Thursday, October 29, 2015

Scary Science Fiction And Mars Movies For Halloween

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Whale Watching On Mars

Friday, October 9, 2015

NASA Assembling Orion Crew Module In Preparation For Exploration Mission 1

NASA Assembling Orion Crew Module in Preparation for Exploration Mission 1

Lockheed Martin engineers at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans perform the first weld on the Orion spacecraft pressure vessel for Exploration Mission-1. (Image Courtesy Radislav Sinyak, AP)
Lockheed Martin engineers at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans perform the first weld on the Orion spacecraft pressure vessel for Exploration Mission-1. (Image Courtesy Radislav Sinyak, AP)
In Greek mythology, Orion was a giant Boeotian hunter in pursuit of the Pleiades who was slain by Artemis and placed in the sky as a constellation. While the origin of the Orion spacecraft might have something to do with mythology, the real work of creating a space-worthy vehicle depends completely on science.
One of the threads running through NASA’s programs, post-Space Shuttle, is to shorten manufacturing schedules and simplify technical requirements in order to reduce costs, improve safety, and increase the frequency of launches.

Preliminary Work on First Test Flight of the SLS

Lockheed Martin engineers at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans recently completed a critical step in the assembly of the primary structure and underlying components of the Orion spacecraft for the third time. Hopefully, the third time is the charm. The process began with fusing the first two of seven large aluminum pieces that are part of the Orion crew module and which pressurize the compartment. According to NASA officials, brand new programs often run into unanticipated hurdles that must be overcome; these hurdles may push back the date of currently scheduled launches.
Orion has many complex parts including heat shields, igniters, thrusters, rockets, data communications modules, undocking components, a human habitat, thermal shields, and much more, all of which must be carefully integrated in order for successful missions to ensue.
The Orion spacecraft will be propelled into space by NASA’s 77-ton (70-metric ton) lift capacity Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. Orion’s upper stage, or the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, will provide propulsion needed to fly beyond the moon before the spacecraft returns to earth.

Certifying the Design & Safety of Orion & SLS

According to NASA’s Bill Hill, “every day, teams around the country are moving at full speed to get ready for Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) when we’ll flight test Orion and SLS together,” for the first time.
NASA has spent close to $5 billion on the Orion program with an eventual price tag of nearly $7 billion. Orion’s first unmanned test flight of SLS/Orion will take place in 2018 while the first human flight is expected in 2023.

Mars Society Loses Long-Time Board Member

Mars Society Loses Long-Time Board Member Declan O’Donnell

The Mars Society is saddened to announce the passing late last week of long-time board member and close friend Declan O’Donnell. An active member of the organization’s board of directors and steering committee, Mr. O’Donnell was a respected trial lawyer in the Denver metropolitan area with a national constituency in the areas of tax and securities litigation.

Mr. O’Donnell maintained a growing practice base in space law, having authored over 50 publications on space law and policy, many with the AIAA, IISL and IAF conventions.

In addition, he served as president of the World Space Bar Association, publisher of the Space Governance Journal and founder and president of the United Societies in Space. His primary goal was to cause a consensus to develop on the legal structure and international character of a space colonization model.

“Declan was my good friend for many years,” said Mars Society president Dr. Robert Zubrin. “He was a true fighter for the future, and a great hu
man being. He will be remembered, and he will be missed.”

special service will be held in Mr. O’Donnell’s memory at Emmaus Anglican Church (995 N. Ridge Road, Castle Rock, CO) on Friday, October 23rd at 2:00 pm.
Declan O'Donnell 1938-2015
The Mars Society
11111 West 8th Avenue, unit A
Lakewood, CO 80215 U.S.A.

Copyright (c) 2015 The Mars Society

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Curiosity Rover Confirms Lakes On Mars

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Las Vegas Bets That Space-X Will Make It To Mars Before NASA

Las Vegas bets that SpaceX will make it to Mars before NASA

SpaceX envisions a Dragon capsule on Mars
NASA may believe that it'll be the first to land humans on Mars, but don't tell that to Las Vegas betting houses. Popular Mechanics has asked Docsports' Raphael Esparza to set odds for the first organization to put people on Mars, and he believes that SpaceX stands a much better chance of reaching the Red Planet (5 to 1) than anyone else, including NASA (80 to 1). To put it bluntly, SpaceX has the money and the motivation that others don't -- NASA would be the favorite, but its budget cuts are holding it back.
With that in mind, you might not want to make a wager just yet. Esparza's odds for latecomers like China and Europe (100 to 1 and 300 to 1) are plausible, but he gives the crew at Mars One better odds than NASA (15 to 1) despite serious concerns about both its safety and plans to fund the trip through a reality TV show. Although there is a case to be made for private explorers getting to Mars ahead of government agencies, we wouldn't rule out countries with the political and scientific incentives to pursue a manned Martian expedition.

Geology Award Going To JPL Scientist Who Picks Mars Landing Sites

JPL scientist Matt Golombek at launch pad for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit.
JPL scientist Matt Golombek at launch pad for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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A prestigious geology award will be presented in early November to a leader in selecting landing sites on Mars: Matt Golombek of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The Geological Society of America has named Golombek to receive the 2015 G.K. Gilbert Award during the society's annual meeting Nov. 1 to 4 in Baltimore.
Golombek is the project scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project, the landing site scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program, and co-chair of NASA's Mars Landing Site Steering Committee. He was project scientist for NASA's Mars Pathfinder Project, which successfully put the first rover on Mars in 1997. He has been a leader in evaluating and selecting sites for every NASA Mars rover mission, for the 2008 Phoenix Mars Lander, and for the upcoming InSight lander and Mars 2020 rover.
The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the solution of fundamental problems of planetary geology. It is named for Grove Karl Gilbert (1843-1918), an influential American geologist who saw the importance of a planetary perspective in solving geologic problems. Gilbert was the only person twice elected president of the Geological Society of America.
"I consider this a recognition for the kind of work JPL does at the intersection of science and engineering," Golombek said. "My work on landing site selection is right at that interface, working with the engineers who design landing systems and the scientists who study the sites."
Golombek is a New Jersey native. He holds an undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, and masters and a doctorate in geology and geophysics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In addition to assessment of landing sites on Mars before and after the landings, he has studied tectonics and erosion rates on Mars as contributors to the surface morphology and geologic evolution.
For the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington, JPL manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project, which operates Opportunity; the Mars Science Laboratory Project, which operates Curiosity; and the InSight and Mars 2020 projects.
For more information about NASA's robotic exploration of Mars, visit:

Media Contact
Guy Webster/ DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-354-6278 / 

Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1726 / 202-358-1077 / 


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