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.
Earth won’t always be fit for occupation. We know that in two billion years or so, an expanding sun will boil away our oceans, leaving our home in the universe uninhabitable—unless, that is, we haven’t already been wiped out by the Andromeda galaxy, which is on a multibillion-year collision course with our Milky Way. Moreover, at least a third of the thousand mile-wide asteroids that hurtle across our orbital path will eventually crash into us, at a rate of about one every 300,000 years.
More than three decades after scientists concluded that NASA’s Viking missions to Mars had found inconclusive evidence for the existence of organic compounds on Mars, a new study says not only are there organics on Mars, but Viking found them back in the late 1970s and scientists completely missed them.
It's been a big week for those long-serving spacecraft we don't always hear so much about. Earlier this week news broke that Voyager 1 had crossed a benchmark boundary on the far fringes of the solar system, and now Odyssey, launched back in 2001, has surpassed the Mars Global Surveyor as the longest-running mission to Mars.
Now that we’ve begun 3D printing anything and everything here on Earth, it’s time to move to the final frontier: printing space stations in orbit. It was only a matter of time. Now new company Made in Space is seeking investors and beginning tests to make space printing a reality, according to Space.com.
The brave little rover has been stuck in the sand for a year and a half, spinning her wheels and wiggling her robot arm futilely. As she's kicked up sand, though, she has uncovered deeper layers of Martian soil, and analysis of the difference between the surface and what lies beneath shows evidence of water.
Veteran astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz has spent four decades developing his rocket fueled by nuclear reactors and liquid hydrogen. Now NASA just might let it fly
By Sam Howe VerhovekPosted 10.13.2010 at 3:10 pm 41 Comments
You might expect to find our brightest hope for sending astronauts to other planets in Houston, at NASA's Johnson Space Center, inside a high-security multibillion-dollar facility. But it's actually a few miles down the street, in a large warehouse behind a strip mall. This bland and uninviting building is the private aerospace start-up Ad Astra Rocket Company, and inside, founder Franklin Chang Díaz is building a rocket engine that's faster and more powerful than anything NASA has ever flown before. Speed, Chang Díaz believes, is the key to getting to Mars alive.
As a general rule, when NASA flies a scientific mission all the way to Mars, we expect that mission to last for a while. For instance, the Spirit and Opportunity rovers were slated to run for three months and are still operating 6 years later. But one NASA engineer wants to send a mission all the way to the Red Planet that would last just two hours once deployed: a rocket-powered, robotic airplane that screams over the Martian landscape at more than 450 miles per hour.
The European Space Agency has released a series of new images of Orcus Patera, a long crater near Mars's Mons Olympus whose rim rises some 6,000 feet. But the images, taken by the Mars Express craft, only deepen the mystery of the crater's origin.
Have you been wondering what it's like to spend 520 days in a little sealed facility in Russia? The Mars500 project has cooped up 6 volunteers with no access to the outside world in an experimental isolation facility in Moscow, measuring just 550 cubic meters, to simulate a trip to Mars.
The experiment started June 3, and already we have some fascinating snapshots of what the volunteers are getting up to. In this gallery, the men play Wii, do chores, play-fight, study Chinese, and even man the "spaceship" controls once in a while.