October 28th, 2003

Move over Space Mountain, Epcot Center takes visitors on thrill ride to Mars TechTV

If you’ve been dying to take a ride into space, there are three ways to go about it. You can go through years of training to become an astronaut. You can sign up for a citizen-in-space program and pay for the trip, just like Dennis Tito did. The going rate these days is a cool $20 million. Or you can pay far less than that by heading to Orlando, Fla. Tonight on “Tech Live” we take you to Disney’s Epcot Center where a new ride could be the closest thing to the real going-to-space thing, and it’s right here on Earth.

January 31st, 2003

Martian Playground TechTV

The Martian surface is a forbidding landscape of dry riverbeds, craters, and extinct volcanoes. Those geologic features could be found in dozens of places on Earth, but probably not all in one easily accessible location. That’s why Mars has been re-created on a tiny scale by NASA scientists as a test bed for the new Mars rover that will head to the red planet in 2009. “We’ve had a group of geologists and astrobiologists spend time playing God, wondering how things really should be on Mars,” says Liam Pedersen, the project’s principle investigator.

December 16th, 2002

The Red Planet Beckons TechTV

We’ve made it all the way to the moon. We’ve got a space station in orbit. Why haven’t we been able to take a trip to our closest neighbor, Mars? Tonight, “Tech Live” takes a look at what’s the trouble with space travel these days. First, what does Mars really look like? Popular culture has a vision of what it’s like, as seen through books and films such as “Red Planet” and “Mission to Mars.” And we’ve all seen the view from NASA’s Pathfinder robot, which landed on Mars in 1997. The planet looks red and dusty. But what does the red planet look like first hand? We have no idea, because nobody’s ever been there. And some wonder if we’ll ever make it, considering Americans’ blas

November 4th, 2002

‘Red Faction II’ (PS2) Review TechTV

The Faction is back, and here at “Extended Play,” we’re off to join the revolution. The sequel to last year’s underrated PS2 and PC first-person shooter on Mars, “Red Faction,” takes us to Earth this time around.

May 17th, 2002

Finding Mars on Earth TechTV

Here in the middle of what most earthlings would call nowhere, a dedicated group of would-be interplanetary explorers is acting out an elaborate game of make-believe. Tonight’s “Tech Live” takes you there. The Mars Society, a collection of serious scientists, visionary futurists, and space zealots, has set up a scientific outpost on a barren stretch of desert. The wind blows incessantly across rocky mesas, gravel flats, and dusty red ridges. One can easily imagine it as a Mars-scape. This little settlement — the society calls it the Mars Desert Research Station — consists of a squat, two-story cylinder called “the hab” (for “habitat”), complete with steel struts that are supposed to suggest landing gear. There’s a makeshift greenhouse with a plastic tarp reinforced with duct tape for a door. A couple of all-terrain vehicles are parked outside. Except for the wind and cold and immense sweep of Utah sky, that’s it.

April 1st, 2002

Space Habitat for Humanity TechTV

If humans ever colonize Mars, they won’t be able to fly back to Earth for a quick shopping trip. Instead, as “Tech Live” reports tonight, space settlers will need to live in self-sustaining environments, where everything from the air they breathe to the food they eat will have to be recycled. “The food these astronauts are going to eat has to be made out of something,” said Purdue University professor James Alleman. “And that something will in fact be the waste that they’re going to generate.” Pondering how to turn garbage in space into palatable meals is what Alleman, an environmental engineering professor, does full time. He’s the co-director of the NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training for Advanced Life Support at Purdue.

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