July 12th, 2002

SpaceRef’s Greenhouse is One Step Closer to Devon Island

Earlier this week the Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse made the trip from NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California to Resolute Bay located on Cornwallis Island in Nunavut, Canada. The greenhouse was transported aboard a United States Marine Corps C-130. The plane left the U.S. on Monday and arrived at its destination on Tuesday. Also aboard were a number of other items for the upcoming 2002 field season of the NASA Haughton Mars Project on nearby Devon Island.

May 24th, 2002

Solar Flare Shuts Down Nozomi Mars Probe’s Communication System

Communication with Japan’s Nozomi Mars Probe was all but severed recently due to a solar flare according to Japanese space officials. One of Nozomi’s communication systems was rendered inoperable by a burst of solar radiation on 21 April 2002. According to Japan’s ISAS (Institute of Space and Astronautical Science) it may take up to 6 months to get the system fully operational again. Meanwhile other systems on Nozomi are operating normally thus allowing mission controllers to repair the spacecraft. Nozomi was originally supposed to enter orbit around Mars on 11 October 1999. However, the spacecraft used more propellant than originally planned in an Earth swingby maneuver on 21 December 1998 . This left the spacecraft with insufficient acceleration to complete its nominal trajectory to Mars. A new trajectory was implemented whereby Nozomi will remain in heliocentric orbit for an additional four years and then reach Mars in December 2003.

May 22nd, 2002

Another Major Mars Water Announcement Coming Soon

Dr. Jim Garvin, Lead Scientist of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program said today that a major announcement is forthcoming about the presence of water ice just under the surface of Mars. Garvin made his comments at a Mars Exploration Breakfast sponsored on Capitol Hill by Lockheed Martin and Ball Aerospace. According to Garvin the announcement’s timing depends on the process required to get the results reviewed and then published in a scientific journal. Garvin said that this was also being done out of respect for the principal investigator behind the announcement “who has been waiting twenty years” for this data. NASA has scheduled a Space Science update for next Thursday, 30 May at 12:00 noon EDT- which is highly suggestive of the time a press embargo would lift for an article appearing in that week’s issue of Science magazine.

May 27th, 2001

A Canadian Martian Scientific Wish List

Participants at the 3rd Canadian Space Exploration Workshop (CSEW) had the happy task on Saturday of putting together a wish list of scientific objectives for a Canadian program of Mars exploration. On Friday night, Canadian Space Agency Executive Vice President Marc Garneau had surprised the space sciences community by announcing his intention to see Canada become a major player in the international Mars research scene. Calling on researchers to be bold and to ‘think big,’ Garneau made his announcements on the 40th anniversary of US President John F. Kennedy’s famous ‘put a man on the moon’ speech. The announcement also came with the promise of funding that will be “an order of magnitude greater” than what exists currently, putting the budget in the hundreds of millions range.

May 25th, 2001

Canadian Space Agency Announces Major Mars Initiative

Participants at the 3rd Canadian Space Exploration Workshop (CSEW), being held in Montreal this weekend, were among the first to hear that Canada wants to go to Mars. In a pre-banquet speech on Saturday night, former astronaut Dr. Marc Garneau, now serving as Executive Vice-President for the Canadian Space Agency announced that the CSA would be expanding its space exploration efforts over the next several years, with Mars research being a major focus. The announcement came on the 40th anniversary of President Kennedy’s stirring and oft-quoted call for an American presence on the moon.

April 10th, 2001

NOZOMI, Sun, Earth and Moon in a Straight Line

The spacecraft NOZOMI, scheduled to enter Mars orbit early in the year 2004, is cruising smoothly along its heliocentric orbit. The distance from earth is 360 million km, and it takes at least 20 minutes for radio waves to reach the spacecraft. Thus, it takes 40 minutes for answers to return after commands have been sent. On the morning of January 10, 2001, a total lunar eclipse occurred, and exactly at that time, NOZOMI moved behind the sun as viewed from the earth. Four celestial bodies (one man-made spacecraft) arranged in a straight line is a very rare event. Of course, the event has no special meaning for researchers other than Nostradamus. However, since NOZOMI was located on the opposite side of the sun, solar noise prevents contact for about three weeks. From December 28, 2000, until January 20, 2001, NOZOMI was incommunicado. Because of this, which is known by the astronomical term “conjunction,” which of course had been predicted during the orbit design, the NOZOMI project team proceeded with various preparations for the safe completion of the voyage.

December 2nd, 2000

Another “Major” Mars Discovery to be Announced by NASA

According to a NASA press release, “Imaging scientists Dr. Michael Malin and Dr. Ken Edgett from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft will present what they describe as their most significant discovery yet at a Space Science Update at 2:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 7. Their findings are being published in the December 8 issue of Science Magazine.

August 29th, 2000

Pioneer Astronautics Demonstrates New Mars Balloon Remote Inflation Technology

Pioneer Astronautics announced today that it had successfully demonstrated a new technology suitable for use as a means of automated inflation of Mars exploration balloons. The experiment, which involved the use of methanol to inflate a solar-heated balloon, took place at an altitude of 100,000 ft over Byers Colorado, on the morning of Saturday, August 26. It was witnessed by observers from Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS) which provided flight telemetry and tracking support, and Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), which funded the experiment as part of a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program.

February 28th, 2000

Generation InterPlanetary Internet

Ten years from now the Internet could be a phenomenon that has expanded beyond Earth to form an interplanetary network of Internets reaching to Mars and beyond. That is the vision of Vint Cerf and his colleagues at the InterPlanetary Internet (IPN) team.

January 26th, 2000

Mars Society Tries the Cousteau Approach for Research Funding

The Mars Society announced today that had agreed to donate $175,000 towards the cost of constructing and operating the Society’s Mars Arctic Research Station (M.A.R.S.) – which will now be referred to as the Flashline Arctic Research Station. The approach being taken by the Mars Society is not at all new. Indeed, some of the more exciting and memorable research projects of the last century were done by a synergistic mixture of scientific and commercial interests.