Coming soon to a red planet near you, it's the Mars Science Laboratory
Monday, August 6 at 05:31 UTC (other times around the world
Curiosity rover is expected to land on Mars in search of conditions suited to
past or present Martian life. Live coverage begins on NASA TV
at 03:30 UTC.
But this mission has been years in the making, so if you have a little catching up to do... [more inside]
posted by ddbeck
on Aug 4, 2012 -
In the late 1970s the UK's Anglia Television ran a respected weekly documentary series: Science Report.
But when the show was cancelled in 1977, the producers decided to channel Orson Welles in their final episode. The result was Alternative 3
. Over the course of the hour, the audience would learn that a Science Report
investigation into the UK "brain drain" had uncovered shocking revelations: man-made pollution had resulted in catastrophic climate change, the Earth would soon be rendered uninhabitable, and a secret American / Soviet joint plan was in place to establish colonies on the Moon and Mars. The show ended with footage of a US/Soviet Mars landing from May 22, 1962. After Alternative 3 aired, thousands of panicked viewers phoned the production company and demanded to know how long they had left to change planets. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jun 20, 2012 -
Martian Life's Last Stand in the Trenches?
"Scientists have found water-bearing deposits on Mars that are out of step with what was happening elsewhere on the planet, raising the prospect that the sites could have hosted Martian life's last stand."
posted by Fizz
on Sep 28, 2011 -
NASA May Have Discovered Flowing Water on Mars Dark, finger-like features appear and extend down some Martian slopes during late spring through summer, fade in winter, and return during the next spring. Repeated observations have tracked the seasonal changes in these recurring features on several steep slopes in the middle latitudes of Mars' southern hemisphere.
posted by modernnomad
on Aug 4, 2011 -
The Physics of Space Battles
"I had a discussion recently with friends about the various depictions of space combat in science fiction movies, TV shows, and books. We have the fighter-plane engagements of Star Wars, the subdued, two-dimensional naval combat in Star Trek, the Newtonian planes of Battlestar Galactica, the staggeringly furious energy exchanges of the combat wasps in Peter Hamilton's books, and the use of antimatter rocket engines themselves as weapons in other sci-fi. But suppose we get out there, go terraform Mars, and the Martian colonists actually revolt. Or suppose we encounter hostile aliens. How would space combat actually go?"
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey
on Dec 17, 2009 -
"We have water
," said William Boynton of the University of Arizona, lead scientist for the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, or TEGA
. "We've seen evidence for this water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix last month
, but this is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted."
posted by finite
on Aug 1, 2008 -
The "Great Filter
" is a hypothetical barrier to explain why civilisations are so unlikely to progress to the point of inter-stellar colonisation that we have not encountered any in 40 years of looking. Maybe humanity has already negotiated the filter - as some massive evolutionary improbability - or perhaps it lies in our future as an almost-certain threat to our existence? We should hold our breath as we look for evidence of life on Mars
posted by rongorongo
on May 12, 2008 -
The evolution of Mars imaging from orbit: Mariner 4 (1964)
, Mariner 6
and Mariner 7 (both 1969)
, Mariner 9 (1971)
(all NASA), Mars 5 (1973)
(USSR), Viking 1 (1975)
, Viking 2 (1976)
, Mars Global Surveyor (1996)
, Mars Odyssey (2001)
(NASA), Mars Express (2003)
(ESA), up to this spy-quality shot of an active avalanche
taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (2005)
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot
on Mar 5, 2008 -
There's a slight chance that an asteroid could impact Mars
at the end of this month. Usually, collisions between heavenly bodies have vanishingly small odds (a million to one, say), but the chances on this one have been steadily improving, from 350-to-1 to 75-to-1 to 25-to-1
(link to Washington Post). Scientists say that this could be comprable to the famous Tunguska blast
in Siberia a hundred years ago (not to be confused with this other Tunguska blast
). [more inside]
posted by math
on Jan 7, 2008 -