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Mission To Mars

(81 posts)

  1. Marian
    Member

    Thought this topic important enough for its own thread. This is the mission that is going to test for the possibilities there once was life on Mars. The link gives info on various links.
    http://www.space.com/16868-mars-rover-landing-curiosity-events-webcasts.html

    Posted 6 years ago #
  2. Dr. Caligari
    Member

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this one. I don't expect them to find Burrough's Barsoom, but I am holding out a faint hope for at least Raymond Gallun's Old Faithful...

    Posted 6 years ago #
  3. Gordon Van Gelder
    Editor/Publisher

    How great it is to wake up and learn that Curiosity landed successfully. And I hear it did so without killing any cats!

    Posted 6 years ago #
  4. geoffhart1962
    Member

    And in case you missed it the first time, here's a Hollywood-quality video from NASA that explains the descent stages:
    http://gizmodo.com/5920588/why-nasas-mars-curiosity-rover-landing-will-be-seven-minutes-of-absolute-terror

    Still makes me tear up after half a dozen viewings.

    Plus, here's a link to various bits of interest, including first pictures:
    http://gizmodo.com/5932039/the-mars-curiosity-rover-has-landed--live-coverage-from-jpl?popular=true

    My favorite image?
    http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/17v4c4wc77k9ajpg/cmt-medium.jpg

    You'd never get away with writing a scenario like that in a story, but reality has different rules from fiction. *G*

    Posted 6 years ago #
  5. geoffhart1962
    Member

    Tip of the hat to Google for retaining a sense of proportion in its Olympic doodles:
    http://gizmodo.com/5932296/did-you-catch-the-mars-rover-easter-egg-in-todays-google-doodle

    So they may no longer be honoring their "don't be evil" mission statement, but at least they still know how to laugh.

    Speaking of humor, XKCD is not to be outdone:
    http://xkcd.com/1091/

    Posted 6 years ago #
  6. geoffhart1962
    Member

    And if you were frustrated by the fisheye lens images available yesterday, here's a hint of what we'll see once they have time to stitch together a false-to-true color panorama:
    http://gizmodo.com/5932315/first-high-resolution-view-by-curiosity-shows-impressive-4+miles+tall-mount-sharp

    Posted 6 years ago #
  7. Marian
    Member

  8. geoffhart1962
    Member

    Of course, NASA doesn't always get it right:
    http://gizmodo.com/5933546/watch-nasas-new-morpheus-moon-lander-crash-and-burn

    Still early days in the testing program, but this is why we're not quite ready yet for tourist spaceflight.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  9. Marian
    Member

  10. Greg
    Member

    A 360-degree panorama from NASA's Curiosity rover:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/photography/la-sci-bw-mars-curiosity-pano,0,5525118.htmlstory

    Posted 6 years ago #
  11. Marian
    Member

    A lighter and musical view of the mission
    http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2012/08/crane-lower-that-rover.html

    Posted 6 years ago #
  12. geoffhart1962
    Member

    And now for a way-cool high-resolution, pannable and zoomable photomosaic produced from Curiosity's data:
    http://gigapan.com/gigapans/113071

    The captions are pretty funny too. *G*

    Posted 6 years ago #
  13. geoffhart1962
    Member

    And another great zoomable, pannable panorama:
    http://www.panoramas.dk/mars/curiosity-first-color-360.html

    Posted 6 years ago #
  14. Greg
    Member

    How to get to Mars. A very nice presentation of a 2003 Mars mission. (Of course rockets make cool sounds in a total vacuum. Everyone knows this. They've been given this surprising capability to increase both theater ticket sales and space program funding.)

    http://www.youtube.com/embed/XRCIzZHpFtY?rel=0

    Posted 6 years ago #
  15. geoffhart1962
    Member

    A remastered (cleaned-up, color-corrected) version of the Curiosity's own descent video:
    http://gizmodo.com/5943350/the-best-video-of-mars-landing-period

    The sound effects seem irrelevant, but the video quality is much improved.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  16. Marian
    Member

    And a Martian mystery has been discovered. http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2012/09/mars-rover-finds-a-crunchy-blu.html

    By tomorrow, the internet will be saying it's obviously remains of an alien landing site. That's silly. It's obviously the mummified remains of a Martian bird nest.

    Actually, it appears that Opportunity is jealous of Curiosity and determined to snatch back the limelight.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  17. Marian
    Member

    One for the history books - only no one will say what it is yet! http://www.space.com/18565-mars-rover-curiosity-discovery-mystery.html

    Posted 5 years ago #
  18. ByronBailey
    Member

    I wonder if the big news is that the Vikings didn't just make it to the new world but that they made it to a new world? For a people who named Greenland, I hate to think what they may have named Mars? Sea World?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  19. AKAkarlb
    Member

    Never mind about that "historic" discovery:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2012/11/27/nasa_mars_discovery_misunderstanding_mission_leader_excited_about_entire.html?wpisrc=most_viral

    Lots of egg on the face for NPR and their science reporter. Speaking as a former reporter, there's really no excuse for this big a misunderstanding.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  20. AKAkarlb
    Member

  21. geoffhart1962
    Member

    Another cool video on this theme (Mars, not Martian princesses):
    http://www.youtube.com/embed/XRCIzZHpFtY?rel=0

    Posted 5 years ago #
  22. geoffhart1962
    Member

    Not Mars, but probably not worth starting a new topic:
    http://news.ucsc.edu/2012/12/tau-ceti.html

    Nearly Earthlike planets within the habitable zone, and only 12 light years away. Just a short day trip by galactic standards!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  23. AKAkarlb
    Member

    Well that's cool. I can't tell you how many stories I've read set in whole or in part on planets of Tau Ceti (TIME FOR THE STARS, A GIFT FROM EARTH, etc etc). It was one of the original target stars for Frank Drake's Project Ozma back in 1960. A quick check of Tau Ceti's properties shows that there's a lot of dust and crap floating around that star as compared to the Solar System, so might not be too salubrious an environment, lots of planetary impacts, etc., maybe no Jupiter-sized mass there to clean out neighboring space. Still, neat!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  24. geoffhart1962
    Member

    PhD Comics has a great suggestion on how we could fund a private mission to Mars: use Kickstarter. *G*

    Here's the comic that provides the details (for a different project, but you'll get the idea):
    http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php
    Since they don't use permalinks on that site, look for the 8 January 2013 comic.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  25. Kevin C.
    Member

    I always wondered why a space start-up didn't sell shares at SF cons. Think of it: Issue a smartly designed stock certificate that an SF fan would be proud to own even if the company folds. And if it doesn't, they've gotten in on the ground floor on a huge - and perhaps profitable - technological advance.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  26. Ron
    Member

    <I always wondered why a space start-up didn't sell shares at SF cons. Think of it: Issue a smartly designed stock certificate that an SF fan would be proud to own even if the company folds. And if it doesn't, they've gotten in on the ground floor on a huge - and perhaps profitable - technological advance.>

    Because it would not be worthwhile to try to sell shares at SF cons. Worldcon 2012 had around 5,000-6,000 attendees. And I conjecture that only a fraction of those would be willing to pay $100 or more per share.

    How can a company make money in space? Here are some possibilties:
    1. Space based solar power
    2. Mining of asteroids
    3. Sending AIs to planets with life; collecting data about such planets will have repercussions we cannot fully fathom. Who knows, maybe a plant grows on another planet which can cure a human disease.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  27. geoffhart1962
    Member

    If you're feeling optimistic, why not apply to be one of the first Mars colonists?

    http://gizmodo.com/5974437/mars-colonists-wanted-+-apply-here

    Alterkackers like me need not apply, presumably.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  28. Greg
    Member

    The New York Times of August 27, 1911 presented some astonishing news: Martians Build Two Immense Canals in Two Years.

    Here's a PDF displaying the full-page article and accompanying illustrations. It can be enlarged further for easier reading:

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F20E13FF3D5813738DDDAE0A94D0405B818DF1D3

    Edgar Rice Burroughs, writing A PRINCESS OF MARS, had reason to believe the planet was inhabited. Evidence had been presented by astronomer Percival Lowell only 5 years earlier.

    I remember finding an old copy of Lowell's MARS AS THE ABODE OF LIFE in the local public library some 55 years ago. It was shelved in the science section, and was therefore entirely credible.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  29. Greg
    Member

    From the Wikipedia article Water on Mars--which is at least as credible as the 1911 New York Times:

    "NASA scientists calculate that the volume of water ice in the south polar ice cap, if melted, would be sufficient to cover the entire planetary surface to a depth of 11 metres.

    "Results, published in 2009, of shallow radar measurements of the North Polar ice cap determined that the volume of water ice in the cap is 821,000 cubic kilometers (197,000 cubic miles). That's equal to 30% of the Earth's Greenland ice sheet or enough to cover the surface of Mars to a depth of 5.6 meters."

    Leaving other potential sources of Martian water out of the calculation, there's enough polar water ice on Mars to cover the entire surface of the planet to a depth of over 54 feet.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  30. geoffhart1962
    Member

    More problems with a trip to Mars:
    http://gizmodo.com/5987003/the-suit-wont-save-you-four-ways-space-can-kill-you-dead

    I'd forgotten about the Moon dust problem; the Mars dust problem looks to be even nastier. On the other hand, all that iron oxide suggests a solution to terraforming Mars on the cheap: create this Really Big Mirror and focus the sun's rays on the surface until the iron melts and the oxygen is released. *G*

    OK, not really serious here, though Rudy Rucker could probably write about it with a straight face and make you buy the notion. For anyone else, it's worth noting that if you describe early terraforming of Mars, you'll need to include a solution to the dust problem. (Don't know whether Kim Stanley Robinson dealt with this in "Red Mars"; still waiting for enough time to read the trilogy straight through.)

    Posted 5 years ago #

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