April 14th, 2010

Obama to outline vision for space program despite astronaut criticism The Sydney Morning Herald

Barack Obama is set to promote his vision for the nation’s human space flight program – including putting a human on Mars – just two days after three Apollo astronauts called the new plans ”devastating”.
In an announcement to be made at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida today, the President will talk for the first time about the upheaval of NASA’s human spaceflight program outlined in his 2011 budget request in February.
It involved cancelling plans to return astronauts to the moon, investing in commercial companies to provide transport to orbit and developing new space technologies.
A senior administration official said Mr Obama would describe a vision ”that unlocks our ambitions and expands our frontiers in space, ultimately meaning the challenge of sending humans to Mars”.

August 4th, 2004

The designer suit for Mars The Sydney Morning Herald

When it comes to matching the blistering atmosphere of Mars for trying out a specially designed space suit, it seems there’s nowhere better on Earth than the Australian outback. Over the next month a group of geologists, engineers, psychologists and biologists will test the suits as if they were operating from a base station on the red planet, identified as a target for a NASA manned mission by about 2030.

June 7th, 2004

Sterility awaits Mars mission crews The Sydney Morning Herald

A manned space mission to Mars should only include men aged over 60 in view of irreversible sterility that will afflict crew members on the flight, veteran Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov said in Moscow yesterday. Prolonged exposure to radiation, calcium deficit and muscular atrophy caused by weightlessness would make it “irrational and cruel” to send younger men, the qualified doctor said at a conference on the medical effects of long term space flight.

March 5th, 2004

In search of the red sea The Sydney Morning Herald

Robot explorers are making dazzling finds as they chase the ghosts of Mars’ vanished oceans. Richard Macey reports.

February 11th, 2004

Water theory evaporates, but Mars mystery deepens The Sydney Morning Herald

The first close-up pictures of the outcrop of rock discovered by NASA’s Opportunity rover on Mars rule out the possibility that the layered rock was created by volcanic lava flows. The finding makes it much less likely that there was once a large body of water at the Meridiani Planum site. But the photographs revealed a new mystery – small grains of an apparently different material embedded in the layers of stone.

January 29th, 2004

It’s all over, red rover, we’re sending in the dingo The Sydney Morning Herald

History may record that a dog named Tamarind helped confirm there was once life on Mars. While five space probes – including two robot rovers – explore the red planet, a Sydney scientist’s pet dingo-kelpie cross may have found the evidence so many have been seeking.

January 2nd, 2004

Hope yet for Earth probes to reach Mars The Sydney Morning Herald

The score in the 2003-04 interplanetary cup now stands at Mars 2, Earth 1. This weekend our world gets its chance to level the game. Early last month, five spacecraft were closing in on the red planet. But then Japan declared that its Mars probe, Nozomi – Japanese for Hope – had malfunctioned and had no hope of entering Mars orbit. Then, on Christmas Day, Britain’s Beagle 2 vanished while attempting to land, although optimistic officials say they have not given up hope it may be found. The only good news came when Beagle’s mothership, the European-built Mars Express, slipped safely into Martian orbit. However, two more Mars landers, six-wheeled NASA rovers the size of a desk, are on their way.

December 17th, 2003

The Big Picture: Ascent of the Red Planet The Sydney Morning Herald

In its early moments this documentary, hosted by British actor Brian Blessed, ponders whether man could ascend the biggest mountain on Mars, Olympus Mons, a massive peak three times as high as Everest. It might have proceeded as a predictable vanity exercise for an actor, playing the hero, and dashing to a TV-produced finish line. In fact, Blessed proves he’s more than up to the task and the results make for breathtaking television.

September 20th, 2003

Tie me to the moon The Sydney Morning Herald

Seeing the Earth as a blue and white ball hanging in the velvet black of space sounds like fun. What a pity getting out there is so dangerous. Space-shuttle astronauts are riding a 3000-tonne bomb undergoing a controlled explosion. The loss of the Challenger crew in 1986, and the Columbia accident early this year confirmed how risky that can be. How much more pleasant to step inside a lift and rise gently into space. Reaching orbit would be no more frightening than riding to the top of a city building. A “space elevator” is exactly what American researchers say we could be using in 15 years.

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