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MarsNews.com :: NewsWire :: General News

January 16, 2015

Missing Beagle 2 Mars Lander Spotted on Planet's Surface NBCNews
The missing Mars lander Beagle 2 has been found on the surface of the planet after more than a decade, scientists announced Friday, solving the mystery of what happened to its doomed mission. The robot was supposed to make a soft touchdown on Mars on Christmas Day in 2003 but contact was lost.

January 15, 2015

How North America would measure up to Mars Astronomy Central
Earth’s sister planet Mars boasts some huge structures such as Olympus Mons and Valles Marineris, but the planet isn’t actually that big. In the image above see how big the United States and Canada would be if it was on the red planet. So if you could take a plane from one side of Mars to the other, it would take probably around 8 hours or so. This rusty desert world orbiting between Earth and Jupiter is only 53% the size of our planet, measuring 4,220 miles (6,792 km) at its equator, band from pole to pole it is 25 miles (40 km) smaller. This is why when viewed in a telescope Mars is always pretty small compared to planets like Jupiter and Saturn for example, although that doesn’t mean you can’t see features on this mysterious world. Through a decent sizes telescope you can see the ice caps and dark and lighter land features. Earth’s rusty neighbour in the solar system is the second smallest of the planets, Mercury being smallest. The actual dry land mass of Mars is around the same as Earth’s, because although Mars is much smaller it doesn’t of course have any seas, you’ll have to go back a few billion years to see cool blue water slopping about on Mars.

January 13, 2015

Elon Musk plans Seattle office for Mars colonization
Billionaire Elon Musk wants humans to settle on Mars, and he's looking to hire a passel of engineers in Seattle to help him get there. Musk has publicly said he wants to colonize Mars. As the CEO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), he's got a company to do it. In an interview published Tuesday, Musk told Bloomberg News that SpaceX's efforts to build a commercial satellite business will give the company the know-how and the infrastructure to make eventual Mars shots and a colony possible.

November 7, 2014

Mind-blowing Meteor Shower on Mars During Comet Flyby, Say NASA Scientists Universe Today
Simulated view from the surface of Mars during the meteor storm from Comet Siding Spring. NASA scientists announced today that the planet experienced an exceptional meteor shower the likes of which are rarely seen on Earth. Source: Stellarium “Thousands of meteors per hour would have been visible — truly astounding to the human eye.” That’s Nick Schneider’s description of what you and I would have seen standing on Mars during Comet Siding Spring’s close flyby last month. “It would have been really mind-blowing,” he added. Schneider is instrument lead for MAVEN’s Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS). He and a group of scientists who work as lead investigators for instruments on the MAVEN and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft shared the latest results from the comet flyby during a media teleconference earlier today. There were many surprises. Would we expect anything less from a comet?
Skype in the Classroom Teacher takes students on an inter-planetary field trip Skype
sitc2 Erik McFarland is an 8th grade science teacher and recently took his students on the trip of a lifetime with Skype in the Classroom. Here is his story: I had the wonderful opportunity to do research at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California as part of a program that gave teachers scientific research experience. I have never learned more or met so many fascinating people in such a short period of time. I wanted to give my students a taste of that experience – of what being a scientist is really like. I teach 8th grade science at Tolt Middle School in Carnation, WA. We couldn’t take a field trip to California, but we could use Skype, and I was able to use it to give students an experience that wouldn’t have been possible even with an in-person visit. As part of our astronomy studies, 207 8th graders were able to tour and talk to three scientists living in a simulated Martain habitat at the University of North Dakota. The scientists were 13 days into their 30 day stay and the students were curious to know how they were holding up psychologically. They also able to ask many questions about traveling to, and living on, Mars.

October 19, 2014

Comet Siding Spring whizzes past Mars Yahoo!
A comet the size of a small mountain whizzed past Mars on Sunday, dazzling space enthusiasts with the once-in-a-million-years encounter. The comet, known as Siding Spring (C/2013 A1), made its closest encounter with Mars on Sunday at 2:27 pm (1827 GMT), racing past the Red Planet at a breakneck 126,000 miles (203,000 kilometers) per hour. At its closest, Siding Spring was 87,000 miles (139,500 kilometers) from Mars -- less than half the distance between Earth and our moon.

October 17, 2014

How To Watch That 'Once-In-A-Lifetime' Comet Swing By Mars The Huffington Post
A comet will be swinging by Mars this Sunday, and eager astronomers say they're ready for the "once-in a lifetime event." Comet C/2013 A1, or 'Siding Spring' will make its closest approach to Mars at 2:27 p.m. EDT, coming within 87,000 miles of the red planet's surface . That's 16 times closer than any comet has ever come near Earth and less than half the distance from Earth to the moon. “This is a cosmic science gift that could potentially keep on giving, and the agency’s diverse science missions will be in full receive mode,” John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C., said in a written statement. “This particular comet has never before entered the inner solar system, so it will provide a fresh source of clues to our solar system's earliest days.” NASA will be tracking the spectacular flyby with a massive fleet of spacecraft and Earth-based telescopes.

October 13, 2014

Historic Flyby: Comet to Zoom By Mars This Weekend
A comet will buzz Mars this Sunday (Oct. 19) in an epic encounter that has astronomers around the world tingling with excitement. Comet Siding Spring, also known as C/2013 A1, will miss the Red Planet by just 87,000 miles (140,000 kilometers) at 2:27 p.m. EDT (1827 GMT) on Sunday. For comparison, the moon orbits Earth at an average distance of 239,000 miles (384,600 km). While the comet won't put on a show for skywatchers here on Earth, the fleet of robotic explorers at Mars will get an eyeful. They will study the comet, as well as any observable interactions between its shed particles and the thin Martian atmosphere.

October 9, 2014

Mars Comet Update
NASA will host a briefing to outline the space and Earth-based assets that will have extraordinary opportunities to image and study a comet from relatively close range to Mars on Sunday, Oct. 19. Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring will miss Mars by only about 88,000 miles (139,500 kilometers). That is less than half the distance between Earth and its moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known comet flyby of Earth. The comet's nucleus will come closest to Mars at about 11:27 a.m. PDT (2:27 p.m. EDT), hurtling at about 126,000 mph (56 kilometers per second), relative to Mars. The concerted campaign of observations by multiple spacecraft at Mars and by numerous NASA assets is directed at the comet and its effect on the Martian atmosphere. The observations of the comet may yield fresh clues to our solar system's earliest days more than four billion years ago.

October 6, 2014

NASA Holds Briefing to Discuss Comet Flyby of Mars Observations
Artist's concept of comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) heading toward Mars. NASA will host a briefing at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT) Thursday, Oct. 9, to outline the space and Earth-based assets that will have extraordinary opportunities to image and study a comet from relatively close range to Mars on Sunday, Oct. 19. The briefing will be held at NASA Headquarters' and broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency's website. Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring will miss Mars by only about 88,000 miles (139,500 kilometers). That is less than half the distance between Earth and its moon and less than one-tenth the distance of any known comet flyby of Earth. The comet's nucleus will come closest to Mars at about 11:27 a.m. PDT (2:27 p.m. EDT), hurtling at about 126,000 mph (56 kilometers per second), relative to Mars.

October 3, 2014

Undergrad helps develop method to detect water on Mars Washington State University
A Washington State University undergraduate has helped develop a new method for detecting water on Mars. Her findings appear in Nature Communications, one of the most influential general science journals. Kellie Wall, 21, of Port Orchard, Wash., looked for evidence that water influenced crystal formation in basalt, the dark volcanic rock that covers most of eastern Washington and Oregon. She then compared this with volcanic rock observations made by the rover Curiosity on Mars’ Gale Crater. “This is really cool because it could potentially be useful for not only the study of rocks on Earth but on Mars and other planets,” said Wall.

October 2, 2014

India, U.S. Agree to Joint Exploration of Mars The Wall Street Journal
India’s satellite Mangalyaan has only been orbiting Mars for a week, but already space scientists back on Earth are planning their next mission: this time in tandem with the U.S. On Tuesday, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration signed an agreement to work with the Indian Space Research Organisation during future explorations of Mars. They also agreed to join forces in observations and scientific analysis from their respective satellites currently orbiting the red planet.

September 24, 2014

Mars Robotic Spacecraft Population Reaches New High IEEE Spectrum
September has shaped up to be a very exciting month in the annals of Mars exploration. Two new spacecraft, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission and India's first interplanetary mission, the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), have now entered orbit around the Red Planet. The new arrivals bring the population of active Mars missions to seven—a record high, confirms Bruce Betts of The Planetary Society, a space advocacy organization. On the ground now are Opportunity, which landed in 2004, and NASA's Curiosity rover, which recently entered its third year of operation. MAVEN and MOM join a complement of three orbiters: NASA's 13-year-old Mars Odyssey spacecraft, the European Space Agency's 11-year-old Mars Express spacecraft, and NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which arrived in 2006.

August 25, 2014

Mars will not be as big as the moon WRAL
he decade-old “Mars Spectacular” rumor is making its way back into in-boxes and Facebook feeds. Claims that Mars will “as big as the full moon” and a “once in a lifetime experience” along with a striking image of twin moons over a Russian monastery are not true. Though Mars is about twice the diameter of the moon, the red planet is still too far to appear that large in our skies, even at the closest points in its orbit. This rumor is rooted in the Aug. 27, 2003, event when the orbits of Earth and Mars brought them within 34.6 million miles. It was a great time to view Mars with a moderately sized telescope. Early versions of the email rightly stated that Mars would look “as big as the full moon, when viewed through a telescope.” As the email was forwarded that last part was dropped or even replaced it with “to the naked eye.” The rumor resurfaced each August for the next several years and then mercifully went away for a few years. It’s back this year, driven by sharing on Facebook and other social media.

August 18, 2014

Thingiverse | Mars Base Challenge Winners MakerBot
We were pleased to receive a good number of #MakerBotMars challenge entries almost as soon as we announced it. But then, on the last day of the challenge, we were completely blown away as we watched the number of entries double, leaving us with loads of fascinating text to read, diagrams to analyze, and creative designs to print. Many entries went above and beyond the stated scope of the challenge, expanding into small worlds with many individual pieces. It was an embarrassment of 3D printed riches. The enthusiasm behind the contributions was palpable, and inspiring. Once we finished our test prints, we sent the results to our friends at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who used their expert knowledge and experience to help choose the winners. We’re happy to say that we fully agree with their input and we’re excited to award all of our winners with spools of MakerBot Filament and to give our first place winner a brand new MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer!


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