Mars

NASA’s Curiosity takes photo of future stomping grounds

NASA’s Curiosity takes photo of future stomping grounds

NASA’s Curiosity rover is still puttering around the Red Planet, drilling small holes and taking pictures and giving its human operators better insight into humanity’s future home away from home. Over the weekend, the space agency published a composite image of the upper region of Mount Sharp, Curiosity’s future stomping grounds, taken by the rover on September 9. In it we get a look at a beautiful landscape not so different from our own.

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A small, frosty Mars avalanche was caught on camera

A small, frosty Mars avalanche was caught on camera

Earth isn’t the only place with cold avalanches; Mars, the big Red Planet that is maybe the next stepping stone for the human race, is also home to avalanches, though they’re not quite the same as the ones we’re familiar with. HiRISE recently caught one of those frosty events on camera, which from the perspective it was taken looks merely like a puff of cotton on a cracked, barren red stone landscape.

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NASA confirms “liquid water today” on Mars

NASA confirms “liquid water today” on Mars

Today NASA's Mars exploration program has confirmed the existence of liquid water on the red planet. "This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water -albeit briny -is flowing today on the surface of Mars," said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. While most of Mars' once more significant amounts of water have evaporated into space, trace amounts have been found and confirmed today by NASA.

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NASA countdown to human Mars tests begins: 8-years left [UPDATE]

NASA countdown to human Mars tests begins: 8-years left [UPDATE]

This week NASA has revealed that their crewed mission to Mars spacecraft testing timeline has been set. After an uncrewed Orion capsule (Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1)) was tested successfully in December of 2014, two more test flights have begun setup: Exploration Missions 1 and 2 (EM-1 and EM-2). As NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said of the first of several test missions, "[Orion is] a huge step for NASA and a really critical part of our work to pioneer deep space on our Journey to Mars." With NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, EM-1 will take off first without a human crew, and EM-2 will be launched with a human crew inside the next 8 years, by the year 2023.

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NASA wants student help to land astronauts on Mars

NASA wants student help to land astronauts on Mars

NASA is hoping for a shot of student inspiration to figure out how to safely land crewed spacecraft on Mars, offering paid internships as a reward for ideas. The space agency hopes to take human astronauts to the red planet in the 2030s, but among the technical issues the project faces is completing the very final step of the journey: touchdown.

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3D-printed Mars habitat concept teases the imagination

3D-printed Mars habitat concept teases the imagination

When humans colonize Mars, they’ll first be living in shelters that provide the environment necessary for survival. NASA is trying to jumpstart the development of those habitats with its 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge, and we’ve seen various concepts that hint at what one day may be called home. French entity Fabulous has unveiled its own 3D-printed Mars shelter, which was spurred by NASA’s competition; it is called Sfero, and it is designed to use materials available on Mars.

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Curiosity finds petrified sand dunes on Mars

Curiosity finds petrified sand dunes on Mars

A bit tired of flying around Pluto in the outer ridges of our solar system? Then perhaps it's time to zoom back into our own nearby neighborhood, because the Curiosity has something interesting to share. The Martian rover has just finished taking its latest album of the red planet, which NASA has stitched up together into one glorious panorama. Lo and behold, the images revealed some petrified sand dunes not unlike those found here on Earth, which could hold more clues to Mars' ancient past.

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Elon Musk: nuking Mars will get humans established sooner

Elon Musk: nuking Mars will get humans established sooner

Elon Musk doesn’t just want humans to walk on Mars; he wants them to live there. He’s not the only person who aspires to such a future, and he sees it as a necessity for the survival of the human race. Some efforts are already being made to get human colonies established on the Red Planet, though some are more questionable than others. The key to getting human colonies established on the planet may, it turns out, be a couple thermonuclear bombs.

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Curiosity’s latest Mars discovery: a floating ‘spoon’

Curiosity’s latest Mars discovery: a floating ‘spoon’

NASA's Curiosity rover keeps snapping pictures of things that look like other things, and some people insist it's all proof of a grand conspiracy and/or aliens. We haven't actually stumbled upon an alien yet (at least as far as we've been told), but we have come across rocks that look like rats, crabs, a woman, a pyramid, pieces of old houses, and whatever other images your brain forms from the rumble. And now, a spoon...but not just any ol' spoon.

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NASA’s Mars simulation begins year of isolation in Hawaii dome

NASA’s Mars simulation begins year of isolation in Hawaii dome

NASA's latest test in preparing for a manned mission to Mars began on Friday last week, with six people entering a small dome in Hawaii where they will remain for one full year. The voluntary isolation experiment has a crew of four Americans; a pilot, architect, doctor/journalist, and soil scientist; along with a French astrobiologist and German physicist. The group will live together in a dome that measures 36 feet wide and 20 feet tall, and can only outside if wearing a full spacesuit.

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NASA responds to Curiosity’s photos of little green women

NASA responds to Curiosity’s photos of little green women

This week one of NASA's scientists working on the Mars rover project was asked to comment on multiple sightings of odd objects on the planet's surface. Everything from Martian crabs to Martian rats and back to the newest: a lizard! Today we'll go through a number of photos of supposed alien life on Mars along with Ashwin Vasavada's responses to each of them. We'll begin with the especially terrifying prospect of the miniature ghostly striding woman found several weeks ago.

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NASA will send your name to Mars on a microchip

NASA will send your name to Mars on a microchip

NASA will send your name to Mars on a microchip if you sign up before the midnight deadline on September 8. Upon signing up, users are presented with a futuristic-looking boarding pass including a “frequent flyer number” and other details, such as the launch site location, rocket, arrival site, when the launch is scheduled, and more. This batch of names (as you might know, NASA had done this before) will be shipping out with the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, more commonly called InSight.

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