Universe Today has explored the potential for sending humans to Europa, Venus, Titan, and Pluto, all of which possess environmental conditions that are far too harsh for humans to survive. The insight gained from planetary scientists resulted in some informative discussions, and traveling to some of these far-off worlds might be possible, someday. In the final installment of this series, we will explore the potential for sending humans to a destination that has been the focus of scientific exploration and science folklore for more than 100 years: Mars aka the Red Planet.Continue reading “Should We Send Humans to Mars?”
There have been numerous robotic space missions reach the end of their operating life over the years and for a multitude of reasons. Be they catastrophic failure or a scheduled end but I must say one that has recently made me a little sad is the demise of the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars. It sustained damage after its recent flight and can now no longer fly. In a mission that was supposed to complete five flights in 30 days, the plucky little helicopter completed 72 flights over three years!Continue reading “Ingenuity Suffers Rotor Damage, Ending the Mission”
A recent study published in The Planetary Science Journal examines how helicopters equipped with a magnetometer could be used to conduct magnetic field investigations within the crust of Mars, providing important insights into the present characteristics and early evolution of the Red Planet. This study comes as NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter continues breaking records and making history as the first powered aerial explorer on another planet, along with the recently expired NASA InSight lander using its own magnetometer to measure the crustal magnetic field.Continue reading “Helicopters Could Map the Magnetic Fields on Mars”
A recent study published in Science examines how thin channels inside impact craters on Mars could have formed from Martian gullies, which share similar characteristics with gullies on Earth and are typically formed from cascading meltwater, despite the Martian atmosphere being incapable of supporting liquid water on its surface. However, the researchers hypothesize these gullies could have formed during periods of high obliquity, also known as axial tilt, on Mars, which could have resulted in a brief rise in surface temperatures that could have melted some surface and subsurface ice, leading to meltwater cascading down the sides of impact craters across the planet.Continue reading “Melting Water in Mars’ Past Could Have Created Martian Gullies”
How thick is the crust of Mars? This question is what a recent study published in Geophysical Research Letters attempted to answer as it reported on data from a magnitude 4.7 marsquake recorded in May 2022 by NASA’s InSight lander, which remains the largest quake ever recorded on another planetary body. As it turns out, this data helped provide estimates of Mars’ global crustal thickness, along with a unique discovery regarding the crust in the northern and southern hemispheres, and how the interior of Mars produces its heat.Continue reading “Mars Has a Thick Crust. Its Internal Heat Mainly Comes from Radioactivity”
We want to send humans to Mars eventually, and while this will be both a historic and exciting journey, it could also be tragic and terrible, and we must also address the potential pitfalls and risks of such an adventure. The intent behind this is to allow fans of space exploration to consider the full picture of such an endeavor. The good, the bad, and the ugly.Continue reading “Would Mark Watney Have Survived in Real Life, and What This Can Teach Us About Sending Humans to Mars”
After exploring Mars for more than a year, China’s Tianwen-1 space probe has successfully taken images covering the entire Red Planet, China’s National Space Administration (CNSA) announced on June 29. Tianwen-1, which translates to “quest for heavenly truth”, consists of six separate spacecraft: an orbiter, two deployable cameras, lander, remote camera, and Zhurong rover. The images in question were taken by the orbiter while circling Mars 1,344 times, capturing images of the Red Planet from every angle while Zhurong explored the surface. in the statement, CNSA said the probe has now completed all of its tasks, which included taking medium-resolution images covering the entire planet.Continue reading “China’s Tianwen-1 has Imaged the Entire Surface of Mars, Completing its Primary Mission”
The United Arab Emirates Space Agency releases a unique comprehensive Mars Atlas of the Red Planet.
You have never seen Mars like this. Recently, the New York University of Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) released an 88-page look at Red Planet, dubbed The Atlas of Mars. The Atlas is free online, and uses spectacular imagery taken from the United Arab Emirates Space Agency’s ambitious Mars Hope mission.Continue reading “UAE’s Mars Hope Team Publishes ‘Mars Atlas’”
Remember when engineers proposed one-way trips to Mars, because round trips are just too expensive to bring people back to Earth again?
Getting people home from Mars can only happen in two ways. One is to lug all the return fuel with you when you launch from Earth, which is prohibitively difficult and expensive. The second way is to make the return fuel in-situ from Martian resources. But how?
A group of researchers from the University of Cincinnati propose using a type of reactor that was used from 2010-2017 aboard the International Space Station, which scrubbed the carbon dioxide from air the astronauts breathe and generated water to drink, with methane as a biproduct. On Mars, this reactor, called a Sabatier reactor, could take carbon dioxide from Mars’ atmosphere and create methane for fuel.Continue reading “This is the Reactor That Could Make it Possible to Return From Mars”
Underground habitats have recently become a focal point of off-planet colonization efforts. Protection from micrometeorites, radiation, and other potential hazards makes underground sites desirable compared to surface dwellings. Building such subterranean structures presents a plethora of challenges, not the least of which is how to actually construct them. A team of researchers at the Delft University of Technology (TUD) is working on a plan to excavate material and then use it to print habitats. All that would be done with a group of swarming robots.Continue reading “Swarms of Robots Could Dig Underground Cities on Mars”