Andrew Finch's Others Will Follow is about a mission to Mars gone awry, but this isn't The Martian. There are no alien potatoes, and no jokes about space pirates -- just a lonely astronaut reflecting on his fate, and deciding to risk it all to send one last inspirational message back to Earth.
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Everyone might be talking about Elon Musk's plans to get humans to Mars, but SpaceX wasn't the only organisation shooting for the moon. Well, past the moon. Lockheed Martin revealed last week that it's helping NASA reach the red planet too, showing off its Mars Base Camp orbiter that aims to "land humans on the surface in the 2030s".
Before the 68th International Aeronautical Congress, Elon Musk delivered some bold predictions for his aeronautics company SpaceX: a massive new rocket that could put a satellite ten times the size of Hubble into space, a base on the moon, and two manned missions to Mars by 2024 to find a water source and build a rocket refuelling depot. He capped off his presentation with a curveball -- using rockets to take passengers on Earth to elsewhere on Earth.
Billionaire whiz kid Elon Musk, who last year announced his plan to send a group of astronauts either incredibly brave or incredibly eager to get off this dumb planet to colonize Mars, is poised to give a big update on those plans today.
Before Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and other space enthusiasts can ship humans to Mars as easily as an Amazon Prime delivery, we need to figure out they will fare on a foreign planet. Luckily, NASA and the University of Hawaii have been all over this, funding several successful iterations of an experiment called Hawaii Space Exploration Analogue and Simulation (HI-SEAS), in which a crew of "astronauts" live in Mars-like conditions in a dome on a Hawaiian volcano. On Sunday, the fifth Hi-SEAS endeavour ended, meaning a crew of six "astronauts" have left the comfort of a literal bubble to greet the fresh hell that is Earth right now.
Over the past few days, NASA's Curiosity rover has been making a steady climb towards a strange Martian ridge that's captivated scientists since before the mission even started. Known as Vera Ridge after the pioneering astrophysicist Vera Rubin, the durable outcrop could shed new light on the environment and potential habitability of ancient Mars. Although the climb has proven a challenging one, Curiosity has managed to capture some spectacular photos along the way.
It... it snows on Mars. This is amazing.
Researched published this week in Nature Geoscience details a study that simulates Martian meteorology, and shows that localised storms of rapidly falling snow — "microbursts" of snowfall - occur on Mars due to cooling of cloud water-ice particles during the night.
Image Cache: When you capture Australia at just the right angle, it can look more than foreign -- it can look properly alien. That's the end result of these photos from Canon's 'Down Under From Above' aerial photography project, which turn Shark Bay on the WA coast into an orange and teal masterpiece that looks like something out of The Martian.
Mars' two moons, Phobos and Deimos, are like the bay leaves of the solar system: They're fine I guess but what are they trying to do? The larger satellite, Phobos, is interesting because its existence is almost poetic: It's small, falling apart due to stress, and, apparently, desperately in need of validation.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose prior plan for stellar colonisation involved sending people who are not Elon Musk to go die on Mars, thinks this noble endeavour will require a practice round of sending people to die on the Moon first.
Let's say there was a manned Mars mission that wasn't a giant load of crap. Do you think you'd have what it takes to not only make it to the red planet alive, but have some sort of proper existence once you got there?
In Andy Weir's novel-turned-Matt-Damon-movie The Martian, the protagonist endures the harsh terrain of Mars by using his own shit to grow potatoes. The idea isn't that outlandish -- over the last few years, a NASA-backed project has been attempting to simulate Martian potato farming by growing taters in the Peruvian desert. While early results were promising, new research suggests that survival of any life on Mars -- much less potato-growing humans -- might be more difficult than we thought. I blame Matt Damon.