Apply now for a yearlong mock Mars mission in Canadian Arctic
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.
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.
Spaceflight experts work on alternate vision for Mars trips
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.
World Space Walk simultaneously puts three Mars-capable spacesuits to the test
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."
Cache and Not Carry: Next Mars Rover to Collect Samples for Return to Earth—Someday
Have rover, need payload. That’s the state of things for NASA, which is planning to launch its next rover to Mars in 2020. The rover has ambitious goals, including searching for signs of habitability and life on the Red Planet, and collecting rock samples to be stored for future return to Earth. Now, NASA is asking scientists to propose instruments that will help the spacecraft accomplish its mission.
The space agency released an “announcement of opportunity” on September 24 calling for proposals by December 23. Researchers who plan to put an instrument in the hat must file a heads-up about their plans, called a notice of intent, by October 15.
Mars Society Recommends 'Generation One: Children of Mars' Comic
"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" Generation One is a 3-issue limited comic book series created with the hope of getting kids and young adults excited about Mars exploration and colonization. We're really hoping to show how 1) Mars colonists might live happy, productive lives full of meaning without ever setting foot on Earth, 2) humanity can avoid making the same mistakes on Mars as it has on Earth, and 3) Mars is an interesting place worth discovering!
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.
The Mars Society will be hosting its 16th Annual International Mars Society Convention from August 15-18 at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The organization is pleased to announce that all plenary talks during this year's convention will be broadcast live on the Internet via a special video webcast.
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"
Mars Society Announces High-Level Science Team for Mars Arctic 365 Simulation
Several weeks ago, the Mars Society announced that it was initiating a ground-breaking project known as Mars Arctic 365, a special one-year Mars surface simulation mission to take place at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Devon Island in northern Canada.
The Mars Arctic 365 program, scheduled to begin in the summer of 2014, will provide scientists with the most extensive testing to date on how a multi-person crew can live and work together under isolated, stressful and harsh conditions as part of a human mission to the Red Planet.
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.
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.
A Mars simulation in the southern Utah desert
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.
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.