Tag: MarsPage 3 of 30

Study: Astronauts on Mars Missions Could Go All Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs

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mccoy crazy
Well, this is not good news for advocates of missions to Mars:

What happens to an astronaut’s brain during a mission to Mars? Nothing good. It’s besieged by destructive particles that can forever impair cognition, according to a UC Irvine radiation oncology study appearing in the May 1 edition of Science Advances.

Charles Limoli and colleagues found that exposure to highly energetic charged particles – much like those found in the galactic cosmic rays that bombard astronauts during extended spaceflights – cause significant damage to the central nervous system, resulting in cognitive impairments.

“This is not positive news for astronauts deployed on a two- to three-year round trip to Mars,” said Limoli, a professor of radiation oncology in UCI’s School of Medicine. “Performance decrements, memory deficits, and loss of awareness and focus during spaceflight may affect mission-critical activities, and exposure to these particles may have long-term adverse consequences to cognition throughout life.”

For the study, rodents were subjected to charged particle irradiation (fully ionized oxygen and titanium) at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at the Brookhaven National Laboratory before being sent back to Limoli’s Irvine lab.

Read more at http://phys.org/news/2015-05-long-term-galactic-cosmic-ray-exposure.html

CU Boulder to Partner with UAE on Mars Mission

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UAE Mars mission science objectives. (Credit: UAE Space Agency)

UAE Mars mission science objectives. (Credit: UAE Space Agency)

BOULDER, Colo. (CU Boulder PR) — A mission to study dynamic changes in the atmosphere of Mars over days and seasons led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) involves the University of Colorado Boulder as the leading U.S. scientific-academic partner.

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Ventions Selected for 2 SBIR Phase I Contracts

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Engine hot fire (Credit: Ventions)

Engine hot fire (Credit: Ventions)

NASA has selected Ventions, LLC of San Francisco for two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I awards to develop propulsion systems for use in space and on other worlds.

One proposal involves the development of small-scale, methane-fueled reaction control engines for in-space propulsion.

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UAE Video Promoting 2020 Mars Mission

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Although the UAE Space Agency is only 10 months, it has certainly reached parity with other agencies in terms of pursuing ambitious missions and producing slick promotional videos for said projects. The proof, as always, is not on YouTube but in the cold reaches of outer space near Mars, where many a spacecraft have failed before.

The video says they’re going to build the spacecraft themselves instead of buying technology abroad, but then it mentions unidentified partners. It’s not clear what that means.

UAE Unveils Plans for Mars Orbiter

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Planned UAE Mars orbiter. (Credit: UAE Space Agency)

Planned UAE Mars orbiter. (Credit: UAE Space Agency)

DUBAI, UAE, May 6, 2015 (Press Release) — The blueprints and science goals for the first Arab mission to Mars have been revealed for the first time. The Emirates Mars Mission probe, named “Hope”, will create mankind’s first integrated model of the Red Planet’s atmosphere.

The unmanned probe will leave Earth in 2020 on a mission designed to complement the science work of other missions and fill important gaps in human knowledge. Its unique orbits and instruments produce entirely new types of data on Martian climate dynamics to be shared with the global science community.

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House Space Subcommitee’s Surreal NASA Budget Hearing

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Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith

I woke up early this morning with a low-grade headache. Checking Twitter, I discovered I’d slept through the beginning of a House Subcommittee on Space’s hearing on NASA’s budget with Administrator Charlie Bolden.

My headache immediately worsened as I found the hearing webcast on my cell phone. A whole range of largely unprintable words and phrases came immediately to mind, but there was one that kept coming back: clown car. The House Science Committee really needs a bigger clown car.

It’s not the committee members’ criticism of the Boulder (sorry, Asterorid) Redirect Mission that I had a problem with. Or their demands that NASA actually present a road map to help guide the nation on the road to Mars. I even understood why they felt the Obama Administration’s request for Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion was low. And the Europa mission probably needs more money. All those things are the subject of legitimate debate.

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Space Symposium Briefs: Stratolaunch, Falcon 9, CST-100, UAE to Mars & Lunar Bases

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Gwynne Shotwell

Gwynne Shotwell

I’ve been monitoring the Twittersphere for news out of the 31st Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo. There have been a few interesting items of note:

  • Stratolaunch President Chuck Beames says the company is considering other air-launch rockets in addition to the one being built by Orbital ATK for use with its massive six engine carrier aircraft. The Orbital ATK rocket is for medium payloads but won’t be ready for several years. Stratolaunch is looking at smaller rockets that could be developed more rapidly and help with more near-term revenue.
  • SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell says the company’s next attempt to recover a Falcon 9 first stage may occur over land rather than on a barge at sea. SpaceX is building landing facilities at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base.
  • Boeing plans to reveal the crew of its first CST-100 flight test this summer. The crew for the planned 2017 test will include one Boeing test pilot and one NASA astronaut.
  • The new United Arab Emirates Space Agency decided to launch a spacecraft to Mars in 2020 because sending an orbiter to the moon is too easy. The space agency, which was formed only last July, has yet to define the mission to the Red Planet or select international partners.
  • Current DLR Chairman Johann-Dietrich Wörner would really like to see the establishment of a base on the far side of the moon to enable radio astronomy. Wörner is set to take over had head of ESA in several months.

Coming Soon — Elon Musk: The Mini-Series

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Hollywood uber-producer — and male bad-hair day model — Brian Grazer and Ron “Apollo 13” Howard are planning an eight-hour mini-series on Elon Musk. Learn more

Secret Workshop Reaches Consensus on Human Mars Mission; Details to Follow

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Mars_Soil
Washington, D.C., April 2, 2015 (Planetary Society PR)
– The Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye (The Science Guy®) and members of the Society’s Board of Directors today announced results of the ”Humans Orbiting Mars” workshop. The goal of the workshop was to gather expert science, engineering, and policy professionals to build consensus on the key elements of a long-term, cost constrained, executable program to send humans to Mars.

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JPL to Host Live Webcast for Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator

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Divers retrieve the test vehicle for NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator off the coast of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. (Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Divers retrieve the test vehicle for NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator off the coast of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. (Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project will be flying a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space from the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, in June.

The public is invited to tune in to an hour-long live, interactive video broadcast from the gallery above a clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where this near-space experimental test vehicle is being prepared for shipment to Hawaii. During the broadcast, the 15-foot-wide, 7,000-pound vehicle is expected to be undergoing a “spin-table” test. The event will be streamed live on www.ustream.tv/NASAJPL2 on March 31, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PDT. JPL’s Gay Hill will host the program while LDSD team members will answer questions submitted to the Ustream chat box or via Twitter using the #AskNASA hashtag.

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ESA, China Open Moon & Mars Exploration to Private Sector

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moon_rise_half
ESA and the Chinese space agency have made separate announcements opening their deep space exploration programs to private sector participation.

ESA issued a Call for Ideas for exploring the moon and Mars on its website.

Private-sector partners are welcome to join ESA in its space exploration strategy. Join us to explore beyond Earth’s horizon by sharing knowledge, capabilities, risks and benefits.

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MARSDROP Micro-probes Could Explore Alien World

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MarsDropFlight

The steerable MARSDROP parawing glider is capable of up to 10 minutes of guided flight covering a lateral distance of approximately 10 kilometers (~6 miles). Foreground image is a MER scene. Inset is from a high-altitude weather balloon drop test that demonstrated parawing deployment within speeds and atmospheric conditions expected during Mars entry. The image captures the parawing and capsule descending to the Nevada desert floor. (Credit: Planetary Science Institute)

TUCSON, Ariz. (PSI PR) — Microprobes that piggyback on Mars-bound spacecraft could investigate areas currently unavailable to surface instruments, a Planetary Science Institute researcher said.

The payload could be steered to scientifically desired targets during the gliding phase, enabling a wide variety of enticing research locations including canyons, fresh impact crater sites, volcanic region and glaciers, PSI’s Rebecca M.E. Williams said during a poster presentation today at the 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston.

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Masten’s Xombie Tests NASA JPL Landing Software

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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)

Fast Facts:

› ADAPT test system can help a spacecraft divert its course and make a smooth, pinpoint landing

› Two technology demonstration test flights were completed in California

MOJAVE, Calif. (JPL PR) –– It’s tricky to get a spacecraft to land exactly where you want. That’s why the area where the Mars rover Curiosity team had targeted to land was an ellipse that may seem large, measuring 12 miles by 4 miles (20 by 7 kilometers).

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Mars Zero: Finalist Says Mars Colonization Effort Not What It Seems

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Mars colony (Credit: Mars One)

Mars colony (Credit: Mars One)

Elmo Keep talks to Dr. Joseph Roche, an Irish professor who is one of the 100 finalists shortlisted for the first Mars One mission to the Red Planet. Roche paints a rather dismal picture of the venture, which hopes to being colonizing Mars in the mid-2020’s.  The article’s summary is devastating:

So, here are the facts as we understand them: Mars One has almost no money. Mars One has no contracts with private aerospace suppliers who are building technology for future deep-space missions. Mars One has no TV production partner. Mars One has no publicly known investment partnerships with major brands. Mars One has no plans for a training facility where its candidates would prepare themselves. Mars One’s candidates have been vetted by a single person, in a 10-minute Skype interview.

“My nightmare about it is that people continue to support it and give it money and attention, and it then gets to the point where it inevitably falls on its face,” said Roche. If, as a result, “people lose faith in NASA and possibly even in scientists, then that’s the polar opposite of what I’m about. If I was somehow linked to something that could do damage to the public perception of science, that is my nightmare scenario.”

I can’t say I’m overly surprised. The entire venture seemed half baked from the start; now it appears to be a gooey mass of bread dough filled with too much hot air and not enough yeast.

So, the questions for you, my faithful readers, is: Do I continue to cover this venture? Do you want to be kept up to date on their progress? Or should I ignore it until it implodes under its own weight?

Please feel free to weigh in below.

BBC Video Interview With Bas Lansdorp, UK Mars One Candidates

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Video Caption: Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp is joined by UK Mars One Candidates Ryan MacDonald and Maggie Leiu to discuss the Mars One mission of BBC World news following the announcement of the final 100 Mars One astronaut candidates.