Tagged With mars

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Remember that time Matt Damon farmed potatoes on Mars in a mix of soil and poo? In The Martian, that is - not IRL. That we know of, anyway.

Anyway - researchers have shown that actual Martian soil is likely to be toxic to cells, killing them in minutes.