Tag: Mars

ESA Delays Second Part of ExoMars Mission to 2020

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Prototype ExoMars rover. (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space)

Prototype ExoMars rover. (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space)

PARIS (ESA PR) — On 14 March 2016, the Roscosmos State Corporation and the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the jointly-developed ExoMars 2016 interplanetary mission, comprising the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli lander, on a Proton rocket from Baikonur, thus marking the first phase in the European-Russian ExoMars cooperation programme. The success achieved by Russian and European experts involved in ExoMars 2016 is the result of long and fruitful cooperation. The ExoMars 2016 spacecraft are due to arrive at Mars in October 2016.

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NASA Selects Honeybee Robotics for 2 STTR & 5 SBIR Awards

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honeybee_roboticsNASA has selected Honeybee Robotics for two Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) and five Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I awards.

The selected proposals include:

  • STTR: Robotic ISRU Construction of Planetary Landing and Launch Pad (Partnered with Michigan Technological University)
  • STTR: In-Situ Spectroscopic Europa Explorer (Partnered with SETI Institute Carl Sagan Center)
  • SBIR: The Stinger: A Geotechnical Sensing Package for Robotic Scouting on a Small Planetary Rover
  • SBIR: Planetary Vacuum Cleaner for Venus and Mars
  • SBIR: Dust-Tolerant, High Pressure Oxygen Quick Disconnect for Advanced Spacesuit and Airlock Applications
  • SBIR: Strut Attachment System for In-Space Robotic Assembly
  • SBIR: High Temperature Joint Actuator

Descriptions of the research projects follow.
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Masten Selected for SBIR Contract for Mars LOX/Methane Ascent Engine

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The ADAPT test system can help a spacecraft divert its course and make a smooth, pinpoint landing. The system is built on Masten's XA-0.1B "Xombie" vertical-launch, vertical-landing reusable rocket. (Credit: NASA Photo/Tom Tschida)

The ADAPT test system can help a spacecraft divert its course and make a smooth, pinpoint landing. The system is built on Masten’s XA-0.1B “Xombie” vertical-launch, vertical-landing reusable rocket. (Credit: NASA Photo/Tom Tschida)be

NASA has selected Masten Space Systems for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award to begin work on a25 klb thrust liquid oxygen/methane Mars ascent engine.

“Woohoo! We get to build a 25klb thrust LOX/CH4 engine for !” founder Dave Masten wrote on Twitter. “Or at least selected for a Phase I SBIR.”

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China Aims to Land Rover on Mars

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Mars_Soil
China plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party in 2021 by sending an orbiter and rover to Mars, officials said last week.

“Such a big plan to achieve orbiting, landing and the deployment of a rover in one mission will make history,” said Zhang Rongqiao, chief designer of the mission. “Only by completing this Mars probe mission can China say it has embarked on the exploration of deep space in the true sense.”

The China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) is developing the orbiter and rover, which will be launched by the Long March-5 rocket. The new booster will make its inaugural flight later this year.

It will be China’s second attempt to send a mission to Mars. The Chinese Yinghuo-1 orbiter was a sub-satellite aboard Russia’s Phobos-Grunt mission launched in November 2011. However, the mission never left Earth orbit due to a rocket engine failure.

Officials said pressure mounted on China to launch a Mars mission after rival India successfully placed a spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet in 2014.

Sources

China Unveils Ambitious Plans to Explore the Universe: http://english.cri.cn/12394/2016/04/25/2702s925438.htm

China Headlines: China hopes to reach Mars in 2021: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-04/22/c_135304596.htm

The sky is not the limit: China’s Mars plan: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-04/22/c_135304660.htm

SpaceX Working With NASA on Sending Dragon Spacecraft to Mars

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Red Dragon landing on Mars (Credit: SpaceX)

Red Dragon landing on Mars (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX announced today that it would be sending a modified robotic Dragon spacecraft to Mars as early as 2018. The company has been working with NASA on key elements of the mission under a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement signed in December 2014 as part of the space agency’s Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities (CCSC) program.

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Video: SpaceX’s Red Dragon Mission to Mars

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Abstract: One of Ames’ long standing science interests has been to robotically drill deeply into Mars’ subsurface environment (2 meters, or more) to investigate the habitability of that zone for past or extant life. Large, capable Mars landers would ease the problem of landing and operating deep robotic drills. In 2010, an Ames scientist realized that the crew-carrying version of the SpaceX Dragon capsule would possess all the subsystems necessary to perform a soft landing on Earth, and raised the question of whether it could also soft land on Mars. If it could, it might be a candidate platform for a Discovery or Mars Scout class deep drilling mission, for example.

After approximately 3 years studying the engineering problem we have concluded that a minimally modified Dragon capsule (which we call the “Red Dragon”) could successfully perform an all-propulsive Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL). We present and discuss the analysis that supports this conclusion. At the upper limits of its capability, a Red Dragon could land approximately 2 metric tons of useful payload, or approximately twice the mass that the MSL Skycrane demonstrated with a useful volume 3 or 4 times as great. This combination of features led us to speculate that it might be possible to land enough mass and volume with a Red Dragon to enable a Mars Sample Return mission in which Mars Orbit Rendezvous is avoided, and the return vehicle comes directly back to Earth. This potentially lowers the risk and cost of a sample return mission. We conclude that such an Earth-Direct sample return architecture is feasible if the Earth Return Vehicle is constructed as a small spacecraft. Larry Lemke will present and discuss the analysis that supports this conclusion.

Scientific Paper: RED DRAGON: LOW-COST ACCESS TO THE SURFACE OF MARS USING COMMERCIAL CAPABILITIES.

SpaceX Announces Plans to Send Dragon to Mars

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Bridenstine’s Bill Would Radically Restructure NASA

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NASA LOGOBy Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA would be given a mandate to pioneer the development and settlement of space and a commission dominated by Congressional appointees to oversee those efforts under a bill proposed by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK).

The measure’s basic premise is that NASA’s problems stem from unstable presidential commitments to space exploration as opposed to Congress’ tendency to support expensive programs that bring funding into particular states and districts.

“Over the past twenty years, 27 NASA programs have been cancelled at a cost of over $20 billion to the taxpayer,” according to a statement on a website devoted to the measure. “Many of these have come as a result of changes in presidential administrations.

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Congressman Backs Space Renaissance Act, Death Ray Weapons

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Doug Lamborn

Doug Lamborn

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Doug Lamborn PR) — Congressman Doug Lamborn has partnered with Congressman Jim Bridenstine (OK-01) as an original cosponsor on the American Space Renaissance Act. This legislation will permanently secure the United States as the world’s preeminent space-faring nation. The comprehensive and bold reform bill covers national security, civil, and commercial space policies and programs.

Lamborn and Jim Langevin (RI-02) have partnered to introduce a House companion bill to legislation introduced in the Senate by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and James Inhofe (R-OK) designed to allow the military an accelerated process to acquire Directed Energy weapons.

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NIAC Focus: Mars Molniya Orbit Atmospheric Resource Mining

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Mars molniya orbit resource mining (Credit: NASA)

NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program recently selected 13 proposals for Phase I awards. Below is a proposal submitted by Robert Mueller of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Mars Molniya Orbit Atmospheric Resource Mining

Robert Mueller
NASA Kennedy Space Center

Mars planetary surface access is one of NASA’s biggest technical challenges involving advanced entry, descent, and landing (EDL) technologies and methods. This NASA Innovative Advanced Concept (NIAC) project intends to solve one of the top challenges for landing large payloads and humans on Mars by using advanced atmospheric In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) methods that have never been tried or studied before. The proposed Mars Molniya Orbit Atmospheric Resource Mining concept mission architecture will make Mars travel routine and affordable for cargo and crew, therefore enabling the expansion of human civilization to Mars.

NASA Seeks Industry Ideas for an Advanced Mars Satellite

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NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft artist concept. (Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft artist concept. (Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is soliciting ideas from U.S. industry for designs of a Mars orbiter for potential launch in the 2020s. The satellite would provide advanced communications and imaging, as well as robotic science exploration, in support of NASA’s Journey to Mars.

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‘Mixed Reality’ Technology Brings Mars to Earth

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http://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/mixed-reality-technology-brings-mars-to-earth

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — What might it look like if you were walking around on Mars? A group of researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, has been working on methods to take this question from the realm of imagination to the mind-bending domain of mixed reality.

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NASA Selects Robotics Projects for SBIR Phase II Funding

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NASA LOGONASA has selected four robotics projects for funding under its most recent round of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards. The projects include:

  • Surround Visual & Sensory Feedback for Robotic Arm Pilots. Swift Engineering, Inc., San Clemente, Calif.
  • Robotic Arm for Assistive Free-Flyers. Energid Technologies, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Robotic Arm for Assistive Free-Flyers. Energid Technologies, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Industrial Electrostatic-Gecko Gripper. Somatis Sensor Solutions, Los Angeles, Calif.

Descriptions of the projects follow.

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Bob Zubrin, Mars & Beer

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beers
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (NASA PR) — At the end of a long day of work, many people like to grab a cold pint of beer. Few of them think about the bubbles in the glass and how much brewers have to pay to put them there. But Robert Zubrin — president of the Mars Society and founder of multiple aerospace technology companies — does.

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ESA: ExoMars Performing Flawlessly

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Artist conception of ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (Image Credit: ESA)

Artist conception of ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (Image Credit: ESA)

PARIS, 23 March 2016 (ESA PR) — Following a spectacular liftoff, ESA’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter is performing flawlessly en route to the Red Planet.

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