December 19th, 2005

Ham Hears Mars Orbiter 45 Million Miles From Earth Slashdot

Richard L. James writes “As reported on the Mars-net email list Flight Refuelling Amateur Radio Society’s resident satcom + WLAN guru Paul J. Marsh (M0EYT) has managed to detect and receive NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on X band at a staggering range of 45 million miles from Earth using a home made receiver setup and a RFspace SDR-14 software radio.”

July 20th, 2004

Mars Had Surface Water for Eons Slashdot

Far from being a one-time event, it now appears that surface water flowed on Mars for eons. Nasa has announced that, after descending down further into the Endurance crater, the Opportunity rover has found a ‘razorback’. It is believed that this was formed by ‘fracture fill’ from the minerals in percolating water. Since this feature extends through several geologic layers, it argues for a long period of wetness near the surface. This would seem to substantially increase the chance that life once existed on the red planet.

July 16th, 2004

NASA Preps Mars Underground Mole Slashdot

People at NASA never cease to surprise me. Searching for water or presence of past life of Mars obviously needs drilling beneath the surface. So NASA is developing the Mars Underground Mole (MUM), based on a previous device used for the European Beagle 2 mission. But here is the twist. MUM will include sensors which were previously used to collect spectral imagery of Earth from pilotless aircrafts, especially Hawaii, according to NASA. While the Mole will stay on the surface on Mars and drill up to 5 meters deep, it will transmit data via a fiber optic cable to a digital array scanning interferometer (DASI). And the spectral images produced by the DASI will enable researchers to identify possible water, ice, organics and minerals under the surface on Mars.

July 3rd, 2003

China Accelerates Mars Program Slashdot

China has announced it intends to accelerate its Mars program, using experience and expertise from its fledgling lunar program. Following China’s proposed Moon missions, the first phase would send a Mars orbiter to examine and survey the Red Planet; the second phase will involve wheeled robotic probes like China’s Mars Explorer roving vehicle prototype, used to collect and analyze rock samples; and the third phase will involve returning spacecraft from the planet and establishing a permanent automated base on Mars. This puts the China-India space race and the China-USA space race in a very different light.

July 31st, 2000

Simulating Life On The Red Planet Slashdot

The Mars Society has just finished building the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station in the Canadian Arctic. The station has been built to simulate what life on Mars will be like for future astronauts. This is a really cool first step in getting humans closer to colonizing other planets. There is a webcam and video of them as well.

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