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Indian Spacecraft Orbits Mars

And it was their first attempt — beating the less than 50% success rate of all Mars missions to date.  Read all about it here.

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Driving Distances on Mars & the Moon

rover-chart

From a great tumblr site, : This chart provides a comparison of the distances driven by various wheeled vehicles on the surface of Mars and Earth’s moon. Of the vehicles shown, NASA’s Mars rovers Opportunity and Curiosity are still active and the totals listed are distances driven as of July 28, 2014. Read the rest of this entry »


China stakes its Claims on Mars with Rover Bound for Red Planet in 2020

China-Rover-CORB

For The IndependentJames Vincent writes: Sovereignty in outer space is always a tricky subject, but out of all the lifeless rocks in the solar system it’s safe to say that Mars is more American than most. It may not have a US flag crumpled in mid-wave on the surface, but every robot that’s ever crawled successfully on the planet’s surface has been made in the US. Not for much longer.

Last week China announced that it was planning send a rover to Mars by 2020 and bring back samples from the Red Planet just 10 years later. Ouyang Ziyuan, the Chinese scientist who oversaw the country’s successful Moon rover mission in December last year, said that this would be just the first step in the country’s plans to explore the solar system – with further plans involving sending probes to the Sun.

mars-6

The US aerospace industry may be having something of a minor boom at the moment as private companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX celebrate engineering successes, but America still can’t match China’s budget nor its concentration of political will.

Scott Pace, a former Nasa administrator and director of the Space Policy Insitute at George Washington University, told The Independent that China’s plans were “ambitious but not impossible,” adding that despite their success on the Moon, Mars is “much, much more difficult to reach and operate on than the Moon”.

mars-2

Of the seven rovers that have been sent to Mars only the four US missions have been successful. A pair of Soviet rovers sent in 1971 failed to stay in touch with Earth for longer than 20 seconds and in 2003 the Beagle 2’s ‘Planetary Undersurface Tool’ (only a ‘rover’ in the most generous of terms) failed to even make it to the surface. Read the rest of this entry »


Massive Worldwide Response to Inspiration Mars Student Design Contest

[Image: Inspiration Mars]

Image: Inspiration Mars

M Stoltz reports:  The Mars Society’s Inspiration Mars International Student Design Competition has drawn a massive worldwide response. As of the January 31, 2014 deadline, letters of intent to compete have been received from 38 teams representing 56 universities in 15 countries.

Nations represented include the United States, Canada, Russia, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Poland, Mauritius, India, Bangladesh, Japan and Colombia.

A sampling of some of the institutions signed up to participate include: John Hopkins University, St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University, Ohio State University, Warsaw University of Technology, University of Notre Dame, Indira Gandhi National Open University, York University, International Space University, Purdue University, Islamic University of Technology, University of Stuttgart, Keio University, and University of Glasgow. To view a complete list of participating schools, please click here.

The Inspiration Mars International Student Design Competition was officially announced during the 16th Annual International Mars Society Convention held in Boulder, Colorado in August 2013. The contest is open to university engineering student teams from around the world.

Read the rest of this entry »


200,000 Apply For One-Way Trip to Mars


Have you ever wanted to travel to Mars? What if it meant living there for the rest of your life? That’s the opportunity Mars One is offering to volunteers who will help establish human settlement on the Red Planet. The downside is that the technology for a return trip hasn’t been developed yet. That doesn’t seem to be deterring the masses of applicants– Mars One says that more than 200,000 people have applied. In order to narrow down the applicants and help fund the project, the company is considering sponsoring a reality show where viewers will help select the Mars pioneers.

TIME.com