The General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment has issued a fatwa banning Muslims from participating in a Mars colonization effort
, citing pervasive risk for no "righteous reason." The Mars One project (previously
) has penned a remarkably erudite reply
Trip to Mars Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
Just days after the launch of India’s Mangalyaan satellite, NASA sent off its own Mars mission, five years in the making, named Maven. Its cost: $671 million. The budget of India’s Mars mission, by contrast, was just three-quarters of the $100 million that Hollywood spent on last year’s space-based hit, “Gravity.”
“The mission is a triumph of low-cost Indian engineering,” said Roddam Narasimha, an aerospace scientist and a professor at Bangalore’s Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research.
“By excelling in getting so much out of so little, we are establishing ourselves as the most cost-effective center globewide for a variety of advanced technologies,” said Mr. Narasimha.
"In 'Somebody Will' I wanted to get across why I see sci-fi and fantasy fandom as a more positive, productive world than many of the hobbies and communities common in our culture. [...] The hardest part of the piece is singing it to the end without crying."
Educators, prepping for World Space Week
, Oct 4-10? Be sure to include the very excellent space documentary The Mars Underground
in your plans. It's free! [more inside]
isn't just a blog about space but a love letter to the wonder and beauty lurking in the science of space. It is written, and occasionally drawn
, by MeFite Narrative Priorities [more inside]
Space tourist Dennis Tito wants to send a 2-man crew to Mars in 5 years.
The Inspiration Mars Foundation has sent out a media advisory for a press conference planned for next Wednesday, February 27. [more inside]
Mars Curiosity Rover.
A short film by Dan Winters
, narrated by members of the team that sent Curiosity on its way. [more inside]
The fine people over at the International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum talk knots. On Mars
on Curiosity landing has just started, landing itself is expected two hours later, at 5:31 am UTC/10:31 pm PDT. [more inside]
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]
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]
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.
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
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."
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.
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
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?"
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]
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
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. "
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?
A British tabloid
claims that NASA will today announce the probable presence of life on Mars. Planetary and atmospheric scientists from NASA's Mars program will address a press conference
at 2PM EST, apparently about concentrated methane
that bloom and dissipate [pdf]
. There was a false alarm about a similar briefing a few months ago
; is this the real deal?
and a few others in good quality PDF.
"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."
The European Space Agency's Mars Express Probe has sent back some beautiful new high-resolution images
of the Echus Chasma. More images and information can be found here