Tag: Mars

NASA to Test Innovative Supersonic Decelerator

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NASA workers at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wearing clean room "bunny suits," prepare the LDSD test article for shipment later this month to Hawaii. LDSD will help land bigger space payloads on Mars or return them back to Earth. (Credit: NASA/JPL)

NASA workers at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wearing clean room “bunny suits,” prepare the LDSD test article for shipment later this month to Hawaii. LDSD will help land bigger space payloads on Mars or return them back to Earth. (Credit: NASA/JPL)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL PR) — On April 9 reporters got a chance to don “bunny suits” (protective apparel that sometimes makes people look like large rabbits) and enter a NASA clean room at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. In the room is NASA’s latest technology for landing large payloads on planets like Mars or Earth, being processed for shipping prior to testing next June.

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project will be flying a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space this June from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The LDSD crosscutting demonstration mission will test breakthrough technologies that will enable large payloads to be safely landed on the surface of Mars, or other planetary bodies with atmospheres, including Earth. These new technologies will not only enable landing of larger payloads on Mars, but also allow access to much more of the planet’s surface by enabling landings at higher altitude sites.

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Greetings From Death Valley!

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Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Greetings from Furnace Creek in Death Valley, California — 190 feet under sea level.

I’ve been here since Friday evening for a very cool NASA event. MarsFest is an annual outreach event of NASA Ames, JPL and the National Park Service. It’s basically several days of field trips and lectures talking about Death Valley as an analog for Mars exploration.

On Saturday, we visited a couple of sites, including Bad Water where there are life forms similar to what might exist on Mars. Earlier today, we received a guided tour of Ubehebe Crater, a volcanic formation at the north end of the park that has features similar to Gale Crater on Mars which the Curiosity rover is exploring.

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Salt flats at Bad Water in Death Valley. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

It’s been a very interesting and informative weekend. Death Valley is really spectacular, and it was greatly enhanced by having experts who work here on a regular basis explaining the features of it. I wish I had made it up here for the previous two MarsFests.

Mars One Begins Work on Simulation Mars Home for Crew

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Mars colony (Credit: Mars One)

Mars colony (Credit: Mars One)

Amersfoort, The Netherlands, 27 March 2014 (Mars One PR) – Mars One is excited to announce the launch of a simulation project to replicate the future Mars human outpost here on Earth.

Mars One will soon begin the process of construction of the first simulation outpost, which will be used for training selected astronauts and teams. The main purpose of an early version outpost is for potential crew members to gain early experience in the actual environment which will become their home on Mars.

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Lionsgate TV Teams with Mars One for Reality Series

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Mars colony (Credit: Mars One)

Mars colony (Credit: Mars One)

It looks like Lionsgate TV has won the sweepstakes to produce the Mars One reality series, which will chronicle the effort by “eccentric Dutch billionaire entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp” to colonize the Red Planet.

Mars One calls for new groups of four to be sent to Mars every two years, beginning no later than 2024. Announced last year, the scientific project already has received almost 300,000 applications from all over the world, which are being whittled down. Lionsgate TV is expected to start its own casting search, with the two selection processes ultimately merged.

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NASA Selects ISRU Proposals From Paragon, Lynntech for SBIR Phase II Awards

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NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program has selected for funding proposals from Paragon Space Development Corp. and Lynntech, Inc. for the development of systems that can convert carbon dioxide into methane on Mars. The projects will receive SBIR Phase II funding.

“Paragon Space Development Corporation (Paragon) and ENrG Incorporated (ENrG) are teaming to provide a highly efficient reactor for carbon monoxide/carbon dioxide (CO/CO2) conversion into methane (CH4). The system is a gravity-independent, compact, leak-tight, Solid Oxide Electrolyzer (SOE) system with embedded Sabatier reactors (ESR),” according to the proposal summary.

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This Week on The Space Show

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This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, March 10, 2014, 2-3:30 PM PDT(5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back DR. ERIC SEEDHOUSE regarding his new book, “Suborbital: Industry at the Edge of Space.”

2. THURSDAY, March 13, 2014:, 7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcome back DR. ROBERT ZUBRIN regarding the Mars Society Mars Artic 365 campaign.

3. Friday, March 14, 2014, 9:30-11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT): We welcome ROBERT WALKER for more on artificial gravity and his space articles published on www.science20.com/space.

4. Sunday, March 16, 2014, 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT). DR. DOUG PLATA returns to discuss his Cislunar One concept and trades.

Honeybee Robotics Selected for SBIR Phase II Awards

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Hartley 2, Close Up  This image from the High-Resolution Instrument on NASA's EPOXI mission spacecraft shows part of the nucleus of comet Hartley 2. The sun is illuminating the nucleus from the right. A distinct cloud of individual particles is visible. This image was obtained on Nov. 4, 2010, the day the EPOXI mission spacecraft made its closest approach to the comet. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

Hartley 2, Close Up This image from the High-Resolution Instrument on NASA’s EPOXI mission spacecraft shows part of the nucleus of comet Hartley 2. The sun is illuminating the nucleus from the right. A distinct cloud of individual particles is visible. This image was obtained on Nov. 4, 2010, the day the EPOXI mission spacecraft made its closest approach to the comet. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

NASA has selected Honeybee Robotics of New York City for two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards for work on a comet surface sample return mission and the development of a nano-drill that could be used on that mission.

“The proposed Phase II investigation will focus on the development of spacecraft systems required to obtain a sample from the nucleus of a comet, hermetically seal the sample within a capsule, and return the sealed sample to an orbiting spacecraft which can return the sample to Earth,” according to the proposal summary.

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Astrobotic Selected for NASA SBIR Phase II Award

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Resource Prospector Mission field test in Hawaii. (Credit: NASA)

Resource Prospector Mission field test in Hawaii. (Credit: NASA)

NASA has selected Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II award to facilitate the better planning and execution of resource extraction missions on the moon, Mars and other worlds.

“The proposed work develops a computer-aided mission planning tool that balances the competing demands of efficient routes, scientific information gain, and rover constraints (e.g., kinematics, communication, power, thermal, and terrainability) to generate and analyze optimized routes between sequences of locations,” according to the project’s technical abstract.

The company says that the planning tool would be directly applicable to the planned Lunar Resource Prospector Mission, which is a joint NASA-CSA effort to extra volatiles on the moon. The mission is targeted for launch later in this decade.

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Mars One Lander to Carry Uwingu Map to Red Planet

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Mars One 2018 lander (Credit: Mars One)

Mars One 2018 lander (Credit: Mars One)

BOULDER, Colorado, March 3, 2014 (Uwingu PR) — Uwingu and the pioneering Mars One project (http://www.mars-­one.com/en/) announce a landmark partnership: All Mars One missions will carry Uwingu’s Mars Map to Mars, and will use these feature names as a part of Mars One’s mission operations at Mars. Additionally, a portion of Uwingu’s revenues generated by Mars feature naming will help fund Mars One missions.

Uwingu launched its Mars Crater Naming Project last week at www.uwingu.com, giving anyone in the public the opportunity to name any of the approximately 500,000 scientifically identified craters on Mars.

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Uwingu Aims to Name 500,000 Craters on Mars

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BOULDER, Colo. (Uwingu PR) — For years, space mission rover teams have taken it upon themselves to name landmarks on Mars.

Beginning today, the public can get involved in Mars exploration much the same way. Through Uwingu’s redesigned web site at www.uwingu.com, now anyone can help to create the Uwingu’s new Mars map, with names for all the approximately 500,000 unnamed but scientifically catalogued craters on Mars.

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