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Is It Moist On Mars?

New report suggests Mars may be full of liquid water - Smithsonianmag.com
posted by The Whelk on Jun 26, 2012 - 77 comments

Seven minutes of Martian terror

Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror is a YouTube video guaranteed to get you excited about NASA again. It shows the elaborate process that will get the Curiosity rover onto the Martian surface on August 5. It involves the largest supersonic parachute ever built, multiple vehicles, 76 explosive devices, and a skycrane.
posted by blahblahblah on Jun 22, 2012 - 91 comments

This post is just in time for the annual spaghetti harvest.

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 - 22 comments

Prime Martian-Science Real Estate

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA has narrowed the target for its most advanced Mars rover, Curiosity, which will land on the Red Planet in August. The car-sized rover will arrive closer to its ultimate destination for science operations, but also closer to the foot of a mountain slope that poses a landing hazard. "We're trimming the distance we'll have to drive after landing by almost half," said Pete Theisinger, Mars Science Laboratory project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "That could get us to the mountain months earlier." It was possible to adjust landing plans because of increased confidence in precision landing technology aboard the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, which is carrying the Curiosity rover.
posted by mhoye on Jun 13, 2012 - 38 comments

The ultimate lonely-planet destination

A Dutch company has unveiled plans to establish a human settlement on Mars by 2023. They hope to finance the innitiative by making a reality TV show of the mission and cut down on operational costs by having the astronauts stay on Mars for the rest of their lives.
posted by sarastro on Jun 4, 2012 - 145 comments

You can't drown the Government in the bathtub without a tub

""Each bathtub was carved in Italy from a single block of Carrara Marble. Three bathtubs were shipped from Genoa, Italy in July, 1859 and reached Baltimore in November of that year. The other three were shipped from Leghorn, Italy in September of 1859, and arrived in New York in January of 1860. The precise dates of the bathtubs' arrival and installation at the Capitol are uncertain, but the Senate Bathing Room is known to have been in operation as of February 23rd, 1860."
Roman Mars's 99% Invisible design podcast [previously] explores the once-luxurious Senate bathtubs hidden among the boiler rooms in the basement of the U.S. Capitol. [more inside]
posted by Mchelly on Apr 16, 2012 - 36 comments

Outta the way HAL, humans have work to do

Why Space Exploration Is a Job for Humans.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Apr 4, 2012 - 83 comments

See you at the party, Richter

The newly released trailer for Total Recall (2012) shows a Quaid quite conspicously not getting his ass to Mars. It could all have been different, as many versions of Total Recall 2 have been in the works over the years. Meanwhile is the Robocop remake anything but total recall? And has the American action movie gone kablooey?
posted by Artw on Apr 1, 2012 - 236 comments

Taste the Rainbow

Skittles’ new level of fame has quickly become a kind of marketing crisis that is threatening to hurt the company even as sales improve.
posted by Renoroc on Mar 29, 2012 - 89 comments

For once, clouds are a good thing

One of the neater aspects of astronomy is that amateurs often make significant contributions to the field. A few nights ago Wayne Jaeschke found a strange cloud feature in his Mars images. He posted his findings to the site Cloudy Nights. It created a bit of a buzz there, as well as the wider media, (even MSNBC!). It has also piqued the interest of the pros. Researchers working with the Mars Thermal Emission Imaging System onboard the Mars Odyssey spacecraft and the Mars Color Imager onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Observer are looking over their data to try to figure out exactly what it is they're seeing.
posted by dirigibleman on Mar 24, 2012 - 18 comments

Half platinum, half gold.

The most insane letter ever written by a child to a TV weatherman.
posted by scalefree on Mar 9, 2012 - 104 comments

Can we go Dad, can we?!

Making the Case for Human Missions to Asteroids
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 7, 2012 - 26 comments

March Madness!

Take a tour of the solar system! Tonight, see the wonders of Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn! There's only one catch: You'll need to actually step outside to do it. [more inside]
posted by bondcliff on Mar 5, 2012 - 48 comments

SHEATH CONTAINING FULLY EQUIPPED OCEAN LINER

"Historians have long debated what could have been done differently to prevent that tragedy, and what still could be done to keep such a tragedy from repeating on future expeditions. In 1913, a Swiss inventor proposed a solution to the problem. Naturally, it involved giant mechanical mosquitoes." [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Feb 28, 2012 - 19 comments

Edgar Rice Buried

John Carter, previously John Carter of Mars, previously A Princess of Mars, could be the biggest movie write-off of all time.
posted by Artw on Feb 17, 2012 - 382 comments

"A situation in many respects similar to ours"

For a time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was erroneously believed that there were canals on Mars.
Maps of the Martian canals. List of Martian Canals. Historical Globes of the Red Planet.
A modern perspective. The Planet Mars: A History of Observation and Discovery .
posted by timshel on Feb 12, 2012 - 26 comments

John Carter of Mars, the 1935 test animation

The world of science fiction is filled with strange tales of alternate futures where one minor event reshaped the entire history of the world. In our world, one minor event in 1935 could have changed the world of animation and science fiction ushering in an era of adult animation. But, alas, that did not happen and is the topic of our sad story today. Though Bob Clampett is often remembered for his Warner Brothers cartoons, including some surreal shorts, he could have been known for bringing John Carter of Mars to life in animation. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 30, 2012 - 14 comments

Happy Birthday Oppy

Having now traversed 34 kilometres (21 miles) across the surface of Mars and exceeding it's 90-day mission to explore Mars by 2,830 days, NASA's Opportunity rover turned 8 years old today. So what's the feisty martian robot been up to lately? It's now exploring the rim of the 14-mile-wide Endeavor crater, discovering "slam-dunk" evidence that water once flowed through underground fractures, and is being strategically positioned at a 15-degree angle for a long winter suntan.
posted by joinks on Jan 24, 2012 - 29 comments

In Soviet Russia, Mars travels to you

The utopian Mars fiction of Soviet Russia
posted by Artw on Jan 11, 2012 - 8 comments

Best Of 2011: Space and Astronomy

Timelapse of the Year: an awe-inspiring trailer for the movie TimeScapes by Tom Lowe (full 4K version on YouTube/MP4 direct link). (Previously)
Rover Newcomer: Where In The Solar System is Curiosity?
Astronomy Photographer of the Year. The Top 24 Deep Space Pictures of 2011Top 14 Solar System PhotosTop 16 Space Photos.  (Images of a million-light-year long collision of galaxy clusters and a “stellar snow angel” didn’t make the cut, but should have).
Discovery of the Year: Opportunity uncovers conclusive proof that water flowed on Mars.
Astronomy Animation of the year: a zoom to the center of the Milky Way, and the supermassive black hole that is feeding there.
Lifetime Achievement: The Known Universe, a stunning three-minute zoom from the peak of the Himalayas to the edge of the cosmos, finally available in HD. (Previously).
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Dec 15, 2011 - 6 comments

Mars or bust!

Curiosity launched today and is on its way to Mars!
posted by Tom-B on Nov 26, 2011 - 60 comments

Spirit Journey

Mars Rover Spirit's Entire Journey on Mars (A time lapse)
posted by dhruva on Nov 21, 2011 - 47 comments

Space fail?

Yesterday, Russia's first interplanetary mission in 15 years launched sucessfully from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It ran into serious problems almost immediately. In jeopardy are a sample return mission from the Martian satellite Phobos, The Planetary Society's Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment (LIFE), and China's Yinghuo-1 Mars orbiter.
posted by IvoShandor on Nov 9, 2011 - 40 comments

Journey ends

Mars-500, a simulated 520-day mission to Mars (previously and previously), will be completed today at 11:00 CET. Watch live
posted by baueri on Nov 4, 2011 - 26 comments

No one would have believed in the middle of the 20th Century that human affairs were being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than Man's...

The making of George Pal's War of the Worlds
posted by Artw on Oct 30, 2011 - 26 comments

NASA's new ride

NASA is designing a spiffy new rocket, the Space Launch System, which will lob people and cargo to the moon, an asteroid and eventually Mars. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 20, 2011 - 92 comments

"And the Cadillac of rovers is not far behind...."

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 - 27 comments

Water water everywhere

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 - 65 comments

Clearly, it's not a rock...

An 'armchair astronomer' named David Martines has found something on Google Mars which he believes is some kind of space station. Allegedly, NASA is investigating the image. Another theory says that what he sees is a "linear streak artifact produced by a cosmic ray".
posted by anastasiav on Jun 6, 2011 - 104 comments

RIP Blythe Spirit

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has announced: NASA has ended operational planning activities for the Mars rover Spirit and transitioned the Mars Exploration Rover Project to a single-rover operation focused on Spirit's still-active twin, Opportunity. New Scientist has a quality obituary for the little Mars Rover that could.
posted by hippybear on May 28, 2011 - 44 comments

The frozen desert

Huge cache of frozen carbon dioxide found on Mars.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 24, 2011 - 45 comments

WINNERS DON'T IGNORE SAFEWORDS -- Wm. Sessions, Director, FBI.

Friday Saturday Flash Fun: Lesbian Spider Queens of Mars, by Auntie Pixelante.
posted by egypturnash on Apr 9, 2011 - 9 comments

Send Your Name For Great Victory Against The Red Planet

Scheduled for November 25th, the Mars Science Laboratory - Curiosity Rover will launch on an 8.5 month journey to Mars. Upon arrival, it will plummet through the atmosphere in a flying-saucer-like aeroshell and execute a most unusual landing via skycrane. Curiosity carries a dizzying array of cameras and sensors, but more importantly a high powered laser to teach Mars who is boss, and oh, maybe your name if you let it.
posted by pashdown on Apr 6, 2011 - 21 comments

Sex on Mars

"...it can be predicted that male and female astronauts will engage in sexual relations during a mission to Mars." And then there are the babies....Martian babies. Sex On Mars: Pregnancy, Fetal Development, and Sex In Outer Space
posted by wallstreet1929 on Dec 20, 2010 - 58 comments

"I hope his wife is named Samantha."

The whole of Mars' surface was shaped by liquid water around four billion years ago, say scientists. Scientists with the best names possible for the job. [more inside]
posted by cthuljew on Jun 26, 2010 - 19 comments

Is there life before Mars?

Six would-be astronauts will this week begin a 520-day mock space voyage to simulate a mission to Mars. How will they cope with the huge psychological pressures? It's a project that may simulate a mission that's going nowhere.
posted by twoleftfeet on Jun 1, 2010 - 113 comments

Total Recall: The Musical

Total Recall: The Musical. [via mefi projects]
posted by WCityMike on May 10, 2010 - 29 comments

Mare Chronium -- A Brief History of Martian Time

Martian clocks and calendars have been discussed in the writings of various authors over the past one hundred years. This article recounts the history of Martian timekeeping from 1880 to 1998.
posted by vostok on Apr 23, 2010 - 10 comments

Boldly going ... where exactly again?

Compromise emerging for NASA's spaceflight future Since the announcement was made last month of the cancellation of Constellation (NASA's plan for returning to the Moon and Mars), the punditsphere has been ablaze with condemnation, support, and outright confusion over the future of American manned spaceflight. Keith Cowling, editor of the Nasawatch.com blog, has posted an interesting new development that if proven right, could prove to be a compromise between those wanting NASA to get out of manned spaceflight altogether and those seeking to keep the administration in the spaceflight business. [more inside]
posted by zooropa on Apr 6, 2010 - 40 comments

8 Wonders of the Solar System

8 Wonders of the Solar System, Made Interactive. "What might future explorers of the solar system see? Find out by taking an interactive tour through the eyes of Hugo Award-winning artist Ron Miller. Text and narration by Ed Bell." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Apr 1, 2010 - 16 comments

Another dose of Martian awesome

The Forests of Mars featuring an avalanche on another planet. From the Bad Astronomy Blog. [more inside]
posted by blue_beetle on Jan 12, 2010 - 20 comments

Designing Space Fighters & Marines

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 - 106 comments

Explore the Surface of Mercury

NASA's MESSENGER team (previously: 1, 2, 3), with help from the U.S. Geological Survey, released yesterday the first global map of the planet Mercury. [more inside]
posted by SpringAquifer on Dec 16, 2009 - 15 comments

War of the Worlds and the Power of Mass Media

WNYC's Radiolab took a look into Orson Welles' 1938 radio production of H.G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds, which caused mass panic in the United States when listeners mistook a radio drama for actual reporting. They then explored the question of whether such hysteria could be recreated in a similar way, recounting stories from Quito, Ecuador in 1949 and Buffalo, New York in 1968. (There was one other attempt in Santiago, Chile in 1944 which is not mentioned in the Radiolab synopsis.)
posted by ichthuz on Nov 30, 2009 - 22 comments

Get Your Ass To Mars

NASA invites you to Be A Martian [more inside]
posted by him on Nov 19, 2009 - 19 comments

Photos of Martian landscapes

The frequently excellent photo-blog The Big Picture at the Boston Globe has posted a collection of stunning and, well, alien-looking photos of the martian landscape.
posted by Frankieist on Nov 7, 2009 - 30 comments

A trip to Mars

Columbia Hills Flyover 2.0 - "a flyover of the Columbia Hills on Mars using data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Spirit, the Mars rover. "
posted by Burhanistan on Sep 25, 2009 - 13 comments

Please Prepare For Landing

1,512 high-resolution images of Mars from the viewpoint of an airplane passenger. Previous photos: 1 2 3
posted by msalt on Sep 4, 2009 - 14 comments

One Way Ticket

In the next few weeks, NASA will present President Obama with options for the near-term future of human spaceflight. A manned flight to Mars is one possibility. But if we do send astronauts to Mars, do we really need to bring them home again?
posted by william_boot on Sep 1, 2009 - 138 comments

"Again, it almost seems as if the peenworm possessed human feelings"

Reproduction Cycle Among Unicellular Life Forms Under the Rocks Of Mars A 9-minute claymation exploration of the various reproductive stages of the Martian peenworm, so crucial to our nuclear beer and the Martian war. [Some monster nudity, simulated stop-motion sex] [via] [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Mar 2, 2009 - 15 comments

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