MarsNews.com
June 16th, 2014

Incredible Technology: Private Mars Mission Could Return Samples by 2020 Space.com

A private mission could return Martian samples to Earth by 2020 without even touching down on the Red Planet.
The BoldlyGo Institute, a Colorado-based nonprofit, is working to develop the Sample Collection to Investigate Mars (SCIM) mission, which would send a spacecraft skimming through the atmosphere of Mars to gather dust and return home, without the difficulty of landing. SCIM could launch as soon as 2018, possibly returning samples to Earth in July 2020.
“It sounds very daring, but it’s really very doable,” Laurie Leshing, a member of the BoldlyGo board of directors, said during a presentation June 3 at the 224th American Astronomical Meeting in Boston. “This is something we can do today.”

June 6th, 2014

Putting Humans on Mars Is ‘Risk Management’ for Our Species, SpaceX President Says Space.com

SpaceX thinks humanity needs to reach Mars to survive.
Manned exploration and the eventual colonization of Mars would not only be a marvel of human achievement, it would also serve as a sort of insurance in case disaster strikes on Earth, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell told a small crowd here Wednesday (June 4). If humans decided to stop exploring, saying, “This is it, we’re done,” that’s not very inspirational, Shotwell said.
But exploration isn’t the only reason to visit the Earth’s rouge neighbor. Creating a settlement on Mars also constitutes “risk management” for the human race, Shotwell said.
“The probability of a significant [disastrous] event happening on Earth is very high,” Shotwell said. Though she said she doesn’t know when it might happen, “it would be nice to have humans living in more than one spot.”

June 2nd, 2014

Private Mars One Colony Project Signs Deal with TV Production Company Space.com

The next big reality-TV star may be an aspiring Mars colonist.
The Netherlands-based nonprofit Mars One, which aims to land four settlers on the Red Planet in 2025, announced today (June 2) that it has signed a deal with Darlow Smithson Productions (DSP), an Endemol-owned company, to film its astronaut selection and training process.
“Our team felt all along that we needed a partner whose strength lies in factual storytelling to an international audience,” Mars One co-founder and CEOBas Lansdorp said in a statement. “DSP will provide that to Mars One, while allowing our selection committee to maintain control of the applicant selection process. This really is a perfect fit for both of us.”

May 18th, 2014

Curious George Goes to Mars with PBS Kids Space.com

The adventurous primate Curious George is heading to Mars for the first time in a special TV episode of the cartoon airing Monday (May 19).
While Curious George has been to space before, this is the first time he is exploring the Red Planet. In the episode, “Red Planet Monkey,” George needs to help engineers on Earth figure out what is making the rover’s controls stick. The primate finds himself on an amazing adventure to Mars with his friend, the Man with the Yellow Hat.

May 14th, 2014

Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and More: Don’t Miss the Planet Parade in Tonight’s Sky Space.com

f you go out tonight (May 14) about half an hour after sunset and have clear weather, you will see a number of bright objects in the sky. The brightest of these celestial lights are four of five planets visible to the naked eye this month, with the full moon completing the view — a sight you won’t want to miss.
To begin our planet parade in May’s night sky, let’s look low in the northwest. There you can find the tiny speck of Mercury, never far from the sun. You may need a binocular to spot it.

March 7th, 2014

Project ‘Red Dragon’: Mars Sample-Return Mission Could Launch in 2022 with SpaceX Capsule Space.com

Scientists have blueprinted a low-cost Mars sample-return mission that would use a souped-up Dragon capsule from the private spacefligth company SpaceX and the firm’s planned Falcon Heavy rocket to get to the Red Planet by the early 2020s.
The new study demonstrates the viability of the entry, descent and landing of the unmanned Dragon space capsule at Mars. Moreover, the spacecraft’s descent technique would help set the stage for future human missions to the Red Planet, researchers said.
The idea is to leverage emerging commercial capabilities to achieve Mars sample-return (MSR) without breaking the bank, perhaps in 2022. Most scientists regard a sample-return trip as a “Holy Grail” mission — the best way to look for signs of past or present life on the Red Planet.

March 6th, 2014

Big Mars Impact Gave Earth Most of Its Martian Meteorites Space.com

A huge meteorite impact on Mars five million years ago blasted toward Earth many of the rocks that scientists scrutinize to learn more about the Red Planet, a new study reveals.
The cosmic crash left a 34-mile-wide (55 kilometers) gouge on Mars called Mojave Crater and is the source of all “shergottite” or igneous rock Martian meteorites found on Earth, researchers say. Examining the crater and the meteorites also led to new revelations about how old the rocks are.

January 14th, 2014

Europe’s Mars Probe Celebrates 10 Years of Amazing Martian Views (Video) Space.com

Mars Express — the first European spacecraft built to investigate another planet — has been snapping color and 3D images of Mars for 10 years.
To honor the Martian anniversary, the European Space Agency has released a spectacular new fly-over video of Mars showing off some of the striking images captured by the Mars Express spacecraft from its place in orbit.
The flood plain in the video is called Kasei Valles, and scientists think it was created during intense flooding events on Mars, ESA officials wrote in a description. The entire video covers an area of about 598,000 square miles (1.55 million square kilometers), which is about equal to the size of Mongolia. Kasei Valles is one of the biggest outflow channels on Mars.

January 3rd, 2014

Mock Mars Mission: Utah Habitat Simulates Life on Red Planet Space.com

Scientists, engineers and legions of volunteers have worked hard to make a mock Mars habitat in Utah as realistic as possible.
The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), which is run by the nonprofit Mars Society, aims to help humanity prepare for the rigors and challenges of life on the Red Planet. It was designed in line with Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin’s “Mars Direct” settlement approach, which sees crews living off the land as much as possible, MDRS director Shannon Rupert told SPACE.com.
“The idea was a small crew on these kind of preplanned set of missions that would allow astronauts to get there and have a functioning habitat in place,” Rupert said. “We approached it from the idea that it’s there and ready to go, and they [the crew] just have to land.”

November 18th, 2013

NASA Launching New Mission to Mars Today: How to Watch Live Space.com

A NASA probe is scheduled to launch to Mars today (Nov. 18), and you can watch it live online.
The space agency’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft (MAVEN) is scheduled to launch atop its Atlas 5 rocket at 1:28 p.m. EST (1828 GMT) from here at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. You can watch the launch live on SPACE.com via NASA TV, beginning at 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT).
The $671 million MAVEN will investigate the atmosphere of Mars in order to understand what could have happened to the planet in the past. Scientists think that ancient Mars had a thick atmosphere that supported liquid water, however, at some point in the planet’s past, that changed and Mars morphed into the cold desert it is now. Mars’ atmosphere is now about 1 percent as thick as that of Earth’s.