using its spaceship habitat to look at volume studies: “Are the crew quarters going to be the right size, the waste and hygiene compartment, the wardroom, the exercise area—we’re looking at all those for this extended stay.”

August 9th, 2012

How NASA Invented Curiosity’s Insanely Great Landing System Gizmodo

Adam Steltzner spent nine years working to turn seven minutes of terror into NASA’s finest hour since the landing of Apollo 11 on the Sea of Tranquility. His is a fascinating insider’s view of one of the most amazing space exploration feats in the history of humankind.
And here he tells you how, when, and why it all happened—a story of invention, camaraderie, and courage that ended in triumph when most expected them to fail.

May 25th, 2012

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Will Explore Mars—Like a Boss Gizmodo

NASA may not be sending up manned shuttles anymore, but that doesn’t mean we’re done exploring the solar system—not by a long shot. On August 5th, the space agency’s new flagship rover is expected to land on Mars as part of an unprecedented search for traces of life on the Red Planet.
You can ascertain the rover’s importance simply by its size. This thing is huge compared to NASA’s previous explorers, Spirit and Opportunity. Curiosity measures 10 feet long, 9 feet wide, and seven feet tall—taller than the average NBA Center—weighing a hefty 2000 pounds. NASA’s previous pair weighed just 408 pounds apiece. Tack on the added reach of Curiosity’s seven-foot long manipulation arm and the rover has roughly a two-story vertical reach. Not that there are many two-story-tall objects around the rover’s planned landing site but a good ability to have, nonetheless.

January 31st, 2012

How NASA Solved a $100 Million Problem for Five Bucks Gizmodo

A few years ago, back when the Constellation Program was still alive, NASA engineers discovered that the Ares I rocket had a crucial flaw, one that could have jeopardized the entire project. They panicked. They plotted. They steeled themselves for the hundreds of millions of dollars it was going to take to make things right.
And then they found out how to fix it for the cost of an extra value meal.
The problem facing Ares 1 wasn’t a booster malfunction or a computer glitch. It was simple cause-and-effect physics. During the final stages of a launch, as the solid booster rocket burns down it makes the entire vehicle oscillate rapidly. Add that oscillation to the resonant frequency of the large tube that separates the booster and the crew cabin, and you get a crew capsule that vibrates like crazy. When humans are vibrating to that extent, it’s impossible for them to read a digital display. If the astronauts can’t read, they can’t do their jobs. If they can’t do their jobs, no more mission.

September 24th, 2010

Russia Is Building Floating Nuclear Reactors Near the North Pole Gizmodo

Here you can see the first of the eight floating nuclear power plants—a ship-platform hybrid that will be finished in 2012. It will be deployed deep into the Arctic circle.
And what do they want them for, so far from the mainland? Because they want to expand their territory one million square kilometers. That’s 386,102 square miles of extra territory in the Arctic, all the way to the North Pole.

January 29th, 2010

The Most Heart-Wrenching Explanation Of The Mars Spirit Rover’s Life Yet Gizmodo

Addy and I are both weeping dusty red-colored tears in honor of the Spirit Rover’s new permanent surroundings after reading this xkcd chronicle of his poor little life.

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