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.
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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.
Practically everyone who likes space and has lots of money is trying to get to Mars in the near future. But before anyone reaches the Red Planet, there are plenty of concerns to mull over, most notably that our bodies were not built to live in a barren litter box with a thin atmosphere. But the journey to Mars is an equal concern. An unnerving new study suggests that the trip to Mars could put passengers at a higher risk to develop cancer — possibly two times greater than what experts previously thought.
Our little red neighbour may be a rocky red wasteland now, but a lot of people think it was once an ocean-covered world just like our own. After scientists found some evidence of flowing water back in 2015, folks started to take these claims even more seriously. Heck, maybe Mars even supported life.
Lots of people really want to go to Mars. Some of them want to live on that barren litter box forever, which sounds exciting, but would probably suck. The thing about a Martian colony is that people would have to be able to reproduce there in order to keep it going — and luckily for those hopeful pioneers, a team of Japanese scientists have achieved an important first step toward making their pipe dream a reality.