from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Space exploration is gradually becoming cheaper and more reliable. Reusable rockets haven’t proven to be economical yet, but presumably, they will be. Robot missions that roll around on the surface of other worlds have been shown to be very effective, if a bit slow, and bigger and better robots are probably going to be sent to more and more objects in space. However, people are still dreaming of colonizing the moon or Mars — and it looks like there has been some progress to be able to do so.
- SpaceX has always had a goal of reaching Mars, but it’s saying it’ll make an actual attempt in 2018. Its Red Dragon program isn’t going to have a crew (the problem of shielding astronauts from deep space radiation hasn’t been solved yet), but carrying cargo to our neighboring red planet and collecting data on the journey is a reasonable preliminary step for Elon Musk’s vision for colonizing Mars. [url]
- Apparently, two species of fungi originally from Antarctica can survive under Mars-like conditions on the International Space Station for at least 18 months. The fungi Cryomyces antarcticus and Cryomyces minteri are microorganisms that seem to be resistant to extreme UV radiation, cold temperatures and low pressure atmospheric environments — just the kind of life we might be looking for on Mars if it already exists there. [url]
- NASA is reaching out to the public for ideas on building habitat modules for living in deep space. NASA’s Orion spacecraft isn’t likely to reach Mars with a crew in the next decade, but NASA will need all the help it can get to design a manned mission that can survive for months in deep space. [url]
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