DailyDirt: Going To Mars
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Space travel is inherently risky, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that spacecraft missions to Mars haven’t all been successful. Sending people inside metal cans aimed at Mars isn’t an easy task — especially if those people want to return to Earth alive. But as more and more space programs target Mars as a destination, it looks increasingly likely that humans will make it there someday. Here are just a few milestones on the road to Mars.
- The Inspiration Mars Foundation is planning a roundtrip manned mission to Mars (non-stop, so no landing) that would last about 501 days, launching in 2018. A press conference to announce the details will be held on Feb 27th. [url]
- When the Phobos-Grunt mission failed to reach Mars orbit, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev suggested some severe punishments (but no death penalty!) for whoever was to blame. The mission had planned to return soil samples from Phobos (one of Mars’ moons), but the spacecraft never left Earth orbit due to a computer programming error. [url]
- Valery V. Polyakov spent 438 continuous days in space aboard Mir and returned to Earth in 1995. That is the longest anyone has stayed in space in a single trip (others have been in space for more time, but over multiple trips), and it demonstrates that it’s possible to survive in microgravity for the approximate amount of time it might take to go to Mars. [url]
- Elon Musk has a vision of a public-private joint venture to establish a human colony on Mars. Musk is obviously promoting the SpaceX brand with this kind of public statement, but he also says that a viable Mars mission would need about $36 billion to get off the ground. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post.