March 6th, 2002

Odyssey Detects Signs of More Martian Ice NewsFactor Network

Not that Michelle Kwan should join NASA, but it would appear that the surface of Mars has a lot more frozen water than previously thought. Initial data from NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft, which began its mapping mission last week, include tentative identification of significant, but as yet unquantified, amounts of frozen water. Whether that means frozen puddles and ponds or ice crystals mixed into the top layer of soil remains to be seen. “We’re actually detecting a deficit of neutrons emerging from the surface, and just about the only thing that can cause that is hydrogen atoms,” Jeffrey Plaut, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s deputy project scientist for the Odyssey mission, told NewsFactor.

February 19th, 2002

Buzz Aldrin Blazing a Trail to Mars NewsFactor Network

‘When we decide to do it, we must be committed to a growing permanence on Mars,’ legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin told NewsFactor. ‘The investment is so large. To just go with a limited number of people for a limited amount of time, then cease going – we shouldn’t have started in the first place.’ Buzz Aldrin, whose footprints still dot the windless surface of the moon, wants the next step in space exploration to be cruise ships to Mars — not with shuffleboard or bad lounge entertainers, though. In an exclusive interview with NewsFactor, Aldrin talked about how he is applying his knowledge and vision — along with that of the three universities with which he is collaborating — to the challenge of how to get from Earth to the red planet.