How NASA Built An Outdoor Wind Tunnel To Test New Mars Parachutes

When NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory sent the Curiosity Rover to Mars, it went through an exceptionally complex process to get the damn thing on the ground.

One of the things used to slow it down through the thin atmosphere was the largest supersonic parachute it had ever built. Now it’s building bigger ones to send people to the Red Planet, and that’s a problem: it doesn’t have a wind tunnel big enough to test it, so it build one with rocket sleds.

Weird, Bright Light Spotted On Mars

Do you see it? There’s a little beacon of light in the photograph of Mars above. It’s on the left side of the photo, and it’s pretty darn bright. What could it be? More importantly, what do we want it to be? A Martian signal keeping track of the Curiosity rover? An alien laser beam? A key to a secret portal in the universe? A superhero?

The Human Heart May Not Be Able To Handle The Trip To Mars

Anyone dreaming of casting off the shackles of Earth for the microgravity wasteland of Mars is in for some (more) bad news. In addition to a host of other problems, the necessary 18-month spaceflight would, apparently, lead to one very unhealthy (and spherical) astronaut heart.

Someday, I Hope Humans Will Walk This Incredible Landscape

What an astonishing and strange place this is, this vast and fractal landscape on Mars. As Wired describes it, the rolling polar expanse seen above is actually “one of the smoothest, flattest places” on the not-so-Red Planet, a region so well-levelled and repetitive that “there are no landmarks visible”.

What Is True Detective Really About?

What is True Detective really about? Was Stonehenge originally built as a musical instrument? What does springtime on Mars look like? What if light were a drug? Here are some answers is this week’s landscapes reads!

A Future Expedition On Mars' Moon Phobos

1995: The explorer on the left is using a personal spacecraft which is anchored to the soil, while the explorer on the right examines a boulder that might weigh 453kg on Earth and just shy of half a kilo on Phobos.

Watch: The People Who Would Leave Earth For A One-Way Trip To Mars

Mars One, the program that is planning to create a human settlement on Mars by 2024, has received over 200,000 applications of Earthlings who are interested in leaving their home planet forever by taking a one-way ticket to Mars. This short documentary examines a few of those people’s motivation to leave everything behind.

The Case Of The Mysterious Rock, Solved By The Opportunity Rover And Mars Orbiter

It’s been over ten years since the Opportunity rover landed on Mars and began its journey of scientific discovery. Amazingly, the little guy is still trucking along, gathering data for NASA. The Mars Orbiter recently had the chance to snap a photo of Opportunity using its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, in the hopes of solving a mystery involving… a rock.

Mars Dunes So Perfect They Look Like Starfleet Logos

NASA says a combo of wind and sand were responsible for forming these V-shaped drifts on Mars. Sure. Or… the crew of the USS Enterprise felt like stamping the Starfleet insignia all over the planet.

Mars Is Full Of Freaking Hearts Everywhere!

I was really surprised when I saw this collection of hearts on Mars posted by El Comanderino Chris Hadfield. How are there so many craters with the shape of hearts in Mars? Are heart shapes pervasive through the entire galaxy? The hell I know. Just forward this post and tell your favourite astronerd you love him/her.

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