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Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: za feb 16, 2019 9:10 pm
door xplosive
Het is einde verhaal voor Opportunity
13 februari 2019, Tim Kraaijvanger

Het doek valt voor Marsrover Opportunity. Ruim vijftien jaar na de landing trekt NASA de stekker uit de missie.

In juni 2018 stopte de rover met communiceren, nadat een heftige stofstorm de atmosfeer rijkelijk met stof vulde. Hierdoor kon de rover geen energie meer opwekken. Er zat nog wel energie in zijn accu's opgeslagen, maar het bleek niet voldoende te zijn om daar op te teren.

De Amerikaanse ruimtevaartorganisatie heeft meer dan 600 keer geprobeerd om contact te leggen met Opportunity, maar helaas zonder resultaat. Eind januari werd er nog een nieuwe methode geïntroduceerd; de zogeheten 'sweep and beep'-methode. Hierbij wordt er niet alleen geluisterd of Opportunity van zich laat horen, maar worden ook commando's verstuurd die Opportunity aanmoedigen om met een simpel piepje zelf een signaal uit te zenden. Maar ook deze verwoede poging haalde niets uit.

Vandaag zou er nog één laatste poging worden gedaan om de rover aan te roepen. Zoals eigenlijk wel verwacht is ook deze poging op niets uitgelopen.

45 kilometer op Mars
We hoeven echter niet te treuren. Opportunity zou oorspronkelijk slechts negentig Martiaanse dagen operationeel zijn en in die tijd duizend meter afleggen. Wie had voor de tijd kunnen denken dat Opportunity meer dan 45 kilometer op de teller zou zetten? Ook heeft de rover de levensverwachting met een factor zestig opgerekt. Knappe prestatie.

Opportunity's tweelingbroer Spirit is al langer muisstil. In 2009 kwam de Marsrover vast te zitten in het mulle zand nabij het Home Plate plateau. Er werkten nog maar vier van de zes wieltjes, waardoor de reddingsactie mislukte. In maart 2010 stopte de rover met communiceren.

De laatste rustplaats van de rover is Perseverance Valley. Perseverance betekent 'volharding'. "Die naam past natuurlijk perfect bij Opportunity", zegt Michael Watkins, directeur van JPL. "De ontdekkingen en records van deze rover laten zien hoe vindingrijk en toegewijd de mensen waren die Opportunity bouwden en begeleidden."

Mars was ooit vochtig
De belangrijkste conclusie die Opportunity trok, is dat het klimaat op Mars vier miljard jaar geleden langdurig mild en vochtig was. Het suggereert dat de omstandigheden op Mars in die tijd heel gunstig waren voor microbieel leven. Of dat er ook daadwerkelijk is ontstaan, is onduidelijk.

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: wo feb 27, 2019 2:19 am
door xplosive
Astronauts arriving on Mars won’t be able to walk.
VR may save them
By Katia Moskvitch, January 27, 2019

It lasts around 23 minutes and feels "like going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, on fire, then crashing really hard."

That's how retired Nasa astronaut Ron Garan describes the return from space, strapped into the tight confines of a Soyuz capsule plummeting through the atmosphere back to Earth. The touchdown, slowed by a parachute and – at the very end – six small rockets, is called "soft," but in reality it's extremely rough.

We've all seen the scenes once the capsule has landed – astronauts and cosmonauts being carried away from Soyuz and carefully lowered into chairs. This is not a precaution; people returning from space literally cannot walk. The reason, however, is not the rough re-entry, but the fact that while in space, they have kind of lost their legs – albeit temporarily.

Astronauts returning to Earth after a long stint in space are so badly disorientated that they usually can't walk properly for 24 hours or longer. Turns out human brains function differently in space and when an astronaut gets back, it takes his or her brain some time to re-train itself. Now Marissa Rosenberg, a neuroscientist at Nasa, plans to use virtual reality headsets as a tool to short-cut the training.

Rosenberg has seen it with her own eyes – meeting astronauts three times just after their Soyuz capsule had come down with a thud in the desert near Karaganda in Kazakhstan. "They're dizzy and motion sick," she says, after having presented her research at PauseFest conference in Melbourne earlier this month. One disorienting aspect of it is something called the 'otolith tilt translation reinterpretation' – a mouthful, she laughs, so researchers simple call it 'Otter'.

It's a theory that when you go into space, the organs in your inner ear function differently from how they work on Earth. On the ground, the inner ear will normally sense translation – any sort of linear acceleration, so going up and down in a lift, or left and right, or starting a car and stopping the car, as well as tilt. "If you were to tilt your chin down in space, however, the inner ear stops sensing tilt and only senses translation," says Rosenberg. That's where the name comes from – you're reinterpreting that signal, which once meant both translation and tilt. Now, it only means translation.

Researchers say our brain is 'plastic', which means it learns pretty quickly, within a few days – and for some reason, the brain doesn't care why the inner ear no longer senses tilt.

Here's how it works. Imagine the brain as a box with jelly, and hair cells poking up through that gelatinous matrix. On top, there are little calcium stones called the otolith. Say you are holding this tray of jelly in a car and someone slams on the brakes, the jelly and everything on top will bend back a bit. The hair cells are attached to a nerve, and when they bend, they send the signal on the nerve we're bending – you're stopping or accelerating, or you're going up or down.

Now if you tilt your box with jelly down, gravity will pull and flex those hair cells. On Earth, your brain all by itself has no way of telling the difference between tilting and translation from that organ alone, says Rosenberg. "Obviously, with the input from eyesight, our neck muscles and other organs, I can tell if I'm doing this, or if I'm accelerating in a car. The brain figures it out," she explains.

But when you go into space, and you're holding your jelly and a crew member pushes you really fast, you're still going to get that deflection of the otolith above your hair cells because they still have mass and thus inertia. But when you tilt the box – well, your head – down, they're not going to pull on the hair cells because there's no gravity acting on them. That's why the brain senses one and not the other.

For astronauts coming back to Earth, when they look down to grab, say, a coffee cup, they feel like they're zooming towards it, while in real life the distance to the coffee isn't shrinking at all. "That is a huge source of the disorientation," says Rosenberg. The same with turning corners – they suddenly stagger. "We think that's the same thing that when they turn their head this way, they feel like they're moving," she adds.

The brain re-learns pretty quickly – within 24 hours it's recovered by about 70 per cent, while over two weeks it recovers around 98 per cent, says Rosenberg. When you've got "a whole village," as she puts it, to pull you out of Soyuz and take care of you, this is not a particularly big problem. Plus there's the official support: a military helicopter with a medical team on board can spot the capsule from far away, and as soon as it touches down, the helicopter is on the ground – and at the capsule within 45 seconds. "It's incredible – within 15 minutes, they get a giant tent off the plane, inflate it, it has power thanks to a generator, it's really spectacular to see," says Rosenberg.

But what if humans were ever to land on Mars? There won't be anyone to pull them out. It's also an issue in the nearer future, once US astronauts finally start using American crafts to go back to Earth again, especially when it's a capsule like Orion, which is designed to land on water. The crew may need to get out by themselves, especially if there's some emergency on board such as a fire. In their current state, says Rosenberg, they are unlikely to be able to do that.

And that's where virtual reality comes in. For the past few years, Rosenberg has been experimenting with VR headsets, training subjects to be much less disorientated upon their return from space. For this part of the study, she's not yet working with astronauts, but her test subjects have been simulating trips to Mars and back – in effect, simulating otolith translation reinterpretation, or Otter.

First, a test subject is put in a virtual environment that looks like a flat Martian plane, with mountains on the horizon to navigate. To trick the brain, however, their view of "Mars" is overlayed with a checkerboard. This transparent grid is not fixed to the direction where they are looking at; instead when they swivel their head, the checkerboard moves with their vision. "It's an autokinetic illusion that makes you feel like you're in motion when you're not. So when they would turn their head to the left, the checkerboard moving makes you feel like you're linearly moving to the left." In effect, Rosenberg takes a number of problems with VR – dizziness, confusion, disorientation – and uses them to her advantage.

Without training, your body would simply falter and fall over. Over four consecutive days, her test subjects walk about 200 steps for about 20 minutes, with disorientation and without. At the end of this training, they are able to walk without falling over – regardless of whether their vision is being disoriented or not. Three months later, she tested the same people again, and could show that they had retained enough of their training to avoid falling over even when they saw the autokinetic illusion. "That means we can train [astronauts] on Earth, and they'll have the benefits when they come back," she says.

It's not certain yet whether Rosenberg will be able to test her findings on real astronauts, though. At Nasa, researchers routinely put forward rival proposals to solve a problem, and only will get the nod to go ahead. If hers is selected, she hopes to work with the team training astronauts. But can VR really help astronauts, considering that – despite years of hype – VR has been incredibly slow to gain momentum?

"Simulation has been used for decades to successfully train pilots and there is use of virtual reality simulation training in the military," says Erica Southgate, a VR expert at the University of Newcastle in Australia. In education, the most common use of VR is indeed in training scenarios, she adds – helping people acclimatise to conditions before they are actually in them.

But how to use VR or other immersive technologies for higher-order thinking tasks is less well known, says Southgate.

For example, for an original creative task or a situation that requires reasoned evaluation and decision-making in circumstances where there may not be a clear-cut answer. "Right now there is a lot of excitement around immersive VR and education," she says. "What is required are interdisciplinary approaches involving collaborations between psychology, computer science, biomedicine, education and the arts," – for more rigorous research.

Still, users of the online virtual world Second Life have reported improvements in their physical movements in real life after navigating through their virtual settings, says Becky Inkster, a psychiatrist at the University of Cambridge. "There is definitely potential to alter the brain's plasticity and create adaptive responses to its real and virtual environments."

Tuong Nguyen, a Gartner analyst, says that we're still currently in exploration mode with VR – both in terms of what can be done and what the potential outcomes are. For example, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in the US has been using VR for pain mitigation. "I think there's potential use for VR to provide an immersive experience that can give people practice and experience with real life situations, whether it's learning certain tasks, acclimating yourself to unique and demanding situations, or improving on current decision-making abilities," says Nguyen.

But the technology has to evolve first. He says that headsets need to become lighter, smaller and cheaper, and that manufacturers have to solve the problem that for some users they cause dizziness and nausea. Still, VR offers an advantage in high cost, high insurance and high risk-type situations – such as for astronauts. "I think of technology as a marathon, not a sprint. We didn't go from carphones to smartphones. We're on the cusp of something very exciting, but it will take a few years for all the pieces to come together to make that happen."

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: di mar 05, 2019 12:50 am
door xplosive
China plans to send a rover to explore Mars next year
By James Griffiths, CNN, Updated 2330 GMT (0730 HKT) March 3, 2019

China will follow up on its successful mission to the far side of the moon by sending a probe to Mars next year, one of the country's top space scientists said Sunday.

Speaking ahead of the opening of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a major political event in Beijing, Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar exploration program, said the red planet was the natural next step.

"Over the past 60 years, we've made a lot of achievements, but there is still a large distance from the world space powers. We must speed up our pace," he said. "Next year, we will launch a Mars probe, which will orbit around the Mars, land on it and probe it."

China will also send an additional probe to the Moon, which will take samples from the surface and return to Earth. If successful, it will become only the third country to have completed such a task, after the United States and Russia.

Wu's comments came as a Mars simulation base opened in Qinghai's Qaidam Basin, a hyper-arid region in western China that is the highest desert on Earth and long considered one of the best parallels with the Martian surface on our own planet.

According to the state-run Global Times, the new simulation base cost $22.3 million to build and covers an area of 53,330 square meters. It can accommodate 60 people in its capsules and hundreds in tents around the base.

While the red rocky area bears a strikingly similarity to Mars, Jiao Weixin, a space science professor at Peking University, told the paper "it's extremely difficult to simulate Mars due to its special natural features and hostile environment -- low air pressure, strong radiation and frequent sandstorms, as well as vast differences in geography."

China was late to the space race -- it didn't send its first satellite into orbit until 1970, by which time the United States had already landed an astronaut on the moon -- but it has been catching up fast.

Since 2003, China has sent six crews into space and launched two space labs into Earth's orbit. In 2013, it successfully landed a rover -- Yutu 1 -- on the moon, becoming only the third country to do so.

In December last year, it landed another probe and a rover, Yutu 2, on the far side of the moon, the first time this had ever been done.

Progress has been slow going since then: due to the extreme conditions on the far side of the moon, the rover often has to go into hibernation to preserve its capabilities for further exploration, Wu said on Sunday.

"Due to the moon's rotation and revolution, the night on the moon is 14 days long. This reduces the temperature on the moon to minus 190 degrees Celsius, a temperature that all components, parts, and electronic components cannot stand," Wu said. "So we let it sleep for a while, ensuring it can spend the night safely. A few days ago, it woke up automatically ... and started to work. Currently, it is in normal condition."

He said that the probe was currently headed northwest of its original landing site in the Von Karman Crater, adding, "we've gained a lot of data in the past few days, and we are going to reveal the data to the world."

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: wo mar 13, 2019 2:09 am
door Pilgrim
Trump gunt NASA in 2020 21 miljard dollar

Caroline Kraaijvanger, 12 maart 2019

Het geld wordt onder meer ingezet om voorbereidingen te treffen voor bemande maanmissies.

Gisteren maakte president Donald Trump bekend hoeveel geld hij in 2020 vrij wil maken voor NASA: 21 miljard dollar. NASA-baas Jim Bridenstine noemt het “een sterke motie van vertrouwen”.

Maar ook met 21 miljard dollar kun je niet álles doen. En dus zijn er ook in 2020 een paar slachtoffers te betreuren. Zo wordt er als het aan Trump ligt geen geld meer gestoken in de Block 1B-variant van het Space Launch System (waarmee net wat meer lading gelanceerd kan worden, zie afbeelding hieronder). In plaats daarvan moet NASA zich focussen op het afronden van de originele SLS.

Afbeelding: NASA / MSFC.

Ook wil Trump niet langer geld steken in het Office of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Engagement, dat een educatieve functie heeft. Ook ruimtetelescoop WFIRST – die vorig jaar ook al buiten de boot viel in het budgetvoorstel van Trump, maar gered werd door het Congres – hoeft in 2019 niet op geld te rekenen.

De gelukkigen
Maar waar wordt de 21 miljard dan aan opgemaakt? Natuurlijk aan het stokpaardje van Trump: zo snel mogelijk mensen op de maan zetten. In het nieuwe budgetvoorstel wordt er nog steeds vanuit gegaan dat mensen in 2023 in ieder geval in de nabijheid van de maan worden gebracht en uiterlijk in 2028 voet op de maan zetten. Het vereist een verdere ontwikkeling en afronding van het Space Launch System en ruimtevaartuig Orion, maar ook de ontwikkeling van maanlanders en -rovers die het nodige voorbereidende werk en de nodige ondersteuning kunnen bieden aan die eerste maankolonisten. Ook wordt er geld vrijgemaakt voor de afronding van de nieuwe Marsrover (lancering in 2020) en de Europa Clipper (lancering in 2023, bestemming: Jupiters maan Europa). Bovendien wil Trump dat NASA gaat werken aan een Marsmissie waarbij materialen op Mars verzameld en terug naar de aarde worden gebracht. Ook voor de afronding van de James Webb-telescoop wordt geld vrijgemaakt.

Wat verder opvalt, is dat er ook budget is voor het internationale ruimtestation en dat daarbij niet gesproken wordt over een datum waarop het ISS niet langer op financiële steun van de Amerikanen hoeft te rekenen. Vorig jaar was dat nog anders: toen liet Trump in zijn budgetvoorstel weten in 2025 de geldkraan dicht te draaien. Het Congres was echter niet enthousiast over dat idee.

Bridenstine laat in een verklaring weten blij te zijn met het voorstel van Trump – dat nog goedgekeurd moet worden door het Congres. Hij verwacht een heel eind te komen met een dergelijk bedrag. “We zullen in het volgende decennium naar de maan gaan en met innovatieve, nieuwe technologieën en systemen meer locaties dan ooit op de maan verkennen. En wanneer we dit keer naar de maan gaan, zullen we daar ook blijven. We zullen alles wat we op de maan leren, gebruiken om de volgende stap te zetten en astronauten naar Mars te sturen.” Daarnaast is er geld voor andere missies die minstens net zo tot de verbeelding spreken. “We zullen het onbekende verkennen met missies naar Jupiters maan Europa en de lancering van de James Webb-ruimtetelescoop. We zullen blijven werken aan de eerste retourtrip naar de rode planeet met een Mars Sample Return.” Genoeg om naar uit te zien, dus. ... rd-dollar/
Die Trump toch... icon_thumbup.gif

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: vr mar 22, 2019 12:38 am
door xplosive
Simulating Life on Mars in Israel's Desert

Het commentaar onder de video luidt :
Israel has launched a lunar probe, hoping to become the fourth country to have landed on the celestial body. Now, Israel is slowly turning its eyes toward a planet — Mars. With projects in the desert on agricultural sustenance and simulations of life on the Red Planet, colonization there may be sooner than it appears.

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: za mar 23, 2019 11:21 pm
door xplosive

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: wo mar 27, 2019 12:53 am
door Pilgrim
Marsrover Curiosity ontdekt in bodemmonsters belangrijke ingrediënten voor leven

Vivian Lammerse, 26 maart 2019

Mogelijk creëerde de inslag van planetoïden de bouwstenen voor deze belangrijke componenten.

Marsrover Curiosity doorkruist op dit moment de Gale Crater; een locatie op Mars waar oude meren en grondwatersystemen voorkwamen. En hier trof de marsover iets bijzonders aan. Want in bodem- en rotsmonsters ontdekte Curiosity stikstofdioxide (NO2) en nitraten (NO3); vaste vormen van stikstof die essentieel zijn voor het bestaan van leven zoals wij dat kennen.

Om te achterhalen hoe die vaste vormen van stikstof in de krater zijn afgezet, bouwden de onderzoekers de vroege Mars-atmosfeer na. Hiervoor gebruikten ze een combinatie van theoretische modellen en experimentele gegevens. Eén van de vragen die de onderzoekers bezighield was of de inslag van planetoïden op de rode planeet wellicht een steentje heeft bijgedragen. En daarom werden er infrarode laserstralen geproduceerd die hoge energetische schokgolven simuleren die gecreëerd worden door inslaande planetoïden.

Een mengsel van waterstof-, stikstof- en koolstofdioxide-gas stelden in het experiment de atmosfeer van Mars voor. Vervolgens werden er pulsen op de ‘atmosfeer’ losgelaten. De onderzoekers bogen zich over het resulterende brouwsel om te bekijken hoeveel nitraten er gevormd werden. En de resultaten waren op zo’n zachts gezegd verrassend.

“De grootste verrassing was dat de hoeveelheid nitraten toenam wanneer waterstof werd toegevoegd in het experiment,” zegt onderzoeker Rafael Navarro-González. Dit druist in tegen wat de onderzoekers verwacht hadden. Zo leidt waterstof tot zuurstofarme omgevingen, terwijl de vorming van nitraat zuurstof vereist. “De aanwezigheid van waterstof leidde echter tot een snellere afkoeling van het door de schok verhitte gas. Hierbij wordt stikstofoxide – de voorloper van nitraat – op hogere temperaturen gevangen.”
Hoewel het oppervlak van Mars vandaag de dag koud en onherbergzaam is, denken wetenschappers dat een dikkere atmosfeer verrijkt met broeikassen – zoals koolstofdioxide en waterdamp – de planeet in het verleden heeft opgewarmd. Sommige klimaatmodellen tonen aan dat waterstof in de atmosfeer noodzakelijk kan zijn geweest om de temperatuur voldoende te verhogen waardoor er vloeibaar water aan het oppervlak ontstond.
“Het voorkomen van waterstof als broeikasgas in de atmosfeer is best interessant, zowel om de klimaatgeschiedenis van Mars uit te leggen als voor de bewoonbaarheid,” stelt onderzoeker Jennifer Stern. “Een potentieel verband tussen een warmer klimaat met vloeibaar water en een toename van de productie van nitraten die noodzakelijk zijn voor leven, is erg spannend.” En deze twee zaken lijken nu bij elkaar te passen en elkaar te versterken. Hoewel de echte samenstelling van de atmosfeer van de rode planeet nog altijd een mysterie is, kunnen de resultaten uit de studie wellicht wel meer stukjes opleveren die uiteindelijk die ene klimaatpuzzel van Mars zullen oplossen. ... oor-leven/

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: wo mei 22, 2019 10:54 pm
door xplosive
Evolutionary Biologist: Mars Colonists Will Mutate Really Fast

Human life — and genetics — will never be the same for Mars' future inhabitants.
By Natalie Coleman, May 20th 2019

Martian Pioneers
Scientists have set their sights on getting humans to Mars — and maybe even terraforming the Red Planet. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's goal is to send humans to Mars by 2024, and NASA plans to launch astronauts there after the Moon.

But despite the resources being funneled into technology to transport us to the Red Planet, we don't yet understand the evolutionary implications the move will have on the human body. In a new interview with Inverse, evolutionary biologist and Rice University professor Scott Solomon thinks it's worth asking what will happen to Mars colonists in the long term — as mutations start to cascade through the gene pool.

"What's interesting to me as an evolutionary biologist is thinking about, what if we're actually successful?" he asked the site. "I don't think there has been nearly as much discussion about what would become of the people that are living in these colonies generations later."

Genetic Jumble
In January 2018, Solomon gave a TEDx talk in Houston that outlined the evolutionary changes the first Martian settlers will likely experience. After about two generations, he thinks their bones will strengthen, they'll need glasses for nearsightedness, their immune systems will be null, pregnancy and childbirth will be significantly more perilous, and the exposure to radiation—more than 5,000 times the amount we're exposed to on Earth during a normal lifetime, Solomon says—could lead to an influx of cancer.

Most importantly, though? Solomon argues that Martians should stop reproducing with Earth-humans.

"Evolution is faster or slower depending on how much of an advantage there is to having a certain mutation," Solomon says in the video. So, if humans on Mars gain a mutation that raises their survival advantage, that's a good thing — but Solomon says they'll be "passing those genes on at a much higher rate than they otherwise would have."

Pop Cap
Contact with Earthlings could even be deadly for Martians — and vice versa. Mars doesn't have any microorganisms to carry disease, and so if cross contamination between Earth and Mars is controlled, Solomon explains that all infectious disease could be eliminated — meaning there should be no intimate connection between the two groups.

But all mutation isn't bad. Every new baby on Earth is born with 60 new mutations, a number which Solomon says will jump to the thousands on Mars. By mutating, humans on Mars would gain critical, life-saving benefits to cope with the brutal planet: a different skin tone to protect from radiation, less reliance on oxygen to adapt to the thin atmosphere, denser bones to counteract calcium loss during pregnancy.

Solomon even suggests that we could use CRISPR to more purposefully design these helpful mutations.

Maybe it's sadly ironic. If Earth becomes uninhabitable and we look to other planets for a new home, the only way to ensure the long term survival of the human species might be to become a completely different species.

"If we eventually come to inhabit multiple worlds scattered across the gallery, over time, we may see the evolution of a plethora of new human species," Solomon said. "We should recognize that here could be unintended consequences for who our decedents become many generations from now."

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: ma mei 27, 2019 2:25 am
door Pilgrim
NASA Crowns Winner in Mars Habitat Competition

By David Grossman, May 10, 2019


The #1 design is built to keep inhabitants safe from radiation.

What would life on Mars look like? NASA thinks it's getting one step closer to figuring it out. The Agency has awarded a combined $700,000 to the first and second-place teams in its 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge.

Self-described "multi-planetary architectural and technology design agency" AI SpaceFactory, based in New York, took first place with $500,000. A team of professors from Penn State finished in second with $200,000.

AI SpaceFactory beat over 60 other teams in the finale of an ongoing competition that began in 2015. NASA ran the contest in conjunction with Bradley University of Peoria, Illinois, where the final challenges were held.

For the On-Site Habitat Competition, teams had to autonomously print a one-third-scale habitat. This habitat had to be built from recyclables and materials that could be found on deep-space destinations, like the Moon and Mars.

Teams built their habitats in 10-hour increments as a panel of judges watched. Once complete, the structures were tested for material mix, leakage, durability and strength.

AI SpaceFactory’s 3-D printer laying down its first layer in competition. It would lay many, many layers after this, all made from basaltic fibers and a bioplastic derived from plant starch. NASA

MARSHA and Penn State’s entry competing in a compression test that would see each design deal with 50,000 pounds of force. NASA

"The final milestone of this competition is a culmination of extremely hard work by bright, inventive minds who are helping us advance the technologies we need for a sustainable human presence on the Moon, and then on Mars,” says Monsi Roman, program manager for NASA's Centennial Challenges, in a press statement.

“We celebrate their vision, dedication and innovation in developing concepts that will not only further NASA’s deep-space goals, but also provide viable housing solutions right here on Earth."

The winning design, named MARSHA, was built from a biopolymer basalt composite and "marks a radical departure from previous Martian designs typified by low-lying domes or buried structures," according to the winning team. Instead of building MARSHA to fight off gravity and wind, AI SpaceFactory designed it to combat internal atmospheric pressure and structural stresses. For the design firm, that means using a vertical container with a minimal footprint.

"It's light, and it's strong, like an airplane," says Lex Akers, Dean of the Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology at Bradley University, in the press statement. "That's going to be very important for these types of habitats."

Research shows architecture has an impact on human psychology, and any habitat on Mars would likely carry extra emotional significance due to its isolation, at least at first. That gives housing a responsibility to draw out a person's social tendencies.

"MARSHA's functional areas are spread over four levels identified by a unique interior atmosphere that encourages mobility and averts monotony," AI SpaceFactory says. "Via the large skylight above and intermittent windows, the space between the two shells acts as light-well connecting all levels with diffuse natural light. This unique space allows for a stair to arc gently from floor to floor, adding dimension to daily life."

An artist’s rendering of what life might look like inside a MARSHA. AI SpaceFactory

To that end, each MARSHA level has at least one window. Combined, all of the windows equal a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. With a casing that would keep inhabitants safe from radiation, it would also use circadian lighting designed to recreate Earth-style light in an attempt to ease the isolation of the planet.

AI SpaceFactory doesn't plan to limit its MARSHA plan to hypothetical competitions.

"We developed these technologies for Space, but they have the potential to transform the way we build on Earth," says David Malott, CEO and Founder of AI SpaceFactory. "By using natural, biodegradable materials grown from crops, we could eliminate the building industry's massive waste of unrecyclable concrete and restore our planet."

SpaceFactory plans on starting with TERA, an eco-habitat in upstate New York that it will be crowdfunding on Indiegogo. As proof of its dedication to environmental practices, AI SpaceFactory will be making TERA out of recycled MARSHA.

Source: NASA ... UvfAf6PZCk

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: ma mei 27, 2019 7:12 pm
door Ali Yas
The #1 design is built to keep inhabitants safe from radiation.
Dat wordt dan ondergronds bouwen, of een dikke mantel met (bij voorkeur) water maken. Water kun je in principe op Mars winnen, dus dat hoef je dan niet mee te nemen. Hoe dan ook, die coconnetjes hierboven lijken niet speciaal ontworpen voor afscherming van straling. Jammer.

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: wo mei 29, 2019 1:53 am
door xplosive
Bee+ Could Be The Way of the Future
for Pollinating Plants
Grown on the Moon and Mars
lenrosen4 May 28th, 2019

A team of engineers at the University of Southern California (USC) has designed a 95-milligram (0.0033 ounces) flying robot no bigger than a U.S. penny. What's its purpose? It could have many but its most critical use may be as a pollinator of plants we grow away from Earth.

This is not the first attempt to create a robot substitute for bees. In my past research I have come across the RoboBee developed by engineers at Harvard, and about work on pollinating flying robots in Japan.

What has inspired this type of invention? One thing is the threat to honey bees from Colony Collapse Disorder, a problem that has seen bee populations plummet globally. The second is the collapse in insect populations recently revealed in a United Nations' report. And third is the challenge of micro gravity in space and low-gravity environments such as on the Moon and Mars that would impact insect pollinators negatively.

What makes this new artificial flying insect substitute, the Bee+, more like a real insect than any previously designed? The Southern California team built it with four wings, unlike RoboBee which has only two. That extra pair makes Bee+ fly like the insects it was designed to emulate.

At present, there is a limitation to Bee+. It needs an external power source and as a result is tethered, a major limitation. But the USC team is developing actuators with the assistance of a National Science Foundation grant that is focused on achieving maneuverable, autonomous, untethered, insect-scale flight.

The team is working on catalytic artificial muscles to achieve this, using fuel-powered, shape-memory-alloys that generate heat to induce material phase transitions to create powered, stable, aerodynamically controllable flight. Critical to the research is the latter function will be control, the ability to fly where and when it wants and achieve whatever task it is asked to do.

And just what do the inventors of Bee+ have in mind?
  • Primarily to be used to pollinate plants in environments where natural pollinators will not be able to go.
  • To become explorers of off-world environments such as the planets and moons of our Solar System.
  • To exhibit swarm behaviour and apply it to missions here on Earth such as reconnaissance, search and rescue.
Nestor Perez-Arancibia, USC professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, is team leader in the development of Bee+. His current work includes the Bee+ micro flyers project which also requires the development of controlling algorithms for this tiny robot, new microfabrication techniques needed to build Bee+, and soft robotic actuators that eventually will allow Bee+ to fly untethered.

Perez-Arancibia believes the other-world application for the flying robot would be one of the most exciting. He recently told Digital Trends, "I would like to see our robots flying on Mars and Titan." He added further, "I believe that we can create ant-inspired colonies of explorers in which each member has unique capabilities and can perform specialized exploring tasks, [taking] geological samples, [measuring] the gases in atmospheres, et cetera."

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: wo mei 29, 2019 6:02 pm
door Ali Yas
xplosive schreef:
What's its purpose? It could have many but its most critical use may be as a pollinator of plants we grow away from Earth.
Dat is complete onzin. Maar het is wel nuttig voor het bestuiven van planten op Aarde. Er zijn gebieden waar dat nodig is, met name in China.


Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: wo mei 29, 2019 6:33 pm
door Hans v d Mortel sr
Pilgrim schreef:
Marsrover Curiosity doorkruist op dit moment de Gale Crater; een locatie op Mars waar oude meren en grondwatersystemen voorkwamen. En hier trof de marsover iets bijzonders aan. Want in bodem- en rotsmonsters ontdekte Curiosity stikstofdioxide (NO2) en nitraten (NO3); vaste vormen van stikstof die essentieel zijn voor het bestaan van leven zoals wij dat kennen.
Essentieel voor het bestaan van het leven is doodgaan.

Dit kan niet tegengesproken worden. Anders gezegd: een open deur intrappen. Ik ga steeds meer aan zogenaamde wetenschappers twijfelen of zij wel nog wel alles op een rijtje hebben staan. Ik ben niet bang van niet. :cool:

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: vr mei 31, 2019 2:12 am
door Pilgrim
De visie van Chavez over Mars. :smile4:
Chavez says capitalism may have ended life on Mars

Eyanir Chinea - March 22, 2011 / 7:49 PM / 8 years ago

CARACAS (Reuters) - Capitalism may be to blame for the lack of life on the planet Mars, Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday.

“I have always said, heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but maybe capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived and finished off the planet,” Chavez said in speech to mark World Water Day.

Chavez, who also holds capitalism responsible for many of the world’s problems, warned that water supplies on Earth were drying up.

“Careful! Here on planet Earth where hundreds of years ago or less there were great forests, now there are deserts. Where there were rivers, there are deserts,” Chavez said, sipping from a glass of water.

He added that the West’s attacks on Libya were about water and oil reserves.

Earlier this month, the U.S. National Research Council recommended that NASA’s top priority should be a robot to help determine whether Mars ever supported life and offer insight on its geological and climatic history. ... nJTk9yWlTo

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: vr mei 31, 2019 10:01 am
door xplosive
Rosalind Franklin: Mars rover control centre opens
By Jonathan Amos, 30 May 2019

The Italian facility will be where engineers sit and communicate with the robot vehicle via a satellite that is already in orbit around the Red Planet.

Rosalind Franklin is a joint venture between the European and Russian space agencies (Esa and Roscosmos).

Its mission is to drill into Mars to see if life has ever been present.

Esa's director-general, Jan Wörner, said of the new Rover Operations Control Center (ROCC): "This is the crucial place on Earth from where we will listen to the rover's instruments, see what [Rosalind Franklin] sees and send commands to direct the search for evidence of life on and under the surface."

The ROOC is located on the premises of Altec, an engineering and logistics services company set up by the Italian Space Agency and Thales Alenia Space (TAS).

TAS is the industrial prime contractor engaged by Esa to develop the rover and all its systems.

Assembly of the vehicle itself has been subcontracted to another of Europe's major aerospace companies, Airbus.

Final integration of the six-wheeled scientific machine is nearing completion in a cleanroom in Stevenage, UK.

Three rovers are actually being constructed as part of the mission.

The first, called the "Structural Thermal Model" (STM), was used to prove the design.

This STM went through a tough testing regime to check that the robot that does eventually launch to Mars - the "Flight Model" now in Stevenage - will be able to cope with the stresses of working on another planet.

The third model, also not quite finished, is called the "Rover Ground Test Module".

This is essentially the copy of Rosalind Franklin that will be kept on Earth at the ROOC to troubleshoot any problems.

If engineers need to re-write a piece of software to overcome some glitch on the Flight Model, the patch can be trialled first in the Turin Test Module before being sent up to the Red Planet.

Some problems may be more physical in nature, such as an obstacle like a sand trap or large boulder.

Again, the ROOC's engineers will be able to practise avoidance and escape manoeuvres with a dummy rover model in a large sandpit before asking the real robot on Mars to follow the same movements.

Rosalind Franklin is due to launch to the Red Planet in July/August next year and land in March 2021.

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: za jun 08, 2019 1:58 am
door xplosive
NASA’s Mars Helicopter is ready to take to the red skies
By Georgina Torbet — Posted on June 7, 2019 1:56PM PST
NASA’s Mars Helicopter passed its latest barrage of tests and is almost ready for its trip to the Red Planet, traveling alongside the Mars 2020 rover when the mission launches next year.

This will be the first heavier-than-air vehicle ever to be flown on another planet, so there are a lot of engineering factors to consider. Because Mars has such a thin atmosphere, with just 1% the density of Earth’s, it will drastically change the way that a helicopter moves and handles. But, in theory, if the engineers can ensure the helicopter is sufficiently light and the blades spin fast enough, they believe it will be able to fly.

“Nobody’s built a Mars Helicopter before, so we are continuously entering new territory,” MiMi Aung, project manager for the Mars Helicopter at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said in a statement. “Our flight model — the actual vehicle that will travel to Mars — has recently passed several important tests.”

The tests included putting the helicopter in a vacuum chamber at JPL designed to simulate the Martian environment, with temperatures as low as minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-90 degrees Celsius), a very thin atmosphere, and a gravity level 40% that of Earth’s.

The second batch of tests at Lockheed Martin Space in Denver ensured that the helicopter would work with the Mars Helicopter Delivery System which will keep to helicopter held tight to the Mars 2020 rover and deploy it once it reaches the surface.

The aim of the project is to demonstrate the feasibility of the technology rather than to gather scientific data, so the helicopter will not carry any research instruments. But it will be equipped with a high-resolution camera which can take full-color images of the planet as seen from above.

Eventually, scientists want to use helicopters to explore Mars by air, reaching out of the way locations which are hard for rovers to access like caves and deep craters. But first, they need to prove that this first-generation helicopter can fly.

“We expect to complete our final tests and refinements and deliver the helicopter to the High Bay 1 cleanroom for integration with the rover sometime this summer,” Aung said, “but we will never really be done with testing the helicopter until we fly at Mars.”

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: wo jun 19, 2019 8:42 pm
door xplosive
NASA’s Mars 2020 rover
will pave the way for manned missions to Mars
By Georgina Torbet — Posted on June 15, 2019 8:17AM PST

The Martian may have made it look easy(ish), but survival on Mars will be a massive challenge for humanity. Due to its very thin atmosphere, heat moves quickly off the surface of the planet meaning high variations in surface temperature. And that’s not to mention the lack of breathable oxygen or water on the surface, as well as threats like high levels of radiation and severe dust storms.

But NASA is charging ahead with plans to eventually put humans on Mars all the same, and for that, they need to develop a whole spectrum of new technologies.

The plan is for the 2024 mission to the moon to act as a stepping stone for human exploration of Mars. And now NASA has revealed how aspects of the upcoming Mars 2020 mission will shape the technology required for human missions.

The first challenge is the touchdown on the surface, as landing heavier objects like a crewed ship full of supplies is much more difficult than landing a smaller rover. With Mars 2020, NASA is testing the Mars Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) sensors that can sense the temperature inside the craft as it approaches landing, which is important for the design of future heat shields. It will also be testing a new Terrain Relative Navigation guidance system which uses a camera to image the landing zone and compare these images to pre-chosen coordinates. This should help ensure landings are more accurate.

The next issue is the supply of essential oxygen and water. For oxygen, a device called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) has been developed which converts carbon dioxide into oxygen. The Martian atmosphere is mostly made up of carbon dioxide, so if this device can work on a large scale it could be the solution to generating breathable air for human explorers. In terms of water, scientists believe that they may be liquid water on Mars below the surface as well as underground ice deposits. The Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment (RIMFAX) tool could be used to locate this ice which could be used as drinking water.

Finally, there are the issues of spacesuits and shelter. To test potential spacesuit materials, five samples of fabric are being sent along with the rover’s Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals (SHERLOC) instrument. These samples will be tested to see how they stand up to the ultraviolet radiation on the planet. And to gather data on what kind of shelter will be required, the rover will have a suite of sensors called the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) to gather information on weather conditions.

The Mars 2020 mission launches next year, so soon we’ll know a lot more about how humans may be able to survive on the inhospitable red planet.

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: wo jun 19, 2019 10:28 pm
door Pilgrim
Crazy Engineering: Making Oxygen on Mars with MOXIE
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Gepubliceerd op 12 jun. 2019

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: vr jun 21, 2019 3:07 am
door xplosive
Jeff Bezos sneert naar Elon Musk:
om naar Mars te kunnen
moeten we toch echt eerst naar de maan
Isobel Asher Hamilton, June 20, 2019, at 19:54:05

Jeff Bezos zegt dat proberen Mars te bereiken zonder eerst weer naar de maan te gaan "een illusie" is.

Tijdens de JFK Space Summit in Boston op woensdag sprak Bezos over zijn ambities om een kolonie te stichten op de maan met zijn ruimtevaartbedrijf Blue Origin. Bezos maakte eerder al bekend dat zijn bedrijf voor "permanente menselijke aanwezigheid" op de maan wil zorgen.

Volgens Bezos is er voor een permanente maanbasis samenwerking tussen verschillende bedrijven nodig en mogelijk ook tussen meerdere overheden.

"Wat ik echt hoop is dat we weer terug gaan naar de maan en dit keer om er te blijven, want het is de snelste manier om Mars te bereiken. Het is een illusie dat we die stap over kunnen slaan. Het overslaan van stappen is verleidelijk, maar fout want het zal dan uiteindelijk alleen maar langer duren", stelde Bezos.

De CEO van Amazon zei dat het in theorie makkelijker is om bulkmateriaal vanaf de maan naar Mars te vervoeren dan vanaf de Aarde vanwege de veel mindere zwaartekracht.

"Als je veel voorraden, brandstof en bulkmaterialen nodig hebt voor Mars, dan kan je ze beter vanaf de maan vervoeren dan vanaf Aarde. Dat werkt als een gigantische hefboom", stelde hij.

"Naar de maan gaan en ons daar vestigen. En dan daar drijfgas winnen en een brandstofdepot bouwen", zegt Bezos. Hij heeft eerder al eens gezegd dat de maanlander van Blue Origin – Blue Moon – deels kan worden aangedreven door waterstof en zuurstof uit ijs dat in maankraters kan worden gevonden.

Zijn opmerkingen kunnen worden gezien als een aanval op collega techmiljardair en ruimteveroveraar Elon Musk, die met zijn bedrijf SpaceX mensen naar Mars wil brengen en daar uiteindelijk ook een kolonie wil bouwen.

De twee hebben al regelmatig naar elkaar uitgehaald over hun race naar de ruimte. Toen Bezos vorige maand zijn maanlander Blue Moon presenteerde refereerde hij ook aan de Mars-missie van Musk en stelde hij dat de maan een veel realistischer ambitie is. Musk sloeg terug door de maanlander van Bezos te bestempelen als "Blue Balls" en die zo vergeleek met de ballen van een man.

Toch staat de maan nog wel op de radar van SpaceX. In februari verzorgde het bedrijf van Musk de allereerste privémissie naar de maan door er een Israëlische maanlander heen te brengen. De missie mislukte uiteindelijk wel, want de maanlander crashte omdat de belangrijkste motor uitviel.

SpaceX wil in 2023 ook voor het eerst met toeristen om de maan heen vliegen en maakte vorig jaar september de eerste passagier bekend: De Japanse miljardair Yusaku Maezawar. Maar Musk richt zich toch vooral op de rode planeet. SpaceX is al sinds 2014 bezig met het ontwikkelen van Mars-raketten in Zuid-Texas.
Hieronder de explosieve toespraak van Jeff Bezos op de JFK Space Summit:

Blijkbaar is Jeff Bezos geen fan van het aloude Mars Direct plan van Robert Zubrin.

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: wo jun 26, 2019 12:15 am
door xplosive
SpaceX Will Put Internet Connection On Mars
Elon Musk Confirms
By Arthur Villasanta, 06/25/19 AT 6:00 AM

Starlink, the SpaceX megaconstellation of 12,000 small satellites slammed by astronomers, will serve as the backbone for a future "space internet" network linking the Earth to Mars.

CEO Elon Musk said he also plans to deploy a "Martian internet", which will see SpaceX satellites orbiting the Red Planet, for the first human colonists on Mars. Martian colonists will eventually need their own internet because a signal from Earth to Mars will take anywhere from four to 24 minutes to complete depending on Mars' distance from the Earth.

Musk plans to land the first humans on Mars, and establish the first human colony on this distant planet by the decade of the 2030s.

There are obviously no fiber optics or wires or anything on Mars, he said before an audience that attended a symposium in Seattle about the next-generation space internet initiative.

"We could use the Starlink structure and leverage it to put an internet system on Mars," he pointed out. "We are going to need high bandwidth communications between Earth and Mars and the Starlink system will provide this."

Starlink is a megaconstellation that will form the backbone of a new space-based internet communications system. The first 60 satellites of this massive megaconstellation that will eventually consist of nearly 12,000 satellites was orbited on May 23. Commercial operations should begin in 2020.

Astronomers, however, are complaining this early that the first 60 satellites are already degrading their observations of the Universe. They also warn that adding 12,000 more satellites will greatly ruin future observations made from the Earth.

SpaceX's Martian internet will also enable a global Mars GPS system that will assist colonists in exploring the Red Planet. It will also transmit instant weather reports, and help track the deadly and massive dust storms that constantly blanket the planet in lethal dust.

"Mars is actually a comparatively easy place to establish a local internet because you wouldn't have to be living everywhere on Mars," said Musk.

"So you really just need maybe four satellites to have global coverage because of how sparse that civilization will be on Mars.

"You would then need some relay satellites to get (data) back to Earth, particularly when Mars is on the other side of the Sun. You need to sort of bounce it over a relay satellite. You couldn't communicate directly with Mars from Earth."

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: wo jun 26, 2019 1:17 am
door Pilgrim
Michael Shermer with Robert Zubrin — The Case for Space (SCIENCE SALON #72)
Skeptic - Gepubliceerd op 25 jun. 2019

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: di jul 02, 2019 11:44 pm
door xplosive
Mars 2020 Rover Gets a Super Instrument
July 2, 2019

Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have installed the SuperCam Mast Unit onto the Mars 2020 rover. The instrument's camera, laser and spectrometers can identify the chemical and mineral makeup of targets as small as a pencil point from a distance of more than 20 feet (6 meters).

SuperCam is a next-generation version of the ChemCam instrument operating on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. It has been developed jointly in the U.S., France and Spain. Once France delivered the last piece of flight hardware, the instrument was fully integrated on the Mars 2020 rover on June 25, 2019, in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility's High Bay 1 clean room at JPL.

"SuperCam has come a long way from being a bold and ambitious idea to an actual instrument," said Sylvestre Maurice, the SuperCam deputy principal investigator at the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie in Toulouse, France. "While it still has a long way to go — all the way to Mars — this is a great day for not only SuperCam but the amazing consortium that put it together."

Mars 2020 scientists will use SuperCam to examine Martian rocks and soil, seeking organic compounds that could be related to past life on Mars.

"SuperCam's rock-zapping laser allows scientists to analyze the chemical composition of its targets," said Soren Madsen, the payload development manager at JPL. "It lets the Mars 2020 rover conduct its cutting-edge science from a distance."

Also to be installed in the next few weeks is Mars 2020's Sample Caching System, which includes 17 separate motors and will collect samples of Martian rock and soil that will be left on the surface of Mars for return to Earth by a future mission.

Mars 2020 will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in July of 2020. It will land at Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.

NASA will use Mars 2020 and other missions, including to the Moon, to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet. The agency plans to establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 through NASA's Artemis lunar exploration plans.

SuperCam is led by Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where the instrument's Body Unit was developed. That part of the instrument was installed in the body of the rover in May and includes several spectrometers, control electronics and software. The Mast Unit was built with contributions from numerous academic laboratories in France, led by the French space agency Centre National d'Études Spatiales, and includes the high-powered laser, a telescope, a camera, an infrared spectrometer and a microphone. Calibration targets on the rover deck are provided by Spain's University of Valladolid.

JPL is building and will manage operations of the Mars 2020 rover for the NASA Science Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington.

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: zo jul 07, 2019 10:59 pm
door Pilgrim
Starship first flight announced, SpaceX's rocket to 'establish a civilization on Mars'

By Brian McGleenon - PUBLISHED: Jul 7, 2019


SpaceX's Starship, the launch system designed to carry colonists to Mars, will likely have its maiden voyage in 2021, a company executive said.

Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX’s vice president of commercial sales, spoke at the APSAT conference in Jakarta, he said: “We are in discussions with three different customers as we speak right now to be that first mission. Those are all telecom companies.” SpaceX performed a "hop" with a prototype of Starship in April, propelling the vehicle just centimeters off the ground.

Mr Hofeller said future tests will reach higher altitudes.

He said: “We have future hops coming up later this year.

“The goal is to get orbital as quickly as possible, potentially even this year, with the full stack operational by the end of next year and then customers in early 2021.”

The launch system comes in two parts, the Super Heavy booster, which is the lower stage and the upper stage, called Starship.

Together they will be able to transport up to 20 metric tons to geostationary transfer orbit, Mr Hofeller said, or more than 100 metric tons to low Earth orbit.

The ultimate aim for Starship is to carry crew and resources to the moon and Mars.

But, the 2021 launch will be utilised to send satellites into orbit around the Earth and elsewhere.

Mr Hofeller said SpaceX plans to do several test flights before using the next-generation launch system for satellites.

Those test flights, a number he did not quantify, are to demonstrate the launch system for customers and to assuage any concerns by insurers about the reliability of a new vehicle.

SpaceX ultimately intends to supersede its current partly reusable Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launchers with the fully reusable Super Heavy booster and Starship upper stage.

Mr Hofeller said: “Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy are going to be around as long as our customers want them.

"If we make them obsolete by having a better product and a lower price, great.”

Elon Musk aims to create a plan B for life on Earth on the red planet.

In 2017 he said: "I hope people start to think of it as a real goal to which we should aspire, to establish a civilization on Mars.

"This is not just about humanity, it's about all the life that we care about." ... sRNbx5V5p4

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: wo jul 10, 2019 1:55 pm
door Pilgrim
Mars Colonization: SpaceX or China, who's first?

By Soorya Kiran NN - July 9, 2019 13:03 +08

The Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), located on the robotic arm of NASA's InSight lander, took this picture of the Martian surface on Nov. 26, 2018, the same day the spacecraft touched down on the Red Planet. The camera's transparent dust cover is still on in this image, to prevent particulates kicked up during landing from settling on the camera's lens. This image was relayed from InSight to Earth via NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, currently orbiting Mars. NASA/JPL-Caltech

As US private space firm SpaceX chief Elon Musk is eager to colonize Mars first, China has thrown its hat into the ring to be the first, while other players like India and Europe remain spectators to the growing competition.

Ouyang Ziyuan, a scientist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that China will launch a mission to Mars with Martian satellite, Martian lander, as well as Martian rover, said a report in China Daily. He quickly added that the purpose of the mission is to probe whether Mars is suitable for terraforming so humans can inhabit.

US space agency NASA's plan to send humans to Mars met with funding crunch from the Trump Administration but the US private space agency SpaceX has an ambitious plan already taking final shape. Its Vice President Jonathan Hofeller said the Starship, a space vehicle designed to carry humans to Mars, will make its maiden pilot voyage without humans in 2021.

SpaceX has already performed an initial test of Starship prototype though the vehicle propelled just a few centimeters above the ground. "We have future hops coming up later this year. The goal is to get orbital as quickly as possible, potentially even this year, with the full stack operational by the end of next year and then customers in early 2021," said Hofeller, Space News reports.

(Team SEArch /Apis Cor’s 3D modeled design)

Whether Elon Musk or China, the space colonization seeks to fully exploit the planet's resources. Moreover, Mars is preferred to the moon that has no atmosphere or Mercury and Pluto, which have very thin atmosphere.

Mars has an atmosphere composed mainly of carbon dioxide and nitrogen though unfit for human survival, the possibility of transforming the carbon dioxide into oxygen with green plants is on the agenda of future colonisers.

Moreover, Mars has water that may have to be pumped up from the ground. Once water is available, exploration of resources will be easier. Now that Mars has already become the next destination for human space exploration, it remains to be seen whether China's Mars mission or SpaceX's Spaceship take up the conquest on the Red Planet first.

(With inputs from Nirmal Narayanan) ... S2essmPbBc

Re: Kolonisatie van Mars noodzaak!

Geplaatst: za jul 13, 2019 6:26 am
door xplosive
NASA Built Rock Climbing Robots
to Scale Cliffs on Mars and Beyond
By Korey Haynes | July 12, 2019 1:45 pm

NASA has built many adventurous robots that can fly in space, land on alien planets, roll across Martian and lunar terrain, and even fly helicopter-style across far-off worlds. But the next big challenge is climbing and clambering across rough or steep terrain, a common sight whether on rocky Mars or icy Enceladus.

To that end, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California has been developing what they call a Limbed Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot, or LEMUR. With four limbs, 16 fingers, and hundreds of tiny hooks, LEMUR and its descendants can climb steep walls, slippery surfaces, or otherwise uneven ground. Aided by an artificial intelligence system, these robots can maneuver their own way around obstacles to complete science goals like mapping new areas or searching for prized rock and soil samples. LEMUR itself isn’t going to be used for its original purpose, which was to crawl around the International Space Station and effect repairs. But its descendants might yet make their mark beyond Earth.

There Are Many Copies
LEMUR’s basic design is proving versatile. Built for climbing, gripping, and navigating, these same skills can be used in many environments.

One challenging world astronomers want to explore is Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. RoboSimian has the same basic build as LEMUR, but instead of feet that grip, it has flexible wheels made from piano wire. It can walk, crawl, slide, or wiggle across untrustworthy and varying terrain. This is important, because standard rover wheels, while sturdy, have difficulty over ground that is too sharp, too soft, too slick or too steep. To venture into wilder worlds and territory, NASA needs new modes of transportation.

Another LEMUR offshoot built for icy worlds is Ice Worm, which crawls across the ground like an inch worm. It originated as one of LEMUR’s limbs, and shares its AI know-how for avoiding and navigating obstacles without a human driver. It can also climb sheer walls by drilling into their hard sides, one end at a time, and scientists have considered whether such drilling could also be used to collect samples. On Earth, it has so far explored glaciers and ice caves, prepping for its possible future on an icy moon.

Like Ice Worm, the Underwater Gripper is adapted from one of LEMUR’s parts, in this case a hand with 16 fingers. Also like Ice Worm, the Gripper has the ability to hang onto surfaces and drill into them. Drilling can be tricky even on normal surfaces, as the Mars InSight lander has discovered. But underwater or in places with low or no gravity, gripping is essential, or the force of a drill would simply push the robot away from its testbed.

LEMUR’s other descendant might come in handy on Mars or Titan, where flying robots have been approved for either testing or full mission use. While it has no name as yet, JPL is working on a flying robot that could land not just horizontally, but vertically, by gripping walls like a true dragonfly. Using LEMUR’s feet with many hooks would mean it won’t need to scout for flat surfaces before landing, but could do so on a variety of surfaces.

With these and other innovations, there may be no place in the solar system NASA can’t explore.