A portable, collapsible greenhouse inspired in part by a crop-producing system at a South Pole research station could someday provide fresh vegetables and other foods in future manned lunar or Martian outposts. Working in conjunction with private industry, the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) has set up a demo lunar greenhouse to demonstrate how a hydroponic system could grow peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes and other crops for colonists on other planets.
As Congress adjourns there’s still plenty left for them to argue about, but NASA’s mission going forward isn’t one of them. The House of Representatives passed a NASA authorization bill late last night, outlining the budget – $19 billion in 2011 and $58 billion through 2013 – and goals for the space agency going forward. On deck: increased commercial space investment, a new heavy-lift rocket, and a focus on future deep space missions to an asteroid or even Mars.
So you're holed up in a well-equipped shipping container for the next year and a half. How do you pass the time? By playing Guitar Hero and dreaming of showers.
You can now take a video tour of the "Mars 500" facility in Moscow, where a six-man crew is spending 520 days simulating a round-trip mission to Mars.
NASA has just announced the details of its next Mars mission, Curiosity, which will take off between November 25 and December 18, 2011. Curiosity is scheduled to land on Mars between August 6 and August 20, 2012. The rover, also known as the Mars Science Laboratory, will study the Martian surface for conditions favoring the development of microbial life. NASA plans to let Curiosity explore Mars for a full Martian year, or two Earth years.
We've landed the robots, puttered about on the planet's surface, and, at long last, found the water. Now, NASA is getting back to basics on Mars with a plan to once again search for signs of life on the Red Planet, a focus that's been on the back burner since the 1976 Viking missions. But this time, NASA doesn't want to analyze Mars from Mars. This time the space agency wants to bring samples back home, and has a cleverly orchestrated scheme to do it.
The first two members of Russia's upcoming 18-month "Mars mission" have been selected by the European Space Agency; Frenchman Romain Charles and Colombian-Italian Diego Urbina will join 3 Russians and one Chinese national in the Mars500 spaceship, which will carry out a 520-day simulated mission to Mars beginning June 3.
Let's hope they all get along.
Some rivalries die hard. Ham the American chimpanzee stirred up some Cold War ire when he became the first hominid in space in early 1961; now, scientists at the Institute of Experimental Pathology and Therapy, the pride of early Soviet space science, want to send one of their 350 apes on a mission to Mars -- with a robot overseer, naturally.
Cue the Aerosmith soundtrack; a plan to send a manned space mission to land on an asteroid is gaining traction within both NASA and the aerospace industry as experts look to bridge the feasibility gap between lunar missions and an eventual rendezvous with Mars. Of course, no party is ruling out the possibility of an Armageddon-esque trip to a Near Earth Object (NEO) on a harmful trajectory, should the need arise in the future.