Mars-ward Ho #space #science #explore #Mars #tech @MarsOneProject #SpaceX

in the 1990s, Biosphere 2 studied a closed system similar to what Mars colonists may need to create

in the 1990s, Biosphere 2 studied a closed system similar to what Mars colonists may need to create

Orbiting the planet,
above Viking’s bones,
Odyssey’s a switchboard
that seeks new landing zones.
Global Mars Surveyor
measures gravity,
Magnetosphere, minerals,
and topography.
MAVEN and Mangalyaan
sniff at the Martian air,

Japan will gather samples
and bring them back from there.
Joining Opportunity
in studying the rocks,
Rover Curiosity
seeks life’s building blocks.

UAE will gather data
on the frigid dry climate.
China’s rover should be very good
at biotech.

Yup, that's me at Biosphere 2

Yup, that’s me at Biosphere 2

Sands of a planet solely occupied
by robots,
Soon will carry boot-prints from
eager astronauts.
Far beyond horizons
where ancestors have roamed,
Mars One and SpaceX
want to claim Mars as a home.

By Kate Rauner

The list of missions to Mars – failed and successful – is long, but the list of planned missions is growing longer. Thanks to space.com for the update. You can visit Biosphere 2 in Arizona where environmental studies are ongoing.

Visit Mars yourself, in my science fiction series On Mars.

On Mars 3 covers over planet (298x300)

 

Advertisements

Europa-Best Chance to Find ET Life and Congress Says We Gotta Go #NASA #science #tech #solarsystem

Europa_mosaicWho says Congress can’t get anything done? They’ve told NASA “you gotta go,” could be as soon as 2022. Jupiter’s gravitational flexing generates a lot of heat inside the moon – enough for a 150 km deep water ocean to exist under the ice crust.

What’s more, rusty colored stains on the ice around the cracks suggest that the water is heavy in salts and minerals. Chemistry plus energy plus time—all of which Europa has in the right mix—may be all that is necessary to cook up life…

[A lander’s] ultimate goal would be to peer directly into the calmer waters of the ocean and perhaps even go swimming.

Congress is a blunt instrument, so I hope their requirements don’t hurt the mission. NASA still has problems to solve. But I can’t wait to find out what’s swimming in Europa’s seas.

Thanks to time.com for the article and quote.

Will a #Mars Colony Survive? :O #scifi #Amazon #book

Yee ha 🙂 My latest science fiction novel’s available – second in the On Mars series started by Glory on Mars. The Artificial Intelligence has grown up a bit, but the settlers  are in trouble.

It’s bad luck to be born on Mars.BORN Ebook cover 300 dpi

Welcome to the second book of the On Mars series, a story of our near-future. Journey with Jake, born in the first Martian colony, as he seeks help from the only other humans on Mars. But Earthers are as dangerous as the hostile planet.

The colonists need resources – metals and minerals – to survive, but their prospecting efforts have failed. A second generation Mars-born, Jake’s lucky to avoid the sicknesses that plague the settlement, but refuses to father any children in the doomed colony. He joins a team to explore beyond the Tharsis Plain, but his first trip ends in near-disaster.

Half a planet away, new-comers from Earth start a second colony, but refuse all attempts at communication. Jake, with his friend Martha, plots a way to contact them and perhaps find help for his family and friends. He continues to prospect despite the risk on Mars’ hostile surface, and waits for the enigmatic Sino-African colony to respond. But greater dangers await if they do.

Read this book to discover if humans can claim Mars as home.

Buzz Aldrin Pushes Space Exploration with Scifi #Mars #sciencefiction #review #bookreview

encounter with tiberBuzz Aldrin’s in the news again*, opening a new institute at Florida Tech to promote the settlement of Mars through research. I posted on his science fiction novel aimed at inspiring space travel once before. I thought it would be fun to look at it again.

Encounter with Tiber is a hard science fiction story for fans of space travel and colonization. It’s a long book with two related stories framed by a future historian’s voyage to the planet Tiber. The book loves technology and will interrupt the action to indulge, so you must concentrate on your reading – maybe it’s not the best beach book.

The First Story
One story starts with an alternative history of the end of the shuttle program and continues into the very near future with explorations of the Moon and Mars. Thick with detailed descriptions of technology, it includes Aldrin’s real-life proposals, like the Mars to Earth cycler spacecraft.

The Second Story
Another story tells of very-human aliens who came to Earth in the past, seeking a new home for their doomed race. Also full of scientific details, you’ll get a feel for what it’s like in space.

Space Politics
The politics of space appear in both stories – and “political pressure leads to poor decisions and tragedy.” Since Aldrin was a NASA astronaut (yes, he is that Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon), it makes me wonder what real-life events led him here. It’s not very encouraging for anyone who wants to land people on Mars. But politics exist in private companies too, so it’s not a problem unique to NASA.

Is This Book For You?
If you are not a hard science fiction/space fiction fan, you’ll find this book tedious. If you love the details a space insider can provide, you’ll be fascinated

*Note July 2018: Buzz Aldrin’s been in the news more recently becase of legal battles with his children over control of his properties. I feel sad for them all.

#BuzzAldrin leads us #onMars, starting from #FloridaTech

How we can send people to Mars

How we can send people to Mars

“Florida Institute of Technology held a signing ceremony formalizing the establishment of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at the university… led by legendary Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the Institute will promote the settlement of Mars through research.”

At the age of 85, Aldrin is actively involved, not just a figurehead. He’s been reaching into space for decades. In 1963 he received a PhD with a thesis on Manned Orbital Rendezvous and six years later was the second man to walk on the Moon.

Aldrin struggled with depression and alcoholism and soared beyond. He could have become a ponderous public figure, but he seems to have a sense of humor – even making fun of himself on The Big Bang Theory.

He truly fits America’s vision of an astronaut.

Read the Florida Tech news

Read more about Buzz_Aldrin

Colony On Mars – First Step for Who? Or What? #Mars #explore #space #solar #sun

 

Hallucigenia_sparsa (200x156)

Wonderful Hallucigenia of the Burgess Shale fossils.

“Eventually we’ll have to get out of this solar system because our Sun is dying. If humans want to survive as a species they’ll have to get out.” Stephen Petranek, award-winning science writer – see his TED talk on the end of the world.

Many people want a colony on Mars as insurance against human extinction on Earth – usually from nuclear war to asteroid impacts.

But from the Sun dying?

In 5 billion years or so the Sun will expand and swallow the inner planets before collapsing into a white dwarf.

But in only 2.8 billion years life on Earth will end when the last of the hardiest microbes die off in the Sun’s brutal solar output. Humanity’s progeny will be gone long before then.

Two new modeling studies find that the gradually brightening Sun won’t vaporize our planet’s water for at least another 1 to 1.5 billion years. Earth will suffer a “runaway greenhouse” in 600 million to 700 million years when we’d probably be best off living in undersea cities.

Realistically, how long have we got? Let’s choose a nice, round 500 million years. Let’s say all goes well – we adapt to global warming, we refrain from exterminating ourselves, and we grow into an admirable species. That species will not be Homo sapiens.

Five hundred million years is a long time. Looking backwards at history, the Cambrian explosion of life was well underway 500 million years ago when various fascinating wormy creatures lived in Earth’s oceans. It took over 400 million years for primates to originate (85 million years ago) and another 65 millions years for the Hominid family to emerge (20 million years ago). Another 15 million years passed before our own genus, Homo, emerged (3 million years ago – there’s no point in being too specific on timing – just round the numbers off), and you still wouldn’t want to bring Homo habilis home.

What does this mean? Five hundred million years from now, our descendants will be as different from us and we are from Hallucigenia.

How much do you care about these strange future creatures?

I once read a science fiction story where nuclear war destroyed most of the world, and a few people survived on barren Pacific atolls where they evolved into something like walruses. How much effort would you put into preserving that species?

Go to Mars, go to Europa or Titan. Aim for the stars. But don’t worry about the Sun exploding.

Where are we going? Life, the timeless, mysterious gift, is still evolving. What alien_wizard_fenn_03.svg.medwonders, or terrors, does evolution hold in store for us in the next ten thousand years? In a million? In six million? Perhaps the answer lies in…the Outer Limits,” The Sixth Finger episode.

Pluto – We Are Coming

how I killed plutoWay back in 1999 I read a book Pluto and Charon – Ice Worlds on the Ragged Edge of the Solar System by Alan Stern & Jacqueline Mitton. I learned that plutophiles share a remarkable dedication. For example, when a rare occultation of a star by Pluto was visible only in Israel, “[a]s luck would have it, the great Israeli-Jordanian airwar was just then taking place overhead… Almost unbelievably, [the astronomers] managed to observe the event despite the circumstances overhead…[producing] the only astronomical observation ever made through a sky filled with dog-fighting”. Their observations led to the discovery that Pluto has an atmosphere.

When Eris was discovered in 2005, it became clear Pluto wasn’t a unique oddity but a member of a class of objects – the largest “plutino” in the Kuiper belt, but smaller than Eris in the scattered trans-Neptune disk. Pluto was famously downgraded to dwarf planet status by the International Astronomical Union in 2006 and many people were furious.

The last chapter of Stern and Mitton’s book described the slow progress towards launching a mission to Pluto. The authors noted “it will take NASA more years to get the Pluto mission out of the Washington, D. C. beltway, than Pluto Express would need to cross the whole solar system!” But they were optimistic a mission would be launched and ended with “guard your secrets while you can, Pluto! We are coming.”

They were wrong about one thing – it only took seven more years to launch the spacecraft New Horizons on January 19, 2006; while it’s taken nine years for the craft to reach Pluto. Alan Stern leads its team. Its systems have been activated and the exploration of Pluto and its many moons begins January 15, 2015. [UPDATE: More posts from me on Pluto – Click Here]

Why spend millions of dollars to learn about a few rocky ice-balls at the edge of our solar system when there are so many problems here on Earth? That question implies money is all we need to solve our earthly dilemmas, but politics, prejudice, and pig-headedness are bigger impediments.

If we wait until we solve all of today’s problems, we’ll never get to tomorrow. As Bill Dunford said, why waste time trying to figure out agriculture? We have so much work to do hunting and gathering. Why spend effort on boats? We have so many issues here on the land. Why fiddle with computers? There’s so much calculating to be done with these pencils.

Why explore space? To find out why. Good luck, New Horizons.