NASA Chief Concludes There's Just One Way We Can Ensure the Survival of Humanity
According to NASA chief administrator Charles Bolden, a manned mission to Mars is necessary for the survival of the human race.
"If this species is to survive indefinitely we need to become a multi-planet species. We need to go to Mars, and Mars is a stepping stone to other solar systems," Bolden said at the Humans 2 Mars summit in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
Woah, so if we don't get to the red planet, we're screwed?
"We, today, are Earth-reliant," Bolden said. "We're dependent on being on this planet. We are not a multi-planet species yet ... Only multi-planet species survive for long periods of time."
Join five scientists on a "mission to Mars" in Utah. Photojournalist Jim Urquhart embedded with Crew 138 of the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station for two weeks in March. The crew describes what it's like, in their own words.
Testing life on Mars, but here on Earth
A six-astronaut crew has begun its 120-day "mission" on Mars.
They're not actually astronauts and they're not actually on Mars, but three men and three women volunteers have begun a four-month mission to investigate how they would interact and survive long-duration space exploration, such as a trip to Mars.
The crew of the Hawai»i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) is wrapping up its first week of a 120-day experiment. Crew members will live in what the University of Hawaii describes as isolation in an "extremely remote," 1,000-square-foot habitat that's 8,200 feet above sea level on Mauna Loa, one of five volcanoes that form the island of Hawaii.
After the positive response to the Z-1 suit's visual design we received, we wanted to take the opportunity to provide this new suit with an equally memorable appearance. The cover layer of a prototype suit is important as it serves to protect the suit against abrasion and snags during the rigors of testing. With the Z-2, we're looking forward to employing cover layer design elements never used in a spacesuit before. The designs shown were produced in collaboration with ILC, the primary suit vendor and Philadelphia University. The designs were created with the intent to protect the suit and to highlight certain mobility features to aid suit testing. To take it a step further, we are leaving it up you, the public, to choose which of three candidates will be built. Voting is open through April 15, 2014 at 11:59pm EDT.
NASA’s Strategic Plan 2014 Released
Leonard David's INSIDE OUTER SPACE
NASA has released its 2014 Strategic Plan, with the space agency’s Office of Strategy Formulation identified as the responsible office.
“Our long-term goal is to send humans to Mars. Over the next two decades, we will develop and demonstrate the technologies and capabilities needed to send humans to explore the red planet and safely return them to Earth,” explains NASA chief, Charles Bolden, in the opening pages of the document.
We Need Three Planets to Keep the Human Race Alive, NASA Scientist Says
It’s no secret that uncurbed climate change and population growth are going to (and already have) put stress on the planet. But the situation is getting so bad that one prominent NASA scientist says we have to start thinking about terraforming Mars and that, in order for the human race to survive at current levels, we will eventually “need at least three planets.”
“The entire ecosystem is crashing,” Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist of NASA’s Langley Research Center said Thursday. “Essentially, there’s too many of us. We’ve been far too successful as the human animal. People allege we’re short 40-50 percent of a planet now. As the Asians and their billions come up to our living systems, we’re going to need three more planets.”
Bushnell was discussing the release of The Millennium Project’s “State of the Future,” an annual report that looks at global challenges and how they might be solved. He said that Mars is a good start, but we’d soon need even more space to live.
“If NASA terraforms Mars, that’ll take about 120 years, and that’s only one planet,” he said. “We’d need more shortly.”
Thinkfactory Media Shopping Mars Exploration Reality Series
There is a second reality series project devoted to chronicling a mission to the Red Planet. Leslie Greif’s Thinkfactory Media (Hatfields & McCoys, Gene Simmons: Family Jewels) has partnered with The Mars Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to the exploration and settlement of the Red Planet, on an unscripted TV project that would document Mars Society’s year-long Mars simulation in the Canadian Arctic. Thinkfactory had been working with the Mars Society on the project for the past four months. It took the series out to networks last week, with two outlets interested and currently in discussion with the production company. Tentatively titled Mission To Mars, the series is one of two Mars colonization reality projects in the marketplace, along with Lionsgate TV’s untitled series done in collaboration with Lansdorp’s Mars One, the international Mars mission backed by Dutch billionaire entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp.
Would You Take a One-Way Ticket to Mars?
This short documentary explores the true story of five Americans who are competing to become the first humans to travel to Mars. The mission, called Mars One, is set for 2024. The Dutch nonprofit believes they can make it to the Red Planet but there's just one problem—there will be no coming back. The film comes from director Skylar Nielsen and Vita Brevis Films.
he semi-finalists for crew selection for the Mars Society’s Mars Arctic 365 (MA365) mission have been announced. Chosen from a group of over 200 applicants, the 62 semi-finalists consist of 49 men and 13 women drawn from 17 countries, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey, India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
The 62 individuals selected represent a wide range of expertise and skills including geological, biological, medical, aerospace, mechanical and electrical engineering, mechanical trades, journalism and Arctic and wilderness survival training.
In the coming decades, NASA has big plans for Mars, including intentions to blast a fifth rover onto the planet’s surface by 2020 and send a manned mission by 2030.
But long before humans step onto Mars’ barren terrain, scientists and researchers from around the world want to understand more about its potential to support human life. They're especially interested in the possibility of growing plants on Mars, a more efficient process that would partially remove the need to ship expensive freeze-dried rations to the planet. Allowing crops to grow there that produce oxygen and scrub carbon dioxide there would make Mars a more livable environment.
“For a long-term settlement, there is probably no other option than growing food on Mars,” says Angelo Vermeulen, a Belgian artist and scientist who was the crew commander of the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation Site (HI-SEAS), a six-person, NASA-funded team that spent four months last year on the hills of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii to study and experiment with ways to prepare foods on Mars.
Former NASA Official Says Crewed Mars Flyby is Feasible by 2021
A crewed Mars flyby mission proposed last year by space tourism pioneer Dennis Tito could conceivably launch in 2021 provided that NASA immediately begins spending money on a large new upper-stage rocket engine and crew-habitation module that currently are not on the agency’s development plate, a former NASA official told lawmakers Feb. 26.
“I believe that 2021 is possible if the focus is placed on getting that mission on our books,” Doug Cooke, former associate administrator of NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate and now a private consultant, said during a hearing of the House Science Committee. “It would take a commitment to develop the full upper stage in the timeframe that we’re talking about. We would [also] need a small [habitation module], perhaps using an existing structure.”
The mission, which was the subject of the hearing, was originally proposed by a Tito-led group calling itself Inspiration Mars, in early 2013 as a privately funded venture. It was subsequently reformulated to take advantage of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion Crew capsule NASA is developing.
Full Committee Hearing - Mars Flyby 2021: The First Deep Space Mission for the Orion and Space Launch System?
House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
The Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a hearing titled Mars Flyby
2021: The First Deep Space Mission for the Orion and SLS at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday,
February 27th. This hearing will explore the need for a roadmap of missions to guide
investments in NASA's human spaceflight programs, how a manned mission to flyby the planets
Mars and Venus launching in 2021 might fit into a series of missions and how the Space Launch
System (SLS) and Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle could contribute to that mission.
UAE Islamic affairs authority warns Muslims against a mission to Mars
Would there be any chance of survival?
That's a concern for the General Authority of Islamic Affairs & Endowments, or GAIAE, the United Arab Emirates' religious watchdog, for anyone who wishes to travel to Mars. The GAIAE has issued a fatwa, or an official Islamic ruling, to warn Muslims against a Mars mission. The mission is being planned by the Dutch nonprofit foundation Mars One. In April 2013, it announced its ambitions to establish a human settlement on the Red Planet by 2025.
But the GAIAE likens the journey to a suicide mission. On the authority's free 24-hour hotline, the issue was deliberated by the center's specialized muftis, or scholars, who released the following statement: "It is not permissible to travel to Mars and never to return if there is no life on Mars. The chances of dying are higher than living."
Taking one's life willingly is against Islamic principles.
In response, Mars One issued a statement asking the UAE's Islamic authorities to cancel the fatwa, saying every precaution would be taken to reduce the risk to life. "If we may be so bold: the GAIAE should not analyze the risk as they perceive it today," the statement says. "The GAIAE should assess the potential risk for humans as if an unmanned habitable outpost is ready and waiting on Mars. Only when that outpost is established will human lives be risked in Mars One's plan."
Supersonic Jet Ditches Windows for Massive Live-Streaming Screens
Spike Aerospace is in the midst of building the first supersonic private jet. And when the $80 million S-512 takes off in December 2018, it won’t have something you’d find on every other passenger aircraft: windows.
The Boston-based aerospace firm is taking advantage of recent advances in video recording, live-streaming, and display technology with an interior that replaces the windows with massive, high-def screens. The S-512’s exterior will be lined with tiny cameras sending footage to thin, curved displays lining the interior walls of the fuselage. The result will be an unbroken panoramic view of the outside world. And if passengers want to sleep or distract themselves from ominous rainclouds, they can darken the screen or choose from an assortment of ambient images. But this isn’t just a wiz-bang feature for an eight-figure aircraft.
While windows are essential for keeping claustrophobia in check, they require engineering workarounds that compromise a fuselage’s simple structure. And that goes two-fold for a supersonic aircraft. An airplane is stronger sans windows, which is one of the reasons why planes carrying military personnel or packages fly without them. Putting passenger windows on an airplane requires meticulous construction — the ovular shape, small aperture, and double-pane construction are all there to maintain cabin pressure and resist cracking while flying 500 mph at 35,000 feet.
It would be much simpler and safer to have a smooth-skinned, window-less fuselage, but frequent fliers have become accustomed to a calming view of the clouds and tiny cities during takeoff and landing.