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
MAVEN and Mangalyaan
sniff at the Martian air,
Japan will gather samples
and bring them back from there.
in studying the rocks,
seeks life’s building blocks.
UAE will gather data
on the frigid dry climate.
China’s rover should be very good
Yup, that’s me at Biosphere 2
Sands of a planet solely occupied
Soon will carry boot-prints from
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.
Who 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.
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.
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’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.
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.