258 posts tagged with mars.
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Would humans remain human on Mars?

But let’s assume SpaceX, or an international coalition led by NASA, or China’s space agency eventually figure out the engineering and financing of a Mars colony. Let’s also assume the biology of reproduction in space, and on foreign worlds, is a solvable problem. After homo sapiens becomes a multi-planet species, the question becomes, would we remain a single species of humanity?
posted by veedubya on Jun 11, 2016 - 48 comments

Are humans unique and alone in the vast universe?

A New Empirical Constraint on the Prevalence of Technological Species in the Universe
Recent advances is exoplanet studies provide strong constraints on all astrophysical terms in the Drake Equation...We find that as long as the probability that a habitable zone planet develops a technological species is larger than ~ 10-24, then humanity is not the only time technological intelligence has evolved.
(Paper published in Astrobiology [paywalled]; preprint available on arXiv) [more inside]
posted by Existential Dread on May 21, 2016 - 57 comments

Dreaming of Mars, again

Under Obama, NASA finds itself in a familiar place: Big goals but inadequate funds.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Apr 12, 2016 - 17 comments

Step aside Nutella; there's a new spread in town

As Easter approaches and the thoughts of many turn to chocolate, Mars has usurped news of the Creme Egg crodough by announcing that Twix is now on sale as a spread. Available in Asda (the UK version of Walmart), the press release describes it as a “delicious chocolate and caramel spread with crunchy biscuit pieces” that can be “spread over warm toast or a crumpet, dunked with a breadstick, or topped on a cake or waffle”. Early reviews are cautiously positive. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Mar 18, 2016 - 87 comments

"Who's Out There?"

Orson Welles, sitting in a dark library and smoking a cigar, narrates the 1975 28-minute long NASA documentary "Who's Out There" on the subjects of Mars, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life and civilizations. Also featuring Carl Sagan.
posted by ShooBoo on Mar 13, 2016 - 11 comments

Cut it out NASA, you don't have the money or a plan for Mars

"Members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology tore apart NASA's Journey to Mars initiative, claiming the program needs a much more defined plan and clear, achievable milestones to work. Those in attendance also doubted the feasibility of a long-term Mars mission; they cited the massive amount of money needed for the trip — much more than NASA currently receives year to year — as well as a significant leap in technological development. Because of these enormous challenges, a few witnesses at the hearing suggested that NASA either rethink its approach or divert its attention to a Moon mission instead."
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Feb 5, 2016 - 89 comments

The Last of Its Kind Still Flying

In honor of its latest flight transporting the Orion capsule to the Kennedy Space Center, let's consider the world's most bulbous plane, NASA's Super Guppy.
The Super Guppy has a cargo area that is 25 feet tall, 25 feet wide and 111 feet long. The jumbo plane can carry over 26 tons worth of cargo and is often used by NASA to ferry large components around the country that would take too long (or be impossible) to ship by land or by sea.
[more inside] posted by Existential Dread on Feb 2, 2016 - 51 comments

asaph hall and two moons i would not go anywhere near

"Unlike the names of almost every celestial body in the solar system, the names of the moons of Mars are words. They’re names, but they’re words as well.", Fortunato Salazar
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 29, 2016 - 39 comments

NASA reduces average payload weight without sacrificing capabilities

For the first time [ever], NASA’s latest class of astronauts is 50 percent female. And, NASA has announced, in 15 years they could all be selected for an inaugural trip to Mars.
posted by Hot Pastrami! on Jan 22, 2016 - 23 comments

Mars Ice House

A 3D printed habitat for four Mars explorers from Clouds Architecture Office. Awarded first place in NASA's Centennial Challenge Mars Habitat Competition.
posted by OmieWise on Jan 13, 2016 - 18 comments

We Asked Astrobiologists About Jose Canseco's Plan to Terraform Mars

We Asked Astrobiologists About Jose Canseco's Plan to Terraform Mars. Sadly, the former MLB homerun slugger seems simply to have run with Elon Musk's suggestion to continuously bomb Mars with a sequence of atomic explosions. Renowned climate scientist and professional buzzkill Michael Mann replied, “There are so many things that could go wrong here it is difficult to know where to start.” Michio Kaku makes the carpet bombing/terraforming seem pretty straightforward.
posted by GuyZero on Dec 11, 2015 - 105 comments

The demented sound of John Gavanti

"Oh Ancient Ocean!/You are nothing!/Vast you may be!/Next to me what are you?/I am beautiful pink and you are stinky green!" In 1980, members of No Wave bands Mars and DNA recorded John Gavanti. An operetta loosely based on Don Giovanni, it's the story of a man with magical powers and a strong libido who gets it on with a lioness and a grandmother "in the beautiful autumn of life," among others. It was recorded in an all-vaccuum-tube-equipment studio that Sonic Youth later used to record 1987's Sister. Glenn Kenny at Trouser Press said "Some have called this the most unlistenable record ever made, and that's a fine invitation indeed." There's a review of sorts here. There's an unreadable fake(?) interview with fans and musicians here.
posted by goatdog on Dec 4, 2015 - 6 comments

We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story, the first Thanksgiving dino film

Pixar's new film, The Good Dinosaur, is the second animated dinosaur film to come out in time for Thanksgiving. The previous one came out 22 years ago, with executive producer credits for Steven Spielberg and a whole host of stars lending their voices to the film, telling the story of dinosaurs coming to New York City. And it bombed. Let's go back in time and look at We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 24, 2015 - 22 comments

“Solar-wind erosion is an important mechanism for atmospheric loss,”

NASA Mission Reveals Speed of Solar Wind Stripping Martian Atmosphere [mars.nasa.gov] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 6, 2015 - 42 comments

There is Water on Mars

The New York Times is reporting that NASA is about to announce the discovery of "definitive signs of liquid water on the surface of present-day Mars."
posted by schmod on Sep 28, 2015 - 109 comments

Next time NASA lands on Mars, they want your name on the lander.

Your name could be on Mars in the next several months. You've already paid for it, so you might as well go. In March 2016, NASA is launching its Insight lander, which will be the first Mars mission to probe beneath the surface of the Red Planet and explore its interior in-depth. (In-depth, get it? Nevermind) They're offering to micro-etch the name of any Earthling who wishes on the lander. Here's where to sign up. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Aug 21, 2015 - 28 comments

Mars Trek

Curiosity explores the surface of Mars and so can you. To celebrate the third anniversary of the rover's landing on Mars, NASA has created Mars Trek, a whiz-bang site for armchair explorers.
posted by condesita on Aug 6, 2015 - 7 comments

why don't we just terraform the earth?

In the past few years, science has lurched closer to envisioning habitable Mars, though at the moment estimates for creating breathable oxygen range from hundreds to 100,000 years in the future, the soil is currently toxic to astronauts, and travel is so unwieldy that scientists have proposed "printing" humans on Mars. Meanwhile, I wondered why not make Earth's increasingly inhospitable deserts greener.
[more inside] posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 2, 2015 - 28 comments

Humans to Mars with current technology, within NASA budget

A recent paper describes a credible, achievable plan for a crewed Mars mission. Plans for human exploration of Mars tend to suffer from two problems: too expensive, and/or relies on technology that doesn't exist yet and may never exist. A group of mission planners at JPL has come up with a plan that uses existing technology, and can fit within the NASA budget projections from now to 2050. It relies on SLS launches, a habitat on Phobos, and practice descent/ascent on the Moon.
posted by amy27 on Jul 2, 2015 - 89 comments

...oh my God! -- it’s full of pixels!

1.47 Gigapixel panorama of Barack Obama's 2009 Inaugural Address
4-Gigapixel panorama of the surface of Mars
34-Gigapixel panorama of Prague
152-Gigapixel panorama of Rio de Janiero taken from Sugarloaf
272-Gigapixel panorama of Shanghai
320-Gigapixel panorama of London
• Currently the largest: this 365-Gigapixel panorama of Mont Blanc. [story]
• GigaPan has a wide variety of panoramas in their gallery.
Blakeway Gigapixel specializes in sports stadiums in full attendance (where you can tag people you recognize) and National Parks sites like the Grand Canyon

posted by not_on_display on Jun 17, 2015 - 26 comments

You can't get your ass to Mars

Every sensate being we’ve encountered in the universe so far—from dogs and humans and mice to turtles and spiders and seahorses—has evolved to suit the cosmic accident that is Earth. The notion that we could take these forms, most beautiful and most wonderful, and hurl them into space, and that this would, to use Petranek’s formulation, constitute “our best hope,” is either fantastically far-fetched or deeply depressing.
As Impey points out, for six decades we’ve had the capacity to blow ourselves to smithereens. One of these days, we may well do ourselves in; certainly we’re already killing off a whole lot of other species. But the problem with thinking of Mars as a fallback planet (besides the lack of oxygen and air pressure and food and liquid water) is that it overlooks the obvious. Wherever we go, we’ll take ourselves with us.
Project Exodus: Elizabeth Kolbert on Mars, Earth, exploration versus science and astronautical reach exceeding grasp. [previouslyish]
posted by byanyothername on May 28, 2015 - 107 comments

Taco nights, competitive board games, group viewings of Game of Thrones

Moving to Mars. "The volunteers perched in the lava fields of Mauna Loa on the HI-SEAS (Hawai'i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) mission are as close as Earthlings will get to Mars in the foreseeable future." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 20, 2015 - 12 comments

Salt in soil from bygone era may be keeping briney water on Mars liquid

Mars might have liquid water, according to new findings We know Mars has water, and we also know that Mars once had liquid water (a whole ocean, in fact) but now it seems we may have evidence of liquid water today. [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Apr 14, 2015 - 22 comments

Mars One or MLM?

"As Roche observed the process from an insider’s perspective, his concerns increased. Chief among them: that some leading contenders for the mission had bought their way into that position, and are being encouraged to “donate” any appearance fees back to Mars One — which seemed to him very strange for an outfit that needs billions of dollars to complete its objective." [more inside]
posted by googly on Mar 17, 2015 - 38 comments

Mars One colonists better off eating frozen pizza than local veggies

A graduate student at MIT has published an analysis of the Mars One colony plans. Turns out that surviving off local crops is a bad idea. [pdf] Mars One is an ambitious and highly publicized plan to start a colony on Mars by launching groups of astronauts on a one-way trip to the red planet. The Mars One foundation claims that all of this is feasible with current technology: Falcon heavy launchers, Dragon capsules, inflatable structures, and life support systems similar to the International Space Station. Sydney Do, a Ph.D candidate in MIT's Strategic Engineering Research Group disagrees. His detailed and impressive analysis of the Mars One architecture reveals a few surprising and counter-intuitive results: the astronauts are better off eating food delivered from Earth, and the need for spare parts to sustain life support system ends up dominating the materials required to keep the colony going.
posted by amy27 on Feb 27, 2015 - 54 comments

Inexplicable puffs of gas

Bizarre martian plumes discovered by amateur astronomers -- I favor H.G. Wells' explanation: "Why the shots ceased after the tenth no one on earth has attempted to explain. It may be the gases of the firing caused the Martians inconvenience. Dense clouds of smoke or dust, visible through a powerful telescope on earth as little grey, fluctuating patches, spread through the clearness of the planet's atmosphere and obscured its more familiar features." [more inside]
posted by 0rison on Feb 19, 2015 - 28 comments

Bruno Bad? Strong Mars?

Presented without comment but with great enjoyment and nostalgia: Uptown Funk v. Everybody to the Limit.
posted by WCityMike on Feb 14, 2015 - 13 comments

Some corner of a foreign planet

Beagle probe found on the surface of Mars 12 years after contact was lost with the probe on its descent it has been spotted by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter [more inside]
posted by brilliantmistake on Jan 16, 2015 - 39 comments

This is no time for a flat tire.

Wheels on Mars. "There are holes in Curiosity wheels. There have always been holes -- the rover landed with twelve holes deliberately machined in each wheel to aid in rover navigation. But there are new holes now: punctures, fissures, and ghastly tears." A detailed look at the condition of the wheels on the Curiosity rover.
posted by bitmage on Jan 3, 2015 - 40 comments

Young Frankenstein at 40: not so young, but still Brooks' finest film

Director Mel Brooks spent a lot of money on white handkerchiefs while making his 1974 tour de farce, Young Frankenstein. "I gave everybody in the crew a white handkerchief," said the 88-year-old comedy legend during a recent phone interview. "I said, 'When you feel like laughing, put this in your mouth.' Every once in a while, I'd turn around and see a sea of white handkerchiefs, and I said, 'I got a hit.'"

Young Frankenstein was more than a hit. It is a comic masterpiece.
An interview with Mel Brooks on the 40th anniversary of Young Frankenstein, with an overview of the events that lead to what Mel Brooks calls 'by far the best movie I ever made.' [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 20, 2014 - 78 comments

How big is space? Interactive views of the universe in varying scales

We know space is big, but trying to understand how big is tricky. Say you stare up at the sky and identify stars and constellations in a virtual planetarium, you can't quite fathom how far away all those stars are (previously, twice). Even if you could change your point of view and zoom around in space to really see 100,000 nearby stars (autoplaying ambient music, and there are actually 119,617 stars mapped in 3D space), it's still difficult to get a sense of scale. There's this static image of various items mapped on a log scale from XKCD (previously), and an interactive horizontal journey down from the sun to the heliosphere with OMG Space (previously). You can get a bit more dynamic with this interactive Scale of the Universe webpage (also available in with some variants, if you want the sequel [ previously, twice], the swirly, gravity-optional version that takes some time to load, and the wrong version [previously]), but that's just for the scale of objects, not of space itself. If you want to get spaced out, imagine if If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel, and travel from there (previously). This past March, BBC Future put out a really big infographic, which also takes a moment to load, but then you can see all sorts of things, from the surface of Earth out to the edge of our solar system.
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 4, 2014 - 31 comments

Mars None

Mars One, a private company registered in the Netherlands, is preparing to launch a one-way manned mission to Mars in 2018. With 200,000 applicants for the trip, a minuscule $6 billion dollar budget, and contracts with companies like SpaceX, Paragon, and Lockheed Martin, the company plans to leverage the power of private development and high risk tolerance into a space voyage beyond the means of our current government-based exploration efforts.

If only any of it were real. [more inside]
posted by KathrynT on Nov 11, 2014 - 126 comments

life is short. fly to mars

i build rocket in my back garden for 10 year
i build rocket from spare car part and old nuclear facility
in month of march i buy 10,000 of my favourite protein bar
in month of april i launch rocket with me in it towards planet mars
now i am on mars

Evghenia is on Mars. She has enough water to survive for another two hundred and eighty days. In the meantime, she reminisces about her favorite and least favorite things on earth, comments on the space-speculation of poets Bowie and Elton, writes about her heroes, and criticizes Elon Musk and NASA and all the many people who have failed to be on Mars first. (She is understandably proud of her significant accomplishment.) She also writes about goatbot, who she built herself and who is her only friend, and occasionally tells jokes and sings songs and reminisces about her past and present. Definitely a Twitter account worth following.
posted by rorgy on Oct 20, 2014 - 16 comments

Two Ships That Pass In The Night

This is a picture of a comet heading for Mars. Mars is the big red thing and the comet, named C/2013 A1 ('Siding Spring'), is the green-tailed beast to the lower left. [more inside]
posted by benito.strauss on Oct 20, 2014 - 26 comments

The Elon Musk Mars Interview

When Musk went to price the mission with US launch companies, he was told transport would cost $60-80 million. Reeling, he tried to buy a refurbished Russian intercontinental ballistic missile to do the job, but his dealer kept raising the price on him. Finally, he’d had enough. Instead of hunting around for a cheaper supplier, Musk founded his own rocket company. His friends thought he was crazy, and tried to intervene, but he would not be talked down. Musk identifies strongly as an engineer. That’s why he usually takes a title like chief technical officer at the companies he runs, in addition to chief executive officer. He had been reading stacks of books about rockets. He wanted to try building his own. The Elon Musk Mars Interview.
posted by Ghostride The Whip on Oct 1, 2014 - 100 comments

MOM

India's Mars Orbiter Mission In 45 mins from now (watch a webcast), India's Mars Orbiter Mission's satellite will insert itself into orbit around Mars. This is the final hurdle for MOM to overcome to achieve a big milestone for the Indian Space Research Organization.
posted by dhruva on Sep 23, 2014 - 69 comments

But can it core a apple?

On Thursday, NASA released the names and designs of three vehicles that could replace the space shuttle as means of sending our astronauts into space. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Aug 23, 2014 - 70 comments

Cosmic pluralism: science, religion, and possible populations on Venus

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it became possible to believe in the existence of life on other planets on scientific grounds. Once the Earth was no longer the center of the universe according to Copernicus, once Galileo had aimed his telescope at the Moon and found it a rough globe with mountains and seas, the assumption of life on other planets became much less far-fetched. In general there were no actual differences between Earth and Venus, since both planets orbited the Sun, were of similar size, and possessed mountains and an atmosphere. If there is life on Earth, one may ponder why it could not also exist on Venus. In the extraterrestrial life debate of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Moon, our closest celestial body, was the prime candidate for life on other worlds, although a number of scientists and scholars also speculated about life on Venus and on other planets, both within our solar system and beyond its frontiers. Venusians: the Planet Venus in the 18th-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate (PDF), from The Journal of Astronomical Data (JAD) Volume 19, somewhat via NPR and their mention of amateur astronomer Thomas Dick's estimations of the populations of the other planets in our solar system (Archive.org online view of Celestial scenery, or, The Wonders of the planetary system displayed, 1845).
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 21, 2014 - 8 comments

A red cent on the red planet: the story of a semi-rare 1909 coin on Mars

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), aka the Curiosity Rover is something of a robotic geologist, so it makes sense to include the tools of the trade in some form, including a calibration target. For giving a sense of scale with smaller geologic features, pennies are often used for scale, as a common item with a standard dimension. But why is there a 1909 penny on the Rover? That's thanks to Kenneth Edgett, the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) principal investigator and an amateur coin collector who appreciates the history of the controversial 1909 V.D.B. Lincoln Cent.
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 14, 2014 - 19 comments

Mars Opposition Season 2014: Images From Around the World

Last night, Mars did not so much as attack, but rather was in opposition.
posted by vrakatar on Apr 9, 2014 - 22 comments

If you plan on taking a trip to Jupiter, this is not the map to use.

If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel is a tediously accurate model of the Solar System that Josh Worth made to explain to his daughter just how difficult it is to go on holiday to Mars.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 5, 2014 - 69 comments

"Do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction."

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.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Feb 21, 2014 - 49 comments

frugal engineering can boost your space program

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.
(NYTSL)
posted by infini on Feb 18, 2014 - 44 comments

Distributed Data

Academics launch torrent site to share papers and datasets [more inside]
posted by eviemath on Feb 4, 2014 - 12 comments

Mystery rock on Mars

....wait...this wasn't here a second ago! A mysterious Martian rock that appeared in front of the Opportunity rover within days has left scientists scratching their heads.
posted by shockingbluamp on Jan 17, 2014 - 46 comments

"WILD DESTINATION AND DARE DECISIONS ?"

The Mars One Mission (previously) has announced that it has selected a first shortlist of 1,058 astronaut applicants, out of an open pool of 200,000. That list isn't provided in the press release, but media around the world have already begun to report on local candidates: sixty-two Indians; seventy-five Canadians; three Irishmen; a police officer from Whitehall, New York; Florida Man (video autoplay); and a Utahn medevac pilot, of whom Ken Layne might possibly disapprove. [more inside]
posted by Countess Elena on Jan 15, 2014 - 29 comments

Jupiter in motion, as photographed and drawn from Earth

Redditor bubbleweed took a five and half hour time-lapse of Jupiter, and made this gif to show Jupiter from Io's frame of reference [WARNING: 4.6mb GIF | alternate: 60kb HTML5 video]. But why simply photograph Jupiter, when you can take the time to really know the planet and draw it, repeatedly, as Frédéric Burgeot has done. His work included a flat texture map* which Pascal Chauvet turned into an animated version of Jupiter (Vimeo). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 14, 2014 - 21 comments

We've planned too many wonders for one little star

"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."
[more inside] posted by Sokka shot first on Jan 6, 2014 - 5 comments

The Madness Of The Planets

I am a staunch believer in leading with the bad news, so let me get straight to the point. Earth, our anchor and our solitary haven in a hostile universe, is in a precarious situation. The solar system around us is rife with instability.
[more inside] posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 31, 2013 - 42 comments

Red Planet Blues

The trouble with terraforming Mars...
posted by Artw on Dec 20, 2013 - 73 comments

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