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NASA is just over a year away from the launch of the Mars 2020 rover, and all systems are go for the rover’s flying passenger. After completing its flight test early this year, the Mars Helicopter Scout (MHS) is undergoing final preparation and could join the rover this summer. If it works as planned, the MHS will be the first flying machine on another planet.
While the science goal of the Mars 2020 rover is to look for signs of ancient life — it will be the first spacecraft to collect samples of the Martian surface, caching them in tubes that could be returned to Earth on a future mission — the vehicle also includes technology that paves the way for human exploration of Mars.
The atmosphere on Mars is mostly carbon dioxide and extremely thin (about 100 times less dense than Earth's), with no breathable oxygen. There's no water on the surface to drink, either. The landscape is freezing, with no protection from the Sun's radiation or from passing dust storms. The keys to survival will be technology, research and testing.
SHERLOC is mounted on the end of the rover's seven-foot robotic arm and includes a laser, camera and chemical analyzers, called spectrometers. The sensitive components will be used together to search for substances that have been altered by water and possibly reveal evidence of past microscopic life on Mars.
NASA will be honoring the town of Paradise with their new rover set to make a trip to Mars.
The new Mars 2020 rover will apparently be carrying two tiles to the red planet to commemorate the town nearly wiped out by the Camp Fire.
The robot also now has a suspension system and a set of wheels, both of which were put on Thursday (June 13). The suspension system is permanent, but the wheels will eventually come off; they'll be replaced by the flight models after Mars 2020 makes it to Florida
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has a web camera showing where the technological marvel is being assembled and tested. They call the camera ‘Seeing 2020’ in reference to the launch window, which is scheduled to begin July 17, 2020.
One image studied by the researchers showed a Mars region called Nili Fossae, a fractured-looking area rich in the mineral olivine. They pointed to the presence of the mineral on the surface as a possible sign of ancient volcanic activity as olivine is usually found in the cores of planets.
The study's authors also found serpentine, carbonate and other rock types that could be evidence that liquid water used to flow in the region.
We find that the unit most likely formed as an ash-fall deposit, with a probable origin related to volcanism in the greater Syrtis Major–Isidis Planitia region. This work corroborates hypotheses that some extensive outcrops of ancient bedrock are clastic and that a planet-wide transition from dominantly explosive to effusive volcanism may have occurred in the Hesperian. Our findings also highlight the likely diverse origins of olivine-rich martian rocks and provide key geologic context for the aqueous alteration of the unit and underlying ancient crust.
What is the best way to search for life on Mars? Looking for fossils? Microbes, either past or present? It turns out that the best thing to look for might indeed be microbial, but not in a form most people would expect. The most obvious evidence for ancient Martian life might be … pasta? Fettucine specifically, but not the kind you eat, of course. Rather, scientists suggest looking for a certain type of rock formation that resembles fettuccine. On Earth at least, these sorts of rocks are known to be created only by microbes.
Once InSight was settled on the smooth surface of Elysium Planitia, it took stock of its surroundings and checked out its systems. On December 14th, the 18th Martial day (sol) of the lander’s projected 709 sol mission, it used its Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC) to capture this image of the gnarly Martian surface. Clearly visible are two pits excavated by the landers rockets.
There's a mole stuck in the ground on Mars - not the small, furry animal but a probe on NASA's Mars InSight lander called the mole. It's a probe that was supposed to go 15 feet beneath the Martian surface, but it got stuck after only going one.
They’re not the brightest planets in the sky now, and they’re visible only briefly after sunset. But – around June 17, 18 and 19 – Mercury and Mars will have the closest conjunction of 2 planets for 2019.
Previously, the simulator just had a generic "ridiculously overpowered rover" guiding the player through the planet. Now, Chan has added a recreation of Opportunity. “I added this update because I was saddened to hear about the end of Opportunity’s mission. When NASA announced the end-of-mission for Opportunity this past February, I went back and took at look at our Victoria Crater game level map, and wanted to retrace Opportunity’s steps around the crater," Chan tells Digital Trends.
Although NASA sent the InSight lander to Mars to study Mars' earthquakes and geology, the robot's scientists discovered that one of InSight's instruments picked up audio of wind gusting against the machine's metal exterior, and they released the sounds on Friday. "It's what it's like to be there," Don Banfield, an InSight scientist, said in an interview. Beginning at the 1:10 mark in the video below, you can hear the Martian wind.
The dust will be nearly impossible to keep out of the habitats
Nearly a year in weightlessness
I don't envy the radiation people will endure on the trip or after they arrive either.
Even the track record of safely landing a probe on Mars is so so
I guess if someone has a death wish