September 9th, 2009

Human colony on Mars ‘will make the world a better place’

“We should establish a self-supporting colony on Mars,” suggests J Richard Gott, professor of astrophysical sciences as Princeton University in the US.
“That would make us a two-planet species and improve our long-term survival prospects by giving us two chances instead of one.”
As one might expect, his belief in the species-saving potential of space exploration is echoed by Sir Richard, whose Virgin Galactic company plans to offer orbital flight for paying passengers.
“If we are going to survive as a civilisation we need low energy and environmental access to space on an industrial scale,” he told the magazine.

December 11th, 2007

Mars rover finds signs of microbial life

Nasa says its Mars rover Spirit has discovered “the best evidence yet” of a past habitable environment on the planet’s surface. Spirit has been exploring a plateau called Home Plate, where it discovered silica-rich soil in May.
Researchers are now trying to determine what produced the patch of nearly pure silica – the main ingredient of window glass.
They believe the deposits came from an ancient hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic steam rises through cracks.
On Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life, said rover chief scientist Steve Squyres.

August 8th, 2004

Mars astronauts ‘will hibernate for 50 million-mile journey in space’

It was once the preserve of science fiction books and films such as 2001: a Space Odyssey and Alien, but scientists now believe that they will be able to develop ways of sending people on long space journeys in hibernation. The European Space Agency is funding research into what has become the holy grail of space travel – a method that will allow astronauts to spend months or years in suspended animation.

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