The term "suitcase nuke" hasn't enjoyed a particularly popular connotation in recent years, but researchers convening at the 242nd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society this week think such a concept is the future of interplanetary space travel.
Proponents of panspermia theory say life on Earth came from elsewhere, hitching a ride on rocks sheared from other worlds or from migratory asteroids. But what if life did originate here and then it left, hitching a ride on Earth-departed rocks? Earth could seed other worlds, instead of the other way around. A new analysis says the rocks could conceivably make it as far as Jupiter.
If it’s a space race the Russians want, a space race they shall have. But et tu, Europe? Russian news outlet Ria Novosti is reporting that the European Space Agency (ESA), long the ally of Cold War champion NASA, is teaming with Russia on a joint manned mission to Mars, and that their crew will be the first to set foot on the Red Planet.
By Victor Youk,18, MIT freshman, as told to Ryan BradleyPosted 08.15.2011 at 10:14 am 3 Comments
Usually high-school rocket clubs launch an egg and try to have it land safely. But our teacher suggested that we do something harder: enter a competition to build a Mars rover that could be deployed from a rocket. A few of us started working on it. The goal was to launch a robot 1,000 feet in the air, have it land safely on the ground, and then drive it about 30 feet. But the robot had to fit inside a rocket that was just four inches in diameter and 20 inches long—it looked like a stick.
All week we’ve heard rumblings from NASA that big Mars science news would drop today, and sure enough that news is big: NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has quite possibly found liquid water flowing on the surface of Mars. Not water that flowed millennia ago, or water that once flowed but is now permanently ice. This water appears to be liquid to this day, at least part of the time. That is, during the warmest months on Mars this salty brine thaws and flows like liquid across the surface of the planet.
Mission scientists at NASA are narrowing down the shortlist of proposed landing sites for the agency's next Mars rover, and the two frontrunners that have emerged over the past week (from a shortlist of four) are tantalizing scientific targets indeed. One is a former crater lake that could be rich in sediments harboring a record of Martian geological history. The other is even more ambitious: a crater that is home to a three-mile high rocky mound.
We knew this day was coming, but it’s still never easy when days like today finally come: After more than a year of silence, NASA is ending its attempts to contact its Spirit rover, which has been dormant on the surface of Mars since its last communication with handlers on Earth since March 22, 2010.
If you could pick just one, would you A) send a new lander to Mars, B) send a robotic visitor to a comet, or C) send a ship to float in the hydrocarbon oceans of Titan?
NASA will pick one winner from these three projects, the space agency announced this week. The project will be capped at $425 million, not including the price of launch.
By Caitlin KearneyPosted 04.19.2011 at 10:13 am 81 Comments
In a roundabout way, yes. But first we must heat that atmosphere, since the surface of Mars is about –58°F. “We know how to warm planets; we’re doing it right now,” says Robert Zubrin, the president of the nonprofit Mars Society, a group devoted to Martian exploration.