July 24th, 2015

A New Way to Prepare Samples of Mars for Return to the Earth Planetary Society

Mars 2020, NASA’s next and yet-to-be-named Mars rover, will be the first mission to collect and prepare samples of the martian surface for return to Earth. This process is known as caching, and it is the crucial first step of a fully-born sample return campaign that could define the next two decades of robotic Mars exploration. Recently, the Mars 2020 engineering team proposed a new caching strategy that differs from previous concepts in some interesting ways.

JPL calls this adaptive caching, but I like to think of it more as the cache depot strategy. This means that after coring samples and placing them into hermetically-sealed tubes (the same process for any sort of caching), the rover will then deposit groups of samples on the ground throughout its drive. A future rover would retrieve some or all of these samples, place them in a rocket, and launch them into Mars orbit.

June 26th, 2003

Planetary Society declares August 27, 2003 – Mars Day Planetary Society

On August 27, the planet Mars will be closer to Earth than it has been in more than 50,000 years. To celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime event, The Planetary Society is declaring to the world that August 27, 2003 be Mars Day. The Society will mark this occasion with special events around the world, including an 83rd birthday party for a man whose name is now synonymous with the Red Planet – Ray Bradbury, author of the famous The Martian Chronicles. Bradbury’s birthday comes the same week as this historic Mars opposition.

April 2nd, 2001

Mars Microphone Has New Ticket To Ride on NetLander Mission Planetary Society

The Planetary Society’s Mars Microphone will hitch a new ride to the Red Planet on board the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) NetLander mission in 2007. CNES is the national space agency of France. NetLander will deploy four landers on the surface of Mars and network them together to study the deep interior, geology and atmosphere of Mars. “We have seen other worlds and even touched them via robotic senses,” said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society, “but the Mars Microphone will offer humanity the first opportunity to listen to the sounds on the surface of an alien world.”

February 20th, 2001

School Kids Find Mars Mystery Planetary Society

Last week, the Planetary Society’s Red Rover Goes to Mars Student Scientists made planetary exploration history. They were the first members of the public to direct a camera aboard a spacecraft orbiting another world, the NASA Mars Global Surveyor (MGS). One of the pictures they targeted shows something new about the planet’s surface — a surprising cluster of dark-colored boulders smack dab in the middle of light-colored terrain. How the boulders got there and what geological history they represent on Mars are questions scientists still need to answer.

October 3rd, 2000

Student Scientists from Around the World Win Spots on Red Rover Goes to Mars Team Planetary Society

Nine Student Scientists have been selected from over ten thousand entrants worldwide to serve on the Planetary Society’s Red Rover Goes to Mars Training Mission. Ranging in age from 10 to 15, the winners — four girls, five boys — will select a possible landing site on Mars for some future sample return mission. The nine winners hail from across the globe — Brazil, Hungary, India, Poland, Taiwan, and the United States. The winners are Zsofia Bodo, 15, Hungary; Kimberly DeRose, 13, USA; Bernadett Gaal, 14, Hungary; Shaleen Harlalka, 15, India; Iuri Jasper, 12, Brazil; Hsin-Liu Kao, 11, Taiwan; Tanmay Khirwadkar, 13, India; Wojciech Lukasik, 10, Poland; and Vikas Sarangadhara, 10, India.

September 25th, 2000

There’s More than One Way to Build a Mars Balloon Planetary Society

The balloon trials conducted by Pioneer Astronautics in Colorado this August reminded us of the many different concepts that have been proposed over the years for ballooning on Mars. Here’s a small and colorful sampling.

September 16th, 2000

Mars in a Test Tube Raises Questions about Life on the Red Planet Planetary Society

What is destroying organic molecules on the surface of Mars? This is the question discussed by a group of scientists led by Albert Yen of JPL and Bruce Murray of Caltech, president of the Planetary Society. Needless to say, the answer to this question is crucial for the search for life on the Red Planet.

July 28th, 2000

Double the Rovers, Double the Fun: NASA May Send 2 Rovers to Mars Planetary Society

In 2003, the planet Mars will once again feel the treads of a traveler from Earth. NASA announced that the 2003 mission to Mars will be a lander carrying a rover back to the surface of the Red Planet. And, to make things even more interesting, there may be two of them!

November 9th, 1999

Join a Mission to Mars at Planetfest ’99 Planetary Society

Hear the first sounds from Mars! See the first images from landfall near the Martian South Pole! Examine the spacesuits for the first astronauts on Mars…the first astronauts in Touchstone Pictures’ film, Mission to Mars, that is.

November 5th, 1999

Martian Voices Beckon at Planetfest Online Planetary Society

I flew to Mars when I was 12. I never came back! says Ray Bradbury, author of the Martian Chronicles.

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