Humans To Mars
January 20, 2015
Elon Musk Explores Internet for Mars Colonies
Marsnet is coming…
We take the Internet and constant connectivity for granted on Earth, but once you take a step into space, things start to get a lot less broadband, and a lot more dial-up. So as we look into our future, when we have human settlements on Mars, will there be a Mars Internet or "Marsnet"? These questions have been asked by SpaceX founder Elon Musk and he has announced plans to boost connectivity in space, potentially partnering with Google. But this isn't just about ensuring future Mars colonists can access their Netflix accounts; like most space endeavors, an off-world Internet infrastructure would have huge benefits to our daily lives on Earth.
"Our focus is on creating a global communications system that would be larger than anything that has been talked about to date," Musk said in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek before his announcement on Friday about establishing a SpaceX office in Seattle, Washington.
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.
January 9, 2015
The Hit Book That Came From Mars
The story of Andy Weir is a strange mix of fact and fiction. There’s the fairy tale success of his book, The Martian, which he self-published on his blog for free, intended for the few thousand fans he’d accumulated over years of hobby writing. Some of those fans wanted an electronic book version, which he made, and then a Kindle version, which he made too, charging the minimum price allowable by Amazon: $0.99. “That’s when I learned how deep Amazon’s reach is,” Weir would later tell an audience. Within four months, The Martian had risen to the top spot on Amazon’s sci-fi best-seller list, and two months later he had signed both a book deal with Random House’s Crown Publishing imprint and a movie deal with 20th Century Fox. The book is currently number 10 on The New York Times’ fiction best-seller list. The motion picture, which stars Matt Damon and is directed by Ridley Scott, is due to come out this year.
Then there’s the story inside the book itself: An astronaut gets left behind on Mars in a near-future NASA mission, and has to survive until help comes. This he does through physics and chemistry, algebra and pipe fitting, botany and celestial navigation, all described in meticulous detail, some of it even simulated with software that Weir wrote himself. The lesson to writers is clear: Details give you authenticity, and authenticity gives you the reader. Having a great protagonist helps too: Mark Watney is casual, funny, thoughtful, and self-effacing—much like Weir, as I discovered in conversation.
January 7, 2015
Elon Musk: Expect Details on Mars Transport System This Year
Mars is currently inhabited solely by robots (as far as we know), but one person hoping to add a few humans to the mix is SpaceX and Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk.
Musk took a break from conquering space to do an "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit today, where he fielded questions about everything from his love of the Red Planet to video games.
On Mars, Musk promised details about a Mars transport system "towards the end of this year."
"Good thing we didn't do it sooner, as we have learned a huge amount from Falcon and Dragon," according to Musk, referring to the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon space capsule that SpaceX is using to fly re-supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS).
December 17, 2014
How Mock Mars Mission Will Simulate Life on the Red Planet
Martian explorers invaded the desert near the tiny town of Hanksville, Utah, early this morning and will remain there for the next two weeks to test technology that could be crucial on a long-distance mission.
The four-member crew is part of an ongoing mission at Utah’s Mars Desert Research Station to study what life will be like for earthlings who make extraterrestrial visits to the Red Planet. And for the first time, they will be testing 3-D printed medical devices. Dr. Julielynn Y. Wong, a preventive medicine physician who is the director of the Center for Innovative Technologies and Public Health, is leading this -- the 145th simulation at the station -- to test out medical technologies in space.
December 5, 2014
Successful Launch of Orion Heralds First Step on Journey to Mars
NASA marked a critical step on the journey to Mars with its Orion spacecraft during a roaring liftoff into the dawn sky over eastern Florida on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket.
Once on its way, the Orion spacecraft accomplished a series of milestones as it jettisoned a set of fairing panels around the service module before the launch abort system tower pulled itself away from the spacecraft as planned.
The spacecraft and second stage of the Delta IV rocket settled into an initial orbit about 17 minutes after liftoff. Flight controllers put Orion into a slow roll to keep its temperature controlled while the spacecraft flew through a 97-minute coast phase.
The cone-shaped spacecraft did not carry anyone inside its cabin but is designed to take astronauts farther into space than ever before in the future.
December 3, 2014
NASA to test Orion spaceship that could take humans to Mars
The U.S. is preparing to launch the first craft developed to fly humans to Mars, presaging a second space age -- this one fueled by billionaires like Elon Musk rather than a Cold War contest with the Soviet Union.
An unmanned version of the Orion spaceship built by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) is scheduled for liftoff tomorrow to an altitude of 3,600 miles (5,800 kilometers), the farthest from Earth by a vehicle designed for people since the Apollo program was scrapped in 1972. “These are really exciting times for space exploration and for our nation as we begin to return to the ability to fly humans to space,” said Jim Crocker, vice president and general manager of civil space at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. “What Orion is about is going further into space than humans have ever gone before.”
November 21, 2014
How NASA Plans to Land Humans on Mars
The Planetary Society
On the surface, NASA's humans to Mars plans seem vague and disjointed. For instance, it's difficult to see how visiting a captured asteroid in lunar orbit fits into a bigger picture. But if you combine Gerst's speech with two days of symposium panels and a day of interviews at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the full breadth of what the agency is trying to do begins to makes sense. There is indeed a plan to put humans on Mars. Vague? Yes. Hard to see? Absolutely. But that's because Gerst and NASA are playing the long game. And right now, it may be the only game they can play. There are three big reasons NASA can't lay out a comprehensive Mars plan: flat budgets, a perilous political landscape, and the sheer scale of a 20-plus-years program. Thus far, NASA's most audacious human exploration program kicked off in 1961, when John F. Kennedy declared Americans would walk on the moon by the end of the decade. The nine-year program was a success, but it was bolstered by a strong political mandate and more than double the funding NASA receives today. The agency's budget peaked in 1966 at $43.5 billion (in 2014 dollars). Today, NASA gets about $18 billion. There's not much political will to go to Mars, and no indication that NASA's budget will change significantly. In fact, NASA doesn't even have a fiscal year 2015 budget yet, as it operates under a stopgap continuing resolution.
November 20, 2014
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin in favor of Mars One's one-way trips to the Red Planet
With NASA not really lighting the solar system on fire with tangible plans to get humans to Mars, some private spacefaring companies hope to carry us to the Red Planet — and now one of America’s most famous astronauts has thrown his support behind one of the most controversial missions.
While speaking at a panel for MIT's AeroAstro 100 conference in Massachusetts, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin opened up about his thoughts on future plans to get humans to Mars. Specifically, Aldrin offered his thoughts on Mars One — you know, the one that’d turn the whole thing into a reality TV series — and said he’s actually in favor of the one-way mission.
Aldrin said he looks at the situation from a simple perspective of cost, noting that we’d likely be better served by making an effort to keep a settlement on the planet after spending so much time, effort and money to get them there. But once we’d established a working base, then consider some return trips if necessary.
November 17, 2014
Zero-G 3D Printer, Unpacked And Installed on the International Space Station
Made In Space
Made In Space, Inc. and NASA have completed the next milestone in the 3D Printing in Zero-Gravity Experiment. This morning, astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore unpacked the 3D printer from its launch packaging and installed it inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The 3D printer, designed and built by Made In Space for NASA, was launched on September 21st, 2014 on the SpaceX 4 resupply mission to the ISS. Earlier this morning, astronaut Wilmore proceeded to retrieve the 3D printer experiment from its storage location and installed it inside the MSG. With the aid of the Made In Space and NASA ground support teams, Wilmore was able to power on and complete critical system checks to ensure that the hardware and software was in operating condition.
November 14, 2014
‘Get your ass to Mars’: Buzz Aldrin wants humans to permanently occupy Mars
The second man to walk on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin, said he wants humans to permanently occupy the planet Mars.
Speaking to the BBC, while wearing a “Get Your Ass to Mars” t-shirt, he said funding for space exploration by the US needs to be at least doubled if humans are going to land on Mars by 2035.
November 7, 2014
Skype in the Classroom Teacher takes students on an inter-planetary field trip
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.
November 6, 2014
Will Interstellar inspire a new space race?
Stanley Kubrick was right about most things but when it came to 2001: A Space Odyssey, he got it hopelessly wrong. We’re now 13 years on from that particular date, so where’s our future? Instead of Pan Am flights to the moon we’ve got the faltering efforts of Virgin Galactic, which suffered another setback with the crash of its test plane last week. Instead of elegant space stations resembling modernist furniture showrooms, we have got the cramped tin cans of the International Space Station. And forget survey missions to Jupiter, Nasa doesn’t even have a space shuttle any more. As it is, we are not even on track for the dystopian future of Blade Runner, unless we can knock together some off-world colonies in the next five years. Charlton Heston’s Soylent Green is definitely still on, however, being set in 2022 (spoiler alert: we end up having to eat each other).
From a space enthusiast’s point of view, there is nothing more depressing than the fact that 2001 does not look particularly dated. If you had told those 1960s star children we would be no further out of Earth’s orbit nearly half a century later you’d have been laughed out of the cinema, and many of those people, Americans in particular, have never forgiven their governments for not fulfilling their promises. Political and economic pressures and conspicuous accidents, such as the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters, have clipped NASA’s wings considerably, and the multitude of Earthbound problems have put interplanetary exploration on the back burner. But in terms of a big, public plea for rebooting space travel, Interstellar is the answer to space camp’s prayers.
November 5, 2014
Aerospace Gurus Show Off a Fancy Space Suit Made for Mars
This talk is from WIRED by Design, a two-day live magazine event that celebrated all forms of creative problem solving.
The space suits astronauts wear today are marvels of engineering, but they’re far from perfect. For one thing, they’re unwieldy. At a weight of nearly 300 pounds, astronauts have to expend a huge amount of energy just to move them around. “It was great for 45 years ago, but we can do better,” says Dava Newman.
October 29, 2014
Op/Ed - Human spaceflight: Find asteroids to get to Mars
Interplanetary flight is the next giant leap for humans in space. Yet consensus on even the smallest steps forward has proven elusive. In June, a US National Research Council report1 illuminated many options but offered no recommendations. Return to the Moon? Head straight to Mars? Pluck a boulder off an asteroid and tug it to lunar orbit, just so that idle astronauts have somewhere to go and something to do? NASA must decide which path to follow before President Barack Obama's budget announcement in January 2015. Some options are better than others. The cost and complexity of human space exploration demands that each element be measured by its value towards the ultimate goal: Mars.
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