Getting humans to Mars is a challenge in several steps, with the most difficult and dangerous likely to be the descent. Landing safely on another world is hard for a rover, let alone a spacecraft carrying people.
A band of make-believe space travelers locked in a steel capsule in Moscow is about to "land" on Mars, mission managers said Friday, nearly halfway through their 520-day mission.
The tenacious Mars500 crew has been locked together for 233 days (as of Jan. 21) and are preparing for their mock arrival on Mars as soon as Feb. 12, the AP reports.
NASA's search for extraterrestrial life could result in missions such as a balloon or boat-like capsule on Titan, or even a complex three-part Mars mission to return a Martian sample to Earth. Until then, scientists have focused attention on both Earth and Mars regions which could hold organic materials or microfossils.
Extraterrestrial life hunters gathered this week near Houston at what amounts to a biennial Woodstock for astrobiologists, and a NASA teleconference today gave a glimpse into the proceedings. Some of the best and the brightest shared their latest findings and discussed future missions to search for signs of life on Mars, Europa and other exotic solar system destinations.