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Applicants wanted for one-way Mars trip

Mars One has announced the imminent availability of placements on its ambitious one-way mission to Mars.
The Dutch organization is looking for volunteers to travel to the Red Planet and to settle there on a permanent basis with no immediate way to get back. Despite this fact, thousands of people have already applied for the voyage. Unlike agencies such as NASA who will only launch a mission if the astronauts have a way to return home afterwards, the privately funded Mars One project openly acknowledges that the technology simply isn’t there to return its astronauts to the Earth. Instead, anyone who goes to Mars would be on their own and would rely on founding a settlement on the planet to survive.
Mars One will be broadcasting many aspects of the project, including the astronaut selection process, via a reality TV format. It is hoped that this will help to fund the mission as well as to encourage private companies to invest. The trip is not without its risks of course – not only will the astronauts be stranded on Mars but they’ll be exposed to cosmic radiation and be subjected to all manner of untested conditions.
Not everyone is convinced that what Mars One is proposing will be possible with current technology. “I have no doubt that we could physically place a human being on Mars,” said Dr Veronica Bray of the University of Arizona. “Whether they’d be able to survive for an extended period of time is much more doubtful.”

Want to go to Mars? Dutch organisation Mars One says it will open applications imminently. It would be a one-way trip, and the company hopes to build a community of settlers on the planet.

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Giant telescope will join the search for alien life

The world’s largest radio telescope is about to start operating after several years of testing.

Giant telescope will join the search for alien life

Known as the Five Hundred Meter Spherical Opening Telescope (FAST), the new observatory, located in southern China, has a diameter of 500 meters and cost $ 180 billion to build.

Its testing and commissioning phase began in 2016 and is now almost complete.

It’s scientific goals include studying pulsars, detecting interstellar molecules, conducting a large-scale neutral hydrogen survey, and finding evidence of extraterrestrial communications.

Given that FAST is already three times more sensitive than the observatory Arecibo in Puerto Rico, it should be very interesting, indeed, to see what, if anything, it can capture.

Zhu Ming, director of the observation and scientific division of FAST’s operations and development center, said:

In the process of observing signals from celestial bodies, we also collect signals that may be emitted by humans or extraterrestrial intelligence.

However, it is a huge amount of work, as most of the signals we see – 99% of them – are various noises. Therefore, we need to take time to identify the signals we want within the noise.

Source: Airspacemag.com

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How much water is there on Mars and is there enough for future colonists?

For many centuries, man dreamed of conquering the Red Planet, and it seems that in the very near future we will finally be able to take our first step in obtaining an interplanetary view. In order to be able to successfully land on Mars, NASA experts plan to first identify the most suitable place for the landing of future colonists. The main criterion in strict selection will be the presence of ice water, without which the existence of a person in the distant cold desert of a reddish hue would become completely impossible. So where should the first people land on the Red Planet and how much water is on Mars?

Mars and its most suitable zone for the construction of the first human colony outside the Earth

Is there a lot of water on Mars?

According to an article published on the portal phys.org, huge reserves of ice water on Mars can be located only at a depth of 2.5 centimeters from the surface. Its presence will be a key factor in choosing a potential landing site, because such important water resources of the planet will be one of the basic necessities for replenishing the colony’s drinking water reserves and making rocket fuel.

In order to find accessible ice water on Mars, NASA uses data from two spacecrafts at once – NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and Mars Odyssey Orbiter. According to the latest data received from the probes, future colonists will not even require the use of excavators and other heavy equipment to extract the vital resource, which can significantly reduce the cost of the course of the future mission.

Map of water ice on Mars

Blue shades show the closest water sources to the surface, red shades show the most distant ones. Black spots are sandy deserts, and the white area can be an ideal candidate for the landing of the first astronauts.

Due to the fact that liquid water cannot exist for a long time in a rarefied Mars atmosphere, almost instantly evaporating into outer space, scientists have yet to develop a technology that can allow water production without loss. The exact location of the ice can be detected using two heat-sensitive instruments – the Martian climate probe MRO and the thermal imaging camera system (THEMIS), designed specifically for Mars Odyssey.

Although there are a large number of places of interest for scientists on Mars, only a few of them are able to provide suitable landing sites for astronauts. So, despite the fact that the middle and southern latitudes of Mars receive more sunlight than its more northern regions, planetologists believe that the most preferred place for landing on Mars will be the Arcadia Planitia region, where water ice reserves are located only 30 centimeters under the surface of the planet.

Researchers believe that at present, the total water resources of the Red Planet are approximately 65 million cubic kilometers, which could well be enough to cover the surface of Mars with a layer of 35 meters thick water. Well, perhaps, future Martian colonists are unlikely to have to worry about the fact that the water on the Red Planet will someday end.

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The Interstellar Research Initiative plans to send people to the exoplanet of Proxima Centauri b

In an attempt to protect humanity from extinction in the event of some kind of global catastrophe of a planetary scale, a group of scientists announced a bold plan for the colonization of a distant exoplanet.

Proxima Centauri b

Scientists from the Initiative for Interstellar Studies said they were considering sending people to a potentially inhabited exoplanet in another stellar system.

The most promising option they consider, Proxima Centauri b, which is 4.24 light years away from Earth, which means the journey will take centuries or even millennia. This suggests that generations will succeed each other during the journey.

Technically, this is possible.

However, the challenges facing the mission are so numerous and complex that it can take decades to prepare.

“From the point of view of physics, there are no fundamental obstacles. There are many nuances, but this is not a violation of the fundamental laws of physics, ”said Andreas Hein, Executive Director of Initiative for Interstellar Studies.

No problem.

The main problem is the lack of experience being far beyond the Earth for such a period of time.

Even a flight to Mars, which will last about 6-8 months, raises a lot of questions.

Proxima Centauri b

There is no reliable protection against merciless radiation yet. Medical problems caused by a prolonged stay in space are still poorly understood. Other than that, there is no guarantee that Proxima Centauri b is indeed liveable.

Can you imagine what a setup would be if people born on a spaceship for one purpose would come to a planet absolutely unsuitable for settlement …

However, the authors of the project do not plan to curtail the program and continue to work actively in this direction.

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