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July 21, 2014

Insta-Mars: Crew Wraps Up Mock Mission With Pictures Of Their Hawaiian Adventure Universe Today

It’s the final countdown for a hardy group of people who have been on “Mars” for the past four months. On Friday (July 25), the HI-SEAS crew will make their return after simulating Red Planet exploration in Hawaii. And you can bet there are certain things they are missing about the outside world, or “Earth”. “I haven’t seen a tree, smelled the rain, heard a bird, or felt wind on my skin in four months,” said Casey Stedman, the commander of the latest Hawai’i-Space Exploration and Analog Simulation, said in a statement on Instagram’s blog yesterday (July 20). Added chief technologist Ross Lockwood, “We’ve basically been subsisting on mush. Flavorful mush, but mush nonetheless.” Despite the sacrifices, there’s a certain excitement to doing four solid months of experiments and “spacewalks” and other Martian activities. Luckily for us, the crew has been liveblogging their adventures on social media! Below the jump is some of their best Instagram photos from the trip.
Full Story | Posted by tourdemars to Humans To Mars | Permalink

July 18, 2014

NASA's Next Giant Leap

10:30 a.m. PT (1730 UTC) NASA TV will air a live conversation about the future of space exploration with actor, director and narrator Morgan Freeman. He will speak at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, about his personal vision for space. The event also will include NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman participating from the International Space Station.
Full Story | Posted by tourdemars to Humans To Mars | Permalink

July 17, 2014

Glorious new Mars map is the most detailed yet CNET

he US Geological Survey isn't limited to just mapping the US, or even Earth, for that matter. The agency has ventured off-planet with a gorgeously detailed new geologic map of Mars. The map draws on all the data our space explorations have returned, resulting in the most detailed geologic map of the Red Planet ever created. "This global geologic map of Mars, which records the distribution of geologic units and landforms on the planet's surface through time, is based on unprecedented variety, quality, and quantity of remotely sensed data acquired since the Viking Orbiters," reads the map's description.
Full Story | Posted by tourdemars to Planetology | Permalink

July 16, 2014

Animation posted of proposed UAE Mars mission UAE Gov

Full Story | Posted by tourdemars to Future Missions | Permalink
UAE to establish space agency and send the first Arab spaceship to Mars by 2021 Emirates News Agency

The U.A.E. has entered the space race with a project to send an unmanned probe to Mars by 2021 in the Arab world’s first mission to another planet. A new U.A.E. Space Agency will be created to coordinate the U.A.E.’s growing space technology sector and to supervise the mission. The U.A.E. is one of only nine countries with space programmes to explore the Red Planet. The Mars probe’s nine-month and more than 60 million kilometre journey will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the U.A.E.’s formation. "The U.A.E. Mars probe represents the Islamic world’s entry into the era of space exploration. We will prove that we are capable of delivering new scientific contributions to humanity," U.A.E. President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said, and added, "The U.A.E.’s purpose is to build Emirati technical and intellectual capabilities in the fields of aerospace and space exploration and to enter the space industry and to make use of space technology in a way that enhances the country’s development plans." Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said, "Despite all the tensions and the conflicts across the Middle East, we have proved today how positive a contribution the Arab people can make to humanity through great achievements, given the right circumstances and ingredients. Our region is a region of civilisation. Our destiny is, once again, to explore, to create, to build and to civilise. "We chose the epic challenge of reaching Mars because epic challenges inspire us and motivate us. The moment we stop taking on such challenges is the moment we stop moving forward," Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid added.
Full Story | Posted by tourdemars to Future Missions | Permalink

July 15, 2014

Curiosity Finds Iron Meteorite on Mars

This rock encountered by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is an iron meteorite called "Lebanon," similar in shape and luster to iron meteorites found on Mars by the previous generation of rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Lebanon is about 2 yards or 2 meters wide (left to right, from this angle). The smaller piece in the foreground is called "Lebanon B." This view combines a series of high-resolution circular images taken by the Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) of Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument with color and context from rover's Mast Camera (Mastcam). The component images were taken during the 640th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (May 25, 2014). The imaging shows angular shaped cavities on the surface of the rock. One possible explanation is that they resulted from preferential erosion along crystalline boundaries within the metal of the rock. Another possibility is that these cavities once contained olivine crystals, which can be found in a rare type of stony-iron meteorites called pallasites, thought to have been formed near the core-mantle boundary within an asteroid.
Full Story | Posted by tourdemars to Meteorites | Permalink

July 14, 2014

Spinning to Mars The Space Review

Thirty years ago today a group of scientists, grad students, and all around Mars enthusiasts wrapped up the four-day Case for Mars conference in Boulder, Colorado. While there, they drafted plans for a human Mars spacecraft that became enshrined—at least for a little while—in popular culture. A large spinning vessel consisting of three nearly identical ships and their landing craft, it was a serious attempt at defining a human mission to Mars. By the early 1990s, one of the Case for Mars participants, Carter Emmart, produced a beautifully detailed model of the spinning spacecraft that was placed on display in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. Now, after a long absence, that model is back in public view.
Full Story | Posted by tourdemars to Humans To Mars | Permalink

July 11, 2014

Denver Woman A Finalist To Start A Colony On Mars CBS Denver

They’re calling it the next giant leap for mankind — putting people on the surface of Mars. It may seem like science fiction, but for a Netherlands nonprofit, it’s fact. Mars One is the project that plans to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars with crews of four departing every two years starting in 2025. But buyer beware, it’s a one-way ticket. In Denver, just shy of her 24th birthday, Elena Finley may be one of those first Mars settlers. “Definitely the fear is there, but it’s definitely still a risk that I’m willing to take,” Finley said.
Full Story | Posted by tourdemars to Mars One | Permalink
One way trip to Mars? These Californians say 'bring it on' 89.3 KPCC

It's been 45 years since NASA’s Apollo 11 mission landed the first humans on the moon. Now, a private company called Mars One is hoping to do the same for the Red Planet in 2024. The goal is to land four carefully selected people on Mars where they will live the rest of their lives in a small enclosed colony. Their adventures will be broadcast on TV here on Earth.
Full Story | Posted by tourdemars to Mars One | Permalink

July 10, 2014

Meet the Couple Who Could Be the First Humans to Travel to Mars Wired

Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum are planning a trip to Mars. They’ve been hashing out the details for 20 years now, and alternate between being extremely excited and utterly terrified by the prospect, refusing to discuss it after 5 p.m. to avoid nightmares. The couple’s far-out dreams of space travel differ from those of many others because theirs could, potentially, come true. They founded a private space company called Paragon Space Development Corporation to find the most feasible way to send two people on a round-trip flyby of the Red Planet. Even the best possible plan will be extremely challenging. The list of things they still need to figure out is long and includes how to protect themselves against deadly radiation, how much food, water, and air to bring, and how to store their waste. Meanwhile, they must wait for Congress to agree to fund the project and allow the use of the NASA Space Launch System and Orion crew vehicle for transport. And they need to figure this all out soon: They have only a brief window of time at the end of 2021 when Mars and Earth will align in such a way to make this trip possible.
Full Story | Posted by tourdemars to Humans To Mars | Permalink

July 9, 2014

Mars Attracts Boeing

Boeing and NASA employees recently partnered with academia to conduct early experiments on technologies that could eventually support life on Mars. The group traveled to a corner in southeastern Utah, right outside of Hanksville, Utah, to test out early solutions to potential problems. “We’re doing some very interesting research,” said Alejandro Diaz, a Boeing senior engineer in Advanced Space Exploration, and the commander of the crew at the Mars Desert Research Station. “Not granted, we can’t simulate the gravity or atmosphere on Mars, but as far as a procedures stand point we do simulate what it might be like to live on Mars.”
Full Story | Posted by tourdemars to Humans To Mars | Permalink

July 8, 2014

NASA finalizes contract to build the most powerful rocket ever Los Angeles Times

SA has reached a milestone in its development of the Space Launch System, or SLS, which is set to be the most powerful rocket ever and may one day take astronauts to Mars. After completing a critical design review, Boeing Co. has finalized a $2.8-billion contract with the space agency. The deal allows full production on the rocket to begin. “Our teams have dedicated themselves to ensuring that the SLS – the largest ever -- will be built safely, affordably and on time,” Virginia Barnes, Boeing's Space Launch System vice president and program manager, said in a statement. The last time NASA’s completed a critical design review of a deep-space human rocket was 1961, when the space agency assessed the mighty Saturn V, which ultimately took man to the moon. Work on the 321-foot Space Launch System is spread throughout Southern California, including Boeing's avionics team in Huntington Beach. The rocket’s core stage will get its power from four RS-25 engines for former space shuttle main engines built by Aerojet Rocketdyne of Canoga Park.
Full Story | Posted by tourdemars to Humans To Mars | Permalink

July 7, 2014

Dropship offers safe landings for Mars rovers

The dramatic conclusion to ESA’s latest StarTiger project: a ‘dropship’ quadcopter steers itself to lower a rover gently onto a safe patch of the rocky martian surface. StarTiger’s Dropter project was tasked with developing and demonstrating a European precision-landing capability for Mars and other targets. The Skycrane that lowered NASA’s Curiosity rover onto Mars showed the potential of this approach, precisely delivering rovers to their science targets while avoiding rock fields, slopes and other hazards. “StarTiger is a fresh approach to space engineering,” explains Peter de Maagt, overseeing the project. “Take a highly qualified, well-motivated team, gather them at a single well-equipped site, then give them a fixed time to solve a challenging technical problem.”
Full Story | Posted by tourdemars to Technology | Permalink

July 2, 2014

Martian salts must touch ice to make liquid water, study shows University of Michigan

In chambers that mimic Mars' conditions, University of Michigan researchers have shown how small amounts of liquid water could form on the planet despite its below-freezing temperatures. Liquid water is an essential ingredient for life as we know it. Mars is one of the very few places in the solar system where scientists have seen promising signs of it – in gullies down crater rims, in instrument readings, and in Phoenix spacecraft self portraits that appeared to show wet beads on the lander's leg several years ago. No one has directly detected liquid water beyond Earth, though. The U-M experiments are among the first to test theories about how it could exist in a climate as cold as Mars' climate. The researchers found that a type of salt present in Martian soil can readily melt ice it touches – just like salts do on Earth's slippery winter walkways and roads. But this Martian salt cannot, as some scientists suggested, form liquid water by sucking vapor out of the air through a process called deliquescence.
Full Story | Posted by tourdemars to Phoenix Lander | Permalink