Since I was a young child Mars held a special fascination for me. It was so close and yet so faraway. I have never doubted that it once had advanced life and still has remnants of that life now. I am a dedicated member of the Mars Society,Norcal Mars Society National Space Society, Planetary Society, And the SETI Institute. I am a supporter of Explore Mars, Inc. I'm a great admirer of Elon Musk and SpaceX. I have a strong feeling that Space X will send a human to Mars first.
Analysis of imaging from NASA’s space probe shows massive polar cyclones, ammonia storms and electron showers. Angus Bezzina reports.
The massive cyclones and swirling storms of Jupiter’s south polar region.
Eight months after completing its first pass around Jupiter, NASA’s Juno probe is paying dividends in the form of some intriguing insights into the giant marbled planet.
The results obtained from Juno’s maiden orbit of Jupiter challenge previously held assumptions about the planet, including theories about its structure and magnetic field, according to two reports published in Science.
Turbulent clouds of the middle latitudes.
An infrared view of Jupiter derived from Juno data.
The first report, by Scott Bolton and his colleagues from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, examines information Juno gathered from just above Jupiter’s cloud tops.
Key findings include confirmation that immense cyclones, up to 1,400 km in diameter, swirl around Jupiter’s poles. Still images of the previously unseen poles show the cyclones as bright ovals.
Even more dramatically, thermal imaging of the planet shows unexpected structures that Bolton and his colleagues believe are giant weather systems caused by ammonia welling up from the deep atmosphere.
The measurements of Jupiter’s magnetic field they report are particularly surprising, suggesting the gas giant’s magnetic field is substantially stronger than previously estimated, at about 7.766 Gauss – 10 times the strength of Earth’s.
Bright, high icy clouds above deeper swirls.
NASA / SWRI / MSSS / GERALD EICHSTADT / SEAN DORAN
A timelapse of Juno’s view on a close approach past Jupiter.
NASA / SWRI / MSSS / GERALD EICHSTADT / SEAN DORAN
In the second study, a team headed by John Connerney of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre report on the data Juno picked up from Jupiter’s magnetosphere – the region around the planet dominated by its magnetic field.
Connerney and his colleagues have used this information to deduce that Jupiter’s magnetic field was expanding when Juno first entered the planet’s magnetosphere.
This deduction is because Juno only encountered one bow shock – a curved, stationary shockwave around the planet – during entry but ran into several more in its subsequent orbits.
Connerney’s team was also able to examine the electron showers that strike Jupiter’s upper atmosphere, as Juno intercepted the beams of charged particles while above the Jovian poles.
These showers are thought to be the cause of the enormous aurorae that occur above Jupiter; Connerney believes their alien distribution patterns indicate Jupiter’s interaction with its external environment is very different to current conceptual models.
While NASA launched Juno back in 2011, its real work has only just begun. Juno’s highly elliptical orbit enables it to get very close to Jupiter. Scientists hope it will continue to send home valuable data shedding light on the planet and the Solar System for many months to come.
We live in interesting times with regard to human Mars exploration. I can’t remember a period in which the issue of humans-to-Mars has been so front and center, both in terms of significant progress being made with the actual Mars launch infrastructure, engineering and planning, as well as growing public discussion and excitement about the possibility of humans going to the Red Planet. Things are definitely happening, and the Mars Society is pleased to be an active leader in this historic endeavor.
Elon Musk’s vision and leadership have electrified millions of people, not only in the U.S. but around the world, letting our global community see for the first time that humans to Mars is not just a down-the-line dream, but a goal that humanity can reach in the near term.
The development of heavy lift capability to move equipment, supplies and most importantly large-scale infrastructure to the Martian surface is well underway, with a number of major aerospace companies, including SpaceX (Falcon Heavy), Boeing (SLS) and Blue Origin (New Glenn), leading the way.
From news reporting and film production to academic studies and television advertising, the notion of humans-to-Mars is making serious inroads with the world-wide consciousness. The recent blockbuster film, The Martian, had a major impact on people and provided a realistic cinematic vision of how a human mission to the Red Planet could take place. This has now been followed up by National Geographic’s impressive MARS global event series, the second season of which will soon broadcast on television and online in many languages around the world.
As the largest and most influential space advocacy group dedicated to the human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet, the Mars Society intends to take advantage of this flourishing public interest in Mars by expanding its important work, including:
Mars surface simulation research and studies in Utah and Canada, including our ongoing Mars mission simulation at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), expeditions to the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) and the continuing expansion of the MDRS facility.
Further development of our Rover Challenge Series, to multiple contests in many countries involving high school and university students.
The Red Eagle student engineering contest to eliminate a key tall pole for human Mars exploration by designing a lander capable of delivering 10 tons to the Martian surface.
Public outreach and educational programming, including promotion of STEM studies through several new projects.
With the involvement of our growing Mars Society advocacy network, we look forward to working with the new NASA administrator in helping shape the future of the U.S. human space program and encourage a dramatic acceleration of the nation’s drive for Mars.
People are talking about the prospects for a human mission to Mars: not just the usual suspects, but also entrepreneurs and many more who have finally realized that humanity’s future in space, beginning with a permanent human presence on Mars, is now within reach.
This needs to be organized to produce concrete results. That is why it is so important we continue to build on the work of the Mars Society in insisting that the initiation of human exploration of the Red Planet be made a true national goal – not just a dream for the future, but as a grand achievement for our time.
But we cannot do this without your help. Please join us in the fight for America’s goal to send humans to Mars. Support the Mars Society by visiting our web site to make as generous a contribution as you can. I thank you for your continuing support and involvement. Together, we can make it a prosperous new year for Mars!
Explore Mars, Inc. Committed to Human Exploration of Mars by the 2030s
VR/AR Working Group A Success
On December 4-5, 2017, Explore Mars, Inc. hosted the 1st AR/VR and Space Exploration Workshop at the Washington Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by Aerojet Rocketdyne, this workshop brought together professionals representing the fields of space exploration, science, and mission design; virtual and augmented reality; technology; and many other disciplines to discuss the opportunities and challenges for utilizing VR/AR in future missions to Mars and elsewhere in the solar system.
Within the next couple of months, a special white paper will be released that will highlight the results of this workshop as well as provide recommendations on 1) How can AR/VR technologies be utilized most effectively in space exploration, 2) What are natural areas of collaboration between the VR/AR industry and space exploration, 3) What are the major obstacles to effectively utilize VR/AR in space exploration, 4) What can the VR/AR Working Group do to best facilitate these collaborations?
The results of this workshop will also be presented at the 2018 Humans to Mars Summit (H2M.ExploreMars.org), where special programming and demonstrations will be conducted regarding the future of AR, VR, and AI in space exploration.
H2M 2018 Early Registration Open for a Limited TIme Register today & Save over 40% off!
Explore Mars, Inc. is pleased to announce that early registration for the 2018 Humans to Mars Summit (H2M) is now open. H2M will take place from May 8-10, 2018 in Washington, D.C. This event is the world’s largest annual conference that is focused on the goal of landing humans on Mars. For the 2018 conference, we will be introducing some new and exciting programming and we expect approximately 1000 people to attend.
Just a few of the topics to be discussed include:
Latest updates on mission architecture design
Mars science updates and critical robotic precursor missions in the 2020s
Talking to Mars: Deep space communication
The economics of Mars exploration
Living off the land: ISRU and Mars agriculture
ISS and Mars: How can we best utilize ISS?
VR, entertainment, and Mars
At what risk? Risk tolerance and space exploration
Friending Mars: Social media and Mars exploration
International collaboration on Mars
Inspiring the world: Mars and STEM education
Speakers will include high-ranking NASA officials, industry executives, experts from many fields (including science, engineering, and policy), international representatives, and STEM education professionals.
The $195 early registration fee, now open, is nearly a 40% savings off the regular admission fee of $325 and is good through January 31st, 2018. For more information and to save by registering early visit: H2M.ExploreMars.org
Tentative Speakers Include:
Pascale Ehrenfreund (Chair of the DLR Executive Board)
Ian Steff (U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration)
Mars Express captures rare "upside down" image of the Red Planet
The Mars Express orbiter has been circling the Red Planet for close to 14 years now, delivering a steady stream of extraordinary images and valuable scientific data. The latest image from the orbiter, just released by the European Space Agency, was taken on the 19th June, 2017 and shows a rare upside-down, wide-angle view of Mars with its icy northern polar cap at the bottom.
Mars Express was the first major interplanetary mission for the European Space Agency. Alongside the orbiter, it carried a lander called Beagle 2, which sadly didn't successfully reach the surface and was officially declared lost in February 2004. Over a decade later, NASA spotted the Beagle 2 on the surface of Mars, revealing the lander did in fact successfully touch down but had failed to deploy its solar panels.
The orbiter, on the other hand, has been successfully sending back magnificent images of the Red Planet for years now. Although there's really no right way up in space, planets are generally shown with the north pole at the top and south pole at the bottom, but this latest wide-angle scan gives us an unusual "upside-down" perspective, with the equator at the top and the north pole at the bottom.
The image was taken with a high-resolution stereo camera incorporating all nine channels of data (one nadir, four color and four stereo) as the spacecraft flew from north to south on 19 June while calibrating the high-resolution stereo camera.
As well as offering a gorgeous snapshot of Mars' northern polar cap, the image highlights one of the planet's giant volcanos. In the top third of the image we see Alba Mons, the largest volcano on Mars by area with a diameter of 1,000 km (621 mi). Looking above Alba Mons we come across Ascraeus Mons, the second tallest volcano on the planet with a peak covered by clouds 15 km (9.3 mi) high.
Take a look through our gallery for a closer look at the some of the stunning images captured by Mars Express over the past 14 years.