Showing Articles for:
Humans To Mars
Total Articles: 1405
Newest: Mar 05, 2015

Category Listing
Airplane (68)
Budget (187)
Crew Exploration Vehicle (44)
Entertainment (285)
ExoMars (14)
Face On Mars (38)
Future Missions (71)
General News (684)
Humans To Mars (1405)
Inflatables (42)
InSight (5)
Interplanetary Internet (78)
Life on Mars (556)
Mariner (2)
Mars Climate Orbiter (1)
Mars Exploration Rovers (778)
Mars Express (378)
Mars Global Surveyor (133)
Mars Gravity Biosatellite (20)
Mars Odyssey (201)
Mars One (18)
Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) (27)
Mars Pathfinder (50)
Mars Polar Lander (243)
Mars Science Laboratory (204)
Mars Society (581)
Mars Telecommunications Orbiter (7)
MAVEN (35)
Meteorites (55)
Nozomi (21)
Phobos 2 (2)
Phobos-Grunt (17)
Phoenix Lander (78)
Planetology (499)
Project Prometheus (22)
Reconnaissance Orbiter (112)
Sample Return (111)
Scout Missions (25)
Technology (633)
Terraforming (86)
Viking (15)
Website News (8)

Add New Article
Report Broken Link :: NewsWire :: Humans To Mars :: Archives

January 9, 2015

The Hit Book That Came From Mars Nautilus
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 PCMag
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 ABC News
PHOTO: The Mars Mission Desert Research Station in Hanksville, Utah. 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 Bloomberg
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
Mars lander concept 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 Blastr
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
photo 2-crop 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 Yahoo!
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 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.

November 6, 2014

Will Interstellar inspire a new space race? The Guardian
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 Wired
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 Nature
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.

October 21, 2014

What It Could Be Like to Live on Mars Wired
I'd always wanted to visit Mars. Instead I got Hawaii. There, about 8,200 feet above sea level on Mauna Loa, sits a geodesically domed habitat for testing crew psychology and technologies for boldly going. I did a four-month tour at the NASA-funded HI-SEAS—that's Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation—in 2013, and a new 8-month mission is scheduled to start in October. It's a long time to be cooped up, “so the psychological impacts are extremely important,” habitat designer Vincent Paul Ponthieux says. The key to keeping everybody sane? A sense of airiness. Yep—even on Mars, you're going to need more space.

October 15, 2014

UW fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal University of Washington
The UW’s reactor, called the dynomak, started as a class project taught by Thomas Jarboe two years ago. After the class ended, Jarboe and doctoral student Derek Sutherland – who previously worked on a reactor design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – continued to develop and refine the concept. The design builds on existing technology and creates a magnetic field within a closed space to hold plasma in place long enough for fusion to occur, allowing the hot plasma to react and burn. The reactor itself would be largely self-sustaining, meaning it would continuously heat the plasma to maintain thermonuclear conditions. Heat generated from the reactor would heat up a coolant that is used to spin a turbine and generate electricity, similar to how a typical power reactor works. “This is a much more elegant solution because the medium in which you generate fusion is the medium in which you’re also driving all the current required to confine it,” Sutherland said.
Lockheed Martin Pursuing Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Concept Lockheed Martin
The Lockheed Martin (LMT) Skunk Works® team is working on a new compact fusion reactor (CFR) that can be developed and deployed in as little as ten years. Currently, there are several patents pending that cover their approach. While fusion itself is not new, the Skunk Works has built on more than 60 years of fusion research and investment to develop an approach that offers a significant reduction in size compared to mainstream efforts. "Our compact fusion concept combines several alternative magnetic confinement approaches, taking the best parts of each, and offers a 90 percent size reduction over previous concepts," said Tom McGuire, compact fusion lead for the Skunk Works' Revolutionary Technology Programs. "The smaller size will allow us to design, build and test the CFR in less than a year."

October 8, 2014

Could this 13-year-old girl from Louisiana be the first human on Mars? The Independent
Alyssa Carson, an ambitious 13-year-old girl from Louisiana, could be just what NASA is looking for. She is the first person to have attended all three of the space agency’s world space camps, she has been training to be an astronaut for nine years already, and she is determined to be the first person to land on Mars. In this BBC short film on Carson, she explains that she wants to go to Mars because “it’s a place no one has been”. “I have thought about possibly being other things but being an astronaut was always first on my list. Carson speaks Spanish, French and Chinese, and tweets about her trips to NASA events and space camps, and the talks that she gives to inspire other children to achieve their goals.

September 11, 2014

Emily Calandrelli Shows Off Coolest Aspects Of Space In New FOX Series For Teens Women You Should Know

Xploration Outer Space from Steve Rotfeld Productions on Vimeo.

Emily Calandrelli, a 27-year-old astronautics expert, has been named host of “Xploration Outer Space,” a new syndicated series set to air on FOX-owned stations beginning in September. Its goal is to show off the coolest aspects of space and science to high school aged teens. As the show’s host, Emily will take viewers on a fascinating journey to the outer reaches of the universe. Segment themes include why we explore Mars, robots in space, training to be an astronaut, extraterrestrial life on other planets and the future of private space travel.

September 2, 2014

Shields up ready for Mars shot Cosmos
It takes a couple of years for a crew of astronauts to sojourn to Mars and back. In that time the team would be exposed to enough radiation to significantly increase the chances of each of them dying of cancer, says Roberto Battiston, Professor of Physics at the University of Trento in Italy. With a crew of five there is a 20% probability that one will die of a cancer caused by radiation damage from the trip, he says. So Battiston and his colleagues are developing a remedy that sounds like something from the starship Enterprise. It’s called the Space Radiation Superconductive Shield (SR2S). It is effectively a superconducting magnetic energy shield that mimics the protective effect of our planet’s own magnetic field, deflecting cosmic rays away from the crew’s precious cells.
Living the Life on 'Mars' (Gallery)
Since traveling to Mars isn't yet possible, figuring out how to conduct routine, and specialized, activities on the Red Planet requires mock missions on Earth. The Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is one of the leading facilities hosting researchers, scientists and engineers as they test hypotheses, conduct simulated field work, and gain experience living and working in the physical and social confines of a Mars analog.

August 31, 2014

Space Launch System approved, we’re going to Mars Nerd Reactor
Hey, want to go to Mars? Well, in a few years you can…kind of. The Space Launch System is the most powerful rocket we’ve built yet. The spacecraft needed approval from the SPAR agency before putting it to test. On August 27th, they gave us the okay and now, we are officially going to try and bring humans to Mars. Isn’t that crazy? In 2018, which isn’t too far away if you think about it, we’re going to send the Space Launch System carrying the Orion spacecraft up into orbit. The SLS will be configured with a 70-metric-ton lift capacity. The final version of the SLS will be able to carry 130 metric tons.

August 29, 2014

Colorado man may be headed to Mars — for good AOL.
A Colorado native says he's been preparing his whole life to travel to Mars, and he's getting closer to his dream in several ways. The only catch? If he goes, he may never return. It's hard to imagine a more fitting metaphor to describe Max Fagin's trajectory than the Manitou Incline. The popular hike is located near Max's childhood home in Colorado Springs and follows a path nearly straight up from there. In the past few years, the incline is one of several hikes Max and his father Barry Fagin have been working to check off their list of accomplishments. "I'd like to get as many of them out of the way before I have to leave... either this state or this planet," Max said. Leaving the planet is all Max has wanted to do for as long as anyone can remember.

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!

August 1, 2014

Going to the Red Planet MIT
Whenever the first NASA astronauts arrive on Mars, they will likely have MIT to thank for the oxygen they breathe — and for the oxygen needed to burn rocket fuel that will launch them back home to Earth. On Thursday, NASA announced the seven instruments that will accompany Mars 2020, a planned $1.9 billion roving laboratory similar to the Mars Curiosity rover currently cruising the Red Planet. Key among these instruments is an MIT-led payload known as MOXIE, which will play a leading role in paving the way for human exploration of our ruddy planetary neighbor. MOXIE — short for Mars OXygen In situ resource utilization Experiment — was selected from 58 instrument proposals submitted by research teams around the world. The experiment, currently scheduled to launch in the summer of 2020, is a specialized reverse fuel cell whose primary function is to consume electricity in order to produce oxygen on Mars, where the atmosphere is 96 percent carbon dioxide. If proven to work on the Mars 2020 mission, a MOXIE-like system could later be used to produce oxygen on a larger scale, both for life-sustaining activities for human travelers and to provide liquid oxygen needed to burn the rocket fuel for a return trip to Earth.
All You Need to Know About the Mars 2020 Rover in One Infographic Softpedia
NASA has finally settled on the seven instruments its Mars 2020 rover will be carrying when embarking on its journey to the Red Planet about six years from now. These instruments, which were chosen from a total of 58 proposed ones, are expected to help the Mars 2020 rover explore its target planet and gain a better understanding of its makeup. Thus, the instruments will work together to collect information concerning Mars' landscapes, mineralogy, and atmosphere, researchers with NASA explain.

July 31, 2014

SpaceX Launches 3D-Printed Part To Space, Creates Printed Engine Chamber For Crewed Spaceflight SpaceX
Through 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, robust and high-performing rocket parts can be created and offer improvements over traditional manufacturing methods. SpaceX is pushing the boundaries of what additive manufacturing can do in the 21st century, ultimately making the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft more reliable, robust and efficient than ever before. On January 6, 2014, SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket with a 3D-printed Main Oxidizer Valve (MOV) body in one of the nine Merlin 1D engines. The mission marked the first time SpaceX had ever flown a 3D-printed part, with the valve operating successfully with high pressure liquid oxygen, under cryogenic temperatures and high vibration.
Experts at Airventure Discuss Mission to Mars
Charlie Precourt has spent nearly 1,000 hours in outer space, but back home on Earth the former astronaut is working on another mission - A manned trips to Mars. "It's just so inspiring to think we had the capability to put me and my astronaut crew that far into space," he says. "How much more inspiring it will be to be able to go beyond the moons orbit and then to Mars." Precourt's company is designing the launch mechanism for the flight, showcased at an exhibit inside Airventure. It's all part of a launch planned for the early 2030's. "It sounds far away," says Lockheed Martin Engineer Larry Price. "But building a machine of this kind of complexity takes some time to do." This afternoon, a panel of experts answered questions from a crowd filled with aviation experts.

July 29, 2014

Field Tests in Mojave Desert Pave Way for Human Exploration of Small Bodies Mars Institute
A team of researchers from the SETI Institute, the Mars Institute, NASA Ames Research Center, and the space robotics company Honeybee Robotics, has successfully completed a first series of field tests aimed at investigating how humans will explore and work on Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and eventually the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. From 13 to 15 April 2013, field experiments were conducted at the U.S. Army’s National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, to evaluate geotechnical methods and systems that will enable humans to be productive explorers in the low gravity environment of small rocky bodies. Sub-kilometer sized NEAs, Phobos, and Deimos are among destinations currently considered by NASA for future human missions into Deep Space.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.”

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.

June 27, 2014

Congressman Posey: We Need Neil DeGrasse Tyson To Get People Excited About Going To Mars The Huffington Post
House lawmakers met Wednesday to tackle a daunting task: how to keep Congress committed to investing hundreds of billions of dollars into a decades-long plan to send humans to Mars. A manned mission to Mars has long been the stuff of science fiction, but it's one of NASA's biggest projects as part of its larger goal of laying the groundwork for permanent human settlements in the solar system. William Gerstenmaier, an associate administrator at NASA, told a Senate committee in April that the agency is currently focused on intermediate space missions but hopes to build up to long-duration space travel. But if humans are ever going to reach Mars, a panel told the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, it's going to require steadfast public enthusiasm, the support of multiple presidential administrations, international cooperation, private sector involvement and, perhaps most challenging, a bipartisan agreement in Congress to keep funding the venture for at least another 30 years.

June 26, 2014

Zubrin Challenges Chang Diaz to Debate at Mars Society Convention in Houston
Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin has challenged Ad Astra President & CEO Dr. Franklin Chang Diaz to a debate at the 17th Annual International Mars Society Convention, which will be held in Ad Astra’s hometown of Houston, Texas August 7-10, 2014. The proposed debate proposition is: Resolved “Electric Propulsion in an Enabling Technology for Human Mars Exploration,” with Dr. Chang Diaz representing the affirmative side and Dr. Zubrin the negative side. Commenting on the challenge, Dr. Zubrin said, “This debate is critically necessary. Dr. Chang Diaz has been actively propagandizing an argument combining three claims. First, that cosmic radiation hazards dictate that current day propulsion, which enables six month transits from Earth to Mars, is too slow to enablehuman mission to Mars. Second, that therefore much faster forms of interplanetary propulsion are necessary before we dare undertake human Mars exploration missions. Third, that his VASIMR propulsion system would uniquely enable such quick trips.
NASA's deep-space craft readying for launch
The U.S. space shuttle program retired in 2011, leaving American astronauts to hitchhike into orbit. But after three long years, NASA's successor is almost ready to make an entrance. Orion, the agency's newest manned spaceship, is being prepared for its first mission in December. In future missions, it will journey into deep space -- to Mars and beyond -- farther than humans have ever gone before. Orion comes loaded with superlatives. It boasts the largest heat shield ever built and a computer 400 times faster than the ones on the space shuttles. It will be launched into space on the most powerful rocket NASA has ever made. No astronauts will be aboard the December flight, which will test the spacecraft's systems for future manned missions.

June 25, 2014

Unity on Mars mission easier said than done
It will take unprecedented unity, funding and international teamwork to land astronauts on Mars within the next 30 years, the co-chairmen of an independent government panel advocating such a mission told a congressional committee Wednesday. Then the two co-chairmen got a glimpse of why those goals won't come easy. GOP lawmakers at Wednesday's hearing bashed the Obama administration for abandoning a return-to-the-moon mission in favor of using an asteroid as a steppingstone to Mars. Democrats said Republicans have no right to complain about lack of money for the space program when they've pushed for budget cuts. And lawmakers from both parties raised doubts about whether potential foreign partners, notably China, can be trusted. Former Republican governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, co-chairman of the National Research Council panel that issued the 285-page report earlier this month, acknowledged the enormity of the task. "Getting humans to the surface of Mars will be a daunting challenge," Daniels, now president of Purdue University, told members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. "Succeeding in this endeavor will require, we believe, a very different way of doing business than the nation has been practicing in recent decades."

June 18, 2014

SpaceX says it will put humans on Mars by 2026, almost 10 years ahead of NASA ExtremeTech
Elon Musk, speaking to CNBC about how the future of humankind is rather closely tied to our ability to get off this planet, is “hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years” — with SpaceX rockets and spacecraft, of course. This lines up with some of his previous comments about establishing a Mars colony in the 2020s. Meanwhile, NASA recently announced that it would try to put a human on Mars in 2035 — and only if it can secure the necessary funding and carry out a number of important milestone missions beforehand. Tantalizingly, Musk also spoke about SpaceX going public on the stock market — perhaps to raise the necessary funds to fly (and establish a colony?) on Mars. Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, has long been an advocate of setting up a Mars colony. Way back in early 2012 he said he’d worked out a way of sending an “average person” on a round-trip to Mars for $500,000. His tune seems to be a little more muted now, but his new estimate of 10-12 years — before 2026 — is still fairly optimistic. To get there, SpaceX would probably use the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle (basically the Falcon 9 but with two huge booster rockets stuck onto it), and a variant of the recently announced manned Dragon spaceship. NASA’s Mars mission would use the Orion spacecraft (which is finally almost ready for testing), and the new Space Launch System (which isn’t expected to be ready for a few years yet).

June 17, 2014

Mars Technologies Spawn Durable Wind Turbines
In the early 1990s, NASA was planning for an extended stay on Mars, and Bubenheim and his Ames colleagues were concentrating efforts on creating a complete ecological system to sustain human crewmembers during their time on the Red Planet. “The main barrier to developing such a system,” he says, “is energy.” Mars has no power plants, and a regenerative system requires equipment that runs on electricity to do everything from regulating humidity in the atmosphere to monitoring the quality of recycled water. The Ames group started looking at maximizing energy use efficiency and alternative methods to make power on a planet that is millions of miles away from Earth. They turned to a hybrid concept combining two renewable sources: wind and solar power technologies. Large surface temperature swings on Mars produce windy conditions; extreme examples are the frequent dust storms that can block nearly all sunlight. “When there’s a dust storm and the wind is blowing, the wind system could be the dominant power source. When the wind is not blowing and the sun is shining on the surface, photovoltaics could be the dominant source,” says Bubenheim.

June 10, 2014

No wind chill on Mars Science News
Even though daytime temperatures in the tropics of Mars can be about –20°C, a summer afternoon there might feel about the same as an average winter day in southern England or Minneapolis. That’s because there’s virtually no wind chill on the Red Planet, according to a new study—the first to give an accurate sense of what it might feel like to spend a day walking about on our celestial neighbor. “I hadn’t really thought about this before, but I’m not surprised,” says Maurice Bluestein, a biomedical engineer and wind chill expert recently retired from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. The new findings, he says, “will be useful, as people planning to colonize Mars need to know what they’re getting themselves into.”

June 9, 2014

Want to design a Mars base for NASA? Now’s your chance Ars Technica
Would you like a 3D printer? Of course you would. Would you like to collaborate with Nasa? Please, we won't insult you while waiting for an answer. MakerBot has launched a competition tailored for you then, in collaboration with Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory: MakerBot Mars Base Challenge. It wants you to deliver inspiration for a human base on Mars, considering future visitors will have to combat extreme temperatures, radiation spikes, dust storms and the whole you-can't-breath-on-Mars thing. The brief provided is to design, with all these considerations in mind, "a utilitarian Mars base that can withstand the elements and maybe even make you feel at home, despite being 140 million miles away from Earth, on average". And if you win, they'll give you a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer.

June 6, 2014

Putting Humans on Mars Is 'Risk Management' for Our Species, SpaceX President Says
SpaceX thinks humanity needs to reach Mars to survive. Manned exploration and the eventual colonization of Mars would not only be a marvel of human achievement, it would also serve as a sort of insurance in case disaster strikes on Earth, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell told a small crowd here Wednesday (June 4). If humans decided to stop exploring, saying, "This is it, we're done," that's not very inspirational, Shotwell said. But exploration isn't the only reason to visit the Earth's rouge neighbor. Creating a settlement on Mars also constitutes "risk management" for the human race, Shotwell said. "The probability of a significant [disastrous] event happening on Earth is very high," Shotwell said. Though she said she doesn't know when it might happen, "it would be nice to have humans living in more than one spot."

June 4, 2014

America's Long-Term Space Goal: Let's Put Humans on Mars NBC News
A new report from the National Research Council declares that the expenses and risks associated with human spaceflight can be justified only by the goal of putting humans on other worlds, with the "horizon goal" of getting to Mars. That goal is consistent with NASA's long-term vision for space exploration — but the report, titled "Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches to a U.S. Program of Human Exploration," goes farther by noting that NASA's current budget is too meager to reach the goal, and that it's "in the best interests of the United States" to let China participate in future space partnerships. NASA's budget has been trimmed back in recent years, and there's currently a ban on U.S.-Chinese space cooperation.

June 2, 2014

Private Mars One Colony Project Signs Deal with TV Production Company
The next big reality-TV star may be an aspiring Mars colonist. The Netherlands-based nonprofit Mars One, which aims to land four settlers on the Red Planet in 2025, announced today (June 2) that it has signed a deal with Darlow Smithson Productions (DSP), an Endemol-owned company, to film its astronaut selection and training process. "Our team felt all along that we needed a partner whose strength lies in factual storytelling to an international audience," Mars One co-founder and CEOBas Lansdorp said in a statement. "DSP will provide that to Mars One, while allowing our selection committee to maintain control of the applicant selection process. This really is a perfect fit for both of us."

May 28, 2014

SpaceX is making 'progress' towards a Mars colony by 2020 – and tickets will cost $500,000, claims Elon Musk The Daily Mail
He wants to help establish a colony of up to 80,000 people on the planet, but admitted he’d like to start small, with a group of 10 people, and build the colony from there. ‘At Mars, you can start a self-sustaining civilisation and grow it into something really big,’ Musk said. ‘I think we're making some progress in that direction - not as fast as I'd like.’ Musk was speaking to an audience at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. In April, SpaceX carried out a successful rocket test during which the firm launched a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket from Florida, after suffering three previous delays. The rocket is reusable and it crashed into a target in the Atlantic Ocean shortly after the Dragon capsule delivered supplies to the International Space Station (ISS).

May 15, 2014

Virtual astronaut to share experience of life on Mars Stuff
Being stuck in a two-storey, 8-metre metal cylinder with five strangers for two weeks would be terrifying for many people - but for Haritina Mogosanu it was a dream come true. In fact, the Romanian-born Wellingtonian couldn't wait to get back to the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, returning a year later. She will speak on her experiences tonight at the Carter Observatory. The hab was built in the US by the international Mars Society to simulate what a long-term astronaut crew sent to the Red Planet might undergo. Volunteers at the station provide invaluable feedback to those developing technologies like spacesuits and dehydrated food.

May 8, 2014

EVA Hand Signals
In the past NASA has asked its spacewalking crews to come up with a set of hand signals for communication in the event of audio loss. And for a long time this worked out very well. However after a water filled spacewalk on the Space Station last July, NASA determined that it would be better to have an official set. Before I left for Mars/Utah a friend of mine who trains astronauts asked that we come up with our own set of hand signals for comparison. Without having us look at the official NASA signals, they wanted to get an outside perspective on the issue and potentially incorporate our signals with theirs. And while our signals would be devised primarily for surface use, there is still enough overlap for zero g spacewalks that most of them will remain relevant (some will need modification though).

May 5, 2014

This Spacesuit for Exploring Mars Is a Form-Fitting Math Problem Wired
In science fiction, from 2001: A Space Odyssey to Ender’s Game, astronauts zip around zero-g environments clad in stylish, skin-tight spacesuits. In reality, outfits designed for outer space are bulky, hard to maneuver, and have all the charm of adult diapers. Even their name, Extravehicular Mobility Units, or EMUs, is clumsy. Enter Dava Newman, fashion designer to the stars. You won’t see her work on the red carpet, but if this MIT professor has her way, all the most fashionable space explorers will be wearing her designs when they set foot on the red planet.

May 1, 2014

Asteroid-Capture to Prep for Manned Flight to Mars Discovery News
NASA's ambitious plan to snag an asteroid and put it into orbit for astronauts to explore should help put people on Mars, space agency officials said Tuesday (April 29). Called the Asteroid Redirect Mission, NASA's plan involves capturing a relatively small asteroid using a robotic spacecraft and placing it into orbit around the moon where astronauts can visit the asteroid in 2025. While this may sound like a very specific kind of mission, the technology and skills used to get astronauts safely to and from the asteroid will help NASA get to the Red Planet. On the asteroid mission, scientists and engineers will be able to work out some potential problems that astronauts could encounter on a mission to Mars, expected to take place sometime in the 2030s.

April 29, 2014

Medical Risks on a Mission to Mars Medgadget
Humans are going to Mars, and they are going to need some medical support in order to survive the trip, at least according to a panel held last week at a conference in Washington DC. The discussion, at the Humans to Mars Summit held last week at George Washington University, covered some of the biomedical risks of a potential human trip to Mars and the countermeasures required to arrive healthy (and maybe return to Earth, but not all trips include that option). Medical Risks on a Mission to MarsPanel chair Dr. Kris Lehnhardt, Emergency Medicine faculty at George Washington University Hospital, went over some general known biomedical risks of spaceflight and how a long duration flight would exacerbate or modify those risks. Some of the risks included: space motion sickness, vibration effects, auditory injury from the constant noise astronauts are exposed to during flight operations, psychosocial risk factors from team dynamics and isolation, and possibly the most important factor, making sure the toilet technology works during the entire proposed mission. As Dr. Lehnhardt relayed, a crewmember told him once, “When a toilet is broken on the spacecraft, nothing else matters”

April 23, 2014

NASA Chief Concludes There's Just One Way We Can Ensure the Survival of Humanity PolicyMic
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."

April 2, 2014

Exploring Mars in Utah National Geographic
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 Computerworld
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.

April 1, 2014

Southwest Announces New Route and It’s Out of this World! Southwest Airlines

March 24, 2014

The NASA Z-2 Suit Voting Now Open
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.

March 20, 2014

We Need Three Planets to Keep the Human Race Alive, NASA Scientist Says MOTHERBOARD
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.”

March 18, 2014

Thinkfactory Media Shopping Mars Exploration Reality Series Deadline Hollywood
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.

March 17, 2014

Would You Take a One-Way Ticket to Mars? The Atlantic
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.

March 5, 2014

Mars Arctic 365 Mission Semi-Finalists Announce
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.

February 28, 2014

How Scientists Plan to Farm on Mars Mashable
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 SpaceNews
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.

February 26, 2014

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."

February 18, 2014

Supersonic Jet Ditches Windows for Massive Live-Streaming Screens Wired
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.

February 5, 2014

How Marscoin can help fund the first colony in the Solar System
The more people that adopt Marscoin and use it in their daily lives, the more the early stake-holders, in this case MarsOne, would benefit and grow in value and thus quite naturally be able to fund the development of the first Mars colony. Just by using Marscoin private individuals would participate in the biggest kickstarter project of all times, funding themselves and mankind's first colony on another planet. Just by using Marscoin, the first extra-terrestrian colony in the Solar System could be boostrapped. As of Jan. 2014 the market cap of Bitcoin is 10 billion, Litecoin 0.5 billion and Dogecoin 10 million USD - any growth in Marscoin will bring humans closer to taking a step among the stars.
Elon Musk, Joseph Gordon-Levitt talk about manned mission to Mars Mother Nature Network
Billionaire rocket-maker Elon Musk of SpaceX shared his big vision for a "self-sustaining civilization" on Mars with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a short documentary that aired this weekend. The short film is part of a space-centered episode of Gordon-Levitt's newly launched show called "HitRecord on TV." It aired Saturday, Feb. 1, at 10 p.m. EST on the TV channel Pivot.

February 3, 2014

The spacesuit inspired by medieval armor, made for walking on Mars
It takes Dr Gernot Groomer three hours to put on the spacesuit he hopes will, one day, walk across the surface of Mars. It's worth taking time when you're wearing a suit made from roughly 10,000 parts, designed for the most treacherous environment yet to be encountered by a human being. Groomer is the Austrian astrobiologist responsible for building a spacesuit for the Mars explorers of tomorrow -- and he's taking inspiration from armor worn by medieval knights. He explains that -- after the titanic effort required to get there -- simply surviving on the red planet will be a grueling battle.

January 22, 2014

Large international interest in riding with NASA’s next Mars Rover Spaceflight
The next NASA rover to be sent to the surface of Mars has received twice the usual amount of proposals for carrying science and exploration technology instruments. The agency is reviewing a total of 58 submitted proposals, 17 of which came from international partners, ahead of a proposed mission in 2020. Announced at the end of 2012, the next NASA rover will be based on the Curiosity Rover that is currently exploring the surface of Mars.

January 21, 2014

Why we want to spend the rest of our lives on Mars The Observer
Since its announcement in May 2012, the Mars One project hasn't had an easy ride. Critics have questioned all aspects, from the technical feasibility to its funding model. But recent developments from the project seem to be bringing the goal of starting a human colony on Mars by 2025 a little closer. Last month, Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, the project's founder, announced a partnership with Lockheed Martin, the same company that is contracted by Nasa to build the Orion spacecraft, and Surrey Satellite Technology to build a satellite to put into orbit around Mars by 2018. This was a strong statement of intent for the project, which aims to send four volunteers on a one-way ticket every 26 months to spend the rest of their lives on the red planet.

January 20, 2014

Provo woman could go to Mars Daily Herald
Kitty Kane has her travel plans made, although her departure is not yet confirmed. She's hoping to take a trip to Mars, one-way. And it's not for 10 more years. The 24-year-old Provo hairstylist has applied to be one of the first people from Earth to colonize the red planet. Initially, 200,000 turned in applications. That number has been pared down to 1,058 and she is still in the running. Seven others of those continuing on are from Utah. Organizers are planning on an international crew. Of the more than 1,000 currently in the running, almost 300 are from the United States. One of the requirements is that they all must speak English, to facilitate communication. "I think that is a beautiful goal," Kane said. "It is not for national pride, but for all of humanity. It is one of my favorite things about the project."

January 3, 2014

Mock Mars Mission: Utah Habitat Simulates Life on Red Planet
Scientists, engineers and legions of volunteers have worked hard to make a mock Mars habitat in Utah as realistic as possible. The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), which is run by the nonprofit Mars Society, aims to help humanity prepare for the rigors and challenges of life on the Red Planet. It was designed in line with Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin's "Mars Direct" settlement approach, which sees crews living off the land as much as possible, MDRS director Shannon Rupert told "The idea was a small crew on these kind of preplanned set of missions that would allow astronauts to get there and have a functioning habitat in place," Rupert said. "We approached it from the idea that it's there and ready to go, and they [the crew] just have to land."

January 1, 2014

East Sooke woman on short list for one-way Mars mission Times Colonist
An East Sooke woman took one small step Monday toward fulfilling her lifelong dream of exploring outer space. Marina Miral learned by email that she was one of 1,058 candidates short-listed for a one-way mission to Mars that aims to establish a human settlement on the red planet by 2025. The Mars One project selected the 30-year-old author from more than 200,000 applicants around the world. “I was shocked, for one, because I’d kind of given up; I sort of thought I would have heard sooner,” Miral said. “I just haven’t been able to stop smiling. “I’m so excited. I’ve never been so excited.”

December 22, 2013

Mars One - First Private Mars Mission in 2018 Indiegogo
The Mars One foundation will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. This Indiegogo campaign will help us jumpstart the first major step in our project – a private Mars Lander and Satellite mission in 2018. Your participation will help fund the 2018 mission and above all, show our partners & sponsors that the world is ready for this to happen. Mars One gives you the opportunity to participate in this historic project. This can be your mission to Mars!

December 13, 2013

Lockheed Martin receives $250,000 from ambitious Mars One project
Mars One has had some hard times lately, what with some prominent scientists and journalists finally beginning to grow skeptical about its viability, and its own CEO pushing the manned mission back by two years to 2025. Some have been critical of the project’s high-profile call for astronauts willing to accept a one-way mission, saying that it’s an unethical and unnecessary measure that’s incompatible with modern values. Others simply poo-poo their schedule and funding plans, claiming that the Mars One foundation (called by its Dutch name of “Stichting Mars One”) cannot possibly do what it claims with the time, talent, and money it has available. And then, earlier this week, the venerable Lockheed Martin came on board. For about $250,000, the aerospace giant will throw its talent, but perhaps more importantly its name behind the fledgling space program.

December 10, 2013

This Sleek Spiderman Spacesuit Could Take Astronauts To Mars Co.Exist
Even though they perform superhuman feats, astronauts always look a little ridiculous. Their clunky pressurized spacesuits are functional--they provide oxygen, scrub CO2, and keep astronauts safe from the elements--but they aren't exactly well-suited for the kind of intensive exploration that astronauts will conduct when humans finally reach Mars. Dava Newman, a speaker at this year's TEDWomen event in San Francisco, has spent more than a decade working on a sleeker, better spacesuit for Mars exploration. The MIT aerospace engineering professor's Spiderman-like "BioSuit" will finally make astronauts look sexy, and ensure that they can explore difficult terrain without tripping over the bulk of the nearly 300-pound suit in use today.
200,000 people apply to live on Mars
If you have ambitions of being one of the first people on Mars, listen up: A Dutch company says it is moving along with its plan to send four lucky Earthlings to colonize the Red Planet. The catch: They won't ever come back. The Mars One foundation announced Tuesday that it has secured lead suppliers for an unmanned mission launching in 2018, which involves a robotic lander and a communications satellite. Lockheed Martin has been contracted to study building the lander, and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. will develop a concept study for the satellite, Mars One said.

November 27, 2013

Mars Society Giving Library
The purpose of the Mars Society is to further the exploration and settlement of the planet Mars.
From the Mojave to the Moon, Mars and Beyond The Economist
Our mission is to transform access to space for the benefit of life on Earth. To achieve that, more than 300 talented men and women have moved their lives and families to the Mojave desert in California to manufacture and operate our spaceships. Out there they are starting something more significant than any of us can understand right now. Our experience in building and operating winged space vehicles will give us an advantage in being able to push long-haul commercial aviation above the atmosphere. In due course we will drastically reduce journey times and the environmental impact of moving people around the planet, delivering a transcontinental capability for our vehicles and leapfrogging the long-awaited supersonic successors to Concorde.

November 25, 2013

Apply now for a yearlong mock Mars mission in Canadian Arctic NBC News
Crew application deadline: November 30, 2013: If you're ready to take a timeout from your life and spend a year living in the Arctic on a simulated Mars mission, the Mars Society wants to hear from you. The non-profit group, which advocates for manned exploration of the Red Planet, has released its requirements for the six volunteers who will be expected to spend 12 months at the society's Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Canada's Devon Island, which is about 900 miles (1,450 kilometers) from the North Pole, beginning in July 2014.

November 20, 2013

World's first space tourist gives details on manned mission to Mars in 2017 - 2018 The Verge
Dennis Tito, the American entrepreneur who paid $20 million in 2001 for a trip to the International Space Station, spoke before a House subcommittee on space today to outline his plans for reaching Mars. According to Tito, the "Inspiration Mars" endeavor will be a fly-by mission that'll take two astronauts 808 million miles from Earth to Mars and back again in 501 days. And he'll need more than $1 billion to do it. The plan works within a narrow timeline that takes advantage of a rare alignment in Earth and Mars' orbits. According to Tito's written testimony, the launch will need to take place between Christmas 2017 and January 5th, 2018 to ensure a speedy trip. So to pull that off, Inspiration Mars will need complete cooperation from NASA — the two-man crew aboard the Inspiration Mars' commercial craft will need the space agency's huge Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to propel them there. The SLS rocket is still under development.

November 18, 2013

Op/Ed: Relaunch the space race
Russian-American relations are deteriorating. It is not just a matter of side issues such as Edward Snowden and Syria. A faction in the Kremlin's ruling camp, exemplified by prominent Putin adviser Alexander Dugin, is urging the regime to embrace a new "fourth political theory" synthesis of communism and fascism to prop up the regime's domestic power and make Russia the leader of the global forces opposing the West. "Liberalism," says Dugin, meaning the whole Western consensus, "is an absolute evil. ... Only a global crusade against the U.S., the West, globalization and their political-ideological expression, liberalism, is capable of becoming an adequate response. ... The American empire should be destroyed." This is dangerous stuff. It not only threatens the prospects for freedom in Russia but also could lead to a global catastrophe. We need to turn this trend around. How? Here's my answer: Let's invite Russia to join with us in a grand project of sending humans to Mars.

November 14, 2013

LeVar Burton Video Is the Best Explanation of a Mars Mission Yet Mashable

October 25, 2013

Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa are seeking crewmembers for a new series of space exploration analog studies. Hawaii Space Exploration Analog & Simulation
Deadline for applications is November 1, 2013. Applicants must be between 21 and 65 years of age. They must be tobacco-free, able to pass a Class 2 flight physical examination, and able to understand, speak and write fluently in English. They must meet the basic requirements of the NASA astronaut program (i.e. an undergraduate degree in a science or engineering discipline, three years of experience or graduate study, etc.); in addition, they will be evaluated for experience considered valuable in the program, such as experience in complex operational environments. Pre-screening will be carried out by a panel of experts who are familiar with the astronaut selection process, but who are not involved in the rest of the study. Candidates selected for further evaluation and screening will be contacted by e-mail to schedule a screening. There will be no charge to applicants for any screening procedures, and no risks in these procedures over and above those of daily life.

October 18, 2013

More enroll for Mars trip than for health exchange The Washington Times
The hits just keep on coming with Obamacare enrollee tales of disaster, with the latest joke that more people have actually completed an online application to journey to Mars than successfully signed into the White House’s websites for health reform exchanges. The Daily Mail reported that Twitter exploded on Thursday after it was revealed that 202,586 individuals had successfully signed up for the Mars One colony project to populate the red planet as soon as the technology becomes available. By comparison, the analytics firm found that only 36,000 have registered for Obamacare via the official government site,

October 16, 2013

Spaceflight experts work on alternate vision for Mars trips NBC News
While NASA works on a multibillion-dollar, decades-long space exploration plan that relies on monster rockets, an informal cadre of engineers is laying out a different vision that would take advantage of cheaper, smaller spacecraft that can fuel up at "truck stops" along the way. Right now, the alternate vision, known as the "Stairway to Mars," is little more than an engineering exercise. But the plan's proponents on the Space Development Steering Committee say their scenario for Mars missions in the 2030s may have a better chance of becoming a reality than NASA's scenario.

October 15, 2013

World Space Walk simultaneously puts three Mars-capable spacesuits to the test Gizmag
On October 8, three teams in various parts of the world participated in an unprecedented simultaneous test of three experimental spacesuits. Coordinated from a mission control center in Innsbruck, Austria run by the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF), World Space Walk 2013 aims at setting standards for developing suits for the future exploration of the planet Mars. "If we are going to prepare for a human mission to Mars in the future, we need to have as much knowledge as possible on the practicalities and limitations of working in spacesuits on planetary terrains," says Gernot Groemer, the President of the Austrian Space Forum. "For World Space Walk 2013, we have had the amazing opportunity to work with four different teams who are developing spacesuits and to collaborate on the same set of tasks. This technical test is a simple, yet important, first milestone to compare different analogue suit systems worldwide and to contribute to a growing area of research."

October 14, 2013

Scholastic, Mars Institute and Seti Institute Take Flight with the Launch of New Nonfiction Book "MISSION: MARS" Scholastic
In celebration of World Space Week, whose theme this year is Mars exploration, Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, announces the North American release of MISSION: MARS, a new nonfiction children’s book for readers in grades 4 through 6* (ages 9–12) by renowned Mars scientist Dr. Pascal Lee. This exciting book is available exclusively through Scholastic Reading Club throughout October and at bookstores nationwide starting November 1, 2013. MISSION: MARS (ISBN 978-0-545-56532-5) provides an in-depth look at what it will take to get us to Mars, and how we’ll explore that world once we get there. For more information, go to Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin shared this praise for the book: “Pascal Lee is a true pioneer of Mars exploration. This book makes me want to put on a space suit and go to Mars!” MISSION: MARS provides readers a training guide for this century’s most daring undertaking in space – a human mission to Mars by 2035. Author Dr. Pascal Lee takes young readers behind the scenes to learn about work being done at NASA and elsewhere to get humans ready for Mars. Each page provides unique scientific and technical facts and trivia, from Mars’ seven natural wonders, to areas on Earth that mimic the terrain of Mars, to conceptual drawings of tomorrow’s Mars ships, spacesuits, Mars habitats, and human-piloted rovers. To engage readers even further, MISSION: MARS draws from Dr. Lee’s own “field notes” and provides imaginative images, “training drills” and detailed infographics to convey the challenge and wonder of journeying to Mars.

October 8, 2013

Quick Fusion-Powered Trips to Mars No Fantasy, Scientists Say
Sending astronauts to Mars aboard a superfast spacecraft powered by nuclear fusion may seem like a sci-fi dream, but it's entirely attainable, scientists say. The physics behind a fusion-driven rocket have been demonstrated in the laboratory, so such a device may well be propelling people on 90-day trips to the Red Planet in a matter of decades, according to a team of researchers working on the technology. "This is a reality, basically," Anthony Pancotti, of the space-propulsion company MSNW, said Sept. 25 during a presentation with NASA's Future In-Space Operations working group. "Fusion occurs in the sun, and also in our labs."

October 7, 2013

3-D printing seen as key to sustaining human colony on Mars NBC News Science
Mars pioneers could use 3-D printing to create a sustainable human colony on the Red Planet, advocates say. A team of scientists is developing a plan to use 3-D printing to build locally made houses and food on the Martian surface. These resources would support the lives of people leaving the confines of Earth for the Red Planet. To make things out of Martian raw materials, however, the first arrivals will need to bring some equipment. Once settlers put industrial cutters and 3-D printers in place, subsequent visitors could start making a variety of objects needed for shelters, greenhouses and even parts for new 3-D printers built on the Red Planet, said Bruce Mackenzie, founder of the Mars Foundation, an organization that aims to build and operate the first permanent settlement on Mars.

October 1, 2013

Kellie Gerardi On Her One Way Trip To Mars The View

September 18, 2013

Valentina Tereshkova, 76, first woman in space, seeks one-way ticket to Mars The Guardian
Having reached the age of 76, it might be expected that Valentina Tereshkova would be planning a life of quiet gentility: a bit of gardening, perhaps, or catching up on reading. Far from it. The grande dame of astronautics has no intention of retiring gracefully, she has revealed. Indeed, she has a very different idea of how her future will unfold: she wants to go to Mars, her favourite planet. More to the point, she says she is happy if the mission turns out to be a one-way trip. "Of course, it's a dream to go to Mars," says Tereshkova, who became the first woman in space after she spent three days orbiting Earth in 1963. "I want to find out whether there was life there or not. And if there was, then why did it die out? What sort of catastrophe happened?"

September 9, 2013

More Than 200,000 People Sign Up To Die On Mars Popular Science
Five months after the Netherlands-based private spaceflight project Mars One announced it would begin accepting applications for a one-way trip to the red planet, 202,586 people from more than 140 countries have submitted videos explaining why they should be chosen for the mission. The first of four selection rounds ended August 31. Now, the Mars One selection committee will spend the next several months narrowing down the applicants. There are even plans to launch a reality TV show to choose the final candidates. The goal is for 24 to 40 people to begin a seven-year training program in 2015. Then, working with the private space flight company SpaceX, Mars One hopes to send the prospective Martian settlers to the red planet in teams of four, beginning in 2023.

August 23, 2013

165,000 Apply for Mission to Colonise Mars The Independent
A one-way ticket to another planet where there is no air, no water or food – and certainly no return home – may not sound like a lot of fun, but to 165,000 people the opportunity to live permanently on Mars has been too tempting to ignore.

August 22, 2013

The Deep-Space Suit PopSci
For human beings to push farther into the solar system—to an asteroid, to a Martian moon, or even to Mars itself—they will need a new space suit: one that will allow them to travel through deep space, move easily across alien surfaces, and survive a wide range of potentially lethal hazards. “If a small hole appeared in a gas-pressurized suit, it’s a major emergency. Mission over; get back to your safe haven ASAP,” says Dava Newman, an aerospace biomedical engineer and director of MIT’s Technology and Policy Program.

August 19, 2013

Student Contest Launches to Aid Private Manned Mission to Mars
A private manned Mars mission may get some help from students on its way to the launch pad in 2018. A newly announced contest asks students to propose design concepts for the Inspiration Mars mission, a private effort that aims to launch two astronauts on a flyby of the Red Planet in January 2018. "Inspiration Mars is looking for the most creative ideas from engineers all over the world," Dennis Tito, executive director of the nonprofit Inspiration Mars Foundation, said in a statement.

August 14, 2013

Mars food study researchers emerge from dome KITV4 Honolulu
Researchers who have spent nearly four months simulating what it's like to live on Mars have emerged from their experiment on a barren Hawaii lava field. The NASA-funded study is researching what foods astronauts might eat during a mission to Mars. The researchers left their simulated Martian base Tuesday for the first time without the mock space suits their experiment required whenever they ventured out of the dome on the northern slope of the Big Island's Mauna Loa. The University of Hawaii and Cornell University selected six people of various scientific backgrounds to cook meals from a list of dehydrated and shelf-stable ingredients that are not perishable. Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation Investigator Kim Binsted hopes to present findings at the International Astronautical Congress this year.

August 13, 2013

NASA researchers simulate life on Mars, study astronaut meals The Montreal Gazette
Researchers who have spent nearly four months simulating what it’s like to live on Mars are emerging from their experiment on a barren Hawaii lava field. The NASA-funded study is researching what foods astronauts might eat during a mission to Mars. The University of Hawaii and Cornell University selected six people of various scientific backgrounds to cook meals from a list of dehydrated and preserved food items that are not perishable. They looked at pre-prepared meals, similar to what astronauts currently eat, and concocted meals themselves in an attempt to combat food boredom and malnourishment.

August 12, 2013

Scientists make ‘impossible material’ … by accident The Conversation
Researchers in Uppsala, Sweden accidentally left a reaction running over the weekend and ended up resolving a century-old chemistry problem. Their work has led to the development of a new material, dubbed Upsalite, with remarkable water-binding properties. Upsalite promises to find applications in everything from humidity control at home to chemical manufacturing in industry. Maria Strømme and colleagues at Uppsala University, whose work appears in the journal PLOS ONE, have modified a procedure dating back to 1908 to make a powdered and dry form of magnesium carbonate (MgCO3). The reaction ingredients are all cheaply available: magnesium oxide (MgO) and carbon dioxide (CO2), dissolved in methanol, a common industrial solvent. The result is pure, dry MgCO3.

August 9, 2013

More than 100,000 want to go to Mars and not return, project says
More than 100,000 people are eager to make themselves at home on another planet. They've applied for a one-way trip to Mars, hoping to be chosen to spend the rest of their lives on uncharted territory, according to an organization planning the manned missions. The Mars One project wants to colonize the red planet, beginning in 2022. There are financial and practical questions about this venture that haven't been clarified. Will there be enough money? Will people really be able to survive on Mars? But these haven't stopped some 30,000 Americans from signing up. You can see some of the candidates on the project's website, but they're not the only ones who have applied, said Bas Lansdorp, Mars One CEO and co-founder.

August 8, 2013

Generation One: Children of Mars Kickstarter
A comic about the first generation of children born on Mars—and what we might become, together, if we have the courage to try. "Someday Mars will have its own Laura Ingalls Wilder to tell the tale of growing up on the new frontier. But with 'Generation One: Children of Mars,' we can experience some of that story now. It's going to be great." —Dr. Robert Zubrin, Mars Society President and author of "The Case for Mars"

August 7, 2013

Fly to Mars in a month, ex-astronaut's Kickstarter bid says NBC News Science
A former astronaut's rocket company is raising money via Kickstarter to make a short documentary that explains the technology behind a propulsion system that could fly people to Mars in just over a month. "Our goal is to produce a full-length video, full of stunning animations that describe the way in which we intend to use our technology to transform space transportation," Franklin Chang-Diaz, a retired NASA astronaut and the founder of the company Ad Astra, says in a video describing the Mars rocket documentary.Chang-Diaz earned a doctorate in plasma physics from MIT before he became an astronaut in 1980 and flew on seven space shuttle missions. He founded Ad Astra in 2005 to work on VASIMR, the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket.

August 5, 2013

Curiosity’s Hard-Working Year on Mars Pays Off With Amazing Scientific Discoveries Wired
NASA's Curiosity rover is a gigantic mobile laboratory. During the last year, it has roved over the Martian surface exploring a small section of Gale crater while making huge scientific discoveries. The rover was built as a data-generating machine. You put rocks, air, and samples in and you get science out. Specifically, Curiosity is searching for signs of ancient habitability and seeking to answer an important question: Could Mars have ever had living organisms crawling over its surface? Curiosity's science team includes geologists, chemists, physicists, astrobiologists, and countless other researchers. Using the probe's state-of-the-art equipment, they have drilled into Martian rocks, fired lasers and X-rays, baked powdered soil for analysis, and sniffed the atmosphere. Many of these activities had never been done on the Red Planet, or any planet beyond Earth, before. The data received from Curiosity has bolstered the idea that the planet once had water flowing over its surface and was a place where life could have conceivably thrived. It will take many more months and years of exploring to completely tease out all the details but the rover has already exceeded the expectations of its original designers.

August 2, 2013

What you need to know if you're thinking of living on Mars CBS This Morning

August 1, 2013

Countdown: Mars food mission researchers return to Earth University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Six researchers who have spent more than 100 days inside a remote habitat to simulate a long-duration space journey are finally returning to Earth. About 700 applicants vied for six spots in the HI-SEAS mission, which began in April and will conclude on August 13. These Earth-based researchers have been living and working like astronauts, including suiting up in space gear whenever they venture outside a simulated Martian base and cooking meals from a specific list of dehydrated and shelf-stable food items. The HI-SEAS study, led by Cornell University and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, is analyzing new types of food and novel food preparation strategies to keep astronauts well-nourished for space exploration. The work is funded by the NASA Human Research Program

July 31, 2013

Uncovered: NASA's Retro Drawings of Humans on Mars Mashable
Mars One may be grabbing headlines for pushing one-way manned missions to Mars, but buried deep in NASA's photo archives lies proof that the agency has been thinking about the journey for decades. Commissioned by NASA, these artists' concepts show how the agency (unofficially and very loosely) once envisioned putting humans on the Red Planet. While some technology in the imagery evolved as NASA scientists learned more about Mars, many of the concepts still hold true in the agency's modern-day mocks for a 2030 manned mission.

July 30, 2013

NASA wants to bring a 3D printer to the International Space Station in 2014 The Verge
Next year, a 3D printer is set to boldly go where no MarketBot or RepRap has gone before — beyond the earth's atmosphere and aboard the International Space Station (ISS). NASA has approved a custom shoe-box sized 3D printer — which it helped design — for the micro-gravitational conditions of space flight and the environment found on the ISS. But before the 3D printer can actually be shipped into space, it has one more test to pass. Later this summer, NASA and Made in Space — the company that will produce the printer — will take the experimental hardware aboard a final test flight to observe it's ability to safely handle microgravity.

July 26, 2013

Why Space Architecture Matters If You Want to Go to Mars The Huffington Post
Mars is a destination that seems inevitable for human exploration. We have seen a number of intriguing signs from our series of robotic probes that Mars was once a very different world than it is today. Still, even cold and dry though it now is, it remains a place where humans can go and exist with only some help from life support systems. However, the sheer distances involved, coupled with the combination of moderately strong gravity and a very thin atmosphere make Mars a challenging place to get to. That is why the mission architecture selected does matter.

July 24, 2013

UK team designs human mission to Mars
Scientists at Imperial College London have designed a concept mission to land astronauts on Mars. The plan envisages a three-person crew journeying to Mars aboard a small two-part craft. The craft would rotate to generate artificial gravity and use a heat shield to protect itself against solar flares. The crew would then return to Martian orbit in a pre-sent craft fuelled using ice from beneath the planet's surface. The concept, developed in conjunction with the BBC, is intended to spark further debate about the technical obstacles and risks that would have to be overcome in order to put humans on Mars.

July 17, 2013

Elon Musk's mission to Mars The Guardian
Elon Musk has flown so high, so fast, it is hard not to wonder when, and how, he will crash to earth. How could he not? Musk is so many things – inventor, entrepreneur, billionaire, space pioneer, inspiration for Iron Man's playboy superhero Tony Stark – and he has pushed the boundaries of science and business, doing what others declare impossible. At some point, surely, he will fall victim to sod's law, or gravity. He is only 41, but so far Musk shows no sign of tumbling earthwards. Nasa and other clients are queuing up to use his rockets, part of the rapid commercialisation of space. His other company, electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors, is powering ahead. Such success would satisfy many tycoons, but for Musk they are merely means to ends: minimising climate change and colonising Mars. And not in some distant future – he wants to accomplish both within our lifetimes.

July 16, 2013

The Challenges of Climate Control in a Mars Habitat Discover Magazine
It’s late March at Gale Crater, the landing site of the Mars Curiosity rover. And according to the Mars Weather site, temperatures haven’t made it above freezing for weeks. It’s a cold spring for Curiosity after a surprisingly warm winter. But the engineers knew what they were getting into when they designed the rover. They knew its systems would need to endure temperatures colder than -150 degrees Fahrenheit, and that they would need to operate reliably without much time above a balmy 32 degrees. The same basic principle applies to any future human habitats on Mars. But in addition to sporting systems that can withstand harsh, fluctuating temperatures, a habitat must also survive a journey to and a landing on the planet, keep its inhabitants protected from harmful radiation and a toxic atmosphere (or lack thereof), and maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. Speaking from experience in a simulated habitat I can tell you: Shirtsleeve temperatures are preferred.

July 10, 2013

Radiation Fears Shouldn't Hold Back Mars Colonization (Op-Ed)
Mars One aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars in 2023, requiring no return mission. The absence of a return mission reduces the radiation exposure from galactic cosmic rays. These cosmic rays are hard to shield against without the use of a prohibitive shielding mass, which would require more than 10 times the standard spacecraft shielding. Reducing the time spent traveling through space — and, thus, the exposure from the cosmic rays — is significant, as these rays are the source of 95 percent of the radiation exposure, according to a recent paper published May 31 in the journal Science.

July 8, 2013

This Is What Happens When A 7-Year-Old Asks NASA How To Get To Mars BuzzFeed
A seven-year-old boy named Dexter wrote a letter asking NASA how he could get to Mars.
A homesick astronaut on Mars Scientific American
There are going to be plenty of technological and physiological hurdles to jump before we land the first astronauts on Mars. But once they’re safely on their journey, another kind of challenge may rear it’s head. What happens when you can no longer see Earth? Even the quickest Mars trip is going to be long. If you get the timing right, as Dennis Tito plans to, you could manage a round trip to Mars in 501 days. Most missions, especially if they land on the surface and do a bit of exploring, will take longer.
Dragon Roadmap: From domestic crew independence to humans on Mars
SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft is continuing to make solid progress during the early years of its incremental roadmap, a path that has a firm focus on sending humans to Mars. With successful Commercial Cargo missions already under its belt, Dragon is already targeting the role of transporting NASA crews to the International Space Station (ISS).

July 3, 2013

International Space Station Technology to "Hear" Potential Leaks
The hiss of air escaping from a leaky car tire is no one's favorite sound. Even less pleasant? Hearing that hiss of escaping air 250 miles above Earth's surface while inside the pressurized confines of the International Space Station. According to Eric Madaras, an aerospace technologist at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., if an air leak were to occur aboard the station, alarms would sound, and the astronauts would locate and correct the problem according to procedures. But with only the crew's eyes and ears to go on, pinpointing the source of a leak could be tricky. Madaras is trying to fix that problem. As the principal investigator for the Ultrasonic Background Noise Test (UBNT) he's leading a study that potentially could help prevent a catastrophic loss of air pressure on a crewed spacecraft.

June 21, 2013

Majority of Americans expect NASA astronauts to land on Mars by 2050 Pew Research Center
NASA introduced eight new astronauts earlier this week—the agency’s first in four years—who could be part of the first human missions to land on an asteroid in the 2020s and then on Mars in the following decade. And a Pew Research survey indicates that these exploration goals are consistent with the predictions of most Americans. In 2010, a majority of Americans (63%) were optimistic that astronauts would land on Mars by 2050.

June 20, 2013

With Current Budget, NASA Will Never Get to Mars io9
At today's House hearing for the NASA Authorization Act of 2013, witness Thomas Young was asked how long it would take the Agency to put a human on Mars with its current budget. His response was unambiguous: “Never.” Prepared statements from Young (former executive VP of Lockheed Martin) and co-witness Steven Squyres (Principle Investigator of the Mars Exploration Rover mission) paint an inauspicious picture of NASA's current standing, and its continued role in humanity's exploration of deep space.

June 14, 2013

In Hawaii, as on Mars, Lava Tubes Hide Secrets Beneath the Surface Discover
Thanks to satellite imagery, we now know that both Mars and the moon also have lava tubes and skylights. These caves and holes likely formed the same way they do on Earth. As a channel of molten lava flows, its top layer, exposed to air, cools and forms a crust. Below, the hotter lava continues to course until it empties out, leaving behind a tube-like cave. Skylights form when parts of the lava tube ceiling collapse. Sometimes these ceilings crumble and completely block access to the cave. Other times, they fall away clean, leaving pits with dangerous, potentially unstable overhangs. But once in a while, the rocks fall in such a way to give unfettered access to a lava-carved tunnel.
Power Pocket prototypes use body heat & movement to charge a smartphone Gizmag
Vodafone UK has unveiled its Power Shorts and Recharge Sleeping Bag ahead of the Isle of Wight Festival - two innovations that have the capability to harvest body heat and movement to boost the battery life of mobile devices at summer events. The technology is being developed in partnership with the Electronics and Computer Science experts at the University of Southampton, with the aim of providing a 24-hour source of power for people camping at outdoor music events. State of the art materials and smart fabrics are being trialled to enable the Power Pocket to function via two different energy-gathering methods – thermal for the sleeping bag and kinetic for the shorts.

June 13, 2013

Toxic Mars: Astronauts Must Deal with Perchlorate on the Red Planet
The pervading carpet of perchlorate chemicals found on Mars may boost the chances that microbial life exists on the Red Planet — but perchlorates are also perilous to the health of future crews destined to explore that way-off world. Perchlorates are reactive chemicals first detected in arctic Martian soil by NASA's Phoenix lander that plopped down on Mars over five years ago in May 2008.

June 11, 2013

Marks on martian dunes may be tracks of dry-ice sleds
NASA research indicates hunks of frozen carbon dioxide—dry ice—may glide down some Martian sand dunes on cushions of gas similar to miniature hovercraft, plowing furrows as they go. Researchers deduced this process could explain one enigmatic class of gullies seen on Martian sand dunes by examining images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and performing experiments on sand dunes in Utah and California. "I have always dreamed of going to Mars," said Serina Diniega, a planetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and lead author of a report published online by the journal Icarus. "Now I dream of snowboarding down a Martian sand dune on a block of dry ice."

May 20, 2013

Human Mars Lander Must Break New Ground Aviation Week & Space Technology
For all the attention focused on how hard it will be to keep astronauts alive while they fly from Earth to Mars, the challenge of setting them safely down on the Martian surface will be just as difficult. Entry-descent-and-landing (EDL) experts who spoke at a Humans To Mars symposium here say the “sky crane” that landed the robotic Curiosity rover on Mars last year will not scale to the huge sizes need for humans. And even if it did, the “seven minutes of terror” controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory experienced at a distance during the first sky-crane landing may be a little too tame for a human mission.
Op/Ed - Buzz Aldrin on Why We Should Go to Mars Smithsonian Magazine
A member of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, Buzz Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon. In the years since, he has become an advocate for space exploration and technology, calling for renewed U.S. investment in the space program. In Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration, Aldrin lays out a detailed, multi-stage plan for journeying to the red planet that would culminate in the first permanent human settlement beyond the Earth

May 16, 2013

What Would A Colony On Mars Look Like? HuffPost Live
American astronaut Buzz Aldrin says the U.S. and NASA should focus on establishing a permanent colony on Mars by 2040. How likely is a future that include humans actually living on Mars? Should we be allocating our resources to this endeavor?

May 15, 2013

Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Support Doubling NASA’s Budget, Mission To Mars Penny4
The American public overwhelmingly support a doubling of NASA’s budget in order to fund a mission to Mars, according to a recent survey. The poll, commissioned by Explore Mars, a nonprofit organization, and aerospace contractor Boeing, also demonstrated a high degree of enthusiasm about human exploration of Mars. The survey found that 76 percent of Americans agree that NASA’s budget should be increased to 1 percent of the total federal budget to fund initiatives, including a mission to Mars. Currently NASA’s budget represents less than 0.5 percent of overall federal spending. Poll respondents said they think a manned mission to Mars should be the country’s top priority in space exploration. The poll also showed that, in spite of the current budgetary climate, Americans remain very optimistic about the prospect of putting humans on Mars within the next two decades, with 71 percent saying they expect it will happen by 2033.

May 7, 2013

78,000 apply to leave Earth forever to live on Mars
Huge numbers of people on Earth are keen to leave the planet forever and seek a new life homesteading on Mars. About 78,000 people have applied to become Red Planet colonists with the nonprofit organization Mars One since its application process opened on April 22, officials announced Tuesday. Mars One aims to land four people on the Red Planet in 2023 as the vanguard of a permanent colony, with more astronauts arriving every two years thereafter. "With 78,000 applications in two weeks, this is turning out to be the most desired job in history," Mars One Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Bas Lansdorp said in a statement. "These numbers put us right on track for our goal of half a million applicants."
Win a Copy of Buzz Aldrin’s Book, Mission to Mars Universe Today
Buzz Aldrin, celebrated Apollo astronaut and an outspoken champion for the pursuit of space exploration, is on a mission. He has written a new book titled “Mission to Mars.” While the title focuses on Mars, the book covers much more. Buzz lays out his goals for the space program and how he believes we can get humans to Mars by the 2030s. He makes the case and argues passionately for pushing our boundaries of knowledge and exploration of our solar system and presents his “unified space vision.” He emphasizes space exploration should not be a competition, but with cooperation a stronger path to a sustainable future in space could be forged.

May 1, 2013

Buzz Aldrin's Mission to Mars National Geographic
Amgen Drugs May Boost Survival During a Nuclear Attack and Trips to Mars Bloomberg
Amgen Inc. (AMGN)’s Neulasta and Neupogen and a similar blood-boosting drug from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) may help people survive after a nuclear attack, U.S. regulators said. Medications known as leukocyte growth factors, which also include Sanofi (SAN)’s Leukine, may help decrease death rates from radiation exposure, Food and Drug Administration staff said today in a report. FDA staff reviewed a National Institutes of Health study on monkeys exposed to radiation that were given Neupogen. Agency advisers plan to meet May 3 to discuss whether the animal study is sufficient to approve the use for humans.

April 29, 2013

China: Mars residency hopefuls sign up for emigration project The Guardian
John Kelly: NASA still aiming for manned Mars mission
NASA’s not giving up on flying people to Mars. Some critics of the space agency’s recent proposal to fly astronauts to an asteroid say we’re “settling” for something less than the big prize: humans walking on the red planet. Not true. The mission to an asteroid is part of a stepping-stone approach to sending human beings exploring deeper into the solar system. A sensible look at NASA’s current flight capabilities, human limitations and the space exploration budget means Mars isn’t possible yet. NASA’s top human spaceflight chief, Bill Gerstenmaier, recently went over the payoffs with a committee of the NASA Advisory Council.

April 24, 2013

15-Year-Old May Be on Her Way to Mars Mashable
Abigail Harrison, who operates under the online persona "Astronaut Abby," has already amassed an impressive following. \Harrison's niche celebrity, though, wasn't her original intention. It all started with an eighth-grade project she was doing about the ISS. "My mom helped me set up Twitter to get in touch with NASA employees for quotes," she says. "So I started sharing pictures of projects I was working on and writing about my dreams." NASA and other influencers in the space community took notice and helped fill her plate with projects. Harrison now travels around the country promoting space and STEM careers in schools. She's introducing a pen-pal program in which she'll send readers personal emails about her experiences. This August, she will speak at a convention for the Mars Society about her No. 1 love: the importance of putting a human on the Red Planet.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Reaches Milestone in Development of Next Rocket Engine for Human Spaceflight
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, the rocket-engine manufacturer that helped power American astronauts to the moon during the Apollo era, has completed the last in a series of hot-fire tests on a J-2X engine with a stub-nozzle extension at simulated altitude conditions. This latest chapter in the development of America's next rocket engine paves the way toward full-motion testing of the J-2X engine, which is designed to power humans to Mars. NASA has selected the J-2X as the upper-stage propulsion for the evolved 143-ton (130-metric-ton) Space Launch System (SLS), an advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle.

April 22, 2013

Apply Now For A One-Way Trip To Mars Popular Science
Want to live and die on Mars? Mars One has officially begun its worldwide search for astronauts who will fly to Mars in 2023—and never come back. The ultimate goal is to select 24 to 40 candidates who will travel to Mars in groups of four. Mars One wants to land the first group (two men and two women, ideally from four different continents, says CEO Bas Lansdorp) on the red planet in 2023, with the other groups following one at a time, every two years. Applications close August 31, 2013.
WATCH LIVE @ 12 pm ET: Mars Colony Project's Astronaut Search Begins
The private Mars colony project Mars One led by Bas Lansdorp will hold a press conference on Monday, April 22, at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT) to "make an important announcement about its astronaut selection program at a press conference in New York."

April 16, 2013

Mars Colony Project to Begin Astronaut Search by July
A nonprofit organization that aims to land four astronauts on Mars in 2023 will kick off its two-year, televised search for Red Planet explorers by this summer. The Netherlands-based Mars One will begin accepting application videos sometime between now and July, charging a fee to weed out folks who aren't serious about their candidacy. The group hopes to raise millions of dollars this way, with the proceeds paying for the ongoing selection process and technology studies.

April 10, 2013

Venus on Mars : Mars Exploration Discussion Panel Chabot Space & Science Center
Friday, April 12 (7pm - 9pm) Inspire a female in your life, inspire yourself! Take a trip to the red planet with an all-female panel of experts who will share their perspectives on what it will take to get humans to Mars based on their respective experience and expertise. Join us for a spirited discussion by these accomplished women, who are finding new ways to explore Mars, to overcome the physical demands of long-distance space travel, and to take imaginative planetary leaps from Earth to our next-door neighbor in space.

April 9, 2013

Is Mars for Sale? Mashable
Early explorers risked their lives to reach the ends of the world, but not purely for the advancement of mankind. In reality, their bravery was motivated by one very powerful prospect: the possibility of wealth, be it treasure or land. Today, Mars is our land beyond the horizon — a territory that can only be reached by plunging off the edge of our flat, incomplete map. But just like setting sail to the unknown West, sending a human to Mars is enormously expensive, not to mention dangerous, perhaps even deadly. But even with the clear risks, people are sinking millions into private Mars colonization projects. Will they eventually pull a King Ferdinand and claim Martian land as their own?
Mars One now accepts Bitcoin donations Mars One
Donations towards our Mars mission can now be made in Bitcoins- the world’s newest, fastest growing currency and the internet’s own local currency. Bitcoin makes it easy for people from all over the world to donate to Mars One. Anybody, anywhere who has access to the internet can transfer bitcoins without needing an account with a third party. This will help us dissolve more boundaries and surpass geographic distances between us and our supporters far away so that we can work together towards our global mission.

April 8, 2013

Rocket powered by nuclear fusion could send humans to Mars University of Washington
Human travel to Mars has long been the unachievable dangling carrot for space programs. Now, astronauts could be a step closer to our nearest planetary neighbor through a unique manipulation of nuclear fusion, the same energy that powers the sun and stars. University of Washington researchers and scientists at a Redmond-based space-propulsion company are building components of a fusion-powered rocket aimed to clear many of the hurdles that block deep space travel, including long times in transit, exorbitant costs and health risks.

April 4, 2013

Inspiration Mars considers NASA's Space Launch System, ULA rockets for 2018 Mars trip
Dennis Tito, the man trying to mount a privately funded fly-by mission of Mars in 2018, is considering the Space Launch System being developed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center as his astronauts' ride to the red planet. A Marshall spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday that Tito and another executive of his Inspiration Mars non-profit organization, visited Marshall March 19 for a briefing on SLS. Marshall is leading development of the booster part of the new heavy-lift rocket for NASA. An April 3 Inspiration Mars feasibility analysis on the website of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics lists SLS as an optional launch vehicle along with a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket and the big versions of the Atlas and Delta rockets assembled by United Launch Alliance in Decatur, Al. The Falcon Heavy has not flown yet, either, but ULA has launched both Atlas and Delta rockets successfully.

April 1, 2013

MISSION TO MARS: My Vision for Space Exploration National Geographic
In a new book from National Geographic, celebrated astronaut and bestselling author Buzz Aldrin boldly advocates continuing exploration of our solar system. In MISSION TO MARS: My Vision for Space Exploration (National Geographic Books; ISBN 978-1-4262-1017-4; on sale May 7; hardcover), by Buzz Aldrin and Leonard David, Aldrin lays out his goals for the space program and how he believes we can get humans to Mars by the 2030s, a vision shared by President Obama and one that is fortified by private industry and international cooperation. In the book, which includes a foreword by Aldrin’s son Andrew, Aldrin makes the case and argues passionately for pushing our boundaries of knowledge and exploration of our solar system and presents his “unified space vision.” Aldrin discusses the history of space flight, including a reflective, not nostalgic, look at the people, technologies and steps that were taken to accomplish America’s Apollo moon landings, and plots a course of future exploration. He says “Do not put NASA astronauts on the moon. They have other places to go.” And he emphasizes that the path forward is not a competition; we cannot restart an engine to rerun a race we previously won. This is a controversial notion that causes significant division among astronauts.

March 29, 2013

Growing plants on Mars Wageningen University
We have been to the Moon several times. Next time, we may go back for a considerable period. And concrete plans for a one-way ticket to Mars have already been forged. Food will have to be grown on location. Is this a distant future scenario? Not for Wieger Wamelink, ecologist at Alterra Wageningen UR, for whom the future will begin on 2 April. He will be researching whether or not it is possible to grow plants on the Moon and Mars.

March 28, 2013

Why a Mars Comet Impact Would be Awesome Discovery News
When Jupiter’s tides ripped Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 to shreds, only for the icy chunks to succumb to the intense Jovian gravity, ultimately slamming into the gas giant’s atmosphere, mankind was treated to a rare cosmic spectacle (in human timescales at least). That was the first time in modern history that we saw a comet do battle with a planet… and lose. But next year, astronomers think there’s a chance — albeit a small one — of a neighboring planet getting punched by an icy interplanetary interloper. However, this planet doesn’t have a generously thick atmosphere to soften the blow. Rather than causing bruises in a dense, molecular hydrogen atmosphere, this comet will pass through the atmosphere like it wasn’t even there and hit the planetary surface like a cosmic pile-driver, ripping into the crust. What’s more, we’d have robotic eyes on the ground and in orbit should the worst happen.
Serious Intent About 2018 Human Mars Mission Aviation Week & Space Technology
If Dennis Tito has his way, when NASA launches a stripped-down version of the robotic Mars Curiosity rover toward the red planet in 2020, a middle-aged married couple with good mechanical skills and “resilient” personalities will be offering first-hand commentary to reporters at Cape Canaveral on what the planet looks like from 100 mi. up. Even if the Inspiration Mars Foundation that Tito is bankrolling for two years from his own deep pockets never gets its human Mars-flyby mission off the ground, the world's first space tourist believes it will have given the U.S. space endeavor a much-needed boost. Benefits will accrue via technical data for future attempts, possible medical breakthroughs needed for deep-space travel and, yes, inspiration.

March 25, 2013

Caltech Challenges Students to Plan Manned Mission to Mars Moon
Humanity's quest to send astronauts to Mars may get a boost from a student design competition being held this week. The Caltech Space Challenge, which runs from Monday through Friday (March 25-29) at the university's campus in Pasadena, asks two teams of students from around the world to design a manned mission to Phobos or Deimos, Mars' two tiny moons. "This is a technical feat that, by necessity, will spark innovation the world over," Nick Parziale, a PhD student in aeronautics at Caltech and leader of one of the teams, said in a statement. "We hope the Caltech Space Challenge serves as a reminder that these incredibly difficult problems are tractable, and that these passionate and dedicated students are just the women and men for the job."

March 22, 2013

Mars, Our First Outpost on the Final Frontier The Atlantic
Eric Anderson: In the next generation or two—say the next 30 to 60 years—there will be an irreversible human migration to a permanent space colony. Some people will tell you that this new colony will be on the moon, or an asteroid. In my opinion asteroids are a great place to go, but mostly for mining. I think the location is likely to be Mars. This Mars colony will start off with a few thousand people, and then it may grow over 100 years to a few million people, but it will be there permanently. That should be really exciting, to be alive during that stage of humanity’s history.

March 20, 2013

Wanted: People willing to die on Mars CBC
The man behind the private space project dubbed Mars One is looking for people to travel to Mars, but he's not offering a return ticket. "The technology to get humans to Mars and keep them alive there exists," Bas Lansdorp told Day 6 host Brent Bambury in an interview that aired this week on CBC Radio. The never-to-return explorers will require eight years of training, and the search starts this year. The flight is scheduled to leave in Sept. 2022.
NASA Passed on Mars Flyby Mission in 1990s U.S.News & World Report
Millionaire entrepreneur Dennis Tito got space enthusiasts excited last month when he announced a project to fly a married couple around Mars in 2018—but NASA may have passed on a similar mission when it was proposed in the late 1990s by a prominent aerospace engineer. According to Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society and a prominent advocate for exploration of the red planet, he had meetings with former NASA administrator Daniel Goldin in the late 1990s to pitch him a nearly identical mission to Tito's that would have launched in 2001 and cost the agency about $2 billion. Dubbed Athena, the mission would have used technology that existed in 1996 on a two-year Mars flyby mission. Two astronauts would have orbited the planet for about a year, remotely-controlling rovers on the Martian surface with about 100 times less lag time than rovers controlled from Earth. The spaceship would never land on Mars, which Zubrin contends was Goldin's problem with the mission.

March 18, 2013

A Mars simulation in the southern Utah desert Atlas Obscura
Some scientists argue that the fate of the human species hinges upon our ability (or inability) to leave our comfortable home behind and colonize other planets. Tucked away in the San Rafael Swell of southern Utah, members of the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) are preparing for exactly this type of voyage. The MDRS, just under seven miles from Hanksville, Utah, is the second of four such sites planned as part of the Mars Analogue Research Station (MARS) Project operated jointly by the Mars Institute and SETI Institute. With funding from NASA, the project scientists have been preparing for a hypothetical manned mission to Mars in some of our planet's most alien landscapes.

March 13, 2013

Inspiration Mars: Some Thoughts About Our Plan
Our IEEE Paper is an attempt to show the feasibility of the simplest possible Mars flyby mission. We chose a simple Mars flyby trajectory (the one from the Patel reference), and will choose a simple ECLSS, heat shield, etc., using existing designs and technologies on a single launch. We may eventually deviate from these assumptions, but only when we have proven that we must. The paper is not an attempt to flush out every feasible technology that could be made available in the next 5 years nor does it contain all analysis that has been done by the Inspiration Mars team. Our paper represents the work-in-progress that had been done when the paper's deadline for peer-review came. We added additional details for the IEEE conference last week, and more will come out in the following weeks. We intend for our process to be open and public, and invite input from all sources.

March 12, 2013

The Mars Desert Research Station The Atlantic
In the vast open spaces of southern Utah, Reuters photographer Jim Urquhart recently paid a visit to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS). Built and operated by a space advocacy group called the Mars Society, the research facility is investigating the feasibility of human exploration of Mars, using the Utah desert's Mars-like terrain to simulate working conditions on the red planet. Since 2000, more than 100 small crews have served two-week rotations in the MDRS, conducting research in an on-site greenhouse, observatory, engineering area, and living space. Urquhart was able to accompany members of the Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission inside the MDRS facility, and on a simulated trip to collect Martian geological samples.
Reality TV paves way for Neil Armstrong of Mars New Scientist
Commercial space-flight mogul Elon Musk has quipped that he would like to die on Mars – just not on impact. The quote highlights his desire to build reliable, affordable spacecraft that could one day carry the first people to land on the Red Planet. Musk may have the technological prowess to make it happen. Last week his company SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, lofted its Grasshopper rocket a record 80 metres into the air, where it hovered for a few seconds before gently landing on hydraulic legs. It's not high compared with the distance to space but the ability to take off, land and then take off again, like the vehicles of science fiction, brings a reusable rocket a step closer. That could be one part of making interplanetary travel affordable, not to mention less polluting. Today, all rockets are single-use and discarded once their payload reaches orbit.

March 4, 2013

Mars trip to use astronaut poo as radiation shield NewScientist
The man and woman aboard the Inspiration Mars mission set to fly-by the Red Planet in 2018 will face cramped conditions, muscle atrophy and potential boredom. But their greatest health risk comes from exposure to the radiation from cosmic rays. The solution? Line the spacecraft's walls with water, food and their own feces. "It's a little queasy sounding, but there's no place for that material to go, and it makes great radiation shielding," says Taber MacCallum, a member of the team funded by multimillionaire Dennis Tito, who announced the audacious plan earlier this week. McCallum told New Scientist that solid and liquid human waste products would get put into bags and used as a radiation shield – as well as being dehydrated so that any water can be recycled for drinking. "Dehydrate them as much as possible, because we need to get the water back," he said. "Those solid waste products get put into a bag, put right back against the wall."

February 28, 2013

Comet impact could make Red Planet inhabitable RT (Russia Today)
A comet near Mars may strike it in a powerful impact, potentially making the planet much warmer. The Red Planet is luring many entrepreneurs, including billionaire Dennis Tito, who aims to beat other nations by sending a man and a woman to Mars. The make-or-break window for this possible game-changer is October 2014. At that time, an Oort cloud comet called C/2013 A1, first discovered last month, will approach Mars, missing it by about 35,000 km, which is quite close. However the comet’s trajectory is still uncertain, which leaves a small chance it could impact the planet, said Russian astronomer Leonid Elenin, who worked on calculating the course of the celestial body. The comet will be travelling at a speed of 56 kilometers per second relative to Mars when it passes; if they do collide, the resulting explosion would be equal to a 20,000-gigaton bomb blast – powerful enough to leave a 50-kilometer crater on the planetary surface The event would trigger a major change of the Martian climate, Australian space scientist Robert Matson explained. The impact would evaporate large amounts of water and carbon dioxide ice from the comet, spread across a planetary scale, making the climate on Mars much warmer due to the greenhouse effect.
NASA Deep-Space Missions Take Aim at Mars
The announcement today of an ambitious new project to launch the first private manned mission to Mars in 2018 may suggest to some that NASA has lost a step in the pursuit of deep-space exploration. But the U.S. space agency is forging ahead with plans for a flexible new spaceship and rocket to send astronauts deeper into space than ever before. The nonprofit Inspiration Mars Foundation unveiled plans for a private Mars flyby mission today (Feb. 27) that calls for a January 2018 launch of a two-person crew — a man and woman, possibly a married couple — on a 501-day trip to the Red Planet and back. The mission would not land on Mars but bring a capsule and inflatable module within 100 miles (160 kilometers) of the Martian surface before zooming away back to Earth. Just one hour after the Inspiration Mars Foundation announcement in Washington, D.C., NASA officials here at the Kennedy Space Center briefed reporters about the agency's own plans for deep-space missions, including an eventual Mars trek.

February 27, 2013

Millionaire Dennis Tito plans to send woman and man to Mars and back NBC News
Millionaire space tourist Dennis Tito's plan to send two astronauts on a 501-day flight that zooms past Mars and swings back to Earth would set plenty of precedents on the final frontier — but the most intriguing precedent might have to do with the astronauts that are to be sent: one man and one woman, preferably a married couple beyond childbearing years. We're talking about sex in space, folks. And if that's not intriguing enough, consider this: There are already a couple of candidates for the job.
“Inspiration Mars” to pursue human mission to the Red Planet in 2018 Inspiration Mars
A unique window of opportunity for humankind will open in January 2018, and the Inspiration Mars Foundation intends to seize it, announcing plans today to pursue a challenging manned mission to Mars and back. This historic 501-day journey around the Red Planet is made possible by a rare planetary alignment that occurs five years from now. Two professional crew members – one man, one woman – flying as private citizens will embark on what is known as a “fast, free-return” mission, passing within 100 miles of Mars before swinging back and safely returning to Earth. Target launch date is Jan. 5, 2018. Officials with the Inspiration Mars Foundation, a new nonprofit organization founded by private space traveler Dennis Tito, announced their plans to pursue the audacious to provide a platform for unprecedented science, engineering and education opportunities, while reaching out to American youth to expand their visions of their own futures in space exploration.

February 26, 2013

The Right-Wing Mars Guru: Is Robert Zubrin America's Best Hope for Colonizing the Red Planet? Motherboard
When you think of people who urge humanity to go to the stars, you tend to think of cheery liberal icons like Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson. But Newt Gingrich had to get his starry-eyed and much-ridiculed ideas about space exploration from someone, and it certainly wasn't any of those guys. Enter Robert Zubrin, the right-wing bulldog for space travel. Trained as a nuclear engineer, he's spent more than 20 years pushing for the colonization of Mars through books like 1996's The Case for Mars; advocacy through the Mars Society, which he founded and leads; and relationships with people like Newt Gingrich, whom he advised on space policy in the 1990s. He's not a hardcore Republican ideologue by any means, but he regularly rails against environmentalists for being "anti-growth", writes for the National Review, and proudly wears his American nationalism. Zubrin, who just published a new e-book called Mars Direct: Space Exploration, the Red Planet, and the Human Future, spoke to me by telephone from his home in Colorado about why to go to Mars, how we might get there, and why it will be important to defend private property and entrepreneurship on the fourth planet from the sun.
Elon Musk talks space with Jimmy Kimmel AutoblogGreen
It's official: Elon Musk is a bona fide celebrity. He's appeared in Iron Man 2 and his actions appeal to people who don't obsessively follow his work at Tesla Motors. Or SpaceX. Or who send money online. He also makes the late-night talk show rounds, and chatted with Jimmy Kimmel last week. Oddly enough, while Musk and his Twitter tirades against a questionable road test article in The New York Times had been getting tons of attention, Kimmel didn't even ask the Tesla Motors CEO about it. Tesla's first-ever quarterly profit didn't come up, either. Kimmel introduced Musk as the co-founder of PayPal and the founder of both Tesla Motors and SpaceX, but he left out the electric car part. The interview was all about SpaceX and trips to Mars. "He will lead us to Mars whether we want to go there or not," Kimmel said in the introduction.

February 21, 2013

New insights on that private (crewed?) Mars mission NewSpace Journal
The IEEE Aerospace Conference is taking place next month in Big Sky, Montana. If you look closely at the conference schedule on Sunday, March 3, you’ll see this session at 9:50 pm (!): “8.0105 Feasibility Analysis for a Manned Mars Free Return Mission in 2018″. The speaker listed is none other than Dennis Tito, with several co-authors: John Carrico, Grant Anderson, Michael Loucks, Taber MacCallum, Thomas Squire, Jonathan Clark. MacCallum and Clark are slated to join Tito at the February 27th Inspiration Mars Foundation press conference in Washington. This publication obtained a copy of the paper Tito et al. plan to present at the conference, discussing a crewed free-return Mars mission that would fly by Mars, but not go into orbit around the planet or land on it. This 501-day mission would launch in January 2018, using a modified SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launched on a Falcon Heavy rocket. According to the paper, existing environmental control and life support system (ECLSS) technologies would allow such a spacecraft to support two people for the mission, although in Spartan condition. “Crew comfort is limited to survival needs only. For example, sponge baths are acceptable, with no need for showers,” the paper states.
How a millionaire spaceflier intends to send astronauts past Mars in 2018 NBC
Dennis Tito, the millionaire investment whiz who became the first paying passenger to visit the International Space Station in 2001, has worked out a plan to send two astronauts to Mars and back without stopping. However, the privately backed 501-day flight would have to be launched in 2018 — or wait until the 2030s. Details about the Red Planet flyby are trickling out in advance of a Washington news conference next week. First word of the venture came out in a media advisory passed along by the SpaceRef website on Wednesday. The advisory from the Texas-based Griffin Communications Group describes a "Mission for America" that would capitalize on a favorable orbital opportunity to launch a round-trip mission to Mars in January 2018.
Americans Support Humans to Mars The Huffington Post
A new national poll released two weeks ago helped to characterize the level of American support for Mars exploration. In these complex times, are Americans in favor of human exploration of the Mars? The answer is an unequivocal YES. Basically over 70 percent of "the" Americans believe that we should send humans to Mars to explore the planet, and that it is ok to spend up to one percent of the federal budget on NASA (over twice the agency's current budget) to do so.

February 20, 2013

Space Tourist to Announce Daring Manned Mars Voyage for 2018 Wired
The world’s first space tourist, Dennis Tito is planning to launch a manned mission to Mars in January 2018 on a round-trip journey lasting 501 days. Tito, who paid about $20 million to visit the International Space Station in 2001, has founded a new nonprofit company called the Inspiration Mars Foundation. The manned mission is intended to “generate new knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration,” according to a press briefing posted by NASA Watch, a website dedicated to space news, on Feb. 20. The company will hold a press conference on Feb. 27 to provide details of the mission and answer any questions, of which there are numerous. In particular, how the mission intends to keep its participants safe and healthy during the journey will be a key issue.

February 19, 2013

Sex on Mars: A Dangerous Love Story Mashable
When Jane first met John, she knew that they would spend the rest of their lives together — literally. The pair spent more than eight years in space flight training before leaving Earth without the possibility of return. As members of the first Mars colony, Jane and John naturally gravitated towards each other because they share the same future of an isolated life on a new planet. And as their mental bond grew, so did a fervent, passionate physical urge for each other. Now they face an obstacle for which they never trained: sex on the Red Planet. Jane and John are fictional characters. But if a handful of Mars colonization projects have their way, their lives could be a reality in just 10 years.

February 15, 2013

Chevrolet Debuts Lightweight ‘Smart Material’ on Corvette GM
From its fiberglass body in 1953 to its aluminum chassis for 2014, Chevrolet Corvette has a six-decade track record for introducing lightweight materials that improve vehicle performance. With the 2014 Corvette’s aluminum frame weighing in 99 pounds lighter than its predecessor, that trend continues. In addition, the redesigned seventh-generation sports car is the first vehicle to use a General Motors’-developed lightweight shape memory alloy wire in place of a heavier motorized actuator to open and close the hatch vent that releases air from the trunk. This allows the trunk lid to close more easily than on the previous models where trapped air could make the lid harder to close. Considering there are about 200 motorized movable parts on the typical vehicle that could be replaced with lightweight smart materials, GM is looking at significant mass reduction going forward.
Mars Colonization Poll Finds 7 Percent Would Volunteer For One-Way Mission To Red Planet The Huffington Post
If you were offered a one-way trip to Mars, without the possibility of a return to Earth, would you take it? If so, you're in the minority. Only 7 percent of Americans say they would definitely take the opportunity to go on a one-way trip to a Mars colony, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. Another recent survey, this one conducted by Phillips & Company for Explore Mars and Boeing, found that Americans are somewhat more optimistic about the possibility of a human at least setting foot on Mars within their lifetime. That poll found that 67 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "I am confident humans will go to Mars in my lifetime."

February 13, 2013

Step into the Twilight Zone: Can Earthlings Adjust to a Longer Day on Mars? Scientific American
"Mutinous" is not a word frequently used to describe teams of NASA scientists and engineers. But that's precisely the term employed by Harvard University sleep scientist Charles Czeisler to explain what happened when the group operating the Pathfinder mission's rover in 1997 was required to live indefinitely on Mars time. "They didn't really have a plan for dealing with the Martian day before they went up, and the rover lasted a lot longer than it was supposed to, so they actually had a mutiny and wanted to shut the thing off because they were so exhausted," he says, drily adding the obvious: "NASA wasn't too happy with that notion."

February 12, 2013

Americans Anticipate Manned Mission to Mars Within 20 Years
According to a poll dubbed Mars Generation, Approximately 75% of Americans are excited for and anticipate a manned mission to Mars in the next 20 years, with more than half of American's feeling NASA should "play a strong role" in assisting a commercial company, or head up a mission themselves. In the same poll, conducted by Phillips & Company and sponsored by The Boeing Corporation and Explore Mars, a majority of respondents incorrectly answered that they felt NASA's budget represented 2.5% of the federal budget (~$88.5 Billion). When presented with the reality that NASA's Fiscal Year 2013 budget sits at about .5% ($17.7 Billion) of the federal budget, 75% of those polled felt the Agency's funding should be doubled to 1% ($35.4 Billion) of the federal budget, with the express purpose of funding a manned mission to Mars.

January 9, 2013

Wanted: Astronauts for a one-way trip to Mars The Week
The dream of colonizing Mars may no longer be relegated to the world of science fiction. If Netherlands non-profit Mars One succeeds in its elaborate mission, humans could be settling on the Red Planet in the not-so-distant-future of 2023. To kick-start the sweeping astronaut-selection process and begin what Mars One co-founder Bas Lansdorp calls "the biggest media event ever," the organization recently released its application criteria, and announced that a team of Mars One experts and viewers of a "global, televised program" will ultimately choose the first of Earth's ambassadors to Mars. Can this possibly be for real? Here's what you need to know:

January 8, 2013

Mars One Issues Requirements For 2013 Astronaut Selection Mars One
Mars One, a not-for-profit organization which plans to establish a human settlement on Mars in 2023, today issued the base requirements for its pending Astronaut Selection Program. This establishes the first step toward the global selection process which will commence in the first half of 2013. Unique to all other space exploration endeavors before it, Mars One is opening the astronaut program to anyone on planet Earth that meets the base criteria. It is not necessary to have military training nor experience in flying aircraft nor even a science degree. It is most important that each applicant be intelligent, in good mental and physical health, and be willing to dedicate eight years to training and learning before making the journey to his or her new home on Mars.

January 6, 2013

Billionaire PayPal founder announces dramatic Mars city bid The Sun
Visionary Elon Musk, whose Falcon 9 rocket delivers Nasa cargo to the International Space Station, wants to construct a small city for 80,000 pioneers on the Red Planet. The new civilisation would run off sustainable technology and cater only for vegetarians. Speaking to the Royal Aeronautical Society, Mr Musk, 41, revealed he had been waiting ten years to share his vision. He said: “Then it seemed ridiculous because there were no rockets, no infrastructure and NASA was the only game in town — and it had no schedule for exploring Mars. “But with my work, and many others working in the private sector, the mission is coming closer to reality.

December 26, 2012

Christmas on Mars Whatever
My pal, astronomer, educator and science fiction writer Diane Turnshek, is spending Christmas in a most unusual place. Here she is to tell you what it’s like to have the holidays on (nearly) another planet. DIANE TURNSHEK: I’m out at the Mars Desert Research Station north of Hanksville, Utah. I’ve been in training for this mission all my life. A couple of science degrees, my motorcycle license, years spent cooking for four kids, and my journalism skills all contributed to being chosen by The Mars Society for a two week stint in their desert base, a small two-story cylindrical Habitat with 4 x 11 foot bunk rooms and a single bathroom for six crewmembers. Christmas will be different. We are hosting a Swiss film crew who is making an indie movie featuring humanity’s future life on Mars. We’ll celebrate good tidings with beef stew, homemade bread, potato pancakes and a brownie dessert.

December 20, 2012

Mars Rover: Local man leaves sands of Manhattan for desert simulation of red planet The Beach Reporter
This week, Derek Pelland is going to Mars. Well, kind of. The Manhattan Beach resident takes off Thursday for the cold, barren desert of southern Utah to help oversee the Mars Desert Research Station, which simulates the conditions on Mars. While there, Pelland and the five other crew members will conduct research for future manned missions to the red planet. Pelland said filling out the application for the program was “a shot in the dark.”

December 17, 2012

Mars Astronauts Likely to Witness 1 Megaton Asteroid Impacts MIT Technology Review
Asteroid impacts are among the most feared of natural catastrophes. So estimating the risk they pose to humanity is an important task. One method is to look at the number of impacts in the past and use this as a guide to the future. This isn’t entirely straightforward since the distribution of crater sizes we see today depends not only on the rate of impact in the past but also on the rate of disappearance via processes such as erosion, tectonic changes, obliteration by other craters and so on. Nevertheless, various groups have measured the distribution of crater sizes and come up with estimates of future impact probabilities. Today. William Bruckman and pals at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao do exactly this kind of analysis but with a twist. They derive impact probabilities for Earth but also for Mars. Their conclusion is that astronauts visiting Mars for just a few years are likely to witness a significant asteroid impact.

December 6, 2012

How Does SpaceX Plan To Move Thousands Of Humans To Mars? Popular Science
SpaceX founder/Tony Stark movie inspiration Elon Musk made some heads turn this week, as heads are wont to do when they hear someone plans to ship 80,000 people to Mars. In a talk at the Royal Aeronautical Society, Musk offered early ideas on how to start a colony on the Red Planet. So, to recap: Musk wants his private spaceflight business to send 80,000 people to Mars every year. They're not going to do that themselves, probably, but the company would certainly be leading the charge.tart a colony on the Red Planet.
Mars One finds more than 1,000 volunteers for one-way trip to planet in 2023 Yahoo! News
The Mars One organisation has revealed details of its plans to land four astronauts on the Red Planet in 2023, with four additional 'crew' arriving every two years. The organisation said that it had had more than 1,000 volunteers for the mission, who emailed in via the foundation's website. Selection of the astronauts will begin next year, the Dutch organisation says. The trip to the planned 'colony' would be one-way - and the astronaut volunteers will live and die on Mars. Mars One aims to finance a mission to Mars via donations from corporations, people - and by creating a reality show-style 'media event' around the training and selection of its astronauts.

December 4, 2012

NASA Announces Robust Multi-Year Mars Program; New Rover to Close Out Decade of New Missions
Building on the success of Curiosity's Red Planet landing, NASA has announced plans for a robust multi-year Mars program, including a new robotic science rover set to launch in 2020. This announcement affirms the agency's commitment to a bold exploration program that meets our nation's scientific and human exploration objectives. "The Obama administration is committed to a robust Mars exploration program," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "With this next mission, we're ensuring America remains the world leader in the exploration of the Red Planet, while taking another significant step toward sending humans there in the 2030s." The planned portfolio includes the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers; two NASA spacecraft and contributions to one European spacecraft currently orbiting Mars; the 2013 launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiter to study the Martian upper atmosphere; the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission, which will take the first look into the deep interior of Mars; and participation in ESA's 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions, including providing "Electra" telecommunication radios to ESA's 2016 mission and a critical element of the premier astrobiology instrument on the 2018 ExoMars rover.
China to Grow Veggies on Mars? Discovery
It's no secret that China's space program is progressing at fast rate, but could the nation leapfrog the US in the realm of human spaceflight by landing the first extraterrestrial "greenhouse" on Mars? The plan, as reported by the Chinese state media on Monday, saw a 300 cubic meter "ecological life support system" test being carried out in Beijing -- an experiment that was supported by German scientists. In this trial run, four types of vegetables were grown and two people lived inside. It is not clear how long the test lasted or whether the test subjects remained healthy for the duration. This system forms the basis of a far grander scheme that would allow astronauts to cultivate fresh fruit and vegetables, produce water and generate oxygen to breathe on the moon and Mars.

November 21, 2012

Musk goes for methane-burning reusable rockets as step to colonise Mars Flightglobal
While speaking at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London in November, the billionaire former Paypal Internet executive, Tesla electric car entrepreneur, and current Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) CEO and self-taught lead rocket engineer, Elon Musk, described his plan to enable a self-sustaining human colony on the planet Mars. This plan is to use reusable rockets and along with Mars landing and ascent craft to take mankind to Mars within 15 years. And to do it Musk announced that liquid oxygen (Lox) and Methane would be SpaceX's principal propellants of choice.

November 19, 2012

NASA's Space Launch System Using Futuristic Technology to Build the Next Generation of Rockets
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. is using a method called selective laser melting, or SLM, to create intricate metal parts for America's next heavy-lift rocket. Using this state-of-the-art technique will benefit the agency by saving millions in manufacturing costs. NASA is building the Space Launch System or SLS -- a rocket managed at the Marshall Center and designed to take humans, equipment and experiments beyond low Earth orbit to nearby asteroids and eventually to Mars. SLM is similar to 3-D printing and is the future of manufacturing.

November 15, 2012

NASA Scientist: Astronauts Could Absolutely Live On Mars Business Insider
The Mars Curiosity rover is three months into its two-year mission to determine if Mars was, or still is, able to support life. One life-limiting factor to habitability — and critical to a future manned mission to Mars — is the level of radiation, from cosmic rays and solar particles, that gets to the planet's surface. To measure this, an instrument onboard the rover called the Radiation Assessment Detector, or "RAD," has been collecting data on the daily cycles of radiation reaching Curiosity.

November 7, 2012

Op/Ed - Obama win should keep NASA's asteroid, Mars plans on course ITworld
No one knows how the federal government's space agency would have fared under a President Romney -- though it's not hard to imagine a smaller budget and more privatized space exploration and research efforts. But the re-election of President Barack Obama on Tuesday likely preserves NASA's current plans, which include sending Americans to Mars by the mid-2030s. The Mars goal is the second part of a two-step mandate from Obama to NASA in 2010, when he directed the agency under a new law to land astronauts on an asteroid near Earth by 2025 and to send a manned mission to orbit Mars about a decade after.

November 6, 2012

Making Rocket Fuel on Mars (1978) Wired
In the late 1970s, through the initiative of its director, Bruce Murray, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) studied a range of possible Mars missions, including Mars Sample Return (MSR). Murray and others at the Pasadena, California-based lab were aware that funds for new Mars missions would be hard to come by; the U.S. economy was under strain and NASA, JPL’s main customer, was devoting most of its resources to developing the Space Shuttle. In addition, equivocal data from the astrobiology experiments on the twin Vikings, the first successful Mars landers, had damped public enthusiasm for the Red Planet. Would-be Mars explorers reasoned that, if an MSR mission would stand a chance of acceptance, then they would need to find technologies and techniques that could dramatically trim its anticipated cost.

October 29, 2012

Manned mission to Mars could threaten life on the Red planet The Economic Times
It could be decades before man steps foot on Mars, but scientists have warned that if he ever does, he'll bring with him trillions of tiny invaders that pose danger of contaminating the Red planet. Scientists say a swarming mass of 100 trillion microbes will travel with every astronaut who may land on Mars. While these microbes have evolved over thousands of years to help humans do everything from digesting their food to keeping bacteria from killing them, there's no telling how they might interact with the Martian environment, the Daily Mail reported.

October 26, 2012

Mars visits remain a top NASA priority
NASA will continue its plans to explore Mars despite uncertainty about where the country’s space program is headed , experts said Thursday. Recent missions have been successful and future missions are on track, said Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA headquarters. “We now know enough about Mars to know where to go,” he said . Green made his comments at a two-day NASA-sponsored event at Lockheed Martin’s Global Visions Center in Arlington, Va., marking the 50th anniversary of planetary exploration. A major goal of NASA’s Mars program is to bring pieces of the planet back to Earth for analysis, Green said.

October 25, 2012

ATK Selected to Develop MegaFlex™ Solar Array Structure ATK
MegaFlex™ solar array was recently selected by NASA's Space Technology Program under a Game Changing Technology competition for development of the promising lightweight and compact solar array structure. ATK received a $6.4 million contract for the MegaFlex™ development. MegaFlex™, under development by ATK's Space Components Division in Goleta, California, is designed specifically to meet the anticipated power demands of 350kW and higher, with very low mass and small stowed volume for future space exploration missions using solar electric propulsion. "We are honored to win this program to develop the future space exploration power platform for NASA," said David Shanahan, vice president and general manager of ATK Aerospace Group's Space Components Division. "This win is a result of the outstanding innovation and capabilities of our Goleta team."

October 24, 2012

Curiosity may one day return to Earth, says NASA boss
The director of NASA's Mars exploration programme has spoken of hopes that one day the rover Curiosity might be brought back to Earth by astronauts. Doug McCuistion said it was his personal hope that humans would visit the Red Planet in the 2030s or 2040s. He said he could imagine astronauts walking up to Curiosity. McCuistion said the roving laboratory's mission was scheduled to last two years, but it could have enough power for 20 years.

October 22, 2012

Is This the Spaceship That Will Take Us to Mars? Gizmodo
Somewhere deep at NASA's Marshall Space Center, in an unmarked beige hangar, there is a spaceship. A spaceship built with spare parts, scrap hardware from the International Space Stations, a left-over aluminum-lithium cylinder and even museum mockups. One day, it may become the vessel that takes humans to Mars. NASA engineers lead by Paul Bookout are talking about it at the the Fifth Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium, happening now in Huntsville, Alabama. Bookout's team is working with a team from the Johnson Space Center in Houston led by astronaut Benjamin Alvin Drew, a USAF Colonel who's been to space twice, including on the last mission of the Space Shuttle Discovery. According to Bookout, the team is using its spaceship habitat to look at volume studies: "Are the crew quarters going to be the right size, the waste and hygiene compartment, the wardroom, the exercise area—we're looking at all those for this extended stay."

October 21, 2012

Elon Musk’s Mission to Mars Wired
When a man tells you about the time he planned to put a vegetable garden on Mars, you worry about his mental state. But if that same man has since launched multiple rockets that are actually capable of reaching Mars—sending them into orbit, Bond-style, from a tiny island in the Pacific—you need to find another diagnosis. That’s the thing about extreme entrepreneurialism: There’s a fine line between madness and genius, and you need a little bit of both to really change the world. All entrepreneurs have an aptitude for risk, but more important than that is their capacity for self-delusion. Indeed, psychological investigations have found that entrepreneurs aren’t more risk-tolerant than non-entrepreneurs. They just have an extraordinary ability to believe in their own visions, so much so that they think what they’re embarking on isn’t really that risky. They’re wrong, of course, but without the ability to be so wrong—to willfully ignore all those naysayers and all that evidence to the contrary—no one would possess the necessary audacity to start something radically new.
Canada’s Space Agency Unveils New Moon and Mars Rovers The Epoch Times
The Canadian Space Agency has unveiled terrestrial rover prototypes that mark a milestone in the agency’s robotics work. The prototypes are the early generations of vehicles that will one day explore destinations like the Moon or Mars. Steve MacLean, the president of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and Industry Minister Christian Paradis highlighted the new fleet of prototypes on Oct. 19 at the CSA headquarters in Longueuil, Quebec. “Canada’s reputation for excellence has been carved out through decades of innovation and technological advances such as the iconic Canadarm, Canadarm2, and Dextre,” Paradis said in a statement.

October 19, 2012

Mars One plans human settlement on the Red Planet by 2023 SEN
Mars One, a Dutch company, is aiming to establish a permanent human settlement on the Red Planet. The mission, to be funded from the sale of broadcasting rights, would see the first 4 settlers arrive on Mars in 2023. The Mars One vision belongs to entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp and scientist Arno Wielders. They believe that if they can build a human settlement on Mars there will be sufficient money from broadcasting to finance the mission. As well as television shows documenting the build up, astronaut selection process and journey to Mars, video would be streamed continuously from the surface as soon as the first Mars One rover lands. The founders say "As with the Apollo Moon landings, a human mission to Mars will inspire generations to believe that all things are possible, that anything can be achieved."

October 15, 2012

3D Printing Flies High DesignNews
3D printing techniques are reaching into space to help NASA astronauts. They're also creating production metal and plastic parts for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), fighter jets, commercial planes, and cars. Research is underway to develop additive manufacturing (AM) techniques for making end-use parts for cars and planes from aluminum powders and other materials, including 3D printing carbon composites. Materials and processes are now pushing the edges of what's possible in automotive and aerospace applications. When humans get to Mars, they will drive around the surface of the Red Planet in a rover much bigger than Curiosity that incorporates AM-made parts. NASA is testing a manned Mars rover in Arizona under its Desert Research and Technology Studies (RATS) program. It's about the size of a Humvee, has a pressurized cabin for two astronauts, and 12 wheels on six axles for navigating irregular terrain.

October 11, 2012

Proton center helping to make travel safe for astronauts
Exploding stars, cosmic rays, powerful particle forces — these are all solar events that we're protected from on earth. But in space, radiation from these sources can affect the health of humans in significant ways. According to Dr. Ann Kennedy, professor of radiation biology in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the major type of radiation that's of concern is proton radiation. Kennedy is one of the team leaders appointed by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), which works closely with NASA, to study the effects of radiation on astronauts for long-duration spaceflights that are expected to take place in the near future.

October 10, 2012

Adjusting to Sol Takes Toll on Mars Rovers’ Teams Space Safety Magazine
It accounts for no more than 39 minutes and 35 seconds but the difference between the terrestrial “day” and the Martian “sol” can really mess up human circadian rhythms. It is like skipping one time zone every day, leading to a permanent need to adjust to a feeling of mild jet lag. As everyone who ever experienced jet lag knows, deviating from the internal clock usually leads to sleepiness and impairs the ability to concentrate and think clearly. As NASA’s Curiosity rover continues its journey over the Red Planet’s surface, this adjustment to space jet lag is exactly what the operations team in NASA’s JPL are going through. The mission requires them to steer the rover in the real Martian time making it impossible to follow a 24 hour schedule. The results of a study conducted on the engineers operating the previous Martian lander Phoenix could help with this challenge.

September 28, 2012

Fueling the Fleet, Navy Looks to the Seas U.S. Naval Research Lab
Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory are developing a process to extract carbon dioxide (CO2) and produce hydrogen gas (H2) from seawater, subsequently catalytically converting the CO2 and H2 into jet fuel by a gas-to-liquids process. "The potential payoff is the ability to produce JP-5 fuel stock at sea reducing the logistics tail on fuel delivery with no environmental burden and increasing the Navy's energy security and independence," says research chemist, Dr. Heather Willauer. NRL has successfully developed and demonstrated technologies for the recovery of CO2 and the production of H2 from seawater using an electrochemical acidification cell, and the conversion of CO2 and H2 to hydrocarbons (organic compounds consisting of hydrogen and carbon) that can be used to produce jet fuel.

September 27, 2012

The Mars Society Launches Major Membership Drive
The Mars Society has launched a new campaign to add 1,000 new members to the organization by December 31st. If you’re not already a member, join us today. Also ask your friends and relatives to consider becoming part of our effort to educate the public, the media and government about the importance of an expanded Mars exploration program and the need for a humans-to-Mars mission in the coming decade.

September 21, 2012

King's hosts White Mars King's College London
King’s College London will oversee the White Mars Analogue Study on the first ever winter crossing of Antarctica: The Standard Chartered Trans-Antarctic Winter Traverse (TAWT) expedition. Led by veteran explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes Bt OBE, the expedition will provide an opportunity to carry out studies on how extreme environments affect human physiology, providing insight into the challenge of sending a manned mission to Mars and ensuring its safe return.

September 19, 2012

Mars' Regolith Could be Used to Build Astronaut Shelter Laboratory Equipment
The rover “Curiosity” is now working on Mars. NASA also plans to send humans to Mars within the next 20 years. On the flight and during the stay on the Moon or Mars the astronauts have to be protected against long exposure to cosmic radiation that might cause cancer. On behalf of the European Space Agency ESA the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH tests whether Moon and Mars regolith can be used to build shielding for ground stations. On Earth the atmosphere and the magnetic field weaken cosmic rays. But on the Moon and Mars they pelt down unhampered. The cosmic radiation can harm astronauts and could cause cancer in the long run as a result of damage in DNA and cells.

August 8, 2012

Elon Musk Says Ticket to Mars Will Cost $500,000 Wired
Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk says SpaceX is developing a plan for trips to Mars that will eventually cost just $500,000 per seat. Musk founded SpaceX 10 years ago and interplanetary travel has always been one of his goals for the company. Few details were provided about the Martian voyage, but Musk did say we can expect to hear more about the plan in less than a year. The bargain basement price for a trip to Mars also highlights Musk’s main effort behind SpaceX, to bring down the cost of delivering a payload — human or cargo — into space. In an interview with the BBC, Musk acknowledged the first seats won’t be selling for $500,000. It will take a while to get down to that price. But Musk says the half-million dollar ticket could happen a decade after trips begin. “Land on Mars, a round-trip ticket — half a million dollars. It can be done,” he told the BBC.
Antarctica to Mars: The loneliest job in the world
Mars is once again in the spotlight after Nasa successfully landed its biggest ever robot on the Red Planet - an achievement that naturally raises the question of when man will first set foot on the red Planet. Already, researchers are hard at work trying to understand what it would take to succeed in such a mission. One of those is Dr Alexander Kumar, based at the Concordia research station in the centre of Antarctica, a place so remote - and so cold - that it is only possible to get in and out for three months of the year. He is trying to understand the physical and psychological effects of human space travel, particularly the role of extreme isolation. BBC Future spoke to Dr Kumar about life at the station and how his stay may be the fore runner for a manned mission to the red Planet.

August 7, 2012

Elon Musk Has Sights Set on Mars
video platform video management video solutions video player Mars rover Curiosity lands on the Red Planet, and billionaire entrepreneur is already making plans

August 6, 2012

NASA Lands Car-Size Rover Beside Martian Mountain
NASA's most advanced Mars rover Curiosity has landed on the Red Planet. The one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a rocket backpack, touched down onto Mars Sunday to end a 36-week flight and begin a two-year investigation. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft that carried Curiosity succeeded in every step of the most complex landing ever attempted on Mars, including the final severing of the bridle cords and flyaway maneuver of the rocket backpack. "Today, the wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars. Curiosity, the most sophisticated rover ever built, is now on the surface of the Red Planet, where it will seek to answer age-old questions about whether life ever existed on Mars -- or if the planet can sustain life in the future," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "This is an amazing achievement, made possible by a team of scientists and engineers from around the world and led by the extraordinary men and women of NASA and our Jet Propulsion Laboratory. President Obama has laid out a bold vision for sending humans to Mars in the mid-2030's, and today's landing marks a significant step toward achieving this goal."

August 3, 2012

Do you want to live on Mars? Electronic Products
A Dutch company, Mars One, is planning a one way trip to Mars in 2023. Four astronauts will embark on a one way mission to the Red Planet where they will establish a human settlement. The plan is to send an additional four people to join them every two years. The seven-month voyage will cost six billion dollars for the first settlers.

August 2, 2012

Op-Ed: Elon Musk of SpaceX: The goal is Mars Los Angeles Times
As shipments go, it was routine — about half a ton of supplies — except it was delivered by the first commercial flight to the International Space Station. SpaceX partnered with NASA in this new model, the brainchild of Elon Musk, who's behind Tesla electric cars as well. He left South Africa at 17, earned two U.S. undergraduate degrees and then made serial piles of dough pioneering online payment systems, including the one that became PayPal. Musk's persona inspired aspects of Tony Stark in the"Iron Man," but Musk's aspirations seem more like Buzz Lightyear's — to infinity, and beyond.

July 24, 2012

Mars One plans [one-way] mission to Red Planet for 2023 FOX News
There’s an old joke about sending someone you hate on a one-way trip to Mars. Now, a Dutch entrepreneur has formed a company around this concept -- and it’s no joke. Bas Lansdorp, the 35-year-old founder of Mars One, told his company is serious about a one-way mission. The company will hold a worldwide lottery next year to select 40 people for a training team. They will then set up a mock colony in the desert, possibly somewhere in the U.S., for three months. This initial team will be reduced to ten crew members. “We will send humans to Mars in 2023,” he told “They will live there the rest of their lives. There will be a habitat waiting for them, and we’ll start sending four people every two years.”

July 19, 2012

Camping vs. Settling
NASA is currently building the capabilities for long-term, deep-space human exploration. We know from experience on the International Space Station (ISS) that harnessing and recycling space resources increases mission flexibility, reduces payload mass requirements, and reduces risk to a crew who might otherwise be dependent on a cargo delivery. The ISS Water Recycling System, for instance, leverages local resources by recycling as much water as possible. It recycles urine from waste systems and even moisture from the air. This system is vital to continual operations because the cost of transporting all of the water needed for consumption and waste management is prohibitively expensive. Bill Larson, In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Technology Development Project Manager, explains how ISRU is a vital component of long-duration missions, offering the analogy of "camping vs. settling" at a destination. For instance, when you're camping, you bring canned and perishable food, bottled water, other temporary consumables, and batteries for your flashlight. When you are settling at a new location, you are likely to bring some perishables to sustain you in the beginning, but you'll also bring buckets to gather fresh water, seeds for a garden, spices to flavor the food you'll grow, and, instead of batteries, a reusable method of power generation.

June 5, 2012

Mars One: Dutch Startup Aims To Colonize Red Planet In 2023 The Huffington Post
Bored with talk about building a lunar colony? A Dutch startup that goes by the name Mars One says it will establish a colony on Mars by 2023, according to the Mars One website. In 2022, a crew of four will embark on a seven-month flight to the Red Planet--and stay there for the rest of their lives, according to the website. A new team will make the trip every two years, enabling the colony to grow.

April 19, 2012

NASA administrator: To Mars! CBS News
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden says it's the "beginning of a new era" for NASA, now that the Shuttle program has ended and the massive craft are making their ways to museums. But nonetheless, he was "very emotional" watching Space Shuttle Discovery make its last flight yesterday to its permanent home at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center. Bolden had "good times in Discovery" when he piloted two of its 39 missions -- one that put the Hubble Space Telescope in order and the other the first with a crew that included a Russian cosmonaut. NASA's been in the business of "taking science fiction and turning it into science fact" for over 60 years, and Bolden says that's going to continue. The next destination? Mars. Bolden is confident "we're going to go farther than the moon," in the pursuit of putting humans "in the Martian environment by 2030."

March 21, 2012

Mars for the 'average person'
Rocket entrepreneur Elon Musk believes he can get the cost of a round trip to Mars down to about half a million dollars. The SpaceX CEO says he has finally worked out how to do it, and told the BBC he would reveal further details later this year or early in 2013. Musk is one of NASA's new commercial partners, building systems to take cargo and crew to the space station. He has developed his own rocket and a capsule for the purpose. The Falcon 9 launcher and the Dragon vessel are expected to give the first full demonstration of their capabilities next month on an unmanned sortie to the orbiting outpost. Elon Musk describes his Mars vision in Scott's Legacy, a BBC Radio 4 programme presented by Kevin Fong. The programme examines the future of exploration.

February 23, 2012

Meals on Mars? New NASA Study Asks: What Space Food Tastes Best? TakePart
The space program has come a long way since the days of Apollo, and it turns out, astronaut cuisine has modernized right along with it. Yep, space food has moved beyond dehydrated ice cream and bright orange Tang crystals, with today’s astronauts feasting on chicken consommé, macaroni and cheese and shrimp cocktail. But as NASA contemplates a mission to Mars, the agency wants to know how to prevent their space crew from getting bored with its meals during a potentially long mission. (Though no Mars trips are officially on the books, it’s estimated that a Mars mission would take about three years.) How does NASA plan to find out what foods to serve up in space? Through a four-month experiment—a partnership between the space agency, Cornell University and the University of Hawaii-Manoa—that requires six participants to live in a simulated Mars base, eating a strictly enforced diet of space cuisine. The goal is to figure out what triggers menu fatigue—a standard complaint of astronauts.

February 18, 2012

Xombie Rocket Lander Proves Capable of Landing on Mars Fellow GEEK
Good news for the space buffs in the audience: the human race is continuing its march toward the stars. Now a small, private company has successfully demonstrated a rocket-powered lander in Earth’s gravity field, meaning that the craft would be more than capable of handling the gravity on Mars or the moon. Built by Masten Aerospace Systems, the rocket demonstrated, during a test for NASA, that it is capable of launching off the ground and navigating. It successfully managed to take off, fly up 164 feet, move just about as far horizontally, before settling back down after a 67 second flight.

February 17, 2012

John Glenn, 1st American in Orbit, Pushes for Manned Mars Missions
As the 50th anniversary of his historic spaceflight approaches, former NASA astronaut John Glenn is pushing for manned exploration of Mars and other farflung destinations. On Feb. 20, 1962, Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth when his Friendship 7 capsule zipped around our planet three times, then splashed down safely in the Atlantic Ocean. Glenn's flight put the United States back on even footing with the Soviet Union, which had launched the first manned orbital flight in April 1961. The U.S.-Soviet space race in the 1960s got much of the American public excited about space science and exploration. That enthusiasm has since flagged, but sending astronauts to the Red Planet could help rekindle it, Glenn said. "We're accustomed to the new things and get used to them, and it's hard to get excited about something new," Glenn said today (Feb. 17) during a NASA event commemorating his orbital flight, citing the rapid march of technological innovation as a sort of numbing agent. "I'm sure if we establish bases someplace else, or if we make that flight to Mars, that'll re-galvanize people again."

February 15, 2012

Op/Ed : Obama Wrecks the Mars Program National Review Online
In its budget submitted to Congress on February 13, the Obama administration zeroed out funding for NASA’s future Mars-exploration missions. The Mars Science Lab Curiosity, currently en route to the Red Planet and the nearly completed small MAVEN orbiter, scheduled for launch in 2013, will be sent, but that’s it. No funding has been provided for the Mars probes planned as joint missions in 2016 and 2018 with the European Space Agency, and nothing after that is funded either. This poses a grave crisis for the American space program. NASA’s Mars-exploration effort has been brilliantly successful because, since 1994, it has been approached as a campaign, with probes launched every two years, alternating between orbiters and landers. As a result, combined operations have been possible, with orbiters providing communication links and reconnaissance guidance for surface rovers, which in turn can conduct investigations on the ground to verify and calibrate orbital observations. Thus, the great treks of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, launched in 2003, were supported from above by Mars Global Surveyor (MGS, launched in1996), Mars Odyssey (launched in 2001), and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO, launched in 2005). But after serving ten years in orbit, MGS is now no longer operating, and if we wait until the 2020s to resume Mars exploration, the rest of the orbiters will be gone as well. Moreover, so will be the experienced teams that created them. Effectively, the whole program will be completely wrecked, and we will have to start again from scratch.

January 31, 2012

How NASA Solved a $100 Million Problem for Five Bucks Gizmodo
A few years ago, back when the Constellation Program was still alive, NASA engineers discovered that the Ares I rocket had a crucial flaw, one that could have jeopardized the entire project. They panicked. They plotted. They steeled themselves for the hundreds of millions of dollars it was going to take to make things right. And then they found out how to fix it for the cost of an extra value meal. The problem facing Ares 1 wasn't a booster malfunction or a computer glitch. It was simple cause-and-effect physics. During the final stages of a launch, as the solid booster rocket burns down it makes the entire vehicle oscillate rapidly. Add that oscillation to the resonant frequency of the large tube that separates the booster and the crew cabin, and you get a crew capsule that vibrates like crazy. When humans are vibrating to that extent, it's impossible for them to read a digital display. If the astronauts can't read, they can't do their jobs. If they can't do their jobs, no more mission.

January 29, 2012

Op/Ed: How Much Is an Astronaut’s Life Worth? Reason Magazine
If we could put a man on the Moon, why can’t we put a man on the Moon? Starting with near zero space capability in 1961, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) put men on our companion world in eight years. Yet despite vastly superior technology and hundreds of billions of dollars in subsequent spending, the agency has been unable to send anyone else farther than low Earth orbit ever since. Why? Because we insist that our astronauts be as safe as possible.

January 27, 2012

Mars-Bound Instrument Detects Solar Burst's Effects
The largest solar particle event since 2005 has been detected by the radiation- monitoring instrument aboard the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, on its way from Earth to Mars. The Radiation Assessment Detector, inside the mission's Curiosity rover tucked inside the spacecraft, is measuring the radiation exposure that could affect a human astronaut on a potential Mars mission. It has measured an increase resulting from a Jan. 22 solar storm observed by other NASA spacecraft. No harmful effects to the Mars Science Laboratory have been detected from this solar event.

January 24, 2012

SLS Exploration Roadmap evaluations provide clues for human Mars missions Spaceflight
As NASA managers continue to work through the evaluations into an exploration roadmap for the agency, the end goal of sending humans to Mars is starting to show a level of consistency. Per documentation, the key Design Reference Mission (DRM) evaluations are pointing to the “Flexible Path” approach of visiting a Martian moon, prior to landing humans on Mars itself.

January 22, 2012

Research participants sought for 120-day Mars analog habitat study University of Hawaii
Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and Cornell University are seeking applicants for a NASA-funded Mars analog habitat study, Hawaiʻi Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, or HI-SEAS. The study will investigate the impact of food preparation, food monotony, nasal congestion and smelling acuity on food and nutrient intake in isolated, confined microsocieties similar to astronaut crews on long term planetary exploration missions. The study will also track the use of habitat resources related to cooking and eating, to provide data for future designs of planetary habitats. Eight research participants are sought for the analog portion of the study: six to form the habitat crew, one “ground-based” research support specialist to provide support for the experiments from outside the habitat, and one more individual to serve as a backup for the other seven. Crewmembers in the analog portion of the study will spend four months living and working in a Mars analog habitat, wearing “spacesuits” whenever they need to venture outside. They will consume a diet including both freeze-dried and dehydrated foods similar to present-day astronaut foods, plus foods that they prepare themselves from shelf-stable supplies – an alternative approach to feeding crews of long term planetary outposts. The deadline for applications is February 29, 2012. To apply, visit:

January 15, 2012

Most important scientific study ever: What about farting astronauts? io9
Humans produce two flammable gases: hydrogen and methane. Flammable gases accumulate in an enclosed space and can ignite. Astronauts are humans who spend lots of time in enclosed space. The logic is irrefutable. So, what's the risk to farting astronauts?
Palestine students work with NASA on future Martian colony Palestine Herald-Press
It’s not every day that middle school students get a chance to talk to NASA engineers — learning about space exploration to Mars in particular. Thanks to a pilot program brought to Palestine Independent School District by ICEE Success (Institute where Creativity Empowers Education Success), David Delgado, outreach coordinator for NASA’s Mars Public Engagement Team and the Imagine Mars project creative lead, made a special visit to Palestine Middle School classes involved in the pilot program Thursday. The Imagine Mars project is a national arts, sciences and technology education initiative, where students, scientists and civic leaders are working to design a sustainable Mars community.

January 7, 2012

We will colonise Mars in 100 yrs: Stephen Hawking The Economic Times
Professor Stephen Hawking, who has decoded some of the greatest mysteries of the universe, predicted that humans will colonise Mars - but not for at least a century. The physicist said it is 'essential' for man to spread across the galaxy in case Earth is destroyed suggesting that it was 'almost certain' that a disaster 'such as nuclear war or global warming' would obliterate the planet within a thousand years. "It is essential that we colonise space. I believe that we will eventually establish self-sustaining colonies on Mars and other bodies in the solar system, but not within the next 100 years," the Daily Mail quoted Professor Hawking as telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme on the eve of his 70th birthday.

December 29, 2011

Man Will Be on Mars in 20 Years—for Less Than $5 Billion, Says Elon Musk Slate
Elon Musk, the man who helped make Internet commerce possible for the everyman by creating PayPal, wants to bring space travel to the masses as well. And not that just putting a proverbial foot in space and then returning right away to Earth. Musk hopes his private space company SpaceX will bring millions to Mars. Says the New Scientist’s Greg Klerkx: In his Heinlein prize acceptance speech, he said he wants to put 10,000 people on Mars. Musk rarely makes public statements merely for effect but a call for 10,000 would-be Martians is extraordinary, even by his standards. When I query him on this point, he pauses. Is he reconsidering? Yes... but, as with so much else about Musk, not in a predictable way. "Ultimately we don't really want 10,000 people on Mars," he says, after letting the pause linger a few seconds more. "We want millions."

November 14, 2011

Mission to Mars: NASA gears up to send robotic laboratory and laser-armed rover to red planet The Daily Mail
Nasa’s most advanced mobile robotic laboratory, which will examine one of the most intriguing areas on Mars, is in final preparations for a launch from Florida's Space Coast on November 25. The Mars Science Laboratory mission will carry Curiosity, a rover with more scientific capability than any ever sent to another planet. It will set down inside a huge crater and use its highly advanced instruments, including cameras and lasers, to find out more about the planet’s environment, which will help pave the way for human missions. Doug McCuistion, director of the Mars Exploration Program at Nasa Headquarters in Washington, said: ‘Mars Science Laboratory builds upon the improved understanding about Mars gained from current and recent missions. ‘This mission advances technologies and science that will move us toward missions to return samples from, and eventually send humans to, Mars.’

November 11, 2011

Mars explorers will include women, experts say
Men walked on the Moon, but women will be among the pioneering explorers who someday step foot on Mars, said a gathering of top female space experts this week. Plenty has changed since Neil Armstrong and 11 male successors left their footprints on the Moon from 1969 to 1972, but lingering stereotypes still harm young girls and not enough women reach the upper levels of planetary science, they said. Some of the leading women at NASA, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX and other organizations came together for a two-day meeting in the nation's capital to discuss their work, how they made it and how the next generation can, too. Despite challenges that may remain, the days when women were excluded from space exploration are over, said Colleen Hartman, NASA assistant associate administrator, science mission directorate. "Men went to the Moon but everyone will be going to Mars."

November 7, 2011

Free livestream Women and Mars conference

The Women and Mars Conference is just a few days away.
Register today at
You don’t want to miss this conference – see the updated conference agenda

Explore Mars is also pleased to announce that NASA has arranged for the Women and Mars Conference to be webcasted, freely available to anyone. ”We hope that as many people as possible will come to the conference as possible, since it will be a great event,” commented Explore Mars Executive Director, Chris Carberry. “However, for those who can’t be there in person, this webcasting will allow everyone to view the conference from anywhere in the world. We know for a fact that a group of women working at ESTEC in the Netherlands, will participate in the conference in this way”

For those interested to viewing the Women and Mars Conference online, please visit the LiveStream link at -

November 4, 2011

6 Mock Mars Explorers Emerge from 520-Day Virtual Mission
After being isolated from the rest of the world for nearly a year and a half, sealed away in a mock spacecraft, six volunteer astronauts "returned" to Earth today (Nov. 4) to end a simulated mission to Mars and back. The hatch of the pretend Mars500 spaceship, which is actually a special isolation facility at the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems in Moscow, was opened at 6 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT) this morning to mark the successful completion of a 520-day simulated journey to the Red Planet. The six volunteer crew members had been living and working in the Mars500 facility since June 2010. The international Mars500 crew is made up of Italian engineer Diego Urbina, French engineer Romain Charles, Russian physiologist Alexandr Smoleevski, Russian surgeon Sukhrob Kamolov, Russian engineer Alexey Sitev and Chinese astronaut trainer Wang Yue.

November 1, 2011

Volunteer Astronauts 'Return' Home This Week After Mock Mars Mission
After spending nearly a year-and-a-half isolated from the rest of the world on a simulated mission to Mars, six volunteer astronauts are set to "return" home to Earth this week. The hatch of the spacecraft, which is really an isolation facility housed at the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems in Moscow, will be opened on Nov. 4 for the first time since June 2010, when the six-person crew embarked on their mock 520-day journey to the Red Planet and back.

October 25, 2011

NASA at a Turning Point: Vibrant Future or Close Shop
America’s space program is currently facing a severe crisis. The planetary exploration program is in grave danger. In its FY 2012 budget, the OMB has effectively terminated support for future missions.

October 20, 2011

Mars-500 experiment Is coming to an end Voice of Russia
Mars-500, a wide-scale experiment to simulate a piloted flight to Mars is coming to an end. Its participants “have arrived” at the near-Earth orbit and are ready to “land” there now. In a little more than 2 weeks the Marsonauts will “land” on Earth. Of course, they are eager to leave the hermetic module of the Moscow Institute of Medical and Biological Problems, where they have been living and working for 500 days now. There’s no doubt that the Marsonauts are ready to pack their suitcases, supervisor of the Mars-500 project Alexander Suvorov said in an interview with the Voice of Russia: "The research programme continues because specialists want to get as much information as possible about radical changes. At the same time, taking into account the former results, a certain balance is visible now, as the participants of the experiment say after their long “stay in space”."

September 23, 2011

Astronauts risk blurred vision after months in space Los Angeles Times
If NASA ever wants to send astronauts to Mars, it first must solve a problem that has nothing to do with rockets or radiation exposure. A newly discovered eye condition found to erode the vision of some astronauts who have spent months aboard the International Space Station has doctors worried that future explorers could go blind by the end of long missions, such as a multiyear trip to Mars. Although blindness is the worst-case scenario, the threat of blurred vision is enough that NASA has asked scores of researchers to study the issue and has put special eyeglasses on the space station to help those affected.

September 19, 2011

‘The Mars Underground’ Documentary Updated and on DVD
The Mars Society is pleased to announce that ‘The Mars Underground’, a documentary film that became an instant classic among space enthusiasts, has been updated and revised by the director and released on DVD. Leading aerospace engineer and Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin has a dream. He wants to get humans to the planet Mars in the next ten years. Now, with the advent of a revolutionary plan, Mars Direct, Dr. Zubrin shows how we can use present day technology and natural resources on Mars to make human settlement possible. But can he win over the skeptics at NASA and the wider world? ‘The Mars Underground’ is a landmark documentary that follows Dr. Zubrin and his team as they try to bring this incredible dream to life. Through spellbinding animation, the film takes us on a daring first journey to the Red Planet and envisions a future Mars teeming with life and terraformed into a blue world. A must-see experience for anyone concerned for our global future and the triumph of the human spirit.

September 14, 2011

A Call on Mars Society Members to Submit Questions for GOP Debate
The Republican presidential candidates will convene in Orlando, Florida on Thursday, September 22nd at 9:00 p.m. EST to participate in the FOX News/Google Debate. The two companies have invited members of the public to submit questions for the chance to have them asked live during the political forum. The Mars Society is calling on its members and friends to submit questions with a Mars-related theme for the GOP presidential debate. For example, “"Will your administration ensure the U.S. resumes a destination driven space program which results in sending Americans to Mars?" Please take advantage of this opportunity to submit your questions in video or text form at and vote on others that you would like to hear asked live of the candidates. Those submitting questions must have a current YouTube account.
NASA Announces Design for New Deep Space Exploration System
NASA is ready to move forward with the development of the Space Launch System -- an advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle that will provide an entirely new national capability for human exploration beyond Earth's orbit. The Space Launch System will give the nation a safe, affordable and sustainable means of reaching beyond our current limits and opening up new discoveries from the unique vantage point of space. The Space Launch System, or SLS, will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth's orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station.

August 30, 2011

NASA Tests Communication Scenarios For Near-Earth Asteroids Irish Weather Online
NASA’s Desert Research and Technology Studies (RATS) team has commenced testing communication scenarios for near-Earth asteroids. The RATS team also is evaluates technology, human-robotic systems and extravehicular equipment in the high desert near Flagstaff, Arizona. Field testing provides a knowledge base that helps scientists and engineers design, build and operate better equipment, and establish requirements for operations and procedures. The Arizona desert has a rough, dusty terrain and extreme temperature swings that simulate conditions that may be encountered on other surfaces in space.
NASA Devises 'Global Exploration Roadmap' to Mars International Business Times
A "Global Exploration Roadmap" that will introduce a 25-year scenario for visits beyond Earth orbit is being drawn up by Nasa and their counterparts around the world. The destination? Mars. Some experts say that we should go directly to Mars while other, more down-to-earth enthusiasts say that we should arrive there using stepping stones. The International Space Exploration Coordination Group, which includes representatives from Britain, Canada, the European Space Agency, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the U.S., is discussing the moon versus asteroid route. "It begins with the International Space Station and expands human presence throughout the solar system, leading ultimately to human missions to explore the surface of Mars," Nasa said Tuesday in a news release. "The roadmap flows from this strategy and identifies two potential pathways: 'Asteroid Next' and 'Moon Next," the space agency added.
Vegans on Mars? PETA Says Yes, Please
Most space fans hope that humans will eventually reach Mars. As for cows and chickens, that's another question. Animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has sent a letter to space entrepreneur Elon Musk, founder of rocket company SpaceX, urging him to make any SpaceX missions to Mars vegan. "We can get off on the right foot on our new biosphere by ensuring that SpaceX crafts traveling to Mars are stocked only with vegan food and that Mars' colonists commit to enjoying an animal-free diet once they've arrived," the group wrote in the Aug. 8 letter.

August 29, 2011

The Mars Consortium 2011 The Space Review
By now you can see what a quagmire gaining public support or government funding can be. This is why for several years I have been working on a concept called “The Mars Consortium”. The advantage of this concept is that it takes the cost issue out of the equation by involving the private sector as mission lead. It does not mean that the private sector pays for everything, as that is unrealistic, but it does mean that they lead the way and work with governments where possible in partnership to send humans to Mars and permanently reduce the cost of space access. This, then, is a framework for how this might all start. SpaceX has the cheapest large rockets available today and any human mission to Mars within a private/public consortium would do well to focus their plans on this company at this time. They provide access to the cheapest space transportation means at present. The goal would be to first organize a gathering of potential consortium partners to discuss a framework for moving ahead and what the specific strategy would be to get humans to Mars quickly and with the twin benefit of making space access cheaper. Their goal should be to get a crew to Mars in the shortest possible time, to beat governments to that goal, and, by doing so, to awaken many governments and their populations as to their weaknesses. That first mission would need to be cheap and light but also ensure that a long-term program was the objective. If it could be kept below $5 billion, it’s likely a profit could be made from that first mission.
Farming their way to Mars: Gardeners and chefs likely to join astronauts on first trip to the Red Planet The Daily Mail
Astronauts on the first manned mission to Mars are likely to number horticultural experts and chefs as well as more traditional ex-military personnel. Supplying enough food for a round trip to the Red Planet is one of the greatest challenges facing mission planners, experts were told yesterday. One solution under consideration is for astronauts to grow their own food in a hi-tech 'kitchen garden' Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Denver, Colorado, she said: 'That's a clear impediment to a lot of mission scenarios. 'We need new approaches. Right now, we are looking at the possibility of implementing a bio-regenerative system that would involve growing crops in space and possibly shipping some bulk commodities to a Mars habitat as well. 'This scenario involves much more food processing and meal preparation than the current food system developed for the space shuttles and the International Space Station.'
Miniature Nuclear Reactor to Power Mars and Moon Colonies InnovationNewsDaily
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory have designed a suitcase-sized nuclear plant that can power up to eight normal-sized homes. Thanks to its size and durability, the plant can provide fission power not only on Earth, but on the moon, on Mars, or any other place NASA requires a power generator. While most nuclear power plants generate hundreds or thousands of megawatts of electricity, this portable generator would create only 40 kilowatts. This smaller size is ideal for the type of conditions seen in space, said James Werner, lead researcher on the project. "Just taking it down to that size has a lot of significant differences," Werner told InnovationNewsDaily. The generator is more flexible and can be placed in craters or caves on uninhabited planets, for example. It is also exponentially less heavy than standard nuclear power plants, which Werner said is essential for a generator to work properly in space.

August 18, 2011

Russia and Europe plan a manned mission to Mars The Voice of Russia
Europe will carry out the first manned mission to Mars together with Russia. Head of the European Space Agency Jean-Jacques Dordain stated this when he visited the International Aviation and Space Salon, MAKS-2011, now under way in Zhukovsky near Moscow. He gave no timeframe, but head of the Russian Space Agency Vladimir Popovkin welcomed his European counterpart’s idea concerning the coordination of the future project. The dream of human beings going to Mars has a long history, and at present, mankind is very close to implement such a project. Some time ago, an interest in the planet was linked to the possibility of encountering with humanoids. Later, it became clear that the probability of such a meeting is almost zero, although some kind of life could be found there. The significance of a manned mission to Mars is beyond the search for extraterrestrial life. According to scientists, Mars is the only promising planet in the Solar System from the standpoint of colonization. Perhaps, this may be the reason why the U.S. has declared a manned mission to Mars a national programme.

August 15, 2011

NASA Opens New Office for Deep Space Missions
To embark on its next chapter in human space exploration, NASA has created a new department to oversee manned spaceflight in the post-space-shuttle era. The department is called the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, and combines two previous organizations, the Space Operations Directorate and the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. The reorganization is part of top-to-bottom changes moving through the space agency, which finds itself at a turning point. This year NASA retired its 30-year-old space shuttle program, which was the focus and most visible part of its activities over the last few decades. The agency is now gearing up for an era of human missions to deep space, including trips back to the moon, then on to asteroids and Mars.
Mock Mars flight breaks record The Sun
Six cosmonauts have broken the record for the longest mission ever enclosed in a metal spacecraft - despite their vessel never leaving Moscow. The Mars500 crew have so far endured 438 days of isolation as part of a simulated mission to Mars. They have survived on a diet of cereal bars and pasta and have had little contact with friends and family back home. Throughout the 14 months since "takeoff" the steel vessel remained grounded at Moscow's Institute of Biomedical Problems. The craft though simulates the conditions of a real-life mission to the red planet so that scientists can explore the psychological and physical impact of long-distance space flight.

July 27, 2011

Europe seeks greater role in NASA's exploration missions Spaceflight Now
The European Space Agency wants to take on a major task in NASA's future space exploration plans, proposing to combine parts of Europe's existing space station freighter with the U.S. Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle for human voyages into deep space.

July 26, 2011

China launch again ahead of Space Station and Mars drive Spaceflight
China has launched another navigation satellite, with the BeiDou-2 ‘Compass-IGSO-4′ lofted into orbit by a Long March 3A (Chang Zheng-3A). The launch took place from the LC3 launch complex of the Xi Chang Satellite Launch Center, in Sichuan Province, with lift-off timed at 21:44 UTC – a T-0 slightly delayed due to poor weather in the region. This range of satellite was developed by the China Academy of Space Technology, based on the DFH-3 satellite platform. Equipped with a phased array antenna used for navigation signals transmission and a laser retroreflector, the satellite’s Navigation Satellite System (CNSS) is China’s second-generation satellite navigation system, capable of providing continuous, real-time passive 3D geo-spatial positioning and speed measurement.

July 25, 2011

Voyages to deep space will originate from shuttle pads
With demolition nearly complete on Kennedy Space Center's northernmost launch complex, NASA plans to put launch pad 39A into mothballs in the coming months for long-term storage until human expeditions depart for asteroids or Mars, according to agency officials.
Voyages to deep space will originate from shuttle pads
With demolition nearly complete on Kennedy Space Center's northernmost launch complex, NASA plans to put launch pad 39A into mothballs in the coming months for long-term storage until human expeditions depart for asteroids or Mars, according to agency officials.

July 18, 2011

China's Space Program Shoots for Moon, Mars, Venus
This year, a rocket will carry a boxcar-sized module into orbit, the first building block for a Chinese space station. Around 2013, China plans to launch a lunar probe that will set a rover loose on the moon. It wants to put a man on the moon, sometime after 2020. While the United States is still working out its next move after the space shuttle program, China is forging ahead. Some experts worry the U.S. could slip behind China in human spaceflight — the realm of space science with the most prestige. "Space leadership is highly symbolic of national capabilities and international influence, and a decline in space leadership will be seen as symbolic of a relative decline in U.S. power and influence," said Scott Pace, an associate NASA administrator in the George W. Bush administration.
SpaceX Sets Sights on Launches, Dreams of Mars DailyTech
In the upcoming years, SpaceX has extremely high ambitions for space travel to Mars The millionaire brainiac behind the Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) program has high ambitions of future private space exploration. Founder Elon Musk seeks a trip to the Red Planet of Mars before NASA's mid-2030s current projected timeframe.

July 16, 2011

Men to Mars from Vandenberg? Santa Barbara Independent
As NASA puts to rest its 30-year-old space shuttle program, a private space transportation company is accelerating space travel with a new launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base. In a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday at the base, Hawthorne-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) discussed its plans to replace the existing Titan IV launcher with a new launch pad for the Falcon Heavy — which, upon completion, will become the world’s largest launch vehicle by a factor of two. In the long term, SpaceX’s development of the Falcon Heavy fits into its mission “to make human life multiplanetary” by sending “large numbers of people” to Mars. Although Musk acknowledges that a mission to Mars may not be achievable for many years, he said the company is committed to “going to go as far and as fast as we can” toward achieving its ambitious goal.
Red Wine Counters Effects of Microgravity Discovery News
Good news for oenophiles: Wine can offset the negative effects of weightlessness. We’ve already seen the first beer brewed for drinking in space — any vintners want to take up the challenge of bottling the first zero-g grenache? Scientists have long known that red wine has health benefits; it contains resveratrol and antioxidants like flavonoids that are good for your heart, the Mayo Clinic explains. A new study shows resveratrol can prevent bone density loss and muscle atrophy, two problems that commonly plague astronauts and those who lead sedentary lifestyles.
Mars mission blasts off in Pilbara The West Australian
One giant leap was taken for mankind in the Pilbara this week when NASA scientists tested spacesuits and technology designed to be used on Mars. US space buffs from NASA's California research centre joined their WA counterparts from Mars Society Australia to study the Mars-esque environment in the North West. Volunteers were put through their paces in a prototype spacesuit designed to help simulate tasks, such as bending to pick up rocks, which astronauts would have to undertake on the red planet.

June 29, 2011

To replace the shuttle: A mission to Mars
America's human spaceflight program is now adrift. On July 8, the space shuttle is scheduled to make its final flight, and the Obama administration has no coherent plan for what to do next. Instead, as matters stand, the United States will waste the next decade spending $100 billion to support an aimless constituency-driven human spaceflight effort that goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing.

June 28, 2011

The Case For Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must io9 Book Review
by Dr. Robert Zubrin, founder of the international Mars Society ( Here is an excerpt from the book. Editor's note: this book is still just as relevant and practical as when it was written in the 1990s.

June 2, 2011

The Real Space Saver: NC State Students Look To Support Manned Mission To Mars North Carolina State University
What would it take to make a manned mission to Mars a reality? A team of aerospace and textile engineering students from North Carolina State University believe part of the solution may lie in advanced textile materials. The students joined forces to tackle life-support challenges that the aerospace industry has been grappling with for decades. “One of the big issues, in terms of a manned mission to Mars, is creating living quarters that would protect astronauts from the elements – from radiation to meteorites,” says textile engineering student Brent Carter. “Currently, NASA uses solid materials like aluminum, fiberglass and carbon fibers, which while effective, are large, bulky and difficult to pack within a spacecraft.” Using advanced textile materials, which are flexible and can be treated with various coatings, students designed a 1,900-square-foot inflatable living space that could comfortably house four to six astronauts. This living space is made by layering radiation-shielding materials like Demron™ (used in the safety suits for nuclear workers cleaning up Japan’s Fukushima plant) with a gas-tight material made from a polyurethane substrate to hold in air, as well as gold-metalicized film that reflects UV rays – among others. The space is dome-shaped, which will allow those pesky meteors, prone to showering down on the red planet, to bounce off the astronauts’ home away from home without causing significant damage.

May 28, 2011

New spaceship to take astronauts to asteroids, Mars moons The Christian Science Monitor
NASA's announcement of a new role and name for the Orion space capsule was welcome news in Colorado on Tuesday, where about 750 Lockheed Martin employees, subcontractors and suppliers are working on the project. Orion was originally part of the Constellation program, former President George W. Bush's plan to return humans to the moon. President Barack Obama scrapped that project but spared Orion for possible use as an escape pod for the space station. NASA said Orion would be used to carry four astronauts on 21-day missions outside Earth's orbit, possibly to an asteroid. On return, it would land in the Pacific Ocean. NASA is renaming it the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.

May 23, 2011

One-way ticket to Mars The Washington Post
How would you like to take a trip to Mars? That’s right, only to Mars. There would be no coming back. You don’t have to make up your mind right now, because there are no missions planned or even on the horizon. But when the idea of a one-way ticket to Mars was first broached last year in a cosmology journal, the response was rather overwhelming: More than 1,000 people said they’d be eager to go. It was not proposed as a suicide mission, although the chances of a long life on Mars probably aren’t great. Rather, it was pitched as what would potentially be the greatest scientific adventure and exploration of all time.

May 22, 2011

Mars Space Gear Tested Out The International Business Times
Mars is in reach and NASA and the European Space Agency are preparing themselves for the day man walks on the Red Planet. One space ship manufacturer executive predicted the event would come in 10-15 years. NASA, and other space agencies, have given it a little more time, saying it will happen by 2030. Regardless of the date, NASA and the other space agencies will be prepared. Recently, NASA and the European Space Agency tested out space suits for missions to Mars. The ESA tested out the Aouda.X suit, which was developed by the Austrian Space Forum, in the semi-desert of Rio Tinto, Spain. It took three years to make, and Austrian Space Forum says it's the best of its kind. Meanwhile, NASA tested the NDX-1 space suit, designed by De Leon, in Antarctica. The space suit endured frigid temperatures and winds of more than 47 mph (75 kph) as researchers tried out techniques for collecting soil samples on Mars. The prototyp suit cost $100,000 and was created with NASA funds. It is made out of more than 350 materials, including tough honeycomb Kevlar and carbon fibers to reduce its weight without losing resistance. Here is a look at these possible Mars space suits.

May 17, 2011

The Use of SpaceX Hardware to Accomplish Near-Term Human Mars Mission
The recent announcement by the entrepreneurial Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) that it intends to field within two years a heavy lift rocket capable of delivering more than twice the payload of any booster now flying poses a thrilling question: Can we reach Mars in this decade? I believe the answer is yes. In this paper, I will lay out a plan to make use of the soon-to-be-available SpaceX systems to accomplish near-term human Mars exploration with minimal technology development. First, I will layout a baseline mission architecture and plan. In the next section, I will discuss various technology alternatives available within the selected mission architecture. Then, in the following section, I will discuss alternative mission architectures. I will then conclude with some overall observations bearing on the question of sustained exploration and settlement of Mars. It may be noted that the author is not an employee of the SpaceX company, and does not have detailed knowledge of the SpaceX systems. It will take the hard work and ingenuity of the SpaceX engineers to develop configurations and systems that can make these ideas a reality. Nevertheless, it is apparent that if an approach such as that recommended here is adopted, the requirements and capabilities numbers can be made to converge. We can reach Mars in our time.

May 11, 2011

Robert Zubrin to Speak at 2011 International Space Development Conference
Dr. Robert Zubrin, President of the Mars Society and author of “The Case for Mars,” will present a radical new plan for space development during his featured address at the 2011 International Space Development Conference in Huntsville, Alabama. Scheduled for Sunday, May 22nd at 9:30 a.m., Dr. Zubrin will lay out a bold new proposal to establish inexpensive access to orbit, get humans to the planet Mars and begin opening up the solar system to human exploration and settlement within the present decade.

May 2, 2011

Human Spaceflight: Mars Is The Destination That Matters Lexington Institute
NASA’s human spaceflight program has been gradually losing ground since the Challenger disaster 25 years ago. Retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet and cancellation of the Bush Administration’s Constellation program signal an uncertain future for one of the most important scientific initiatives in human history. Although Congress and the Obama Administration have cobbled together a framework for proceeding with future missions, human spaceflight today lacks a core mission or rationale that can sustain political support during a period of severe fiscal stress. Mars is the sole destination for the human spaceflight program that can generate sufficient scientific benefits to justify the scale of expenditures required. It is also the only destination likely to sustain political support across multiple presidential administrations. Mars is the most Earth-like place in the known universe beyond our own planet, and it is the one location that could conceivably support a self-sustaining human colony. It has water, seasons, atmosphere and other features that may hold important lessons for the future of the Earth, but unlocking those lessons would require a sustained human presence on the Red Planet’s surface.

April 29, 2011

SpaceX Video of Powered Dragon Mars Landing Discovery
On Wednesday, SpaceX released a pretty cool promo video for its commercial crew development program. If it were any other commercial spaceflight company, I probably would have filed it under "Nice, but we've got a long way to go." But this is SpaceX, a company that is proving its launch capabilities year after year, the most recent landmark launch being the flight of the Dragon capsule last year. But company founder Elon Musk has far loftier goals than simply putting stuff into low-Earth orbit. That's so last century. No, he wants to see SpaceX go to Mars, facilitating the expansion of mankind's influence throughout the solar system. If there's someone wanting a ride, Musk wants SpaceX to be the first company they call.

April 28, 2011

SpaceX Sets Sights on Mars FOX25 News
Even though the long-running space shuttle program is winding down this year, space exploration isn't. And now sites are set even further than the moon or even the International Space Station. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, recently told the Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray that his company will send humans into space within the next three years and to Mars within 10 to 20 years. He also told Murray he even envisions a future with a self-sustaining colony on the red planet.
Device on Shuttle to Investigate Radiation Shield Discovery
A particle detector being prepared for launch Friday aboard space shuttle Endeavour is intended to answer some fundamental questions about physics, but it has a practical side as well -- testing a way to shield future astronauts from potentially harmful cosmic rays. At the heart of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, or AMS, is a 2-ton magnet that will bend high-energy particles into five detectors for analysis. Scientists hope to learn about dark matter, antimatter and other exotic phenomenon, but engineers at NASA who are developing next-generation spaceships are keen to learn how similar magnets could be used not to attract particles, but to repel them. A magnetic shield would replicate the protective cocoon of Earth''s naturally occurring magnetic field, which helps protect the planet from harmful radiation.

April 23, 2011

Elon Musk: 'I'm planning to retire to Mars' The Guardian
The fresh-faced 39-year-old man, in a dark T-shirt and jeans, is talking about travelling to Mars. Not now, but when he's older and ready to swap life on Earth for one on the red planet. "It would be a good place to retire," he says in all seriousness. Normally, this would be the time to make one's excuses and leave the company of a lunatic. Or to smile politely and humour a space nerd's unlikely fantasies. But this man needs to be taken seriously for one compelling reason: he already has his own spaceship. This is Elon Musk, a brilliant entrepreneur who made a fortune from the internet and has invested vast amounts of it in building his own private space rocket company, SpaceX. Indeed, far from being crazy, Musk is the real-life inspiration for the movie character Tony Stark, the playboy scientist hero of the Iron Man franchise.
Multimillionaire's private space ship 'can land on Mars' The Register
Famous upstart startup rocket company SpaceX, bankrolled and helmed by renowned internet nerdwealth hecamillionaire Elon Musk, has once again sent its goalposts racing ahead of its rapidly-advancing corporate reality. The plucky challenger has stated that its "Dragon" capsule is not merely capable of delivering supplies to the International Space Station: it is - potentially - also capable of carrying astronauts to the space station and back down to Earth again. In a statement released yesterday, Musk and SpaceX also make the bold claim that the Dragon, once fitted with modifications that the company is now developing under NASA contract, would also be able to land "almost anywhere on Earth or another planet with pinpoint accuracy, overcoming the limitation of a winged architecture that works only in Earth’s atmosphere"
Elon Musk: I'll Put a Man on Mars in 10 Years MarketWatch
In an interview with WSJ's Alan Murray, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk makes the case for an affordable electric car, the likelihood of his company SpaceX sending a man to Mars, and why he isn't exactly like "Iron Man"'s Tony Stark.

April 12, 2011

At Heaven's Gate: 50 Years After Humans First Reached Space, What Frontiers Remain? Scientific American
On April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin did something no human had done before. On board the Vostok 1 spacecraft, Gagarin became the first person in space after rocketing into the sky from a launch site in Kazakhstan for a nearly two-hour flight. What is more, Gagarin became the first human to orbit Earth, a feat that the U.S. would not achieve until its third manned spaceflight, John Glenn's three-orbit flight on Friendship 7, February 20, 1962. Fifty years later, both the space race—and the Cold War of which it was a part—have come to an end. The Soviet Union is no longer, but the Russian space program has become an invaluable partner to NASA's human spaceflight program. Over the past decade more than a dozen countries, including Russia and the U.S., have sent astronauts to the International Space Station, the longest-serving continuously manned orbital outpost in history. Meanwhile, China has built up a formidable program of its own, sending three manned missions into space since 2003. But human exploration of the solar system has contracted in scope since 1972, when the last set of Apollo astronauts to visit the moon returned to Earth. Whereas the first 10 years following Gagarin's flight were peppered with firsts—notably the pioneering moon missions Apollo 8 and Apollo 11—the last four decades have witnessed little else but trips to and from low Earth orbit. That ought to change, finally, in the decades to come. Space agencies around the world are planning ambitious missions to the moon and to even farther-flung locales that have never been visited by humankind. No one knows who the next Yuri Gagarin will be, or what flag will adorn his or her spacesuit, but below are a few solar system destinations that might find themselves festooned with fresh footprints in the next 50 years.

March 12, 2011

Boeing engineer to spend 2 weeks on Mars lander — in Utah desert The Everett Herald
As a child, Kavya Manyapu would stare into the night sky above Hyderabad, India. Her father would identify the different stars. He would tell her about man's first steps on the moon. He would fuel her dream to become an astronaut. Later this month, Manyapu will spend two weeks on Mars -- or, at least, the closest thing on Earth to Mars. The Mars Desert Research Station in Utah draws aeronautical engineers such as Manyapu, geologists, physicians and astro-biologists to its small cylindrical habitat, where research for the first human mission to Mars is taking place. The station is a prototype for the base that astronauts could use on Mars.

March 9, 2011

Mission to Mars Cosmos Magazine
Going to Mars would stretch human technology and ingenuity to its outer limits, but if humanity is ever to spread across the Solar System, it’s a diabolical challenge we will need to overcome.

February 23, 2011

Scientists test humans in simulated mission to Mars Russia Now
The human race has finally set foot on the Red Planet. Kind of. In a unique 520-day experiment to simulate a mission to Mars, a six-man international team of researchers completed the first leg of the journey this month. Broadcast live on a giant screen at the real space mission control centre outside Moscow, two crewmen, Russian Alexander Smoleevsky and Italian Diego Urbina, emerged in space suits after eight months of isolation to stage a “landing”. “Today, as I see this Red Planet surface I can already feel how inspiring it will be to do it through the eyes of the first human to step on Mars. I salute the explorers of tomorrow,” Mr Urbina said in a radio link-up with officials, cosmonauts and media at the control centre.

February 13, 2011

How to Survive a Broken Leg on Mars The Telegraph
The tragic accident, which could range from a broken leg to serious brain trauma, will test the volunteers of the Mars-500 project when they emerge onto a surface of Mars prepared in a Moscow laboratory. The diagnosis and treatment will be coordinated between a surgeon on the landing team, another on the mother ship, and a medical team on "Earth" – who will only be able to receive and send information with a significant time delay. After eight months of "space flight" – incarceration in a 1,000 square ft capsule – three of the volunteer crew of three Russians, a Chinese man, an Italian and a Frenchman will climb into a separate "landing capsule" on Saturday.
Sex and Pregnancy on Mars: A Risky Proposition
Astronauts sent to colonize Mars would be well advised to avoid getting pregnant en route to the Red Planet, according to a review of radiation hazards by three scientists. High-energy particles bombarding the ship would almost certainly sterilize any female fetus conceived in deep space, making it that much more difficult to establish a successful Mars colony once the crew lands. "The present shielding capabilities would probably preclude having a pregnancy transited to Mars," said radiation biophysicist Tore Straume of NASA Ames Research Center, lead author of the review published in the Journal of Cosmology.
NASA ponders a home away from home. Far away from home. The Washington Post
Humankind is looking deeper and deeper into the cosmos and seeing incredible things that were totally unknown just a few years ago. In the past three decades, astronomers have described the nature of gamma ray bursts, proved that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, and helped land rovers on Mars. And yet, while our telescopes can see Earthlike planets more than 20 light-years into the intergalactic abyss, we humans can't seem to get past the moon, a sterile rock orbiting just 238,000 miles from Houston. What's taking so long?

February 6, 2011

Op-Ed: On to Mars -- but not back to Earth Los Angeles Times
We can establish a human outpost on Mars in our generation, and reputable scientists are finally getting on board with the idea. Risky though it may be, we have the technology to place a person on the Red Planet. But, if NASA demands that the Mars explorer must return to Earth, then the idea becomes more like science fiction, and colonization probably can't be achieved within the lifespan of those now reading this article. For a Mars colony to be a reality within the next 15 or so years, the first traveler would have to live out his or her life as a permanent resident of an alien desert world. That person could eventually be joined by others, but return would not be an option.
Mock Mars Mission 'Arrives' at Red Planet FoxNews
A 520-day attempt to simulate an entire mission to Mars has hit a major milestone, "arriving" in mock orbit around a mock Red Planet after months of virtual interplanetary flight. The Mars500 mission "spacecraft" — actually a collection of sealed habitats in Moscow — entered a simulated orbit phase around the Red Planet on Tuesday (Feb. 1), according to the European Space Agency. Three of the craft's six crewmembers, all of whom are volunteers, will "land" on Mars on Feb. 12 to make three deployments onto simulated Martian terrain, ESA officials said. Mars500 — a $15 million joint experiment by ESA, Russia and China — aims to study the complex psychological and technical challenges that must be solved for long spaceflights, officials have said. The project has been running for more than eight months in a mock spacecraft at the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow.

January 19, 2011

Research station in Utah desert is glimpse of life on Mars
Travel twenty minutes north of this tiny town, to the craggy red desert of the San Rafael Swell, and you may discover a spaceship. The cylindrical craft isn't from another world, but it offers a glimpse of one. It is the centerpiece of the Mars Desert Research Station, an environment created by the Mars Society, a growing non-profit organization that supports the research, exploration, and eventual colonization of the mysterious red planet. The swell, chosen as a simulation site for its topical resemblance to Mars, provides the volunteer researchers who come here with an opportunity to live and work in a Mars analog, an environment that's as close to the red planet as is earthly possible. While conducting geological and psychological experiments that could someday be useful to a real Martian expedition, this small group of Mars devotees -- some space scientists, some simply eager adventurers -- live and work in complete "sim." They consume only dehydrated, shelf-stable food like Bisquick and ghee, exercise to preserve their muscles in "reduced gravity," abide by the "if it's yellow, let it mellow" adage in an effort to conserve water, and wear spacesuits when they venture outside.

January 18, 2011

Would advertisers pay billions for reality-TV mission to Mars? The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Blogs
With the price tag on a mission to Mars estimated around $145 billion, one scientist thinks he's found a magic bullet for funding. Why not get advertisers to pay for the mission? Rhawn Joseph of the Brain Research Laboratory in Northern California -- the same man who also suggested that NASA study the effects of sex in space -- is proposing corporations sponsor the nation's efforts to send humans to Mars. What's more, he says preparations for the mission could be marketed as a reality-style television competition, creating more opportunities for advertising revenue.

January 10, 2011

To Boldly Go: What Made 400 People Volunteer for a One-Way Mission to Mars?
An interplanetary trip to Mars could take as little as 10 months, but returning would be virtually impossible -- making the voyage a form of self-imposed exile from Earth unlike anything else in human history. What would inspire someone to volunteer? We've just found out. A special edition of the Journal of Cosmology details exactly how a privately-funded, one-way mission to Mars could depart as soon as 20 years from now -- and it prompted more than 400 readers to volunteer as colonists. "I've had a deep desire to explore the universe ever since I was a child and understood what a rocket was," Peter Greaves told Greaves is the father of three, and a jack-of-all-trades who started his own motorcycle dispatch company and fixes computers and engines on the side. "I envision life on Mars to be stunning, frightening, lonely, quite cramped and busy," he told "Unlike Earth I wouldn't be able to sit by a stream or take in the view of nature's wonder, or hug a friend, or breath deeply the sweet smell of fresh air -- but my experience would be so different from all 6 to 7 billion human beings ... that in itself would make up for the things I left behind."

December 30, 2010

NASA Scientist Publishes 'Colonizing the Red Planet,' a How-To Guide FoxNews
A manned mission to Mars would be the greatest adventure in the history of the human race. And one man knows how to make it a reality. In fact, he just wrote the book on it -- literally. Joel Levine, senior research scientist with NASA's Langley Research Center and co-chair of NASA's Human Exploration of Mars Science Analysis Group, just published "The Human Mission to Mars: Colonizing the Red Planet." The book reads like a who's who of Mars mission science, featuring senators, astronauts, astrophysicists, geologists and more on getting to Mars, studying its atmosphere and climate, the psychological and medical effects on the crew and other details. There's even a section detailing the science of sex on Mars, should NASA attempt to create a permanent colony there.
Mars, One-Way The North Coast Journal
After decades of popular-press articles, a serious proposal to start the colonization of Mars with one-way missions has been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. In a recent issue of the Journal of Cosmology (, physicist Paul Davies (Arizona State) and geologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch (Washington State) make a strong case for sending two two-person teams to Mars — and leaving them there. With the prospects of return missions currently stuck on the drawing board — we can’t even get back to the moon, let alone Mars, under NASA’s over-cautious safety-at-all-costs philosophy — they propose that if we’re going to go anywhere in space in the next decade or two, Mars is the destination and one-way is how it’s going to happen.

December 21, 2010

The Right Stuff to Wear The New York Times
A traveling exhibition of photographs and X-ray images will put spacesuits in all their complexity on display. Most of the National Air and Space Museum’s collection of about 300 spacesuits are stashed in a Smithsonian storage building , laid out five high on steel racks in a climate-controlled room. Each is protected by a sheet of muslin, giving the room the eerie feel of a morgue or the final resting place of members of an odd space cult. There are Mercury suits like the one worn by Scott Carpenter, the fourth American in space, its iconic reflective coating coming off in spots. There’s the Apollo 11 suit worn by Neil A. Armstrong, looking about as pristine as when he made his first small step on the moon in 1969, thanks to a cleaning job by NASA that, in retrospect, was ill advised because it damaged the materials the suit was made of. Nearby lies Harrison H. Schmitt’s Apollo 17 outfit, still heavily coated in lunar grit.

December 7, 2010

The Final Frontier: A Mars Mission With No Return NPR
As the nation attempts to go on a debt diet, the cost of federally funded space missions, like the long-awaited manned mission to Mars, is being questioned. But two scientists are recommending a different approach that could change space exploration forever: leaving the astronauts there. In their article from the Journal of Cosmology, scientists Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University and Paul Davies of Arizona State University propose making the mission to Mars a one-way trip. "The purpose of doing this is to save money, to put it bluntly," Davies tells NPR's Audie Cornish. "I think we've all had this dream of going to Mars — it has been something that has, for decades, been proposed — but it's one of these on-again-off-again projects because it is so phenomenally expensive. But by making the trip one way, you cut the cost dramatically, not just 50 percent, probably about as much as 80 percent. Then it becomes feasible."

December 3, 2010

Our Man on "Mars" Scholastic
It took 17 hours and 5 different airplanes, but I finally got to Mars—or the next best thing. I had arrived at NASA's Haughton Mars Project on Devon Island. At its northernmost tip, the island is less than 500 miles from the North Pole. The cold, dusty land on Devon Island is similar to that of Mars. That's why scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have traveled to the faraway island every summer since 1996. Some 15 to 20 scientists at a time take advantage of the Arctic's similarities to Mars. They go there to conduct research and to test equipment that might one day be used to allow astronauts to explore the Red Planet.

November 28, 2010

26 space agencies to prepare joint flight to Mars The Voice of Russia
26 space agencies around the world will carry out a joint flight to Mars after the year 2030, says the Head of the Russian Space Agency Roskosmos Anatoly Perminov. According to him, all 26 space agencies have signed a declaration to that end to point out that it is expedient to make joint flights to deep space.

November 21, 2010

One-way ticket to Mars? The Christian Science Monitor
Humans could be walking on Mars within the next couple decades, for only a fraction of the cost the United States has already budgeted for space exploration. How? The answer is simple, say a pair of Mars researchers: Give the explorers a one-way ticket. The most costly and tricky part of any manned space mission is providing life-support for its human crew: food, oxygen, and protection from radiation and other hazards of space travel. On a human mission to Mars, most of the cost – some 80 percent of it – would involve returning the crew to Earth, say Dirk Schulze-Makuch and Paul Davies in the October-November issue of the Journal of Cosmology. Rather than quintuple the cost, those funds could go toward building a permanent settlement, the two scientists argue. They propose that, after several unmanned missions drop supplies at a base station on the Red Planet, two spacecraft carrying two humans each would be sent on the six- to eight-month voyage to Mars to begin the first human colony on another planet. Further missions would continue to supply the first settlers, who would be older, beyond child-bearing age, and – of course – volunteers.

November 16, 2010

Scientists propose one-way trips to Mars The Seattle Times
It's usually cheaper to fly one way, even to Mars. Two scientists are suggesting that colonization of the red planet could happen faster and more economically if astronauts behaved like the first settlers to come to North America - not expecting to go home. "The main point is to get Mars exploration moving," said Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a Washington State University professor who co-authored an article that seriously proposes what sounds like a preposterous idea.

November 12, 2010

How Much Radiation Will Mars Explorers Have to Endure? Astrobiology Magazine
About eight months before the NASA rover Curiosity touches down on Mars in August 2012, the mission's science measurements will begin much closer to Earth. The Mars Science Laboratory mission's Radiation Assessment Detector, or RAD, will monitor naturally occurring radiation that can be unhealthful if absorbed by living organisms. It will do so on the surface of Mars, where there has never before been such an instrument, as well as during the trip between Mars and Earth. RAD's measurements on Mars will help fulfill the mission's key goals of assessing whether Curiosity's landing region on Mars has had conditions favorable for life and for preserving evidence about life. This instrument also will do an additional job. Unlike any of the nine others in this robotic mission's science payload, RAD has a special task and funding from the part of NASA that is planning human exploration beyond Earth orbit. It will aid design of human missions by reducing uncertainty about how much shielding from radiation future astronauts will need. The measurements between Earth and Mars, as well as the measurements on Mars, will serve that purpose.

October 27, 2010

Billionaires wanted for starship plan
For some billionaires, space travel is a cause worth big bucks. The examples range from Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson, who's putting together what's likely to be the first suborbital spaceline, to founder Jeff Bezos, who is backing the publicity-shy Blue Origin space venture (and benefiting from NASA funding). But how far are deep-pocketed space fans willing to go? Pete Worden, the director of NASA's Ames Research Center, recently hinted that billionaires are being recruited to kick in contributions for a deep-space mission known as "the Hundred Year Starship." The idea builds on the long-discussed concept of sending people on one-way missions to space destinations, in hopes of jump-starting colonization of the final frontier.
The Hundred Year Starship: The NASA mission that will take astronauts to Mars and leave them there forever The Daily Mail
NASA is planning an audacious mission to send a manned spacecraft on a one-way trip to permanently settle on other planets. The ambitious idea is known as the Hundred Years Starship and would send astronauts to colonise planets like Mars, knowing they could never come home. NASA Ames Director Pete Worden revealed that one of NASA’s main research centres, Ames Research Centre, has received £1million funding to start work on the project. The research team has also received an additional $100,000 from NASA.

October 26, 2010

What is NASA's '100-year starship'? The Week
NASA and the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are starting work on a "Hundred Year Starship" designed to take astronauts on a one-way trip to other planets, says NASA Ames Research Center director Simon "Pete" Worden. "You heard it here," he told a gathering in San Francisco last weekend. "The human space program is now really aimed at settling other worlds." What is the Hundred Year Starship, and will it make our sci-fi dreams a reality?

October 22, 2010

Mars or Bust! One-Way Trip to the Red Planet Could Kick-start Colonization
The vast plains of Mars may be the most promising place beyond Earth for human colonization, but is it enough for a one-way trip to the Red Planet? Two researchers seem to think so. In an article published this month in the Journal of Cosmology, environmental scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch and physicist Paul Davies argue that a manned one-way mission to Mars would not only make economical sense, but mark the beginning of long-term colonization of the planet. The researchers contend that while a manned flight to Mars and back is technically feasible now, the steep financial and political costs make such a mission unlikely to launch anytime soon. And since the greatest portion of expenses would be incurred by the safe return of the crew and spacecraft to Earth, the authors conclude that a manned one-way mission to Mars would both cut costs and help initiate Martian colonization.

October 7, 2010

Could a Human Mars Mission Be Funded Commercially? UNIVERSE TODAY
What will it take to actually get humans to Mars? The best answer is probably money. The right amount of cold, hard cash will certainly solve a lot of problems and eliminate hurdles in sending a human mission to the Red Planet. But cash-strapped federal space agencies aren’t currently in the position to be able to direct a mission to another world – at least in the near term – and seemingly, a trip Mars is always 20-30 years off into the future. But how about a commercially funded effort? At first glance, a paper published recently in the somewhat dubious Journal of Cosmology appears to have some merits on using an independent corporation to administer and supervise a marketing campaign – similar to what sports teams do to sell merchandise, gain sponsors, garner broadcasting rights and arrange licensing initiatives. The paper’s author, a psychologist named Dr. Rhawn Joseph, says that going to Mars and establishing a colony would likely cost $150 billion dollars over 10 years, and he lays out a plan for making money for a sustained Mars mission through the sale of merchandise, naming rights and even creating a reality TV show and selling property rights on Mars. Could such a scheme work?

October 2, 2010

Former astronaut prods PSNK students on Mars mission Valley News Dispatch
Melanie Weiland said it was news to her that NASA plans to get people to Mars by 2030. The Burrell High School senior said space exploration isn't something she has followed closely but indicated a speech she heard Friday at Penn State New Kensington piqued her interest. "I had no idea we were that close to sending someone to Mars," she said. "I found it interesting." Despite her interest in science, Weiland, 17, said she doesn't see herself as a future astronaut. That's even though she learned yesterday the average age for those who enter NASA's astronaut program is 33. James Pawelczyk, who flew aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1998, told Weiland and some of her classmates they fall into the ideal age group for astronauts who will make the pioneering flight to Mars.

September 30, 2010

Mars, Here We Come! Congress Approves $19 Billion NASA Budget FOX News
Congress passed a vital NASA authorization bill late Wednesday, paving the way for an extra space shuttle flight next year and a new human spaceflight plan that takes aim at missions to an asteroid -- and ultimately even to Mars. The NASA authorization bill approved by the House includes a $19 billion budget in 2011 for the U.S. space agency, and a total of $58 billion through 2013. It paves the way for several NASA projects, among them a new heavy-lift rocket for deep space missions and funding to aid the development of commercial space vehicles for eventual NASA use.

September 24, 2010

Russia Is Building Floating Nuclear Reactors Near the North Pole Gizmodo
Here you can see the first of the eight floating nuclear power plants—a ship-platform hybrid that will be finished in 2012. It will be deployed deep into the Arctic circle. And what do they want them for, so far from the mainland? Because they want to expand their territory one million square kilometers. That's 386,102 square miles of extra territory in the Arctic, all the way to the North Pole.

September 9, 2010

How Microbes Could Help Colonize Mars Astrobiology Magazine
Tiny rock-eating microbes could mine precious extraterrestrial resources from Mars and pave the way for the first human colonists, but would take much longer to help transform the red planet via terraforming. One of the most promising planetary colonizers comes in the form of cyanobacteria. The ancient bacteria helped create a habitable Earth with oxygen at least 2.5 billion years ago, and have since colonized practically every possible environment while relying upon photosynthesis to convert sunlight into energy. Cyanobacteria and other rock-dwelling microbes also have proven that they can survive the hard vacuum of space aboard facilities such as Europe's BIOPAN exposure platform and the International Space Station's EXPOSE platform. Only the harsh space radiation in low Earth-orbit presents a life-threatening problem for the hardy organisms.

August 28, 2010

Arctic Greenhouse May Lead to Farms on Mars CBC
Astronauts visiting Mars in the future may be able to look forward to a fresh salad when they arrive, thanks to Canadian research. Lettuce, radishes and beets have been planted in a remote Arctic greenhouse, where researchers are learning how to grow crops without human contact in an environment that can't normally support edible plants. Alain Berinstain, the Canadian Space Agency scientist in charge of the project, said no other greenhouse is designed to operate autonomously like the Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse on Devon Island in Nunavut.

August 27, 2010

After tackling dead bodies, the afterlife and sex, Mary Roach looks to the cosmos Los Angeles Times
Two years in the making, "Packing for Mars" necessitated visits to aeronautic institutions in various countries, as well as the sipping of her own recycled urine. For research. Asked if it was difficult to get NASA's American astronauts to confess about vomiting or mid-orbit existential crises, she simply says: "Why do you think I went all the way to Russia?" During her Russian trip, it should be noted, she describes touring a museum dedicated to Soviet rocketry, discusses head lice and takes shots of whiskey with retired cosmonauts. All by 11 a.m., Moscow time.

August 25, 2010

The strange case of solar flares and radioactive elements Stanford University
When researchers found an unusual linkage between solar flares and the inner life of radioactive elements on Earth, it touched off a scientific detective investigation that could end up protecting the lives of space-walking astronauts and maybe rewriting some of the assumptions of physics. It's a mystery that presented itself unexpectedly: The radioactive decay of some elements sitting quietly in laboratories on Earth seemed to be influenced by activities inside the sun, 93 million miles away. Is this possible? Researchers from Stanford and Purdue University believe it is. But their explanation of how it happens opens the door to yet another mystery. There is even an outside chance that this unexpected effect is brought about by a previously unknown particle emitted by the sun. "That would be truly remarkable," said Peter Sturrock, Stanford professor emeritus of applied physics and an expert on the inner workings of the sun.

August 20, 2010

Give the Wii credit if Russians make it to Mars
There are six men currently living in cramped isolation in Moscow, enjoying and suffering 520 days of isolation as the Russian Space Federation simulates the loneliness of a manned flight to Mars. Good thing these guys have a Wii. Can they make it through 520 days? And what will happen to them in the process? The Russians are testing and you can read all about it at the fascinating Mars 500 site. The site has lots of photos of the three Russians, the Italian, French and Chinese men who went into isolation in April and get out in October 2011.
Mars Voyage Muscles: Don't Like Your Workout? Try it in Space CBSNews
If you thought working out on Earth was tough, try it on Mars. Turns out astronauts on a Mars mission might lose about 40 percent of their muscle strength during the long voyage, leaving them as weak as 80-year-olds, according to a study published in the Journal of Physiology. That could make it hard to perform even simple tasks, let alone move around on the Martian surface in bulky spacesuits, MSNBC reports. And forget about palates or spin class. Returning to Earth could be even more perilous, as the astronauts might be too weak to evacuate their spacecraft in the event of an emergency. "Muscle wasting is a real concern," study author Robert Fitts of Marquette University in Milwaukee, told USA Today. "Mars is a three-year trip."
Astronaut Muscles Waste In Space Marquette University
Astronaut muscles waste away on long space flights and their ability to do physical work is reduced by more than 40% according to research by Marquette University professor Robert Fitts. This is the equivalent of a 30- to 50-year-old crew member’s muscles deteriorating to that of an 80-year-old. The destructive effects of extended weightlessness to skeletal muscle – despite in-flight exercise – pose a significant safety risk for future manned missions to Mars and elsewhere in the Universe. The study was recently published online by The Journal of Physiology and will be in the September printed issue. It comes at a time of renewed interest in Mars and increased evidence of early life on the planet. NASA currently estimates it would take a crew 10 months to reach Mars, with a 1 year stay, or a total mission of approximately 3 years.

August 17, 2010

How To Drive On Mars Jalopnik
In "Packing for Mars," author Mary Roach details the strange science of putting humans in space. In this exclusive excerpt she details how we're practicing for driving on Mars in a remote and barren wasteland here on Earth. — Ed. Once upon a time, astronauts tooled around the moon in an open two-seat electric buggy. It was the sort of thing one might see on a golf course or at one of those big Miami delis whose elderly patrons appreciate a lift to and from the parking lot. It gave lunar exploration in the seventies a relaxed, retirement-community feel. That's gone now. NASA's new rover prototypes more resemble a futuristic camper van. The entire cab is pressurized, which is good, because that means the astronauts can take off their bulky, uncomfortable white bubble-head EVA suits. The NASA shorthand for a pressurized interior is "a shirtsleeve environment," which makes me picture astronauts in polo shirts and no pants. If NASA ever builds an outpost on the moon,* astronauts will be undertaking rover traverses of unprecedented length and complexity. Teams of explorers will head out in two vehicles that rendezvous daily, finally returning to the base after two weeks on the roll. The new rovers sleep two and are equipped with a food warmer, a toilet with "privacy curtain," and cup holders (two).

August 10, 2010

All the Right Stuff and the Gross Stuff The New York Times
In conducting research into the physiology of astronauts in space, Mary Roach found out that one man on a Space Shuttle flight wore a sound monitor on his belly for the duration of his voyage. It is Ms. Roach’s style to be less interested in the belly-noise findings than in the freaky-deaky part of the story. “Don’t feel bad for him,” she writes in “Packing for Mars” about that awkwardly wired astronaut. “Feel bad for the Air Force security guy assigned to listen to two weeks of bowel sounds to be sure no conversations including classified information had been inadvertently recorded.” Ms. Roach has already written zealously nosy books about corpses (“Stiff”), copulation (“Bonk”) and charlatans (“Spook”). Each time, what has interested her most is the fringe material: exotic footnotes, smart one-liners, bizarre quasi-scientific phenomena. Yet her fluffily lightweight style is at its most substantial — and most hilarious — in the zero-gravity realm that “Packing for Mars” explores. Here’s why: The topic of astronauts’ bodily functions provides as good an excuse to ask rude questions as you’ll find on this planet or any other.

August 5, 2010

Life On Mars: The space-suit that's being tested in a most unlikely spot The Daily Mail
A manned mission to Mars may still be more science fiction than science fact, but that hasn't stopped a team of scientists from developing the perfect space suit for the first astronauts to set for on the Red Planet's dusty surface. Martian temperatures can plummet to 113 degrees below freezing, so the first men (or women) on Mars will need to wrap up warm. The Austrian Airspace Forum, who are developing the suit, luckily have a suitably frosty testing environment right on their doorstep: ice tunnels beneath the Kaunertaler Glacier. Read more:

August 3, 2010

Review: Mary Roach's 'Packing for Mars' demystifies space science with laughter The Canadian Press
Mary Roach has made a career writing books that answer questions most people would never think to ask. Having already given readers more than they ever wanted to know about the science of cadavers ("Stiff"), souls ("Spook") and sex ("Bonk"), she turns her inquisitive mind to the cosmos. "Packing for Mars" is a book even the most casual space geek will enjoy. From the race to the moon in the '60s to the current goal of a manned mission to Mars by 2030, the book features chapters exploring everything from vomiting in zero gravity ("Throwing Up and Down") to sex in space ("The Three-Dolphin Club"). It's written in a very casual style, with Roach inserting herself into the story whenever her curiosity demands it. She takes a ride aboard NASA's tricked-out C-9 to experience weightlessness and drinks her own filtered urine — all in the name of research.

August 1, 2010

Elon Musk: 'I'm planning to retire to Mars' The Observer
The SpaceX founder is convinced that humanity's survival rests on its ability to move to the red planet. He tells Paul Harris how his company is making the leap to the stars an affordable dream. The fresh-faced 39-year-old man, in a dark T-shirt and jeans, is talking about travelling to Mars. Not now, but when he's older and ready to swap life on Earth for one on the red planet. "It would be a good place to retire," he says in all seriousness. Normally, this would be the time to make one's excuses and leave the company of a lunatic. Or to smile politely and humour a space nerd's unlikely fantasies. But this man needs to be taken seriously for one compelling reason: he already has his own spaceship. This is Elon Musk, a brilliant entrepreneur who made a fortune from the internet and has invested vast amounts of it in building his own private space rocket company, SpaceX. Indeed, far from being crazy, Musk is the real-life inspiration for the movie character Tony Stark, the playboy scientist hero of the Iron Man franchise.

July 28, 2010

Food for Mars: A Daunting Challenge Discovery
Most people find the palatability of in-flight entrees an oxymoron. But even frequent fliers seldom encounter more than a few such meals per week. Astronauts, in contrast, may have to survive months in orbit dining on a really limited menu of processed foods and reconstituted beverages served from oh-so-glamorous plastic pouches. Luckily, even the International Space Station can restock its pantry several times a year because these foods are relatively perishable. Which explains the problem NASA faces in planning for really long missions -- like a trip to Mars. Astronaut foods may appear indestructible, but many crew favorites don't retain their nutrition or palatability for even a year, notes Michele Perchonok.

July 15, 2010

Planning a trip to Mars Stuff
The temperature's literally freezing, the air is poisonous and you'll die if you go outside without your space suit. Why would you put your hand up to be on the first space shuttle to Mars? Space tourism may not be a reality yet, but in preparation for the day that it is, Guy Murphy has written a book about living on the red planet, titled Mars: A Survival Guide. Murphy wouldn't say no to a seat on the shuttle but he accepts moving to a Martian neighbourhood would have its downsides. However those problems would pale in relation to what else the planet has to offer.

July 11, 2010

14 students from Bellevue accepted into the Washington Aerospace Scholars Program Bellevue Reporter
Fourteen students from Bellevue will participate in one of the four summer residency sessions this summer at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) is a competitive educational program for high school juniors from across Washington State. The 14 are among the 160 students who qualified for the summer program from 247 students who applied in November. To qualify for the residency program, the students spent six months studying a NASA-designed, distance-learning curriculum via the Internet. During the residency experience, they will collaborate with the other student participants on the design of a human mission to Mars. WAS scholars are guided by professional engineers, scientists, university students and certified educators as they plan these missions.

June 29, 2010

Admin Aims For Mars By Mid-2030s National Journal
The U.S. will aim to begin manned missions beyond the moon by 2025, with a planned round-trip to Mars the following decade, the WH announced Monday. "Our sights [are] set ultimately on Mars and beyond," said Jim Kohlenberger, chief of staff at the WH Office of Science and Technology Policy. What's more, Pres. Obama's new space policy lays out plans to extend the the life of the International Space Station for another decade and beyond, rather than sticking with plans to scrap the orbiting outpost in 5 years.
Drug mitigates toxic effects of radiation in mice UNC Lineberger Cancer Center
While radiation has therapeutic uses, too much radiation is damaging to cells. The most important acute side effect of radiation poisoning is damage to the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all the normal blood cells, and therefore a high dose of radiation can lead to low blood counts of red cells, platelets and white blood cells. Humans that receive a lethal dose of radiation as in the setting of an accidental exposure die of bone marrow failure. While there are a few drugs that will decrease toxicity when given before exposure to radiation (“radioprotectants”); currently, no effective therapy exists to mitigate bone marrow toxicity of radiation when given after radiation exposure (“radiomitigants”). The identification of successful human radiomitigants is a top research priority of the US Department of Homeland Security and National Institutes of Health.

June 28, 2010

Fact Sheet: The National Space Policy The White House
Today, President Obama announced the administration’s new National Space Policy. The National Space Policy expresses the President’s direction for the Nation’s space activities. The policy articulates the President’s commitment to reinvigorating U.S. leadership in space for the purposes of maintaining space as a stable and productive environment for the peaceful use of all nations. The United States will advance a bold new approach to space exploration. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration will engage in a program of human and robotic exploration of the solar system, develop new and transformative technologies for more affordable human exploration beyond the Earth, seek partnerships with the private sector to enable commercial spaceflight capabilities for the transport of crew and cargo to and from the International Space Station, and begin human missions to new destinations by 2025.

June 25, 2010

Buzz Aldrin Is Not All That Impressed With Walking on the Moon Vanity Fair
Even in the company of other astronauts, Buzz Aldrin is still the hippest guy in the room. At the 2010 Astronaut Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which took place earlier this month at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Buzz was the Jack Nicholson to NASA’s Oscars. He exuded an effortless cool just by smiling at the crowd, and all eyes were on him even when he wasn’t meant to be the center of attention. The ceremony’s host, Jon Cryer (because when you think of astronauts, you think of the guy who played “Duckie“), perfectly summed up the feelings of pretty much everybody in the audience. “From the moment I arrived,” he said, “it has been all that I can do to keep from saying, ‘So Buzz, when you were like on the Moon and stuff, was it awesome’?”

June 9, 2010

For Mission to Mars, a New Road Map New York Times
“Game-changing” and “affordable” are perhaps the most repeated adjectives spoken by NASA officials in the last few months. The premise underlying President Obama’s proposed space policy is that development of new space technologies can speed space exploration at lower costs. But skeptics in Congress counter that NASA has provided too few details to convince them that they should largely throw away the $10 billion that has been spent so far in NASA’s Constellation moon program and spend billions more on something new. At a workshop last month in Galveston, members of NASA study teams looking at how to put in effect the Obama policy presented their current thinking to 450 attendees from industry and academia. The NASA presenters, in describing how the space agency could make it to Mars on a limited budget, said their ideas represented “a point of departure” that would be revised with feedback.

June 4, 2010

Russia: Mission Mars 500 France 24
To Mars and back - virtually
There will be no blast-off Thursday when six men set out on a record-breaking space mission. Why? Because they’ll never leave the parking lot. The ripped and ready crew of Mars500 will spend 520 days inside a sealed-up capsule in Moscow, outside the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Biomedical Problems. That’s where they’ll complete the first simulated human mission to Mars, a test drive that will be influential in planning future trips to the red planet. “There’s never been a simulation that has lasted so long, that took place in something very similar to the actual future space capsule in which people will be going to Mars, we hope,” says Peter Suedfeld, professor emeritus of psychology of the University of British Columbia, who has worked with NASA and the Canadian Space Agency. The historic experiment will test how the men operate in isolation, with limited company, a significant amount of stress and confinement.

May 20, 2010

Mars simulator vehicle nearly lost in sea ice Nunatsiaq News
NASA’s attempt last year to drive a modified Humvee all the way to its simulated Mars base on Devon Island nearly ended in disaster. Thick snow concealed a lead of open water ahead of the vehicle, which narrowly avoided falling right into the ocean. At a presentation at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit on May 3, Mars Institute director Pascal Lee showed a Power Point presentation of the trip from Kugluktuk to Cambridge Bay, 500 km across the ice of Coronation Gulf, made between April 17 and April 25, 2009. The journey was supposed to proceed on to Resolute and then to Haughton Crater on Devon Island, often called the most Mars-like environment on Earth. But days of whiteout conditions and the near-loss of the vehicle through the ice made NASA change its plans, instead bringing it by air from Cambridge Bay to Resolute for the final trek to Haughton Crater. The “Moon-1 experimental vehicle” is a customized Humvee equipped as if it were a manned vehicle on Mars.
'Astronauts' Prepare to Leave for 520-Day 'Mars' Simulation
It's what the show "Big Brother" would look like if a space agency produced it. An international crew is counting down the days until they enter a mock spacecraft in Moscow where they will live for more than a year -and-a-half to study the toll isolation and cramped spaces would take on the mind and body on a trip to Mars. The six-man crew -- made up of volunteers from Russia, China, Italy and France -- will enter their "ship" on June 3 for a 520-day stay during which they'll conduct nearly 100 experiments. Their days will be strictly divided into three eight-hour segments for work, leisure (they recently bought a Wii) and sleep.

May 11, 2010

'Cosmonauts' chosen for Mars test
Romain Charles and Diego Urbina have been chosen to go into a set of steel containers on 3 June with two Russians and a Chinese national. The group's exile will test the physical and mental requirements of ultra-long duration spaceflight. Their Mars500 "spaceship", which is located in Russia's Institute of Biomedical Problems, has no windows. All the food and water needed for their "journey" will have to be loaded before "departure". The experiment's designers intend to make the exercise as realistic as possible by introducing a time delay in communications after two months. Because it can take about 20 minutes for a message to travel from Mars to Earth, it will take this amount of time in the simulation, also.
Crew Takes Shape for Record-Breaking Mock Mars Mission
An 'astronaut' crew of two Europeans, three Russians and one Chinese citizen will walk into a fake spaceship and seal the hatch, but it's no joke. The team is ready for a record-breaking Mars mission simulation this summer and the European members are already set. Europeans Romain Charles and Diego Urbina have committed to spend almost a year and a half of their lives living like Mars-bound astronauts as part of the Mars500 experiment, the European Space Agency announced Monday. The two Europeans and their crewmates will seal themselves inside isolation modules set up at Russia's Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow. The mock spaceship also includes an interplanetary vehicle, a Mars lander and base, as well as an area carefully sculpted to simulate the red planet's landscape.

May 6, 2010

Destination Phobos: humanity's next giant leap New Scientist
PHOBOS is a name you are going to hear a lot in the coming years. It may be little more than an asteroid - just two-billionths of the mass of our planet, with no atmosphere and hardly any gravity - yet the largest of Mars's two moons is poised to become our next outpost in space, our second home. Although our own moon is enticingly close, its gravity means that relatively large rockets are needed to get astronauts to and from the surface. The same goes for Mars, making it expensive to launch missions there too

April 29, 2010

Broadcast 1352 (Special Edition) - Guest: Dr. Robert Zubrin The Space Show
Topics: Human spaceflight, US space policy, Mars. Dr. Robert Zubrin was our guest for this non-stop two hour program to discuss the proposed changes in US space policy and why having a destination is so important for our national space program. For more information, visit The Mars Society website at Note the coming Mars Society Conference which Dr. Zubrin told us about, scheduled for Dayton, Ohio from August 5-8, 2010. Dr. Zubrin started our discussion saying that we could go to Mars in about ten years as technology was not the issue. I then asked why even have a human spaceflight program and why Mars. Bob provided us with a comprehensive response and discussion to both of these questions. In fact, this nearly two hour discussion was action packed, covered lots of aspects of space policy, was very comprehensive, and while he was critical of administration policy, he also offered solutions to the problems he described. During our discussion, Dr. Zubrin had much to say about the Augustine Commission findings, Science Advisor John Holdren, the budget expenses earmarked for the ISS when the US will not be visiting the ISS except using the Soyuz, and more. Listeners asked him about nuclear rockets, specifically Vasimr. Dr. Zubrin who has his doctorate in nuclear engineering, had much to say about nuclear rocket propulsion including Vasimr and nuclear thermal which is quite different. Listen to what he had to say about these different types of propulsion and why one is doable and one is extremely hard and costly since it requires so much added power, the latter being VASIMIR. Dr. Zubrin dissected the administration plan, especially the part about heavy lift. Listeners suggested that the research called for in the administration plan for heavy lift was about getting affordable heavy lift. Listen carefully to what Dr. Zubrin had to say about this and the entire research program suggested in the administration plan. Bob went to great lengths to talk about why policy needs a destination and time line, be it the Moon, a NEO, or Mars. He offered us many insights about programs without destination goals and timelines. Do you agree with him? Other listeners asked him many questions about Mars Direct including a potential test flight program, tethers, artificial gravity, and needed milestones. He was asked about a Mars fly by mission or landing on Phobos, he talked about orbital propellant depots, the differences in radiation for an ISS crew as compared to a Mars Direct crew. Toward the end of the program, Bob explained the old but important political doctrine of Thomas Malthus known as Malthusianism and why this is the opposite of what space development is all about. Listen to what Dr. Zubrin had to say about this and its influence in the current administration. At the end of the program, I asked him for his thoughts on the use of commercial launch providers and he said he was supportive of that as long as they can meet the requirements and do it. He indirectly referenced the GAP in this discussion but again said a program without destinations and time frames is a flawed or no program at all.

April 26, 2010

Martian tubes could be home for 'cavenauts' New Scientist
Our ancestors made their first homes in caves. Now it looks like the first humans on Mars will do the same. An analysis of Martian geography suggests where to look for the right kind of caves. "At least two regions, the Tharsis rise and the Elysium rise, contain volcanic features which may be suitable locations for caves," says lead author Kaj Williams of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. What's more, the analysis suggests that caves in these regions will contain a ready supply of water, in the form of ice. Lava tubes are the most likely form of cave that we could occupy on Mars. These tunnel-like caves were created when ancient lava flows solidified at the surface, while lava inside drained away.
Cold Comforts: Antarctic Research Bases Are Seriously Self-Sustaining Wired
One of the few inland bases occupied year-round, the two-nation station is built for long-term habitation in the most extreme conditions. The buildings’ drumlike contours maximize thermal efficiency, while a wastewater system developed by the European Space Agency recycles water from showers and sinks. The space agency’s interest in Concordia extends beyond the plumbing: Because the isolation, confinement, and cramped quarters here resemble conditions on a long space journey, the ESA is studying the physiological and psychological effects that life at the station has on its 15 winter residents. There are no plans for a spinoff reality TV show.

April 22, 2010

Exodus Earth: Building Shelter Science Channel
Take a look at the kinds of protective shelters we'd need in order to live on Mars' surface. Here's a hint: the shelters are more stone age than space age.

April 21, 2010

Urban Farming: Mars, Antarctica Provide Inspiration for Brooklyn Rooftop Gardens
Jennifer Nelkin believes that the future of high-end, boutique-quality farming is not in California, sunny Florida, or even the fertile soils of the Hudson Valley. It’s right under our noses. Or more accurately, right above our noses. As co-founder of Gotham Greens, New York’s first commercial rooftop hydroponics operation, Jenn’s got a lot riding on that future. “I really hope that rooftop gardening is a successful venture, because we’ve borrowed $1.4 million to try and find out.” Located on the roof of a manufacturing plant in Greenpoint Brooklyn, and equipped with solar-powered pumps that feed nutrient-enriched rainwater to an acre of greenhouse space, Jenn’s goal is to produce greens and herbs to sell to local chefs, retailers (Whole Foods has expressed interest), and direct to the public by as early as this fall. So how does one get involved with a project like this? I first met Jenn a few months ago at a dinner party that my friend Joshua Levin of and I threw for few local food superstars (including our very own Erin), where she regaled us with stories about greenhouses on Mars.
Just 39 days to Mars
With hard work, an immigrant’s dream of spaceflight came true. Now, his ticket to America could be our ticket to the Red Planet. Like many red-blooded American teens coming of age during the 1960s space race, Franklin Chang-Diaz dreamed of chasing cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin to the stars. There was a hitch, of course. Chang-Diaz wasn't American. He lived outside the United States. And the Costa Rican didn't even speak English. No matter. Chang-Diaz would overcome these obstacles and more to fly a record-tying seven missions aboard the space shuttle. Along the way the physicist would also develop a plasma rocket that promises a revolutionary approach to spaceflight. The rocket, potentially, could blast the next generation of astronauts to Mars in just 39 days, about one fifth of the time required by existing rocketry.

April 15, 2010

Obama sets Mars goal for America
Barack Obama says it should be possible to send astronauts to orbit the planet Mars by the mid-2030s and return them safely to Earth. The US president made the claim in a major speech to staff at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He was laying out the details of his new policy for the US space agency. Mr Obama said he was giving NASA challenging goals and the funding needed to achieve them, including an extra $6bn over the next five years. "By 2025, we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first ever crew missions beyond the Moon into deep space," the President said. "So, we'll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history." And then he added: "By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth, and a landing on Mars will follow."

April 14, 2010

Obama to outline vision for space program despite astronaut criticism The Sydney Morning Herald
Barack Obama is set to promote his vision for the nation's human space flight program - including putting a human on Mars - just two days after three Apollo astronauts called the new plans ''devastating''. In an announcement to be made at Kennedy Space Centre in Florida today, the President will talk for the first time about the upheaval of NASA's human spaceflight program outlined in his 2011 budget request in February. It involved cancelling plans to return astronauts to the moon, investing in commercial companies to provide transport to orbit and developing new space technologies. A senior administration official said Mr Obama would describe a vision ''that unlocks our ambitions and expands our frontiers in space, ultimately meaning the challenge of sending humans to Mars''.
NASA Gets a $6 Billion Booster for Mars and Beyond Fast Company
Find hope in this, NASA, science and Mars fans: President Obama's new stance on NASA's funding will likely pump no less than $6 billion into the agency to create a new heavy rocket sooner than we'd hoped. Mars is its target. Over the previous few weeks we've heard rumors about what NASA's future might look like. All of them seemed attractive compared to the grim reality we'd assumed would happen: The Space Shuttle grounded, the Constellation moonshot program canceled, big delays in getting private space ventures ready to fire humans into space, and huge job losses in NASA and its supporting industries. Now there's word that during a big space event tomorrow, Obama will unveil a new vision that includes $6 billion of extra cash for the space agency, on top of its original budget plans, phased over five years. This money has very specific purposes: Firstly it's going to create 2,500 additional jobs in and around NASA's Florida installations, and secondly it'll result in a new large rocket that'll be key in taking humans to Mars. Spin-off work will include continuing to develop the Orion manned space capsule to act as an emergency escape vehicle for the international space station.

April 13, 2010

Obama to unveil plans for Mars shot The Australian Broadcasting Corporation
United States president Barack Obama is set to unveil plans to create 2,500 more space jobs and select a design for a rocket to fire astronauts into deep space by 2015, The Washington Post reports. Mr Obama will deliver what has been billed as a "major space policy speech" outlining the new future for US space exploration when he addresses astronauts, space workers and lawmakers on Thursday at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. His address comes after budget proposals in February revealed plans to axe the expensive and over-budgeted Constellation rocket project, a move that fuelled a storm of criticism from lawmakers and space enthusiasts. But the Post reported on its website that Mr Obama's speech would seek to soothe critics and provide more specific details of plans to recreate NASA's human space exploration program in what a White House official said amounted to a "bold and daring" vision.
NASA: Next stop Mars? Network World
There's lots of pressure and some speculation that President Obama will throw some sort of manned space flight bone in the direction of NASA when he addresses the space agency's future plans this week at a Kennedy Space Center address. What that may be could come in the form of a formal challenge to NASA to make a manned space flight to Mars in say 10 to 15 years a priority. If that were the challenge it would take quite the effort as most of the equipment needed to make such a trip is largely undeveloped.

April 1, 2010

Google and Virgin announce Mars expedition and colony Project Virgle
Google and Virgin Group today announced the launch of Virgle Inc., a jointly owned and operated venture dedicated to the establishment of a human settlement on Mars. "Some people are calling Virgle an 'interplanetary Noah's Ark,'" said Virgin Group President and Founder Sir Richard Branson, who conceived the new venture. "I'm one of them. It's a potentially remarkable business, but more than that, it's a glorious adventure. For me, Virgle evokes the spirit of explorers such as Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo, who set sail looking for the New World. I do hope we'll be a bit more efficient about actually finding it, though." The Virgle 100 Year Plan's milestones will include Virgle Pioneer selection (2008-2010), the first manned journey to Mars (2016), a Virgle Inc. initial public offering to capitalize on the first manned journey to Mars (2016), the founding of the first permanent Martian municipality, Virgle City (2050), and the achievement of a truly self-sustaining Martian civilization with a population exceeding 100,000 (2108). “Virgle is the ultimate application of a principle we’ve always believed at Google: that you can do well by doing good,” said Google co-founder Larry Page, who plans to share leadership of the new Martian civilization with Branson and Google co-founder Sergey Brin. "We feel that ensuring the survival of the human race by helping it colonize a new planet is both a moral good in and of itself and also the most likely method of ensuring the survival of our best – okay, fine, only -- base of web search volume and advertising inventory,” Page added. “So, you know, it's, like, win-win." The original contingent of Virgle Pioneers will be selected by numerous criteria, including an online questionnaire, video submission, personal accomplishments, expertise in scientific, artistic, sociological and/or political fields of endeavor, and inadequate Google and Virgin personal performance reviews.

March 23, 2010

Bill Gates, Toshiba in early talks on nuclear reactor
A company backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Toshiba are in early talks to jointly develop a small nuclear reactor, the Japanese electronics giant said Tuesday. The Nikkei business daily earlier reported that the two sides would team up to develop a compact next-generation reactor that can operate for up to 100 years without refueling to provide emission-free energy. The daily said the joint development would focus on the Traveling-Wave Reactor (TWR), which consumes depleted uranium as fuel. Current light-water reactors require refueling every few years. "Toshiba has entered into preliminary talks with TerraPower," said Toshiba spokesman Keisuke Ohmori. "We are looking into the possibility of working together." Gates is the principal owner of TerraPower, an expert team based in the US state of Washington that is investigating ways to improve emission-free energy supplies using small nuclear reactors.
Volunteers to be isolated for 520 days on simulated Mars mission The Montreal Gazette
Four Europeans vying to become guinea pigs for a 520-day simulated mission to Mars say they are proud to be putting their lives on hold for the sake of scientific advancement. "I want to help humanity take a step forward by improving our level of knowledge," Belgian candidate Jerome Clevers, 28. said at the European Space Agency's (ESA) Dutch offices where he and his colleagues were introduced to the media. Diego Urbina, 26, of Italy added: "When the first humans step on Mars, I can say, 'Yeah, I helped do that.' And then we get to use cool space suits, which is also nice!" Two of the four, who also include Romain Charles, 30, and Arc'hanmael Gaillard, 34, both of France, will take part in a biomedical experiment starting this summer with three Russians and a Chinese participant in what the ESA has termed "second to none as the ultimate test of human endurance"
UK Space Agency launched in London The Daily Telegraph
The UK Space Agency, as it is officially named, took off with the help of British astronaut Major Timothy Peake. But the accent at the launch in London was on the dry realities of economics rather than Dan Dare. Lord Mandelson was on hand to keep proceedings firmly grounded, despite the Science Minister Lord Drayson confessing that he would ''like to see human beings living on Mars''. The Business Secretary said: ''I think it is important to remember that although it is cutting edge, this stuff is not sci-fi. It may start in space, but it comes down to Earth very quickly and is directly relevant to all our daily lives.'' Britain's mini-version of NASA will take overall responsibility for UK space activities, replacing the soon-to-be defunct British National Space Centre (BNSC).
'Cosmonauts' ready for Mars test
A Belgian, two Frenchmen and a Colombian-Italian have agreed to be locked away in steel containers for 18 months to simulate a mission to Mars. Their self-imposed exile will test the physical and mental requirements of ultra-long duration spaceflight. The Europeans will join a predominantly Russian crew for the Mars500 project, which is due to start in May. All the food and water needed for the "journey" will have to be loaded into the "spacecraft" before "departure". There will even be a simulated landing. After about 250 days, the crew will be split in two, and three "cosmonauts" will move into a separate container to walk on the "surface of the Red Planet" wearing modified Russian Orlan spacesuits.
'Mars' mission is ultimate reality show The Guardian
In May, six people will climb into a steel container in Moscow and the door will be locked tight. For the next 18 months, the "crew" will live inside this windowless environment – four interlocked modules measuring, in total, 550 cubic metres – as they attempt to simulate the conditions onboard a spacecraft on a round-trip to Mars. It sounds like the ultimate TV reality show: six different personalities forced to get along while their omnipotent masters outside issue them with a daily set of tasks and instructions. The experiment is one of the most fascinating and demanding psychological tests you could ever dream up. But, if we are ever to get to Mars, these are exactly the sort of conditions that a crew will have to suffer and survive.

March 21, 2010

Room for Debate: Where, If Anywhere, Is NASA Headed? Scientific American
On complex issues, as is often said, it is possible for intelligent people to disagree. That was certainly the case March 15 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, when five leaders of the space exploration intelligentsia met to discuss NASA's plans for human spaceflight. The topic of the event, the 10th annual Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate, could hardly have been more timely, given the February budget request from President Obama that sought to drastically change NASA's direction for human spaceflight and the way the agency does that business. If the budget survives Congress, NASA could start hiring private corporations to launch U.S. astronauts into orbit rather than use its own hardware; Obama's plan would also scrap the existing Constellation Program, including the Ares rockets being developed to lift humans beyond low Earth orbit for the first time since the 1970s.

March 17, 2010

Moon vs. Mars at Museum ScienceInsider
The American Museum of Natural History had little idea of how prescient they were being when they picked the theme for this year's Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate. Shortly after the museum directors decided on the debate topic, "The Moon, Mars and Beyond: Where Next for the Manned Space Program?", the federal budget was announced on 1 February, revealing that NASA's Constellation project of crewed moon missions had been canceled. Kicking off the annual event last night to a sold-out auditorium, Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson said, "What was originally just going to be us putting out opinions now turns out to have huge implications." Although moon and Mars missions are often discussed as if they were mutually exclusive alternatives, general consensus among the scientists on the panel was that even if putting a human on Mars were the paramount long-term goal, returning humans to the moon would still be a critical step toward that end. "The moon is a good place to test out the technology for a Mars mission, like life-support systems and transport vehicles. ... I think that casting it in terms of 'Do we go to the moon first or go to Mars?' is not the right question," Steven Squyres, principal investigator on the Mars Exploration Rover project, said after the debate. Instead, the broader question to which the panelists kept returning was not simply which destination NASA should target first but what will happen if NASA has no clear destination at all.
Martian Moon in Spotlight
Fresh imagery from Europe's Mars Express orbiter shows the Martian moon Phobos in sharp, 3-D detail. This isn't the first time Phobos has gotten its close-up, but interest in the irregular moon is rising - in part because it's increasingly seen as a steppingstone for Mars-bound astronauts. Last month, NASA shifted its focus from sending humans back to the moon to a "flexible path" that includes the moons of Mars as potential destinations. The idea is that low-gravity locales such as Phobos (and Mars' other moon, Deimos) should be easier to get to because they're more accommodating for landing and ascent.

March 15, 2010

Media opportunity: ESA presents European participants in 520-day simulated mission to Mars
A crew of six, including two Europeans, will soon begin a simulated mission to Mars in a mockup that includes an interplanetary spaceship, a Mars lander and a martian landscape. The Mars500 experiment, as long as a real journey to Mars, will be second to none as the ultimate test of human endurance. The European candidates who will help to answer these fundamental questions will be presented to the media on 22 March 2010 at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Media representatives wishing to attend the event are kindly requested to fill in the attached accreditation form and return it by fax to the ESA Headquarters Media Relations Office by 18 March 2010.

March 11, 2010

Mars glacier lubricant could fuel rockets New Scientist
Rocket engines could benefit from a natural Martian lubricant - but not to keep them oiled. A salty sludge that may be lubricating the ice caps of Mars could one day provide fuel. The ice is too cold to flow normally. But if winds were to carry salty soil particles to the ice cap, they might gradually sink to form a briny bed, kept liquid by the planet's warmth. This could allow the ice cap to flow like a glacier, say David Fisher at the Geological Survey of Canada in Ottawa, and colleagues. Such brine would freeze as it moved toward lower temperatures at the edge of the ice cap, forming a ring of concentrated salt. This could one day be mined as a component of solid rocket fuel, says Fisher.

March 10, 2010

Roving Mars in Award-Winning Style DiscoveryNews
Despite NASA's manned space exploration being in a state of flux, there's still a lot of innovative ideas for future manned expeditions to Mars. From new concepts for interplanetary rockets to the next generation of unmanned reconnaissance robots, we are certainly well on our way to acquiring the technologies necessary to land an astronaut on Mars. But once we're there, how will we get around? Mars is a big place -- it has approximately the same amount of land to explore as Earth -- so it would be nice if we traveled in style. So why not travel in award-winning style? An Illinois-based design consulting firm decided to take on this challenge, designing a manned Mars rover, winning the "Good Design Award" in the transportation category from The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design last month. They were in good company; Good Design Awards also went to Mercedes for their SLR Coupe and Apple for the iPod touch.

March 8, 2010

President Obama to Host Space Conference in Florida in April The White House
On April 15, President Barack Obama will visit Florida to host a White House Conference on the Administration’s new vision for America’s future in space, the White House today announced. The President, along with top officials and other space leaders, will discuss the new course the Administration is charting for NASA and the future of U.S. leadership in human space flight. Specifically, the conference will focus on the goals and strategies in this new vision, the next steps, and the new technologies, new jobs, and new industries it will create. Conference topics will include the implications of the new strategy for Florida, the nation, and our ultimate activities in space.
Unusual Gullies and Channels on Mars
What could have formed these unusual channels? Inside Newton Basin on Mars, numerous narrow channels run from the top down to the floor. The above picture covers a region spanning about 1500 meters across. These and other gullies have been found on Mars in recent high-resolution pictures taken by the orbiting Mars Global Surveyor robot spacecraft. Similar channels on Earth are formed by flowing water, but on Mars the temperature is normally too cold and the atmosphere too thin to sustain liquid water. Nevertheless, many scientists hypothesize that liquid groundwater can sometimes surface on Mars, erode gullies and channels, and pool at the bottom before freezing and evaporating. If so, life-sustaining ice and water might exist even today below the Martian surface -- water that could potentially support a human mission to Mars. Research into this exciting possibility is sure to continue!

March 4, 2010

Their Mars mission is set to blast off St. Petersburg Times
Remember the people who said the moon landing was a hoax? A New Port Richey company hopes to create a simulated trip to Mars that everyone will know is fake but will appear as realistic as possible. "This is not Disney World or Universal Studios," said Mark Homnick, 52, one of the managers of NewSpace Center LLC. The company has submitted site plans for a 75-acre lot in Titusville on Florida's Space Coast to build Interspace, a space-themed entertainment and research facility that would include the simulated Martian environment. The men estimated the project will cost about $30-million and said their plans began in 2005. Homnick and his vice president, Joseph Palaia, run the company and its parent, 4Frontiers, out of Homnick's waterfront stilt home.

March 3, 2010

Opinion: Mars Is Within Our Reach -- Here's How AOL News
In his recent testimony before Congress, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden told lawmakers the goal of the U.S. space program under President Barack Obama was Mars. But he also warned that getting to Mars would require a step-by-step evolution, because NASA lacked the technology to safely send astronauts so deep into space. The Obama budget contained the down payment on a Mars mission, with billions set aside for research and testing of advanced, cutting-edge technologies that could be employed to make a mission to Mars a reality. I believe we can be well on our way to Mars by July 20, 2019 -- which just happens to be the 50th anniversary of my Apollo 11 flight to the moon. The plan I've designed, called a unified space vision, contains ideas for the development of a deep-space craft that I call the Exploration Module, and development of a true heavy lift space booster evolved from the existing space shuttle.
Ten Questions for Space Suit Designer Dava Newman Motherboard.TV
On this final segment of NOVA scienceNOW’s chat with awesome MIT engineer Dava Newman, she’s asked to pick between Star Wars and 2001, talks about what foods to eat while sailing around the world (that is, when food isn’t being used to steer the boat), and shares the highest complement she’s received for her form-fitting next generation space suit. Nope, it’s not about how much it makes astronauts look like Spider Man.

March 2, 2010

Scientist eyes 39-day voyage to Mars
A journey from Earth to Mars could eventually take just 39 days -- cutting current travel time nearly six times -- according to a rocket scientist who has the ear of the US space agency. Franklin Chang-Diaz, a former astronaut and a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says reaching the Red Planet could be dramatically quicker using his high-tech VASIMR rocket, now on track for liftoff after decades of development. The Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket -- to give its full name -- is quick becoming a centerpiece of NASA's future strategy as it looks to private firms to help meet the astronomical costs of space exploration. NASA, still reeling from a political decision to cancel its Constellation program that would have returned a human to the moon by the end of the decade, has called on firms to provide new technology to power rovers or even future manned missions. Hopes are now pinned on firms like Chang-Diaz's Texas-based Ad Astra Rocket Company.

February 24, 2010

Senators to NASA chief: Go somewhere specific Washington Post
NASA needs to go somewhere specific, not just talk about it, skeptical U.S. senators told the space agency chief Wednesday. President Barack Obama's proposed budget kills the previous administration's return-to-the-moon mission, sometimes nicknamed "Apollo on steroids." That leaves the space agency adrift without a goal or destination, senators and outside experts said at a Senate Commerce science and space subcommittee hearing, the first since Obama unveiled his new space plan this month. On top of that the nation's space shuttle fleet is only months away from long-planned retirement, an issue for senators from Florida, where NASA is a major employer. And while the new NASA plan includes extra money - $6 billion over five years - for private spaceships and developing new rocket technology, NASA shouldn't be just about spending, the senators said. It should be about John F. Kennedy-like vision.

February 22, 2010

Will Clean Electricity Blossom with Bloom Box? Tonic
Its origins were in providing NASA with a device to manufacturer oxygen for a manned Mars colony. But when the mission was scrubbed, K.R. Sridhar set his sights back down here to the challenges on Earth, and, figuratively speaking, turned his device inside out. Instead of giving off oxygen, it would take oxygen in. And the output would be cleanly generated electricity. A 60 Minutes segment offered an introductory peek into the people and the principle behind a clean energy innovation that will be officially introduced on Wednesday, February 24. Bloom Energy, and its Bloom Box fuel cell technology, have been mum until now on the details while they have been raising a staggering $400 million in investment capital with the hope of launching what Sridhar insists will be a clean energy game-changer.
Mining Mars? Where's the Ore? Discovery
Future Mars prospectors will likely find mineral riches in some unusual settings, say planetary scientists studying the different ways valuable metals might have been concentrated on the red planet. On Earth, surface waters, ground waters and even chemicals left by living things play major roles in leaching, concentrating and depositing valuable metals and minerals like iron, gold, silver, nickel, copper and many more. But on Mars there are no oceans or surface waters; no microorganisms either. What's more, the planet is so cold that even groundwater is frozen as permafrost and functions as little more than another mineral in the ground. So where does a starving miner look on Mars for usable quantities of ore?
2009 "Good Design" Award Goes To Manned Mars Exploration Rover
Westmont Illinois based Montgomery Design International (MDI) and Santa Barbara California based Ergonomic Systems Design have announced they have jointly been awarded the Chicago Athenaeum and Museum’s “GOOD DESIGN” award for 2009 as creators and designers of the Manned Mars Exploration Rover (MMER). Designed as an independent study for the 2037 Mars mission, the Rover was cited for its bold, futuristic design as well as providing transport and life support for Mars astronauts.

February 17, 2010

NASA chief: Mars is our mission
NASA's emerging exploration plan will call for safely sending humans to Mars, possibly by the 2030s, and de-emphasize exploration of the moon, the agency's leader said Tuesday. “That is my personal vision,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “I am confident that, when I say humans on Mars is a goal for the nation, not just NASA, I'm saying that because I believe the president will back me up.” Bolden cited appearances set before congressional committees on Feb. 24 and 25 as a deadline for creating the “beginnings of a plan” for human exploration. At those hearings, Bolden said, he will be able only to give a range of dates for a Mars trip because scientific questions, such as mitigating radiation exposure and bone loss, remain unanswered. But he confidently said the 2030s, even the early 2030s, were viable if given a reasonable and sustained budget.

February 4, 2010

Obama Gazes Past the Moon to Mars TechNewsWorld
President Obama has decided to abandon plans to return to the moon and focus on a much more ambitious effort -- a manned trip to Mars -- instead. A return to the moon would have been possible within this decade, but going to Mars will require cooperation among space-faring nations and is likely 30 years, give or take, into the future. The president's new budget request provides US$3 billion over five years for "robotic exploration precursor missions that will pave the way for later human exploration of the moon, Mars and nearby asteroids," Bolden explained. "These missions will inform us of the most interesting places to explore with humans, and validate our approaches to get them there safely and sustainably." Also included in the proposed $3.8 trillion budget are funds for developing new engines, propellants, materials and combustion processes, as well as cross-cutting technologies such as communications, sensors and robotics, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said.

February 3, 2010

NASA Plans Manned Missions To Mars InformationWeek
Defending a budget that effectively cancels a program that would have returned humans to the moon by 2020, NASA's top official said the space agency is looking beyond the lunar surface—to Mars. In a statement, NASA administrator Charlie Bolden noted that the $3.8 trillion federal budget proposal handed down earlier this week by President Obama provides $3 billion over five years in funds "for robotic exploration precursor missions that will pave the way for human exploration of the moon, Mars, and nearby asteroids." Bolden said robotic exploration is an essential precondition for manned missions to Earth's closest celestial neighbors. "These missions will inform us of the most interesting places to explore with humans, and validate our approaches to get them there safely and sustainably," said Bolton.

February 2, 2010

Aldrin: 'Mars Is The Next Frontier For Humankind' Discovery
This certainly isn't a surprise, considering Buzz Aldrin has been advocating manned missions to destinations other than the moon for some time, but it's certainly worth hearing what the second man on the moon has to say about today's announcement about NASA's shake-up. In a nutshell, Aldrin supports President Obama's revised vision for NASA space exploration. This means canceling a return trip to the lunar surface and concentrating on other destinations first, pushing the envelope of human endeavor.
Students from India, Pak create space craft for Earth to Mars DNA India
Notwithstanding the chill in Indo-Pak ties, students from both the countries have come together in designing an innovative crew ship to travel from Earth to Mars and jointly compete with students from other countries at NASA. Under the Sixteenth Annual International Space Settlement Design Competition, sponsored by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Boeing, school students from Lahore and Delhi have prepared a novel project on future of human civilisation in Mars. The project on crew ship is to travel from Earth to Mars reflects an innovative idea of people of the Earth going to Mars by this space craft. "You can go from Earth to Mars by a space craft. You can leave the space craft in the orbit between Earth and Mars and it will cross the orbit of Mars from where people can safely go to Mars," said Sanaa Nusreid, a student from Lahore Grammar School. As per the project, 8,800 people, including 2,300 crew members and 6,500 travellers, can go Mars in the space craft.

January 27, 2010

NASA may abandon plans for moon base New Scientist
NASA will probably not build an outpost on the moon as originally planned, the agency's acting administrator, Chris Scolese, told lawmakers on Wednesday. His comments also hinted that the agency is open to putting more emphasis on human missions to destinations like Mars or a near-Earth asteroid. NASA has been working towards returning astronauts to the moon by 2020 and building a permanent base there. But some space analysts and advocacy groups like the Planetary Society have urged the agency to cancel plans for a permanent moon base, carry out shorter moon missions instead, and focus on getting astronauts to Mars.

January 24, 2010

Urban Red Planet: Human Habitats On Mars WebUrbanist
Most space scientists, sociologists and sci-fi writers agree: when humankind finally sets down roots somewhere other than the planet of our birth, Mars is our most likely destination. Chilly, lifeless (as far as we know) and frighteningly far away, Mars still offers the best hope for a human race whose figurative eggs have been kept in one basket for far too long.

December 23, 2009

NASA finds fix for Ares 1 vibration concerns SPACEFLIGHT NOW
Engineers have identified a way to shield astronauts riding the Ares 1 rocket from potentially dangerous vibrations caused by the launcher's solid-fueled first stage, according to NASA. Managers decided last week to incorporate an upper plane C-spring isolator module and upper stage liquid oxygen damper on the Ares 1 rocket to ensure astronauts inside the Orion crew module will not experience intense vibrations during launch, according to a posting on a NASA Web site.

December 22, 2009

Obama Backs New Launcher and Bigger NASA Budget ScienceInsider
President Barack Obama will ask Congress next year to fund a new heavy-lift launcher to take humans to the moon, asteroids, and the moons of Mars, ScienceInsider has learned. The president chose the new direction for the U.S. human space flight program Wednesday at a White House meeting with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, according to officials familiar with the discussion. NASA would receive an additional $1 billion in 2011 both to get the new launcher on track and to bolster the agency’s fleet of robotic Earth-monitoring spacecraft. According to knowledgeable sources, the White House is convinced that scarce NASA funds would be better spent on a simpler heavy-lift vehicle that could be ready to fly as early as 2018. Meanwhile, European countries, Japan, and Canada would be asked to work on a lunar lander and modules for a moon base, saving the U.S. several billion dollars. And commercial companies would take over the job of getting supplies to the international space station.

December 17, 2009

House speaker questions more NASA funding, Mars trip FLORIDA TODAY
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi raised questions Wednesday about boosting NASA funding, in competition with other budget priorities, and pursuing a Mars trip. The California Democrat also said any boost in funding, as recommended by a recent commission, would have to be measured against other priorities to create jobs. “I, myself, if you are asking me personally, I have not been a big fan of manned expeditions to outer space, in terms of safety and cost,” Pelosi told reporters a roundtable on legislative accomplishments this year. “But people could make the case; technology is always changing.” President Barack Obama, who met Wednesday with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, is weighing how to support the agency. A recent report from the U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Commission recommended phasing in a $3 billion boost in funding in order to pursue spaceflight safely, but Obama hasn’t signaled what suggestions he will adopt.

December 16, 2009

Experimental System Aims to Help Astronauts Return to Solid Footing medGadget
Researchers from NASA Johnson Space Center Neurosciences Laboratory and National Space Biomedical Research Institute are testing a new system that may make astronauts' return to Earth a bit easier. If you've ever seen space travelers land back on terra firma after months in orbit, you must have noticed that they are usually carried by others or use wheelchairs. This happens because over time our sensory system forgets how to coordinate using gravity as one of the inputs. The new system may end up being used on spacecraft to keep astronauts from forgetting how to walk when gravity comes back to them.

December 3, 2009

NASA's latest manned Mars mission plan now available Hyperbola / Flightglobal
NASA's 100-page Mars Design Reference Architecture 5.0, elements of which were first seen in a 1 October 2007 presentation, is now available on the Lunar and Planetary Institute's exploration strategies website with a publication date of July 2009. But this blogger can't find any blogosphere links to it that date to then or since so here it is! Exclusively! With a 406-page addendum and a 47-page executive summary there is plenty to trawl through from this study that was first announced in 2006 - click through to the extended portion of this blogpost for more comment

December 1, 2009

Op/Ed: What Will Shooting for Mars Get Us? Business Strategy Innovation
At the TEDx NASA conference, I had some amazing conversations with people in the "green room" while preparing to take the stage. One individual had spent his entire career with NASA focused on travel to Mars. This was his life's passion. But now that he has moved out of the space program into the private sector, he wonders if the money spent on space travel should be re-focused. He wonders if we should spend the money fixing problems here on earth. We had a lively debate. One thing I suggested was that shooting for Mars MIGHT be the way to fix some of our issues here on Earth.

November 24, 2009

Gearing Up for Manned Mission To An Asteroid Popular Science
The Plymouth Rock project could be a stepping stone to Mars. A plan to send a manned space mission to land on an asteroid is gaining traction within both NASA and the aerospace industry as experts look to bridge the feasibility gap between lunar missions and an eventual rendezvous with Mars. Of course, no party is ruling out the possibility of an Armageddon-esque trip to a Near Earth Object (NEO) on a harmful trajectory, should the need arise in the future. While neither NASA or the White House has signed off on -- or even offered funding to study -- such a mission, briefing charts put together by Lockheed Martin, maker of the space agency's next-gen passenger spacecraft, detail how a mission might work. It's not as far-fetched, or far away, as one might think, with a mission to an NEO possible in a 2020-2025 time frame.

November 5, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ballpark - On Mars!
Students in fourth through seventh grade will work to create the ultimate baseball experience "on Mars," even designing the rules for how to play a game on the Red Planet. NASA and JPL have partnered with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to host a workshop for kids on Sat., Nov. 7, in Cooperstown, N.Y. The workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7. Cost is $5 per student, which covers materials, supplies and admission to the Museum. The workshop is limited to 50 participants. To register, visit or call 607-547-0362 to request a registration form.
Device Like 'Star Trek' Replicator Might Fly on Space Station
Space explorers have yet to get their hands on the replicator of "Star Trek" to create anything they might require. But NASA has developed a technology that could enable lunar colonists to carry out on-site manufacturing on the moon, or allow future astronauts to create critical spare parts during the long trip to Mars. The method, called electron beam freeform fabrication (EBF3), uses an electron beam to melt metals and build objects layer by layer. Such an approach already promises to cut manufacturing costs for the aerospace industry, and could pioneer development of new materials. It has also thrilled astronauts on the International Space Station by dangling the possibility of designing new tools or objects, researchers said.

November 4, 2009

Prof To Predict Weather On Mars Texas A&M
Is there such a thing as “weather” on Mars? There are some doubts, considering the planet’s atmosphere is only 1 percent as dense as that of the Earth. Mars, however, definitely has clouds, drastically low temperatures and out-of-this-world dust storms, and Istvan Szunyogh, a Texas A&M professor of atmospheric sciences, has been awarded a NASA grant to analyze and forecast Martian weather. Mars is the most Earth-like planet we know, but it is still quite different. For example, it is much colder on Mars. The south pole of the Earth is covered by water ice, but the south pole of Mars wears a dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) cap. In winter, the temperature at the poles can dip to -140°C (-220 degrees Fahrenheit), which is so cold that even carbon dioxide freezes.

November 2, 2009

Artificial Intelligence Spacesuits Turn Astronauts Into Cyborg Biologists Wired
Equipped with wearable AI systems and digital eyes that see what human eyes can’t, space explorers of the future could be not just astronauts, but “cyborg astrobiologists.” That’s the vision of a research team led by Patrick McGuire, a University of Chicago geoscientist who’s developed algorithms that can recognize signs of life in a barren landscape. “When they look at scenery, children gravitate towards the thing that’s different from the other things,” said McGuire. “That’s how I looked at the cyborg astrobiologist.” At the heart of McGuire’s system is a Hopfield neural network, a type of artificial intelligence that compares incoming data against patterns it’s seen before, eventually picking out those details that qualify as new or unusual.
Mars mission solved: Make it 1-way trip The Toronto Star
A leading cosmologist says he has figured out how to affordably mount a manned mission to Mars – make it a one-way trip. Citing cost savings as well as reduced risk, Prof. Paul Davies made the suggestion at a gathering of NASA astrobiologists last year. Davies envisions a first-time mission involving four astronauts. The quartet would land on Mars' surface and immediately seek shelter, possibly inside lava tubes to avoid radiation poisoning. The first four would eventually be joined by others, establishing a permanent colony on the red planet. None of the visitors could ever return home. He admitted that conditions might be a little Spartan, but "not as bad as Guantanamo Bay."
NASA to irradiate monkeys to study effects of long space trips on humans The Telegraph
It will be Nasa’s first experiment on primates in decades. If a manned mission to Mars ever takes place, the human pilots will be outside Earth’s protective magnetic field for several months, unprotected from solar radiation. Little research has been done on this sort of long-term exposure to low doses of radiation. Rats and mice have been exposed to this sort of radiation before, but that gives only a hint of what the effects would be on humans. Eleanor Blakely, a biophysicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said: "Obviously, the closer we get to man, the better."
Life on Mars The Moscow News
The Russian Institute of Medical-Biological Problems (IMBP) is looking for volunteers to participate in the third step of the Russian experiment "Mars-500", which simulates an isolated 520-day flight to the Red Planet. "The basic requirements are as follows: age 25 to 50, higher education and a knowledge of Russian and English at a high enough level to ensure professional and social interaction," the IMBP said in an announcement. Applications should be sent to (with cc to with the title «Участие в проекте "Марс-500» ("Participation in the Mars-500 project").
A Faster Journey to Mars The New York Times
Science Illustrated - A plasma rocket engine now in development could reduce the travel time to Mars by two-thirds.

October 29, 2009

Russia Proposes Nuclear Spaceship CBS News
Russia laid out its ambition to gain an edge in the space race by building a nuclear-powered spaceship. Federal Space Agency chief Anatoly Perminov told a government meeting that the preliminary design could be ready by 2012. He said it would then take nine years and 17 billion rubles ($600 million) to build the ship. At the meeting on new communications and space technologies, televised live, President Dmitry Medvedev hailed the plan and ordered the Cabinet to find the money for it. But the stated ambition contrasted with slow progress on building a replacement to the mainstay Russian spacecraft, sounding more like a plea for extra government cash than a detailed proposal. "It's a very serious project," said Medvedev. "We need to find the money."

October 28, 2009

Official Mars Society Statement Regarding Augustine Commission Report
The recently released report from the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee (AKA: The Augustine Commission), Seeking a Human Space Program Worthy of a Great Nation, states that "A human landing and extended human presence on Mars stand prominently above all other opportunities for exploration. Mars is unquestionably the most scientifically interesting destination in the inner solar system. It possesses resources which can be used for life support and propellants. If humans are ever to live for long periods with intention of extended settlement on another planetary surface, it is likely to be on Mars." The Mars Society is in perfect agreement with this statement and we hope that NASA will pursue a program that will realize this goal as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, the Augustine Commission report then goes on to state that we are not ready to go to Mars with current technology and we can go nowhere in the next decade, even with the expenditure of over a hundred billion dollars. While challenging, sending humans to Mars is possible with current technological expertise and we could have humans on Mars in the 2020s.

October 26, 2009

Mars Caves Might Protect Microbes (or Astronauts)
series of newly discovered depressions on the Martian surface could be the entrances to a cave system on the red planet. Hints of subsurface tunnels have been found in images of Mars before, but the new evidence is more suggestive, said Glen Cushing, a physicist with the U.S. Geological Survey who discovered the possible caves. Such a subsurface system could provide shelter to future Mars-visiting astronauts, as well as a protective habitat to any potential past or present Martian microbes, Cushing said.

October 23, 2009

Buzz Aldrin: Mars trip could be Obama's legacy Newsday
Forty years after Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin was part of a historic first, becoming the second man to walk on the moon, he dared President Barack Obama to seize the reins of history - and send Americans to land a man on Mars, or one of its two moons, Phobos. Aldrin said the president has "the most glorious opportunity to go down in history" if he declared the United States' intent to send astronauts to the Red Planet - much as President John F. Kennedy dared the United States to send men to the moon in 1961. Speaking Thursday at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in East Garden City, where he was signing copies of two recent books, Aldrin said if the United States sent "creatures from the Earth to set up life on another planet" it would be viewed "for thousands and thousands of years like Alexander the Great, Magellan and Columbus." He said Obama could take credit for the vision.

September 25, 2009

Moon or Mars - Where Should Humans Go First?

September 22, 2009

Could a Gravity Trick Speed Us to Mars? Wired
Putting a human on Mars might be easier than anyone thought. A flight to the Red Planet currently takes at least six months, which is why we send robots—the trip is boring, fuel costs are astronomical, and cosmic radiation is nobody's friend. But NASA engineer Robert Adams has a solution: the two-burn maneuver, an all-but-forgotten secret of orbital mechanics that could cut travel time in half.

September 9, 2009

Human colony on Mars 'will make the world a better place'
"We should establish a self-supporting colony on Mars," suggests J Richard Gott, professor of astrophysical sciences as Princeton University in the US. "That would make us a two-planet species and improve our long-term survival prospects by giving us two chances instead of one." As one might expect, his belief in the species-saving potential of space exploration is echoed by Sir Richard, whose Virgin Galactic company plans to offer orbital flight for paying passengers. "If we are going to survive as a civilisation we need low energy and environmental access to space on an industrial scale," he told the magazine.

September 2, 2009

Op-Ed: A One-Way Ticket to Mars The New York Times
Now that the hype surrounding the 40th anniversary of the Moon landings has come and gone, we are faced with the grim reality that if we want to send humans back to the Moon the investment is likely to run in excess of $150 billion. The cost to get to Mars could easily be two to four times that, if it is possible at all. This is the issue being wrestled with by a NASA panel, convened this year and led by Norman Augustine, a former chief executive of Lockheed Martin, that will in the coming weeks present President Obama with options for the near-term future of human spaceflight. It is quickly becoming clear that going to the Moon or Mars in the next decade or two will be impossible without a much bigger budget than has so far been allocated. Is it worth it?

August 19, 2009

The Mars menu: This is not Buzz Aldrin's astronaut food The Los Angeles Times
NASA must provide the crew with some 20,000 meals -- light, with a shelf life of five years. Scientists are experimenting with packaging and preservation, but so far, mac and cheese is out.

August 18, 2009

Why is human Mars exploration so surprisingly hard? The Space Review
As space policy experts mull over alternative strategies for astronaut exploration of the solar system, possibly including human flight to Mars, the recently-concluded fortieth anniversary celebrations of the Apollo 11 moon landing inspire one specific question: what’s taken so long? In the heady days of the Apollo triumphs, even the “pessimistic” forecasts imagined it might take as long as twenty years to get astronauts to Mars. Optimistic schedules put the first footsteps on the Red Planet—another “giant leap for mankind”—as early as 1982. When it didn’t happen in fifteen or twenty years, or even in twice that period, or even by current plans by twice again that period, the question naturally arose: why not? Had the national will failed? Had our adventurous culture lost its nerve?

July 27, 2009

Apollo 11 crew: Moon less interesting than Mars Albany Democrat Herald
The first astronauts to walk on the moon want President Barack Obama to aim for a new destination: Mars. On Monday, the Apollo 11 crewmen, fresh from a Washington lecture Sunday in which two of them expressed concerns about NASA getting bogged down on the moon, are meeting with Obama at the White House. In one of their few joint public appearances, the crew of Apollo 11 spoke on the eve of the 40th anniversary of man’s first landing on the moon, but didn’t get soggy with nostalgia. They instead spoke about the future and the more distant past.

July 21, 2009

Space Wheat Could Feed Astronauts on Mars
Does a sandwich on Mars taste different? The answer could be no, according to new research that found long-term spaceflight exposure doesn't change later generations of wheat seeds. Molecular biologist Robert Ferl of the University of Florida and colleagues studied wheat seeds descended from plants that flew on the Russian Mir space station. The progenitor plants were in space for 167 days in 1991. When they were brought back to Earth, the plants gave rise to viable offspring seeds.
Poll: Should We Skip The Moon And Head For Mars? Gizmodo
Speaking at a Washington lecture over the weekend, Apollo 11 crewmembers Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins expressed concern about NASA focusing too much on past accomplishments. That is to say, they believe we should focus our efforts on Mars. Critics believe that going back to the moon is, as Aldrin put it "a glorified rehash of what we did 40 years ago"—something that would waste time and money that we could be spending on a trip to Mars. NASA argues that going back to the moon and establishing a permanent base is an essential stepping stone to a successful Mars mission—a feat that would take at least 20 years to accomplish according to their estimates. The issue here, it seems, is not that we should ever step foot on the moon again, it's that NASA and the Obama administration should grow a set of balls by prioritizing Mars and fully committing to a program right now. After all, we went from nearly zero to the moon in the sixties with primitive technology. What do you think? Should we skip the moon and head for Mars?

July 20, 2009

Moon or Mars? 'Next giant leap' sparks debate
Blasting off from Earth and hurtling through space at thousands of miles an hour, it takes astronauts three days to reach the moon -- a tiny distance in a universe measured in light years, but a fantastic voyage on a human scale. Now plans are under way to go back, even as the future of U.S. human space exploration is under close scrutiny and pressure is growing on NASA to aim for another alien world.

July 17, 2009

Cure for radiation sickness found? Ynetnews
Medication that can protect humans against nuclear radiation has been developed by Jewish-American scientists in cooperation with a researcher and investors from Israel. The full story behind the dramatic discovery will be published in Yedioth Ahronoth's weekend edition. The ground-breaking medication, developed by Professor Andrei Gudkov – Chief Scientific Officer at Cleveland BioLabs - may have far-reaching implications on the balance of power in the world, as states capable of providing their citizens with protection against radiation will enjoy a significant strategic advantage vis-à-vis their rivals. Gudkov's discovery may also have immense implications for cancer patients by enabling doctors to better protect patients against radiation. Should the new medication enable cancer patients to be treated with more powerful radiation, our ability to fight the disease could greatly improve.

July 14, 2009

Six end simulated Mars mission isolation
Four Russians, a Frenchman and a German ended a simulated 105-day space trip in Moscow on Tuesday designed to test their responses in the kind of isolated surroundings they would experience in a manned mission to Mars. Stepping out of their sealed compartments in a Moscow scientific complex, the crew members were ending one test just as space agencies step up preparations for a longer 520-day isolation experiment expected to start next year.

June 23, 2009

Commentary: Let's aim for Mars
Buzz Aldrin: Our mission to the moon was shared by the world as an adventure. He says he became depressed after the mission was over. Aldrin says he took on a new mission: to open space to the average person. He says a mission to colonize Mars would restore adventure of space travel

April 29, 2009

NASA may abandon plans for moon base New Scientist
NASA will probably not build an outpost on the moon as originally planned, the agency's acting administrator, Chris Scolese, told lawmakers on Wednesday. His comments also hinted that the agency is open to putting more emphasis on human missions to destinations like Mars or a near-Earth asteroid. NASA has been working towards returning astronauts to the moon by 2020 and building a permanent base there. But some space analysts and advocacy groups like the Planetary Society have urged the agency to cancel plans for a permanent moon base, carry out shorter moon missions instead, and focus on getting astronauts to Mars.

April 9, 2009

Volunteers Locked Away in Mock Mars Mission
Six volunteers locked themselves away in a network of metal tubes for the next 105 days on Tuesday in an experiment to study the human stresses of a manned mission to Mars. Four Russians and two Europeans — a mix of cosmonauts, doctors, an engineer and an airline pilot — shut the metal hatch behind them, sealing themselves inside a habitat at Russia's Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow. The three-month endurance test is a trial run for a planned 520-day mock Mars mission by the European and Russian space agencies later this year to study the effects of prolonged isolation on the human body and mind.

March 30, 2009

Volunteers flock to space experiment
What would you be prepared to do for money? For $6,500 (£4,500) a month, to be precise? How about the following: locking yourself inside a small metal container for three months without any communication with the outside world, with electronic monitors attached to various parts of your body and with frozen baby food and cereal bars for breakfast, lunch and dinner? To add to the fun you'll have five companions who will do everything possible to stop you trying to escape before the three months are up. Meanwhile, from a control room outside, a team of scientists will monitor your every move checking for any signs that you are starting to crack up. And banish all hope of finding solace through alcohol or tobacco. Both are strictly forbidden.

January 13, 2009

Mars on a Shoestring (A thought paper by Eric Knight) Remarkable Technologies, Inc.
On the return flight from a meeting at NASA headquarters a couple of years ago, my mind was reflecting upon the Space Shuttle program...its milestones...its tragedies...and its soon-to-be fleet retirement. (As of this writing, the Space Shuttle fleet is slated for retirement by September 30, 2010.) While gazing out over the clouds through the airplane window, a number of thoughts swirled in my head: Instead of retiring the Space Shuttle, and simply moth-balling the orbiters at museums and "rocket parks" around the country, could we give the fleet a heroic assignment? A grand mission commensurate with their thirty years of service? Something that would be truly historic -- even through the lens of time a millennium from now?

December 16, 2008

Report urges timetable for human mission to Mars New Scientist
The Obama administration should set a concrete schedule for human Mars missions, and make sure new hardware developed for NASA's return to the Moon can be adapted for missions to other destinations, a new report says. With a new US president set to take charge of the White House and many questions hanging over NASA's future, many have been trying to advise the agency about where it should go from here. President-elect Barack Obama's transition team has been very tight-lipped, but if the Obama administration takes its cue from the preponderance of advice it's getting, then human missions to Mars may well move up in priority. Back in November, the Planetary Society, a space advocacy group, released a report called "Beyond the Moon", which called for delaying new missions to the Moon and channelling more resources into paving the way for human missions to Mars instead. Now, an independent group of space experts, led by David Mindell of MIT, is calling for a timeline for human Mars missions, and urging that any Moon hardware be designed with other destinations in mind as well.

November 15, 2008

Focus on Putting Humans on Mars, Group Argues
NASA and other spaceflight programs worldwide should focus on putting people on Mars, not the moon, an advocacy group for space exploration said in a new plan announced today. "The U.S. landed humans on the Moon nearly 40 years ago," said Louis Friedman, executive director of The Planetary Society. "Returning to the moon has not sufficiently excited the public and will require resources that will be badly needed elsewhere in the space program." The plan, "Beyond the Moon: A New Roadmap for Human Space Exploration in the 21st Century," included four key elements:

November 7, 2008

Magnetic shield for spacefarers
Future astronauts could benefit from a magnetic "umbrella" that deflects harmful space radiation around their crew capsule, scientists say. The super-fast charged particles that stream away from the Sun pose a significant threat to any long-duration mission, such as to the Moon or Mars. But the research team says a spaceship equipped with a magnetic field generator could protect its occupants. Lab tests are reported in the journal Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion. The approach mimics the protective field that envelops the Earth, known as the magnetosphere.

October 27, 2008

Astronauts To Vote From Space
In this day and age, people engage in their right to vote from all over the world. But this Nov. 4, few ballots will have traveled as far as those cast by two NASA astronauts. Commander Edward Michael Fincke and Flight Engineer and Science Officer Greg Chamitoff are living and working onboard the International Space Station. Though they are 220 miles above Earth and orbiting at 17,500 miles per hour, they will still be able to participate in the upcoming election. A 1997 bill passed by Texas legislators sets up a technical procedure for astronauts -- nearly all of whom live in Houston -- to vote from space.

October 1, 2008

Lunar endurance mission to act as 'boot camp' for Mars New Scientist
NASA chief Mike Griffin has outlined the punishing lunar endurance mission that would have to be completed before NASA could ever consider sending humans to Mars. Speaking on NASA's future mission priorities at this week's International Astronautical Congress in Glasgow, Scotland, Griffin said that Mars is not automatically the next destination simply because humans have already been to the Moon. "The total human experience on the Moon is less than 27 human working days – on a world that is the size of Africa," he says. "So whether the Moon is a stepping stone to Mars or a place of interest in its own right depends on knowledge we don't have yet." To improve that knowledge, and to test the logistics and human factors of potential Mars missions in the bargain, Griffin proposes an elaborate lunar mission experiment. It would mimic the travel and landing time of a Mars mission by using the International Space Station as a mock Mars spaceship – and the Moon as a surrogate Mars.

August 19, 2008

'TEMPO 3' Artificial Gravity Satellite On Mars Society's To-Do List InformationWeek
A tethered spacecraft will spin through increasingly hi-fidelity testing in a lab, in zero gravity, and eventually space, as part of the next project chosen by the Mars Society. The Mars Society announced Tuesday that the Tethered Experiment for Mars inter-Planetary Operations (TEMPO 3 or TEMPO cubed) is the favorite proposal chosen from members' ideas for the group's next project. The project aims to supplement research on the feasibility of long-term space flight for humans. Mars Society president Robert Zubrin said that while space agencies around the world have "chosen to study the effects of zero gravity on humans with no end in sight," his group seeks to develop technology to provide humans with gravity in space. "Similar problems existed in the past, when aircrews flew at high altitude and low oxygen levels," he said in a news announcement. "The technological solution of providing oxygen was frowned upon by aviation doctors in favor of trying to 'negate the effect' of the low oxygen through medication. Today, flight crews use oxygen at high altitudes, and we expect astronauts to travel with gravity."

August 6, 2008

4Frontiers Corporation Awarded Florida Grant to Investigate Mars Greenhouse Materials 4Frontiers Corporation
4Frontiers Corporation, a NewSpace technology, entertainment & education company, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $25,000 research grant from the Florida Space Grant Consortium (FSGC), as part of the Florida Space Research & Education Grant Program. This grant will assist 4Frontiers in pursuing its technology roadmap for Mars settlement technologies. The project’s goal is to study the performance of various transparent materials which have been selected as potential candidates for use in future Mars greenhouses. The research will involve the construction of small chambers that incorporate these materials, simulating a Mars greenhouse. The chambers will then be placed within a larger chamber which will simulate the environmental conditions found on the Martian surface. The project will investigate heat transfer and stress performance of these materials under the unique conditions specific to the red planet.

August 4, 2008

Hyperion’s Nuclear-In-A-Box Ready By 2013 Earth2Tech
Hyperion Power Generation, a startup building compact nuclear power reactor units that are “about the size of a typical backyard hot tub”, says commercial deployments could start as early as 2013. The release quotes the company’s CEO John “Grizz” Deal, who says the Santa Fe, New Mexico-based startup has advanced development of its device enough to be able to reach that goal. The company says it initially plans to make 4,000 units — each being able to generate 70 megawatts of heat energy, or 27 megawatts of electricity from a steam turbine. That’s the equivalent power for 20,000 homes. There’s also the possibility of linking devices that could produce more power.

June 27, 2008

NASA: Ice, mineral-rich soil could support human outpost on Mars Computerworld
The ice and minerals found using a robotic arm in the Martian soil could make it easier for humans to live on the planet in the not-so-distant future. The ice on the northern pole of Mars has been a particularly important find for NASA scientists because robots and astronauts could extract usable, even drinkable, water from it, helping to sustain an extended stay on the Red Planet, according to Ray Arvidson, a co-investigator for the Mars Lander's robotic arm team and a professor at Washington University in St. Louis. "I think the fact that we found water ice means there's a large reservoir of it," Arvidson told Computerworld on Friday. "Water is crucial to us as humans, in terms of keeping us going. Water also is a resource that can be processed, in terms of getting oxygen and hydrogen. Finding that water near the surface is important. When you actually go to Mars, you don't want to take that water with you … the fact that the water is close to the surface is good."

June 6, 2008

McCain would like to see a man on Mars
Presumptive Republican White House nominee John McCain said Thursday he would like to see a manned mission to Mars as part of a "better set of priorities" for NASA that would better engage the public. At a townhall event in Florida, the Arizona senator was asked about funding for the US space agency's shuttle program, which is due to end in 2010.

June 5, 2008

Facing Mars at the Ontario Science Centre Freshdaily
Previewing the new exhibit, Facing Mars, at the Ontario Science Centre last week afforded me the double excitement of returning to the Science Centre and being able to go to Mars. Seriously, I was giddy. I've always been fascinated with all things space. In fact, my earliest memory was waking up in the hospital when I was three with a plastic toy space shuttle on my bed. Plus, the timing couldn't be better, because NASA had another hole-in-one shot to Mars last week and Canada's meteorological station is now reporting daily from the red planet.

June 4, 2008

Could NASA's Astronaut Suits for Mars Be Designed by MIT and the Motorcycle Fashionistas at Dainese? Popular Mechanics
Dainese may be known for its luxe motorcycle helmets and leathers, but the Italian company recently displayed two pieces of decidedly futuristic apparel at the 2008 Legend of the Motorcycle Concours d'Elegance. In anticipation of NASA's down-the-road Mars landing missions, Dainese has teamed up with MIT for an ambitious project that intends to pressurize an astronaut's body without the usual bubble of air that creates bulky spacesuits. We've seen the suit concept before, but bringing on these bike gurus is just cool—and smart. Ditching the old-school “Moon Man” image, Dainese's futuristic space duds feature a fitted design strung with intertwining black-and-gold filaments. It may look like a sleek bodysuit by Armani, but the filaments actually serve a crucial purpose: They run along Lines of Non Extension (LoNEs) on the human body, which according to chairman Lino Dainese “remain stationary even when we move. If these points are united,” he explains, “the same pressure is established throughout the body.”

June 3, 2008

Mars500 – European candidates selected
Last week, 32 talented candidates gathered at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, with the hope of becoming part of a unique study that will act as a platform for human exploration of the Solar System. The study, called Mars500, is a ground-based simulation of a mission to Mars and back. Two of the candidates, together with four Russian volunteers, will be sealed in an isolation chamber for a total of 105 days starting in October. This is followed by the full isolation period with another two European candidates, which lasts for 520 days starting early in 2009.

June 2, 2008

Mars on the brain? Red Planet pioneers to face cosmic mind trip
If Dr. Robert Zubrin could take a trip to Mars, he would be sure to pack a bread maker in his suitcase. Not just because bread is a pretty reliable expeditionary food, but because the act of cooking, according to Zubrin, seems to help people get along with each other, especially when they are in slightly dire, less than luxurious and more than stressful circumstances. And Zubrin would know, too. He has, after all, led almost a half-dozen mock Mars missions on barren Arctic ice fields and scorching Utah deserts with volunteer teams made up of students, scientists, journalists and anyone else willing to wear fake spacesuits and live in tiny tin-can-like habitation modules for days on end. The simulated expeditions were made, in part, to research ways to live and work on the Red Planet. But they also revealed something else: what personality types might best be suited to make the 35 million-mile journey and who would be better off watching from Mission Control. "Some of these crews have worked out very well," said Zubrin, president of the Mars Society, a 7,000-member multinational group determined to reach what it calls the New World. "Others were at each other's throats."

May 29, 2008

Next stop: Mars COSMOS
What will it take to plant booted feet on Martian soil? And what will it take to keep them there indefinitely? We set our sights on the Red Planet. The dream of visiting Mars is as old as the fantasies of sci-fi authors Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ray Bradbury, but it took a giant step forward in January 2004, when U.S. President George W. Bush announced America's intention of returning to the Moon, and using that as a springboard to the Red Planet. The proposed U.S. program – still in its early design stages – kicks off with a series of robotic missions to the Moon, followed by more manned lunar missions around 2020. It also involves a new spaceship, called Orion, based on a combination of technology derived from the space shuttles and the venerable Saturn V – the booster used 38 years ago to launch Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their historic voyage to the Moon. That's the Moon taken care of, but it's yet to be determined when the U.S. program is due to crank it up a notch and set its sights on Mars.

May 28, 2008

One-Way Flight to Mars? A Soldier Volunteers
The idea, to say the least, was provocative. Back in March Nancy Atkinson wrote a piece for Universe Today about a retired NASA engineer named Jim McLane, who suggested a way to jump-start human settlement of Mars: go before we're sure how to get back. "When we eliminate the need to launch off Mars, we remove the mission’s most daunting obstacle," McLane told her. He said it would not be a suicide mission, but that risks are necessary when you do great things. "I don’t think there would be any shortage of people willing to volunteer for the mission. Lindbergh was someone who was willing to risk everything because it was worth it. I don’t think it will be hard to find another Lindbergh to go to Mars."

May 9, 2008

Demron lightweight, lead-free radiation-proof suit gizmag
Radiation Shield Technologies has been granted a new patent for Demron, the protective garment that shields users from alpha and beta radiation, gamma rays, x-rays, and other nuclear emissions. The flexible, cool, and lightweight suit provides all the protection of a lead apron with a new level of comfort, and without any dermal or inhalation risks. Its malleability, thinness, and effectiveness allow it to be used for full-body nuclear, biological, and nuclear-biological chemical suits, tactical anti-nuclear vests, and high-energy suppression blankets. Several governments have ordered suits for use in emergencies that involve radiation, and scientists have even earmarked it for use in future missions to Mars.

April 25, 2008

Afghanistan Heroes Offer to Colonize Moon, Mars and Beyond
SFC William H. Ruth of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division stationed somewhere in Afghanistan wrote in response to Senior Editor Tariq Malik’s story Monday about Prof. Stephen Hawking’s belief in extraterrestrial life and he has a suggestion for NASA: “Please forward this to the proper channels. I have read Stephen Hawking’s latest remarks on space travel and the importance of it to human survival. The problem is, NASA is going about it all the wrong way. Here is an idea: Send battle-hardened, strong-minded soldiers and marines on the long trips into space. We are conditioned to live with the bare minimal (of) life’s necessities and are trained to be prepared for … the worst conditions that any environment could throw at us. Hell, me and my men will go, set up a colony somewhere and await colonists to arrive. Me and most of my men are on our 3rd or 4th deployment into a combat area. We are scouts, reconnaissance specialists. We go before everyone else and spend time living off the land. Sounds just like the type of men needed for a long colonization journey.

April 6, 2008

One-Way Trip to Mars
For now, NASA openly says the prospect of sending astronauts to Mars is out of the question -- too complicated and expensive. But a retired NASA engineer named James C. McLane III says a Mars mission is doable, and would unify the world as never before. Just a couple of details: McLane would send only one astronaut. And it would be a one-way flight.

February 14, 2008

New motor may let ships fuel on Mars The Baltimore Sun
NASA is considering proposals submitted last month from a handful of companies for a spacecraft propulsion system that could refuel on Mars and other planets. Some of the companies that submitted bids include Alliant Techsystems Inc. and Northrop Grumman Corp., which both employ hundreds of people in Maryland. The designs center on an engine fueled by a mix of liquid oxygen and liquid methane, the components of which are found naturally on Mars. The propellants, which NASA dubs "LOX/methane," are nontoxic and safer than those that power the space shuttle. And astronauts would not have to carry heavy fuel for the return trip but could fill up at an outpost in deep space. "If we go to Mars at some point, it will be a method of living off the land," said Mark D. Klem, project manager for NASA's Propulsion and Cryogenic Advanced Development project, which seeks out technologies that could be developed for future NASA missions.

November 10, 2007

Robot Surgeons From Baghdad to Mars Are Closer Than You Think Popular Mechanics
If a robot surgeon is treating you, your life is in danger. That’s not due to any machine-borne malice, but because current research into autonomous surgery is focused on battlefield casualties barely clinging to life and astronauts injured on distant planets. To demonstrate how that research is progressing, Silicon Valley-based SRI International and the University of Cincinnati held a series of tests this past September that sound like a cross between a PR stunt and a B-movie: human doctors squaring off against a robotic surgeon aboard a nose-diving DC-9 aircraft. During periods of zero gravity and sustained acceleration of 1.8 g’s, a robot made incisions and applied sutures on simulated tissue, while a human surgeon did the same.
Conference to Discuss Exploration of the two Moons of Mars Mars Institute
The Mars Institute is co-convening this week a unique scientific meeting titled "First International Conference on the Exploration of Phobos and Deimos: The Science, Robotic Reconnaissance, and Human Exploration of the Two Moons of Mars." The conference is being held at NASAÕs Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. The meeting is bringing together scientists, engineers, space exploration professionals, and students from around the world to discuss over three intense days (5-7 Nov 2007) the exploration of Mars's two mysterious satellites and how their exploration relates to that of the Moon, Mars, small bodies, and the solar system beyond.

October 28, 2007

Skintight, Lightweight Spacesuit a Perfect Fit for Mars? Popular Mechanics
Until recently, astronauts rarely worried about what to wear—a standard gas-pressurized spacesuit was the only choice. But navigating Mars in a bulky 300-pound setup would be like doing gymnastics in a suit of armor. “They’re not going there to sit in the habitat,” says Dava Newman, a professor of astronautics at MIT. “They’ll have to work five to seven days a week.” Newman has designed an alternative with enough flexibility to get the job done. Partially inspired by giraffe anatomy—the tall beasts use tight leg skin to help regulate blood pressure—the BioSuit relies on mechanical counterpressure instead of gas pressure. Every suit must be tailored to squeeze its owner. Newman estimates the BioSuit is 10 years from completion, but already the multiple layers can offer 25 to 30 kilopascals of pressure in the legs, enough to counter the thin atmospheres of other planets. And they’re safer than the old “gasbag” suits—a small hole can be patched on the fly. While we wait for a Mars mission, MIT hopes to put the BioSuit to work on Earth, helping physical therapy patients exercise.

October 10, 2007

Self-sufficient space habitat designed Cosmos
Australian-led scientists have designed a new space habitat that might one day allow astronauts on the Moon or Mars to be 90 to 95 per cent self-sufficient. The development of such as system could save billions of dollars in shuttle trips to re-supply lunar or space colonies and brings closer the vision of a human habitat on Mars. The technology could also have applications on Earth to develop more sustainable farming techniques and improve recycling processes.

September 25, 2007

NASA aims to put man on Mars by 2037
NASA aims to put a man on Mars by 2037, the administrator of the US space agency indicated Monday. This year marks the half-century of the space age ushered in by the October 1957 launch of the Sputnik-1 by the then Soviet Union, NASA administrator Michael Griffin noted. In 2057, the centenary of the space era, "we should be celebrating 20 years of man on Mars," Griffin told an international astronautics congress in this southern Indian city where he outlined NASA's future goals. The international space station being built in orbit and targeted for completion by 2010 would provide a "toehold in space" from where humanity can travel first to the moon and then to Mars, Griffin said.

September 24, 2007

Space Makes Bacteria More Dangerous
A germ that causes food poisoning and other illnesses can be three times more dangerous in space than on the ground, an experiment has shown. The finding spells out tougher challenges for astronauts taking trips to the moon or Mars, as recent work also hints that the body's immune system weakens during extended stays in space. "Space flight alters cellular and physiological responses in astronauts including the immune response," said Cheryl Nickerson, a microbiologist at Arizona State University and leader of the experiment. "However, relatively little was known about microbial changes to infectious disease risk in response to space flight."

September 17, 2007

Mice and men: space gerbils blaze trail for humans to Mars Mars Daily
Ten gerbils took off from the Russian-run Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan on Friday for a 12-day voyage to test the possible effects of a human mission to Mars, an official said Friday. A Foton-M spaceship with the rodents on board took off on a Soyuz rocket, mission official Anfisa Kazakova told AFP by telephone. The rocket is to include a cage with 10 rodents with the aim of studying the physiological and biological effects of long-term flights, she said.

July 17, 2007

One giant leap for space fashion: MIT team designs sleek, skintight spacesuit Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In the 40 years that humans have been traveling into space, the suits they wear have changed very little. The bulky, gas-pressurized outfits give astronauts a bubble of protection, but their significant mass and the pressure itself severely limit mobility. Dava Newman, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems at MIT, wants to change that. Newman is working on a sleek, advanced suit designed to allow superior mobility when humans eventually reach Mars or return to the moon. Her spandex and nylon BioSuit is not your grandfather's spacesuit--think more Spiderman, less John Glenn. Traditional bulky spacesuits "do not afford the mobility and locomotion capability that astronauts need for partial gravity exploration missions. We really must design for greater mobility and enhanced human and robotic capability," Newman says.

July 16, 2007

NASA Ponders Human Mission to Moons of Mars Live Science
A potential outward bound destination for astronauts: Phobos and Deimos - the two moons of Mars. NASA is stirring up the exploration pot by co-sponsoring in early November the first international conference on sending robots and humans to Phobos and Deimos. This global gathering of experts will meet at the NASA Ames Research Center in California. They’ll detail new ideas on probing Phobos and Deimos, as well as how to utilize the two moons as a gateway for exploring Mars itself. In the human exploration department, scientists and engineers are to delve into what an expeditionary crew might do on Phobos and Deimos - and how to use those mini-worlds to help in investigating the red planet. Also, what precursor robotic missions that might be needed will be addressed. By the way - Russia is already spearheading a multi-nation project to explore Phobos, dubbed the Phobos-Grunt mission, a sample return effort eyed for 2009.

June 23, 2007

Mars Is Under Attack! It Is Time For The Mars Society To Mobilize To Save Human Missions To Mars!
Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, and Science recommended an increase of over $280 million above the requested level for NASA. However, within this budget markup, there is language that would prevent work on programs devoted to humans to Mars. According to a House Appropriations Committee press release, the markup language states that NASA cannot pursue “development or demonstration activity related exclusively to Human Exploration of Mars. NASA has too much on its plate already, and the President is welcome to include adequate funding for the Human Mars Initiative in a budget amendment or subsequent year funding requests." THIS ANTI-MARS LANGUAGE MUST BE REMOVED! Otherwise, the program may turn into MOON ONLY program. We can't let that happen.

June 19, 2007

ESA seeks candidates for simulated 'Missions to Mars' in 2008/2009
ESA is preparing for future human exploration missions to Mars. We are currently looking for volunteers to take part in a 520-day simulated Mars mission. To go to Mars is still a dream and one of the last gigantic challenges. But one day some of us will be on precisely that journey to the Red Planet. A journey with no way out once the spaceship is on a direct path to Mars. These men and women will have to take care of themselves for almost two years during the roundtrip. Their survival is in their own hands, relying on the work of thousands of engineers and scientists back on Earth, who made such a mission possible. The crew will experience extreme isolation and confinement. They will lose sight of planet Earth. A radio contact will take 40 minutes to travel to us and then back to the space explorers. A human mission to Mars is a bold vision for the time beyond the International Space Station. However, preparations have already started today. They are geared and committed to one goal: to send humans on an exploration mission to Mars, individuals who will live and work together in a spaceship for over 500 days.

June 4, 2007

Mars experiment might help Earthling insomniacs
An experiment aimed at finding ways to help astronauts adapt to life on Mars could end up helping insomniacs on Earth, researchers said on Monday. They found that two 45-minute exposures to bright light in the evening could help people adjust to a longer, Martian-style day. During the experiment, they found a wider-than-expected variation in an internal system the human body uses to keep track of days and nights, and they believe their treatment might help people with certain disorders of this system. "The results have powerful implications for the treatment of circadian rhythm sleep disorders, including shift work disorder and advanced sleep phase disorder," said Dr. Charles Czeisler, chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard medical school in Boston. The U.S. space agency NASA had asked Czeisler's lab to find ways to help astronauts adjust to life on Mars, where the days are about 24 hours and 39 minutes long, or 24.65 hours.

June 1, 2007

NASA Develops Plans for Moon-Mars Mission PBS
NASA has unveiled plans for crew and launch vehicles to return humans to the moon as the first steps toward building an outpost there and eventually traveling to Mars. NewsHour correspondent Tom Bearden takes a closer look at NASA's space vision.

May 30, 2007

'Life on Mars' garden wins Chelsea The Daily Telegraph
In the year that BBC One’s 1970s era police show proved such a ratings hit it was perhaps appropriate that an entry nicknamed the "Life on Mars Garden" should win the Chelsea Flower Show. But the Chelsea judges still caused something of a stir when they favoured Sarah Eberle’s garden for an astronaut on Mars over Ulf Nordfjell’s near perfect celebration of the tercentenary of the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. Yet the judges, all professional designers themselves, clearly thought Miss Eberle’s garden was out of this world. Miss Eberle said she was "overwhelmed" to win her first best in show at Chelsea for "600 days with Bradstone," the Martian garden that has taken her eight years to research and build, with the help of the European Space Agency.

May 23, 2007

Moon, Mars trips will pose physical, mental health risks
As the Earth fades into the rearview mirror, the astronauts who set out on the missions that NASA proposes to the moon and Mars will face new challenges to stay mentally and physically fit. Confinement on spacecraft and isolation from friends and family create psychological stress. Bones weaken without gravity and there is solar and cosmic radiation exposure. "The risks to human health on long-duration missions beyond Earth orbit, if not solved, represent the greatest challenge to human exploration of deep space," concludes Safe Passage: Astronaut Care for Exploration Missions, a study for the space agency by the National Academy of Sciences in 2001. Without the swift, fictional propulsion systems of Star Wars and Star Trek fame, a round-trip voyage to Mars will send astronauts packing for 2 years. A tour of duty at a lunar outpost would last six months. The trip durations lead to another worry: How does a faraway astronaut receive treatment for a medical emergency?

May 22, 2007

Unwanted Life Forms Abound in Sick Spacecraft
Spacecraft start out clean - as close to germ-free as humans can make them. But after years of use, unused spaces within the walls can become home to unwanted life forms. When NASA joined the Russian space program in its evaluation of the microbial activity aboard the Mir spacecraft, they made some interesting discoveries. NASA's plan was to obtain information that would be useful during long-duration missions. Mir had suffered several power outages during its fifteen years in low earth orbit; temperature and humidity had gone well beyond normal levels. In 1998, NASA astronauts were collecting samples from air and surfaces. Imagine their surprise when they opened an obscure service panel in Mir's Kvant-2 Module and discovered a free-floating mass of water.

May 14, 2007

Sheffield scientists develop artificial blood The University of Sheffield
Scientists from the University of Sheffield are developing an artificial `plastic blood´, which could act as a substitute for real blood in emergency situations. The `plastic blood´, which will be on display at the Science Museum this month, could have a huge impact on military applications. Because the artificial blood is made from a plastic, it is light to carry and easy to store. Doctors could store the substitute as a thick paste in a blood bag and then dissolve it in water just before giving it to patients – meaning it´s easier to transport than liquid blood. Donated blood has a relatively short shelf-life of 35 days, after which it must be thrown away. It also needs refrigeration, whereas the `plastic blood´ will be storable for many more days and is stable at room temperature.

May 1, 2007

NASA rethinking death in mission to Mars
How do you get rid of the body of a dead astronaut on a three-year mission to Mars and back? When should the plug be pulled on a critically ill astronaut who is using up precious oxygen and endangering the rest of the crew? Should NASA employ DNA testing to weed out astronauts who might get a disease on a long flight? With NASA planning to land on Mars 30 years from now, and with the recent discovery of the most "Earth-like" planet ever seen outside the solar system, the space agency has begun to ponder some of the thorny practical and ethical questions posed by deep space exploration. Some of these who-gets-thrown-from-the-lifeboat questions are outlined in a NASA document on crew health obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request. NASA doctors and scientists, with help from outside bioethicists and medical experts, hope to answer many of these questions over the next several years.

April 3, 2007

Europe to Join 500-Day Mock Mission to Mars
The European Space Agency (ESA) will partner with Russian researchers to lock a crew of six people in metal tubes for a simulated trip to Mars. Known as Mars500, the simulated space mission will take place in an isolation facility in Russia, allowing organizers to study the difficulties presented by such a lengthy spaceflight. The participants, selected from a pool of volunteers, will attempt to re-create all elements of an actual mission, including launch, an outboard journey, a research trip to the planet’s surface, and the return trip—all of which will take 500 days. Locked inside the research station, the crew will have to deal with limitations such as a carefully portioned food supply, 20-minute delays in communication, and simulated emergencies, with the further possibility of real medical emergencies arising.

March 7, 2007

First woman in space dreams of flying to Mars
The world's first female astronaut Valentina Tereshkova, marking her 70th birthday on Tuesday, says she still dreams of flying to Mars -- even on a one-way ticket. In June 1963, 25-year-old Tereshkova spent 71 hours in orbit on board a Soviet Vostok spacecraft, earning a niche in the history books and scoring propaganda points for the Soviet Union in its Cold War space rivalry with the United States. The story of the peasant's daughter who became a household name thanks to communism's achievements made her a role model for young Soviet women. Her photograph smiling from a space suit became an icon. President Vladimir Putin, who invited Tereshkova to his residence near Moscow to mark her birthday, said her flight remained an inspiration for the resurgent Russia of today.

October 24, 2006

Hitch hike to Mars inside an asteroid New Scientist
Burrowing inside an asteroid whose orbit carries it past both the Earth and Mars could protect astronauts from radiation on their way to the Red Planet. The idea is being investigated with funding from NASA. Outside the protective bubble of the Earth's magnetic field, charged particles from the Sun and from beyond our solar system in the form of cosmic rays pose a hazard to astronauts.
How Safe is Travel to Mars? RedOrbit
As NASA lays plans for travel to the moon and Mars, the agency is exploring propulsion systems, crew modules, and habitat structures. It has looked at the psychology of being cooped up with fellow astronauts for a years-long Mars mission, and studied how to maintain bone structure and muscle strength in microgravity. But a new study should force renewed attention on one of the most intractable dangers of space travel: radiation. The review, published Sept. 29 in Mars, the International Journal of Mars Science and Exploration, identified major radiation hazards that must be solved before the safe completion of a human Mars mission.

June 30, 2006

House OKs Funding for Mars Mission
The House passed a bill that supports the president's plans to explore Mars and increase spending on research and encouraging science professionals to enter teaching. This bill passed after three days of debate that touched on everything from medical marijuana laws to the Pacific Northwest's salmon fishery. Along the way, House lawmakers endorsed the Supreme Court's ruling to permit evidence seized in violation of long-standing "knock and announce" rules and backed bilingual ballots for people whose native language is not English. The bill covers the annual budgets of the departments of Commerce, State and Justice, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

June 14, 2006

Hawking Says Humans Must Colonize Space
The survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy the Earth, world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking said Tuesday. The British astrophysicist told a news conference in Hong Kong that humans could have a permanent base on the moon in 20 years and a colony on Mars in the next 40 years. "We won't find anywhere as nice as Earth unless we go to another star system," added Hawking, who arrived to a rock star's welcome Monday. Tickets for his lecture planned for Wednesday were sold out. "It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species," Hawking said. "Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of."

June 12, 2006

On Mars, No One Can Hear You Scream ScienceNOW
Sound dies quickly in the cold, thin air of Mars. Researchers have modeled a sound wave traveling through the Martian atmosphere and report that it doesn't go far--even a lawn mower's roar dies after a hundred meters or so. The model presents an unusually detailed picture of how sound travels in an alien atmosphere and hints at what it would take to communicate on the Red Planet.

May 22, 2006

Mars mission poses extreme psychological puzzle Star Telegram
It's the moment every wannabe astronaut dreams of: landing on Mars. Just imagine making that momentous speech as you plant your flag in the red soil, the sun rising behind you over Olympus Mons. How breathtaking to see the Earth rise in the night sky, just a white dot among millions of others. But there's a flip side. By the time you make that speech, you will have been cooped up inside a metal box for six months. You'll not talk to your friends or family for another two years. You and your fellow inmates are bound to have survived some hair-raising, potentially fatal crises, and everyone's nerves will be in tatters.

May 1, 2006

Europeans psych themselves up for a trip to Mars Astrobiology Magazine
Last December a second Italian-French crew took up residence in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. They will stay there for over a year; nine months of this will be winter, with no visitors and no chance for an emergency rescue. The aim: to help the European Space Agency (ESA) with preparations for a human mission to Mars.

April 12, 2006

NASA Solicits Ideas for Exploration of the Moon, Mars, and Beyond
NASA issued a Request for Information Tuesday soliciting ideas on lunar exploration activities that could be pursued as part of the agency's long term exploration goals for the moon, Mars and beyond. Sponsored by NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, this request seeks input from individuals and organizations covering a broad range of disciplines, from lunar science activities, to operational activities and technology research efforts that could be done on the moon to assist in preparing for future human missions to Mars and beyond.
Trip to Mars Will Challenge Bones, Muscles: Former Astronaut calls for More NASA Research on Exercise in Space American College of Sports Medicine
Human spaceflight to Mars could become a reality within the next 25 years, but not until some physiological problems are resolved, including an alarming loss of bone mass, fitness and muscle strength. Former astronaut James A. Pawelczyk, Ph.D. illuminated the issues in a keynote address today at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) 10th-annual Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition in Orlando.
Russian bear plots Mars mission The Register
The top man at Russia's leading space firm has mooted an ambitious expansion of the country's space effort. President of Energia corporation Nikolai Sevastianov said manned missions to the Moon and Mars were on the cards by 2030. He said: "We can land on the Moon before 2015". His plan is to start mining the Moon for the 1m tons of potential fusion fuel helium-3 scientists say it has. They say this would be enough to power Earth for 1,000 years, and one experts estimates its value at $4bn per ton. This would easily offset the cost of mining it, Sevastianov said.

April 4, 2006

U.S. missions to moon, Mars still on radar The Washington Post
For the first time since 1972, the United States is planning to fly to the moon, but instead of a quick, Apollo-like visit, astronauts intend to build a permanent base and live there while they prepare what may be the most ambitious undertaking in history — putting human beings on Mars. NASA’s moon planners are closely following the spaceship initiative and, within six months, will outline what they need from the new vehicle to enable astronauts to explore the lunar surface.

March 31, 2006

Mars mission seen as possible Richmond Times-Dispatch
Cosmonaut, Russian space engineer speak to Powhatan students. Russian cosmonaut Yury Usachev logged more than 670 days in space but even he has his limits. Speaking yesterday to several hundred students at Powhatan High School, Usachev shuddered at the thought of a possible manned mission to Mars and said he'd let the next generation of space pioneers sign up.

February 3, 2006

Wash Your Clothes With Air Gizmodo
Do you even CARE what kind of disgusting bugs and bacteria live on your clothes and bedding? Do you? Well, The world first washing machine dryer with "air wash" function cares. The AQUA AWD-AQ1 from Sanyo disinfects and deodorizes your clothes without using water. It shoots ozone-filled air to whisk away odors and bacteria. It also recycles the water it uses for rinsing and disinfects it using the selfsame ozone. It even has special modes to fight against mode, add steam, and even wash without detergent. It will be out in March for $2200.

January 25, 2006

Machining with dry ice, on Mars Machine Design
Engineers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a method of machining metals that uses ice-cold carbon dioxide to remove cuttings while cooling and lubricating the workpiece. Dubbed Snow-Machining, it could eliminate the need for oil-based and synthetic fluids currently used in the cutting and metal-parts cleaning industries. Experts at the University of Michigan estimate over 200 million gallons of metalworking oils are used annually in the U.S., and the amount of cutting fluid is at least several times that figure.

January 1, 2006

Manned U.S. mission to Mars by 2030 eyed The Yomiuri Shimbun
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration plans to send six astronauts on a 500-day mission to Mars, according to its final draft report on the Mars exploration program. U.S. President George W. Bush promoted a new vision for NASA's space exploration in a speech he gave in January 2004. NASA is aiming to realize the mission before 2030. The human mission to Mars is planned to take 2-1/2 years for the round-trip and will comprise three sets of vehicles.

December 22, 2005

Mission to Mars via Antarctica
A few weeks before leaving for the Antarctic Concordia Station, the Italian-French crew that will spend over one year in one of the harshest, isolated environments on Earth, attended two days of preparatory training at ESA's Headquarters in Paris, France. During their stay at the research station the crew will participate in a number of ESA experiments the outcome of which will help prepare for long-term missions to Mars.

December 21, 2005

Underfoot insulation using nanotech gizmag
The human body needs warmth and the areas in which we feel the cold first are naturally enough those which are at the extremities hands and feet. The feet are particularly vulnerable in arctic climates as they are continually in contact with very cold surfaces. Accordingly, the advanced nanotech underfoot insulation offered by ToastyFeet insole liners from Polar Wrap. Most insulation requires loft but when you step on it, it gets compressed and loses its loft and therefore its insulating power. Aerogel doesn't require loft as it contains nanometer-sized pockets of air that can maintain thermal protection and shape even when you step on it. In partnership with NASA, this same flexible aerogel technology is being developed for next generation space suits but you can get it now and keep your feet toasty warm. We've written about numerous applications for aerogel technology including a translucent roofing system and about the origination of the world's lightest solid.

November 25, 2005

Mars mission plans more homespun than high tech The Miami Herald
A few decades from now, space travelers living on Mars may think the Pilgrims had it easy. The pioneers who make the 80-million-mile, three-year journey to Mars and back will probably not have the just-add-water-and-heat packaged foods that are aboard the international space station, where the crew orbiting Earth will prepare a traditional Thanksgiving dinner today of turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans and cherry-blueberry cobbler. NASA's Johnson Space Center is working on a project to send humans back to the moon, and from there to Mars.

November 8, 2005

Russia, China to Jointly Explore Moon and Mars MosNews
Russia and China have agreed to launch in 2007 a 10-year space cooperation plan with a focus on joint development of major projects, such as a joint lunar exploration and landing on Mars, the Zhongguo Tongxun She news agency reported. The two sides agreed to explore the possibility of cooperation in the moon and deep space exploration as well as joint development of large space projects, according to the joint communique issued at the 10th regular meeting between Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Fradkov last week.

September 19, 2005

Moon-to-Mars Plans Emerge: New Agenda or Apollo Retread?
NASA is set to unveil today details of its new space architecture, a "how-to" response to President George W. Bush's Moon, Mars and beyond vision speech made in January 2004. Bush called for putting astronauts back on the Moon by 2020 and sending humans to Mars thereafter. Last week and Space News reported that NASA will announce today plans to send four astronauts to Moon in 2018. On the list: A re-usable vehicle that's safer than the shuttle; technology for extracting fuel from the destination; and an airbag landing upon return to Earth. Plans were also detailed for sending robotic scouts first.

September 18, 2005

NASA to offer $100 billion moon program
With the shuttle fleet grounded and the International Space Station staffed by a skeleton crew, NASA is set to unveil plans on Monday to take people and cargo to the moon. Even before the official announcement, there is criticism from Capitol Hill over the reported $100 billion cost of the lunar program, given U.S. government commitments to the Iraq war and the recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

September 15, 2005

NASA to Unveil Plans to Send 4 Astronauts to Moon in 2018
NASA briefed senior White House officials Wednesday on its plan to spend $100 billion and the next 12 years building the spacecraft and rockets it needs to put humans back on the Moon by 2018. The U.S. space agency now expects to roll out its lunar exploration plan to key Congressional committees on Friday and to the broader public through a news conference on Monday, Washington sources tell

September 12, 2005

Armstrong: Mars trip will be easier
Neil Armstrong said Tuesday that a human expedition to Mars won't happen for at least 20 years, but might be easier than the trip that made him the first person to step onto the moon in 1969. Armstrong said scientists must develop better onboard spacecraft technology and stronger shields to block space radiation before people can travel to Mars.

September 9, 2005

New Company Launches With Aim of Colonizing Mars
A new center that aims to be a cross between a museum and an amusement park may soon allow people to explore a Martian settlement without ever having to leave Earth. The Martian research and outreach center will be operated by Four Frontiers, a new Florida-based space commerce company whose main objective is the establishment of a permanent human settlement on Mars. We see ourselves as the pioneers of the new space frontier, said Four Frontiers CEO Mark Homnick. We follow in the path made by the early explorers such as NASA and the ESA. We settle in the new land, we turn it into a home and add value.
Coming soon: Moon, Mars mission specifics
NASA soon will unveil detailed plans for sending astronauts back to the moon before the end of the next decade. And while an official announcement won't come until mid-September, here's a sneak preview based on an internal NASA-Department of Defense memo and a speech given last week by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.

August 23, 2005

Russia Invites China's 1st Spaceman To Moon Flight
The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) on Friday invited China's first spaceman, Yang Liwei, to make a space flight to the moon aboard the promising Russian Kliper shuttle, the Itar-Tass news agency reported. The invitation was offered by the head of Roskosmos, Anatoly Perminov, at a meeting in the day with the Chinese taikonaut. Taikonaut was coined to refer to Chinese astronauts, who are called cosmonauts in Russia.

August 18, 2005

Mars Backers Say Action on Human Missions Must Start Now
NASA will soon make public its space exploration strategy of returning crews to the Moon and sending humans to distant Mars and other targets. But implementing such lofty goals is fraught with political correctness, as well as the need for heavy doses of technological suitability and cost-saving savvy.

August 4, 2005

Russia plans flight to Mars and development of space tourism RIA Novosti
Russia will start an experimental program for preparation for flights to Mars in 2006, said Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos. "The agency is not planning a manned flight to Mars until 2015, although we will start an experimental program at the Institute of Medical and Biological Research next year," he told the Voice of Russia state-controlled radio station. "An international six-men crew will conduct a simulated 500-day flight to Mars."

August 3, 2005

The Future of NASA's Human Spaceflight: Shuttle-Derived Technology Takes the Lead
NASA has decided that its next launch vehicle for getting humans into space will be based on the space shuttle system, including its main engines, solid rocket boosters and external tank. There will be one big difference, though, instead of riding along the side of the new rocket, astronauts in the future will be riding on top on top of their next launcher -- above any debris that might fall off. Speaking to reporters via telephone July 29, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin said the agency's plans are the result of an intensive Exploration Systems Architecture Study he ordered in late April to plot NASA's return to the moon by 2020. That study will be publicly unveiled in "a few weeks," Griffin said.

July 24, 2005

NASA Quest challenges students to study Mars on Earth Spaceflight Now
As NASA turns its attention to preparing for human travel to the Moon and Mars, there are many hurdles to overcome. This fall, the NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate and NASA Quest will open the school year with a challenge to students, primarily in grades 5-8, to work with NASA scientists to design solutions to these obstacles. During October and November, students are invited to join NASA researchers Jennifer Heldmann, William J. Clancey and Chris McKay and other leading scientists as they embark on a Mars analog study at California's Lassen Volcanic National Park. By studying snowfields in the park, scientists hope to learn more about the development and use of technologies needed to help understand and explore the moon and Mars. They will also learn about polar ice caps and the possible life that could exist there.

July 3, 2005

Mars Foundation Presents Settlement Concepts at ISDC Mars Homestead Project
Several Mars Foundation principals attended the NSS International Space Development Conference in Washington, DC this week. The attendees included Bruce Mackenzie, Joseph Palaia, Wayne White, Martha Adams, Mike Turner, and Gary Fisher. Presenting at the conference, we gave an overview of our current progress of Mars Settlement design and some of the results of our eight-month feasibility study. We are continuing our cutting-edge research efforts into permanent Mars settlement technologies & systems, and will be publishing our concepts over this summer in peer-reviewed scientific publications.

June 1, 2005

Funding for Moon, Mars Projects Promised
NASA's new administrator and Texas Republican Rep. Tom DeLay said Tuesday the space agency will have the necessary funding to implement President Bush's vision to send astronauts back to the moon and to Mars. "We have the money to do good things," said Michael Griffin, who has visited at least seven of NASA's centers since he was appointed in April. During a two-day visit at the home of human spaceflight, he spoke with astronauts, flight directors and other top administrators.

May 23, 2005

Yes, there is life on Mars, if you keep walking The Observer
NASA trains astronauts on desolate Devon Island in the Arctic, Earth's closest environment to the red planet. Sarah Hampson finds wonder in the wild.

May 20, 2005

Designer Plants On Mars
Take the cold tolerance of bacteria that thrive in arctic ice, add the ultraviolet resistance of tomato plants growing high in the Andes mountains, and combine with an ordinary plant. What do you get? A tough plant "pioneer" that can grow in Martian soil. Like customizing a car, NASA-funded scientists are designing plants that can survive the harsh conditions on Mars. These plants could provide oxygen, fresh food, and even medicine to astronauts while living off their waste. They would also improve morale as a lush, green connection to Earth in a barren and alien world.

May 17, 2005

Towards a manned mission to Mars
At the beginning of 2001, with Mars Express (MEx) and Beagle 2 progressing well towards what everyone thought would be an epic journey to Mars, the European Space Agency (ESA) called together a group of 10 Experts in Space Exploration. A few lively meetings later these experts came up with their vision for Europe exploring the solar system during the 21st century.

May 11, 2005

Micromachines to Produce Propellant and Air on Mars
Two teams of researchers are hoping their tiny devices will mean big leaps for future Mars-bound humans, allowing them to carry powerful computers and generate life support materials from the planets atmosphere. In one corner, NASA-funded scientists are tweaking microtechnology to produce compact systems that produce breathing oxygen or rocket propellant, vital components of any manned space mission. Meanwhile, two Purdue University researchers are adapting microchannel heat sinks small copper plates lined with numerous grooves each three times the width of a human hair with conventional refrigeration methods to build more efficient cooling systems.

May 5, 2005

Building a Human Outpost on Mars Offers Challenges
Human missions to Mars will be much more difficult than missions to the moon. Round trip human missions to Mars will require about two years to complete, compared with the eight-day Apollo missions to the moon. Because humans will likely stay on Mars for much longer than they did on the moon, the development of the infrastructure required for a scientific outpost that can sustain humans for long periods of time is critical. Robert L. Ash, professor of aerospace engineering at Old Dominion University (ODU), will speak on "Challenges of Building a Human Outpost on Mars" at a colloquium at 2 p.m., Thursday, May 5, at NASA Langley's H.J.E. Reid Conference Center.

April 27, 2005

Europes ExoMars Rover: Steering A Course Toward Humans On Mars
Future hunts for past or present life on Mars, hauling back to Earth samples of martian rock and soil, as well as setting the stage for a human voyage to the red planet is taking on a decidedly European look. European Space Agency (ESA) officials are taking steps to shift into high gear the building of the ExoMars robotic rover mission. The lander would be launched in 2011, likely onboard a Soyuz Fregat 2b booster from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana.

April 26, 2005

Don't Breathe the [Mars]dust
When humans return to the Moon and travel to Mars, they'll have to be careful of