Tag: Mars

The Aldrin Cycler: A Conveyor Belt To Mars

As we turn our eyes to Mars, one concept is starting to get more attention – the Mars Cycler. A ship that remains in permanent orbit between Mars and Earth, providing a constant exchange between the two planets and using only gravity assists as fuel. And it was devised by the one and only Buzz Aldrin.

How We Could Survive On Mars – Feat. Andy Weir

Andy Weir is the author of The Martian and Artemis, and he has spent a lot of time thinking about traveling to and living on Mars. So after my previous video that discussed the dangers of going to Mars, Andy joins me to discuss the ideas that could make living there possible.

Could You REALLY Survive A Trip To Mars? | Answers With Joe

We’ve been talking about going to Mars since the end of the Apollo program. Now there’s a new wave of interest in traveling to the Red Planet – but the challenges that wait for those who take the trip are bigger than most think – and possibly unsurmountable.

The human body is adapted for living here on Earth and nowhere else in the universe. Just a few of the problems we’ll find going to Mars are:

The effects of weightlessness. Astronauts who have been on long-duration flights to the ISS have experienced vision problems, cardiovascular issues, bone loss, elevated CO2 levels, reduced cognition, and more.

All of these issues will be exacerbated on a Mars trip because the shortest trip to Mars would be far longer than the longest any human has ever been in space (Valeri Polyakov spent 14 months in space in 1995).

Radiation and cosmic rays will be an issue. Almost all of the time we’ve spent in space has been in low Earth orbit (LEO), which is under the Earth’s magnetic shield. The trip to Mars would expose the passengers to all the solar radiation and comic rays that our magnetic shield blocks, and studies have shown that the 24 Apollo astronauts that flew to the Moon showed a 5x greater incidence of cardiovascular disease later in life.

Immune system issues. Studies have shown that astronauts’ immune systems are reduced when weightless and bacteria become stronger at the same time. Outbreaks in the enclosed environment on Mars would be an issue.

The conditions of Mars. Mars only has 1% of the atmosphere of Earth and even that is carbon dioxide, which we can’t breathe. It also makes temperatures vary widely. Plus the soil is filled with perchlorate, which affects our endocrine system and can cause breathing problems.

The Mars 2020 Rover (collab with Fraser Cain)

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The Mars Curiosity Rover is one of the most successful planetary missions of all time. Here’s how NASA plans to follow that up – the Mars 2020 Rover


Science Objective A: Explore once potentially-habitable areas

Science Objective B: Seek bio signatures

Science Objective C: Sample Caching

Science Objective D: Demonstrate in-situ resource utilization.

And here are the instruments that will make that possible. It contains 2 cameras on the probe’s mast, one called Mastcam-Z, which is the main “eye” for the rover.

It can take 360 degree panoramic 3D views with an advanced zoom that can see something the size of a housefly from the distance of a soccer field. And the second camera is called SuperCam.

This can actually do a spectrographic analysis of a rock’s chemical makeup from over 20 feet away by burning a hole in the rock as small as the point of a pencil.

This was developed in conjunction with a team from France. PIXL, or Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry will examine rock and soil samples for signs of ancient microbial life and can take extremely close up images of soil samples down to the size of a grain of salt. MEDA, the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer is a contribution from a team in Spain, it’s a tiny weather lab that measures wind speed, temperature and humidity and also gathers data about dust particles in the Martian atmosphere.

RIMFAX, the Radar Imager for Mars Subsurface Experiment from Norway is basically like a sonogram that see tens of meters below the ground and detect elements down to the centimeter. This will help find underground water and ice on Mars. The aptly named SHERLOC, or Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals is a big sciency way of saying it looks for signs of ancient life with UV light, much like forensic investigators at crime scenes.

Hence, Sherlock. But SHERLOC will carry a couple of interesting things with it, one is a Mars meteorite for calibration purposes.

There’s a handful of meteorites found here on Earth that we know were once a part of Mars that were blasted away in an asteroid impact, then travelled through the solar system and eventually landed on Earth.

SHERLOC is going to carry a piece of one of those meteorites to use to calibrate its laser on the Martian surface, which means this will be the first time a piece of martian rock will be returned to Mars. The other thing is it will be carrying samples of materials that may be used to make Martian spacesuits, to see how well they fare in the Martian environment. And last but definitely not least is MOXIE, the Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment.

This is the module that will be testing in situ resource utilization techniques in the hopes of turning the CO2 in the martian atmosphere into oxygen, just like a tree. The rover will also contain a special microphone, giving us the first sound recordings from the surface of Mars.

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