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Posts tagged "Mars"


The Loneliest Crater on All of Mars

From rim to rim, this crater measures approximately 68 m (225 ft).


Here and There in Aram Chaos

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Mars One Wants to Send Your Experiments to the Red Planet

The nonprofit organization that has raised eyebrows with its plans to send people on a one-way mission to Mars is now accepting proposals for scientific payloads that could fly aboard an unmanned mission to the Red Planet in 2018.

Image: The non-profit Mars One organization wants to send a lander to the Red Planet in 2018. The lander will have seven different science payloads, and people everywhere can submit their ideas to the organization now. Credit: Bryan Versteeg/Mars One Foundation

The Netherlands-based Mars One foundation aims to send a total of seven payloads: four demonstration payloads, one payload selected in a worldwide university competition and two payloads for sale to the highest bidder.

The unmanned 2018 mission will serve as preparation for a planned human mission to Mars in 2024, Mars One organizers said. As of May, the nonprofit had whittled down its pool of potential astronauts to 705 candidates. Mars One aims to send four people on a one-way trip to the Red Planet every two years, starting in 2024.

Mars One is asking for input from the scientific community in order to source the best ideas from around the world, Arno Wielders, co-founder and chief technical officer of Mars One, said in a statement.

"The ideas that are adopted will not only be used on the lander in 2018, but will quite possibly provide the foundation for the first human colony on Mars," Wielders said.

Mars One is expected to send these payloads aboard the lander that is scheduled to launch in August 2018 and will be built on the same platform used for NASA’s 2007 Phoenix mission. Mars One and Lockheed Martin are partnering to develop a mission concept for the lander.

The four demonstration payloads will test technologies needed for the permanent human settlement of Mars. These will include an experiment to collect Martian soil for water production, an experiment to extract water from the soil, a thin-film solar panel for energy generation and a camera system that will interface with a Mars-synchronous communications satellite that will relay live video to Earth, according to Mars One.


beth: Mars, photographed by Mars Express, 11th June 2014.
9 images taken with the Mars Webcam. I think we are looking down on the northern hemisphere, around noon on Arabia Terra, Ls 144.2° - northern midsummer. equivalent to terrestrial August..
Image credit: ESA. Animation: AgeOfDestruction.


beth: Mars, photographed by Mars Express, 11th June 2014.

9 images taken with the Mars Webcam. I think we are looking down on the northern hemisphere, around noon on Arabia Terra, Ls 144.2° - northern midsummer. equivalent to terrestrial August..

Image credit: ESA. Animation: AgeOfDestruction.


These Students Want to Send a Time Capsule to Mars

A student-led project aims to send a time capsule to Mars for future explorers to discover, its organizers announced today (June 23).

Time Capsule to Mars (TC2M), a project of the nonprofit organization Explore Mars, plans to land three small satellites, known as CubeSats, on the surface of the Red Planet within the next five years. The satellites will contain images, videos and other forms of expression from people around the globe, according to the project’s organizers.

If successful, the $25-million mission would be the first privately funded mission to Mars, the first student-led mission to another planet, the first trial of a new propulsion system and the first interplanetary CubeSat, the team said here today in a press briefing.

"We’ve got a lot of firsts, and it’s very exciting," said Emily Briere, a senior at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and the mission’s founder and director.

Briere told reporters that "millions of people from around the world [will be able to] send in their photo, their picture of their dog, their handwritten poem, and feel that they themselves are going to Mars and making an impact."

"Mars’ 2014 retrograde colors, a look back to my images this apparition." - Michael A. Phillips


Two-Color Dunes in Mars Meridiani Terra

Why are these dunes different colors?

Sand on Mars is typically dark in tone, as it commonly derived from volcanic rocks like lava flows. In HiRISE enhanced color, which operates in long infrared wavelengths (beyond what the human eye can detect), surfaces like these dune crests are dark blue to purple.

Sand comes in sizes that are ideal for surface transport by the wind, where sand “hops” along forming bedforms, like these dunes after large amounts of time.


Hebes Chasma, Mars

Image Credit: ESA


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Dark-Toned Unit Exposed in Ejecta Blanket

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In May, You Won’t Have to Stay up Late to See Planets

This month’s sky will feature great views of Saturn and Mars all night long and a possible new meteor shower.

Mars dims and shrinks in diameter quite a bit this month, but it’s easy to spot high in the Southern sky. Saturn reaches opposition on May 10, rising at sunset and setting just before sunrise. This month the north side of the ring plane is tilted 21.7 degrees, providing a beautiful view of the planet’s north pole. Even through modest telescopes, you can see some detail on the pole.

Read more:


Beauty From Chaos

Beautiful streamlined islands and narrow gorges were carved by fast-flowing water pounding through a small, plateau region near the southeastern margin of the vast Vallis Marineris canyon system.

Osuga Valles is an outflow channel that emanates from a region of chaotic terrain at the edge of Eos Chaos to the west (top in the main images). Such landscape is dominated by randomly oriented and heavily eroded blocks of terrain. Another example is seen at the bottom of this scene, filling the 2.5 km-deep depression into which Osuga Valles empties.

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Mars Red and Spica Blue by P-M Heden

A bright pair of celestial objects, Mars and Spica appear paired in the sky during spring of 2014.

Mars will shine brightly in its familiar rusty hue as it reaches its brightest of 2014 about a week after this image. The reason that Mars appears so bright is that Earth and Mars are close to each other in their long orbits around the Sun.

Spica, on the other hand, shines constantly as one of the brightest blue stars in the night sky. The blue-hued star has been visible throughout human history and the sounds that identify it today date back to ancient times. Pictured above, the planet and the star were photographed rising together toward the southeast after sunset through old oak trees in Sweden.


Science At NASA: The Opposition of Mars

Opposition date: April, 8th, 2014

By the time you finish reading this story, you’ll be about 1,000 km closer to the planet Mars.

Earth and Mars are converging for a close encounter. As March gives way to April, the distance between the two planets is shrinking by about 300 km every minute. When the convergence ends in mid-April, the gulf between Earth and Mars will have narrowed to only 92 million km—a small number on the vast scale of the solar system.

Astronomers call this event an “opposition of Mars” because Mars and the Sun are on opposite sides of the sky. Mars rises in the east at sunset, and soars almost overhead at midnight, shining burnt-orange almost 10 times brighter than a 1st magnitude star.

Oppositions of Mars happen every 26 months. Of a similar encounter in the 19th century, astronomer Percival Lowell wrote that “[Mars] blazes forth against the dark background of space with a splendor that outshines Sirius and rivals the giant Jupiter himself.”

In other words, it’s really easy to see.

There are two dates of special significance:

April 8th is the date of opposition, when Mars, Earth, and the sun are arranged in a nearly-straight line.

If the orbits of Mars and Earth were perfectly circular, April 8th would also be the date of closest approach. However, planetary orbits are elliptical—that is, slightly egg-shaped—so the actual date of closest approach doesn’t come until almost a week later.

On April 14th, Earth and Mars are at their minimum distance: 92 million km, a 6+ month flight for NASA’s speediest rockets. You won’t have any trouble finding Mars on this night. The full Moon will be gliding by the Red Planet in the constellation Virgo, providing a can’t-miss “landmark” in the midnight sky.

Remarkably, on the same night that Mars is closest to Earth, there will be a total lunar eclipse. The full Moon of April 14-15 will turn as red as the Red Planet itself.

Although these dates are special, any clear night in April is a good time to look at Mars. It will be easy to see with the unaided eye even from brightly-lit cities. With a modest backyard telescope, you can view the rusty disk of Mars as well as the planet’s evaporating north polar cap, which has been tipped toward the sun since Martian summer began in February.

Experienced astro-photographers using state-of-the-art digital cameras can tease out even more—for example, dust storms, orographic clouds over Martian volcanoes, and icy fogs in the great Hellas impact basin. The view has been described by some observers as “Hubblesque.”

Update: You’re now 1000 km closer to Mars.

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Mars-Bound Comet Siding Spring Sprouts Multiple Jets

Comet Siding Spring, on its way to a close brush with Mars on October 19, has been kicking up a storm lately. New images from Hubble Space Telescope taken on March 11, when the comet was just this side of Jupiter, reveal multiple jets of gas and dust.  (source


Earthgazing: Bright ‘Evening Stars’ Seen from Mars are No Stars, But Earth and the Moon

This view of the twilight sky and Martian horizon taken by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover includes Earth as the brightest point of light in the night sky. Earth is a little left of center in the image, and our moon is just below Earth.

Image credit: [NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU](Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU )

Researchers used the left eye camera of Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam) to capture this scene about 80 minutes after sunset on the 529th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars (Jan. 31, 2014). The image has been processed to remove effects of cosmic rays.

A human observer with normal vision, if standing on Mars, could easily see Earth and the moon as two distinct, bright “evening stars.”

The distance between Earth and Mars when Curiosity took the photo was about 99 million miles (160 million kilometers).

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project’s Curiosity rover. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates the rover’s Mastcam.

That’s it, that’s us.

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