from the urls-we-dig-up dept
The shortest distance between the Earth and Mars varies depending on where the two planets are in their respective orbits. In July 2018, Mars will be a little under 36 million miles away (pretty close to the closest possible distance of 33.9 million miles). However, it’s not quite as simple as shooting a big rocket aimed in the right direction. If astronauts are going to survive the trip (and the return?), no one has the technology to do that yet. Manned space exploration sounds like a noble venture, but funding it seems to be a big problem.
- NASA has a bunch of unsolved problems that it’s asking the public to help solve. There are monetary rewards for solutions that could help establish colonies on Mars. Innocentive is handling the submission process, and some of the challenges have already been awarded. (The challenge for achieving independence from Earth is ending just a couple days after July 4th.) [url]
- How does the US measure up in the modern space race? Perhaps we’re asking the wrong questions, and the space race shouldn’t be about competition as much as global cooperation and collaboration. Over 70 countries have some kind of space program now, but maybe we shouldn’t be trying to elbow our way past fellow humans to claim mining rights in deep space? [url]
- If people really see Mars as a “backup planet” for our existing biosphere, perhaps we ought to make it more comfortable before we go there. Terraforming Mars with genetically engineered microbes might be the way to do it. Or not. Should we really be messing around with planetary-scale biology experiments? [url]
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