Mars

NASA sets $2.25m prize for 3D printed Mars habitats

NASA sets $2.25m prize for 3D printed Mars habitats

Getting astronauts safely to Mars is only the start of your problems when you're trying to explore the red planet: then you have to give them somewhere to live. NASA has kick-started a competition to figure out just how to do that, challenging inventors to come up with a way to not only 3D print a habitat - preferably using materials found on-site - but do so at least semi-autonomously. To encourage the best brains in construction, NASA is dangling a $2.25m prize in the 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge.

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This stunning blue Mars sunset makes Monday feel easier

This stunning blue Mars sunset makes Monday feel easier

Monday can be tough, but spare a thought for NASA's Curiosity rover, up on Mars witnessing spectacular blue sunsets but with no-one to watch them with. The first such sunset to be captured in color by the plucky robot rover, the four shots - you can see the animation after the cut - were snapped on April 15, 2015 from Mars' Gale Crater, as Curiosity marked its 956th Martian day on the red planet.

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Blood Falls give hope for life on Mars

Blood Falls give hope for life on Mars

In Antarctica, Blood Falls spew forth unto the white landscape, gushing dark red liquid into the purity of the snow and ice. This unsettling image is giving scientists hope that one day they might find a mass equally strange on the Red Planet. Blood Falls belch deep water from far beneath the surface of the Antarctic dry valley, showing how areas of low resistivity can be found in areas where otherwise dry permafrost or otherwise high resistivity in glacier ice are dominant. In this brine that bursts from the ice, life can be found.

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Mars is moist: evidence of water found in surface salt

Mars is moist: evidence of water found in surface salt

Because Mars no longer has the global magnetic fields required to retain water like we have on Earth, it's not likely we'll find a tiny pool to swim in any time soon. What NASA has found, on the other hand, is new evidence that water can indeed exist on the planet - and that salts on the surface are able to absorb water from the atmosphere, collecting it on land. Again, this isn't the same sort of water we're seeing after a long rainfall on Earth - but it is another positive sign for the future, a future in which humans live on Mars for long periods of time.

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Opportunity rover shows its age with double amnesia event

Opportunity rover shows its age with double amnesia event

In Mars news today, NASA has reported their Opportunity rover to be having a second bit of amnesia in so many weeks. This event is affecting the machine's flash memory banks, and scientists had, after the first incident, attempted to bypass the faulty bank. The first event happened back on March 20th, and another event happened on the 25th. NASA scientists suggest that they're disappointed at the second occurrence, but not surprised. Another memory reformat may be just the ticket to get this machine back in order.

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Curiosity’s latest Mars find: “biologically useful” nitrogen

Curiosity’s latest Mars find: “biologically useful” nitrogen

Despite the recent resurfaced scandal surrounding Mars One, it's business as usual for those working on the real and present-day Mars. That doesn't mean, however, that NASA's scientists don't have anything just as spectacular but even more scientifically sound. From the results gathered by Curiosity Rover's "Sample Analysis at Mars" equipment, or SAM, researchers discovered the presence of nitrogen, quite a lot of them. While this alone might be boring, it's the nature of those nitrogen molecules that are more interesting. These particular molecules are a type of nitrogen that could have very well been useful to organic life.

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NASA hails successful test of Mars lander tech

NASA hails successful test of Mars lander tech

NASA is working on a new Mars lander technology that will allow scientists to place a spacecraft exactly where they want on the surface of the red planet. This lander tech is known as ADAPT. The test system is designed to help a spacecraft divert course and make a smooth pinpoint landing. By contrast, when Curiosity landed on Mars, NASA scientists had a massive landing area 12 miles by 4 miles as the location they wanted to hit.

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Dear Mars, what’s that dust? MAVEN seeks answers

Dear Mars, what’s that dust? MAVEN seeks answers

NASA's MAVEN craft has sent back data on auroras and dust at high altitudes above Mars - the latter is a mystery to observers both amateur and professional. Back in February a couple of amateur stargazers first announced spotting this dust cloud (having spotted it all the way back in 2012). There was quite a bit of nay-saying at the time about the origin of said photos - and their resolution - so we explained why images of the dust were of such terrible quality. Now it's MAVEN's turn.

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Mars One finalist reveals concerns about “flawed” project

Mars One finalist reveals concerns about “flawed” project

In 2013, the world started dreaming big about travel to Mars when Mars One revealed its own big plan: to send people on a one-way trip to the red planet, something that horrified some and inspired others. The non-profit organization had a sensationalist way of going about things: it wanted video applications, and there were even rumbles about turning the project into a reality TV show. More than 200,000 applications were received, according to different sources that cropped up last year, but fast-forward into 2015 and the doubts have continued to grow.

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