April 30th, 2015

Jeff Bezos’ spaceship just finished its first flight test The Washington Post

If you were ever planning to buy Amazon shares UK, this is the time! Jeff Bezos’s space company launched a rocket Wednesday, another significant step in the burgeoning private-sector space race.

In a statement, Bezos, who founded and owns The Washington Post, said the engine “flawlessly” powered the unpiloted New Shepard spacecraft through its first developmental test flight. The rocket reached Mach 3, or three times the speed of sound, and an altitude of 307,000 feet, or 58 miles, very close to what’s largely considered the threshold of space.

“Any astronauts on board would have had a very nice journey into space and a smooth return,” Bezos said. “In fact, if New Shepard had been a traditional expendable vehicle, this would have been a flawless first test flight.”

February 12th, 2015

One Way to Mars The Washington Post

Mars One envisions a colony of humans on the red planet, starting in 2025. Plenty of people think that is unrealistic, but the nonprofit is vigorously recruiting potential pioneers to go to mars, one-way, with no hope of coming back. Here’s the ambitious — some say too ambitious — timeline: February 13, 2015: About 50 men and 50 women learn they’ve made it to Round 3. Group challenges will test survival skills and math ability, but they’ll also reveal how candidates deal with adversity — and with each other.

October 31st, 2012

Mars rover gets instructions daily from NASA via a network of antennae The Washington Post

We live in a chaos of electromagnetic energy. Visible, infrared and ultraviolet light courses omnidirectionally from the sun. A fraction of it bathes our planet, while some bounces off other planets, moons, comets and meteoroids. The visible light from stars up to 4,000 light-years away can be seen from Earth with the naked eye. With instruments, astronomers can detect gamma rays from stars 13 billion light-years away. Radio waves from remote galaxies help Earth’s official timekeepers monitor our planet’s path around the sun.
Once per day, a minuscule stream of radio waves joins this cacophony, making the 13.8-minute trip from an antenna on Earth to an SUV-size machine parked on the surface of Mars. Those short-lived waves represent our way — our only way — of communicating with Curiosity, the rover that NASA landed on Mars in August.

May 23rd, 2011

One-way ticket to Mars The Washington Post

How would you like to take a trip to Mars? That’s right, only to Mars. There would be no coming back.
You don’t have to make up your mind right now, because there are no missions planned or even on the horizon. But when the idea of a one-way ticket to Mars was first broached last year in a cosmology journal, the response was rather overwhelming: More than 1,000 people said they’d be eager to go.
It was not proposed as a suicide mission, although the chances of a long life on Mars probably aren’t great. Rather, it was pitched as what would potentially be the greatest scientific adventure and exploration of all time.

February 13th, 2011

NASA ponders a home away from home. Far away from home. The Washington Post

Humankind is looking deeper and deeper into the cosmos and seeing incredible things that were totally unknown just a few years ago. In the past three decades, astronomers have described the nature of gamma ray bursts, proved that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, and helped land rovers on Mars. And yet, while our telescopes can see Earthlike planets more than 20 light-years into the intergalactic abyss, we humans can’t seem to get past the moon, a sterile rock orbiting just 238,000 miles from Houston. What’s taking so long?

February 11th, 2009

Mars Mission Has Some Seeing Red The Washington Post

In a “clean room” in Building 150 of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is something that looks very much like a flying saucer. It’s a capsule containing a huge, brawny Mars rover, a Hummer compared with the Mini Coopers that have previously rolled across the Red Planet.
This is the Mars Science Laboratory, the space agency’s next big mission to the most Earth-like planet in the solar system. But it’s been a magnet for controversy, and a reminder that the robotic exploration of other worlds is never a snap, especially when engineers decide to get ambitious.

April 4th, 2006

U.S. missions to moon, Mars still on radar The Washington Post

For the first time since 1972, the United States is planning to fly to the moon, but instead of a quick, Apollo-like visit, astronauts intend to build a permanent base and live there while they prepare what may be the most ambitious undertaking in history — putting human beings on Mars. NASA’s moon planners are closely following the spaceship initiative and, within six months, will outline what they need from the new vehicle to enable astronauts to explore the lunar surface.

March 23rd, 2004

Mars Rover Finds Evidence of Ancient Sea The Washington Post

The site where a NASA robot found the first hard evidence that water once existed on Mars is apparently the remains of an ancient shoreline of a salty sea, scientists reported today. A detailed analysis of rocks in the shallow crater where the rover has been studying the Red Planet’s geology indicates the formations were shaped by gently flowing salt water, indicating the area was probably once the coastline of an ocean, scientists said.

March 5th, 2004

Team Finds Species of Sea Microbes The Washington Post

A Maryland research team that helped decipher the human genome has applied its powerful DNA analyzers to the high seas, discovering in a few giant gulps of seawater at least 1,800 new species of marine microbes and more than a million genes previously unknown to science.

January 11th, 2004

Op/Ed: Three Cheers for Robots — Until We Get to Mars Ourselves The Washington Post

It’s been three decades since the idea of a mobile robotic Mars rover was seriously proposed, and now, finally, we have one. As a longtime advocate of human Mars exploration, I can only watch this mission with delight. And nothing pleases me more than the news that this week President Bush is expected to announce plans for the human exploration of Mars. Sending humans there is essential because, as wonderful as they are, neither Spirit nor Opportunity nor any other machine will ever tell us what we need to learn about Mars.

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