Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Space-X To Launch Israeli Satellites

Check out this post in the News vibe: SpaceX, Spacecom to launch new satellites after explosion last year

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Space Review: Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson, and Finding My Virginity

The Space Review: Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson, and Finding My Virginity

The Space Review: Some commentary about the National Space Council’s inaugural meeting (part 1)

The Space Review: Some commentary about the National Space Council’s inaugural meeting (part 1)

The Space Review: From Skylab to Shuttle to the Smithsonian

The Space Review: From Skylab to Shuttle to the Smithsonian

The Space Review: Back to back to the Moon

The Space Review: Back to back to the Moon

The Space Review: Why should we go? Reevaluating the rationales for human spaceflight in the 21st century

The Space Review: Why should we go? Reevaluating the rationales for human spaceflight in the 21st century

Why NASA Needs To Establish Martian Law

Why NASA Needs To Establish Martian Law

Future Mars colonists may want to form their own legal system. What would stop them?

Off to court…
Off to court… 
Six people recently returned from an eight-month long isolation experiment to test human endurance for long-term space missions. Their “journey to Mars” involved being isolated below the summit of the world’s largest active volcano in Hawaii (Mauna Loa), and was designed to better understand the psychological impacts of manned missions.
NASA, which aims to send expeditions to Mars by the 2030s, is hoping that the results could help them pick crew members for a future mission to Mars. And it’s not just NASA that has an eye on Mars. Maverick millionaire Elon Musk and aerospace firm Lockheed Martin have heralded separate missions and stations for the red planet between 2022 and 2028.
Indeed, scientific discovery is making a Martian El Dorado a feasible dream at breathtaking speed. Last month, China claimed to have developed a “physics-defying EmDrive,” which would allow humans to journey to Mars in weeks. With or without this engine, it seems humans are on the inevitable trajectory to colonize Mars.
It is therefore becoming as important to ask what laws will govern humans on Mars as it is to ask whether we could survive on the planet’s surface. Unexpectedly, this may be something that isolation experiments could help with.

Settled law on space stations

Space law has always supported the position that objects and stations placed on celestial bodies are to remain under national ownership, jurisdiction and control. Private companies or other entrepreneurs cannot therefore have legitimacy or mine these bodies for resources unless they exercise lawful control through a sovereign state.
Current rules say the establishment of a space station and the area required for its operation should be notified to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. These would then be under the exclusive jurisdiction of the state where the spacecraft is registered or the state bringing the component parts of the station.
The participants of the HI-SEAS mission
The participants of the HI-SEAS mission (HI-SEAS/NASA)
In many ways, this makes sense – it is difficult to see how a permanent station on Mars may be maintained without some form of tenure of the ground. The same goes for tenure over areas around the station sufficient for its maintenance (such as creating fuel from nearby resources). In fact, the closest practical analogies to a future Mars station in current jurisdictional terms would be the Antarctic stations maintained by Antarctic claimant states.
But there are areas where the law may need to be updated. With increased interest in multiple, permanent space stations on Mars and potentially dozens of objects in its orbit, the possibility of debris that could kill or damage Martian property also increases. What laws should govern this? It is in fact only a matter of time before damage to a space station caused by debris will lead to legal and political conflict?

Property rights and crime

It is also likely there will be questions regarding what states and corporations may be permitted to do on Martian colonies. Space manufacturing of drugs and other materials that may require absolutely sterile atmosphere could be carried out in space stations. Discoveries may under current laws be patented and commercialized. But the main question will be that of legitimacy of mining operations.
Although the use of resources for the conduct of scientific exploration and for the sustenance of a Martian mission is permitted under contemporary space law, creating property rights over space-based resources is not. That means the mining of resources for the purpose of commercial repatriation to Earth is forbidden until appropriate changes are made to space treaties.
However, the likelihood is that the law may end up be ing ignored – as shown by recent attempts to introduce appropriation of natural resources in space by the U.S. and Luxembourg. Both countries have enacted domestic legislation essentially granting a blank cheque to private companies to embark on a winner-takes-all gold rush on celestial bodies.
When it comes to civil and criminal jurisdiction, there are tested examples – such as Intergovernmental Agreements of 1988 and 1999 which regulate the Columbus Space Station Project and the ISS. Partners to these agreements developed a code of conduct for space station crews in free space. The rules specified many things including the power to punish crimes, registration of space objects, safety of nationals and repatriation/scheduled return of offenders to Earth.
Criminal jurisdiction will continue to have to be strict and hierarchical. It is increasingly common that there are astronauts of different nationalities on board a spacecraft or space station, and they are often subordinate to the disciplinary authority of one commander. The commander in all likelihood will have been appointed by the state of registry of the spacecraft or space station. The authority of this person is typically absolute and unquestionable.
In many ways, a space station’s commander inherits powers from older bodies of law such as that of a ship’s captain. The connecting thread in all these traditions is the obvious need to ensure the safety and survival of crew and passengers and eventually “space colonists.” Hopefully, recent isolation experiments could reveal a preference for a more democratic and less hierarchical regime for modern space stations.
American space tourist Dennis Tito (right) with Russian cosmonauts
American space tourist Dennis Tito (right) with Russian cosmonauts (NASA)
This is not least because if collaborating countries all have their own commander, there could be conflict. A good indication would be how Russia and the U.S. dealt with the transportation of Dennis Tito, an American millionaire, into orbit on Space Station Alpha as the first commercial space tourist. To win NASA’s approval, the passenger, who won the privilege to travel there on a Russian rocket, had to promise not to wander through American segments of the station without an escort. He also agreed to pay for anything he broke.
On the flip side, Russian cosmonauts were also curiously banned from using American astronauts’ toilets on the ISS in 2008.
Ultimately, there’s the possibility that colonists won’t be happy being governed by Earth law. What should happen to them – would they be neo-colonialists or simply “alien” in legal terms? Would they or should they form or evolve their own juridical systems while in long-duration flight? Should parliaments on Earth deal with Martian earthlings’ issues on an arm's-length basis? These are all questions that need to be answered.
Luckily, psychological studies like NASA’s will be very useful because the confined and stressful environments “astronauts” face may challenge current legal frameworks. The soup of legal issues that will emerge in future Martian space stations will be a curious thing indeed.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Latest On Space-X Mars Colonization

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Reconstructing Cassini's Plunge into Saturn

Reconstructing Cassini's Plunge into Saturn: Cassini is one of the most ambitious efforts in planetary space exploration. A joint endeavour of NASA, ESA and the Italian space agency, Cassini is a sophisticated spacecraft exploring the Saturnian system since 2004.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tourists In Space

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Mars Once Had A Lake Ten Times The Size Of The Great Lakes


Massive Martian waterbody that dwarfed the Great Lakes once dominated Mars

 Mike Wehner,BGR News 14 hours ago 

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Space Review: Review: Science Advice to NASA

The Space Review: Review: Science Advice to NASA

The Space Review: Estimating the cost of BFR

The Space Review: Estimating the cost of BFR

The Space Review: Sputnik remembered: The first race to space (part 2) (page 1)

The Space Review: Sputnik remembered: The first race to space (part 2) (page 1)

The Space Review: The missions proposed for the New Frontiers program

The Space Review: The missions proposed for the New Frontiers program

The Space Review: Moon, milspace, and beyond

The Space Review: Moon, milspace, and beyond

Iridium-3 Mission

One NASA Study Advocates An All-Female Crew To Mars

This is fascinating. Unbeknownst to most people, in 1958 NASA scientist did a study on who the ideal astronaut would be,They rejected the "male fighter jock." They came to the logical conclusion that women would be the best astronauts. They said this was because women generally have a smaller physical stature than males and could fit in the Mercury capsule better. Women consumed less oxygen and water. Women could bear physical pain better than males (Child birth is an excellent example.), Women could stand extremes of temperature better than males. Women adapted to new circumstances faster than males. 12 high-powered women pilots applied to be astronauts. All 12 were rejected. In the late 1970's I worked north of the Arctic Circle in Prudhoe Bay at the oil and gas production facility of SOHIO. It was well ahead of its time.To make the environment more humane, 60% of the workers were male and 40% female. Sex did happen. I never heard of any unwanted pregnancies or STD's. I never heard of violence erupting over jealousy over sex partners. But let us say that female workers often received very generous gifts from their male colleagues. There is also the book Sex In Space about sexual contacts between astronauts in space. Picking a Mars crew will be a very difficult task. First you have to pick people with a very low risk of serious health problems. Then there is intense psychological screening. Then we have to discuss the concept of sex between crew members. Evan an all-female crew might have sexual contact.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Mars Study Yields Clues to Possible Cradle of Life

Mars Study Yields Clues to Possible Cradle of Life: The discovery of evidence for ancient sea-floor hydrothermal deposits on Mars identifies an area on the planet that may offer clues about the origin of life on Earth.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Examining Mars' Moon Phobos in a Different Light

Examining Mars' Moon Phobos in a Different Light: NASA's longest-lived mission to Mars has gained its first look at the Martian moon Phobos, pursuing a deeper understanding by examining it in infrared wavelengths.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Are Earthworms Tough Enough For Mars?

Are Earthworms Tough Enough for Mars?

One ecologist is trying to find out.

Two species of earthworm, trying their luck on Martian soil simulant.
Two species of earthworm, trying their luck on Martian soil simulant.

IN A RECENT SPEECH IN Adelaide, Australia, the aspiring space maven Elon Musk updated the public on his plans for colonizing Mars. His current vision includes a massive 40-cabin spacecraft, an aspirational launch date of 2024, and technology that can produce fuel from the planet’s thin atmosphere.
As with the heady beginnings of most space travel plans, this is all very glitzy and appealing. If you ask Wieger Wamelink, though, any successful Mars mission will eventually have to leave room in the plans for something a bit more quotidian: a heck of a lot of worms.
Wamelink, a senior ecologist at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands, spends most of his time studying Earthly questions. Much of his work involves what he calls “plant-soil relations,” or figuring out why particular plant species will grow easily in one place, and not at all in another. A few years ago, though, he became interested in a far-flung version of this question: if humans were able to provide them with water, air, and climate control, could some plant species grow on dirt from the moon? What about from Mars?
One of Wamelink's students fills experimental pots with soil simulant.
One of Wamelink’s students fills experimental pots with soil simulant.

At first, Wamelink proposed a theoretical study, based on comparing plant needs with what we know about these extraterrestrial soil types. But then he learned that NASA actually sells simulants of each, based on samples analyzed by probes or, in the case of the Moon, brought back by astronauts. “I thought, why not change the project into something experimental?” Wamelink says. So in 2013, he and his students filled a greenhouse with three sets of pots: some with lunar dirt, some with Martian dirt, and some with dirt from the Rhine river. (Wamelink deliberately chose a coarse, nutrient-poor Earthly soil, he says, to even the playing field a bit.)
They planted 4,200 seeds from various useful plant species, including nitrogen-fixers such as lupin and clover, and four different crops: rye, carrots, tomatoes, and garden cress.
“Our expectations were low,” says Wamelink. But just a few days after planting, sprouts started popping up. In the end, “almost all the seeds germinated,” he says. Although the simulated moon plants withered quickly after sprouting, the others thrived, producing flowers, fruits, and even seeds. “The Mars soil simulant was even better than the Earth control that we used,” he says. “That was maybe the biggest surprise.” (He and his team later published this research in PLOSOne.)
"Moon" tomatoes, grown in lunar soil simulant during the 2016 experiment.
“Moon” tomatoes, grown in lunar soil simulant during the 2016 experiment.

The next year, 2014, Wamelink and his students mixed things up. They grew only crops—ten species, including radishes, chives, and arugula—and they enriched the soils with dead plant parts, to mimic what might happen in a successful space-gardening scenario. They switched the Earth control to potting soil, now that the space soils had proved they could pull their weight. This imrpoved things: On the Mars soil, “all the plants did well except the spinach,” he says. “Even on the moon soil we had tomatoes, though they never made it to red.”
They tested the vegetables for heavy metals—a concern with space dirt, which contains cadmium, copper, and lead—and also came up clear: “the lead content was higher in the tomato we grew on Earth potting soil,” Wamelink says. After the third experiment, which was completed last year and aimed at getting as large a harvest as possible, they served up the fruits of their labor, complete with an interplanetary tomato taste test. (“The Mars soil tomatoes were a bit more sweet,” says Wamelink.)
These results have been promising. But soil alone can only do so much: a sustainable off-earth farming ecosystem also involves fungi, bacteria, and pollinators such as bees and butterflies. (Wamelink is betting on bumblebees: “you can keep them in hibernation,” he says, so they’d easily survive the rocket trip.) Over the past month, he and his team have begun testing the next most important ecosystem member—earthworms—to see if they are able to hack it in relatively harsh exoplanetary dirt.
"Moon," "Mars," and plain old Earth peas.
“Moon,” “Mars,” and plain old Earth peas.

The dangers are many: lunar dirt is very sharp, because the moon lacks weather. “Stones and rocks over there fall apart because of cosmic radiation,” says Wamelink. “But they just fall apart and lie there. They have all kinds of sharp edges… imagine eating glass.” (Martian dirt has the same problem, though to a lesser extent.) The heavy metals, too, pose a threat: at certain concentrations, copper and cadmium are toxic to at least one common worm species.
If the earthworms do prove flexible about their earthiness, though, they’ll be a great help. On this planet, they are incredible gardening accomplices, breaking down organic matter into forms that plants can soak up, and aerating the soil with their burrows so that nutrients and water can reach their roots.
In space, they’ll be even more vital: “Moon soil especially is very compact and dense,” says Wamelink. “Even air has trouble getting in.” He thinks this may be one reason that the lunar soil tends to underperform. By tunneling, worms could provide the necessary egress, solving this problem.
A couple of worm pioneers, photographed just before the experiment began.
A couple of worm pioneers, photographed just before the experiment began. 

The official worm experiment started last week: Wamelink made worm homes out of organic matter, pig slurry, and the various soils, planted some arugula seeds, and dropped in several different types of wrigglers. Now, the waiting and watching begins. (You can follow the experiment’s progress on the group’s Facebook page.) But Wamelink, in his excitement, has given himself a sort of sneak peek: since February, he’s had worms in Martian-style soil living in a small terrarium on his desk.
“They are still alive,” he says. “They really seem to like it. They seem to be very happy.” One small bite for worm, one giant dig for wormkind.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Spirited Debate On The Deep Space Gateway Continues-Mars Society #20

The Debate On The Deep Space Gateway Continues-Mars Society # 20

Dr. Robert Zubrin Discusses The Deep Space Gateway at Mars Society #20

Discussing Europa-20th Annual Mars Society Convention

Dr. Dava Newman Addresses The 20th Mars Society Convention

The Science Fiction Writers Continue Their Talk-Mars Society Convention

The Science Fiction Writers Continue Their Talk-Mars SocietyConvention

20th Mars Society Convention-The Future

Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides Addresses The 20th Annual Mars Society Conven...

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dr. Robert Zubrin Takes Questions From The Audience At The 20th Annual M...

Robert Zubrin Continues His Opening Remarks At The 20th Annual Mars Soci...

Robert Zubrin Continues With His Opening Of The 20th Annual Mars Society...

Robert Zubrin "Kicks Off" The 20th Annual Mars Society Convention

Anousheh Ansari Addresses The Mars Society Convention

The Mars National Anthem Performed By An Opera Singer

Another FMARS160 Team Member Talks About His Adventures North of the Arc...

A Bright Russian Lady Discusses Her Time On Devon Island On FMARS

The FMARS Team Returns From Devon Island

The Deep Space Gateway Debate Continues

Debating The Deep-Space Gateway At The Mars Society Convention

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Space Review: Ghost in the machine

The Space Review: Ghost in the machine

How Vanadium Could Be A Beacon For Martian Life

Friday, September 22, 2017

Deep Space Probes At The Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Mission Control Center At The Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The Vehicle Assembly Room At The Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Sean Penn To Star In New Hulu Mars Series

Risk Takers Are Back in the Space Race—and That's a Good Thing

Risk Takers Are Back in the Space Race—and That's a Good Thing: Exponential technologies are a big reason startups can now contemplate space exploration. This will change how fast we move into space and what we do there.

Mars Society Announces "Red Eagle" International Student Engineering Contest To Design Mars Lander

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Mars Society Announces “Red Eagle” International Student Engineering Contest to Design Mars Lander

The Mars Society is announcing the international student engineering contest to design a lander capable of delivering a ten metric ton payload safely to the surface of Mars. The competition is open to student teams from around the world. Participants are free to choose any technology to accomplish the proposed mission and need to submit design reports of no more than 50 pages by March 31, 2018.

These contest reports will be evaluated by a panel of judges and will serve as the basis for a down-select to ten finalists who will be invited to present their work in person at the next International Mars Society Convention in September 2018. The first place winning team will receive a trophy and a $10,000 cash prize. Second through fifth place winners will receive trophies and prizes of $5,000, 3,000, $2000, and $1,000 respectively. In honor of the first craft used to deliver astronauts to another world, the contest is being named “Red Eagle.”
The key missing capability required to send human expeditions to Mars is the ability to land large payloads on the Red Planet. The largest capacity demonstrated landing system is that used byCuriosity, which delivered 1 ton. That is not enough to support human expeditions, whose minimal requirement is a ten ton landing capacity. NASA has identified this as a key obstacle to human missions to Mars, but has no program to develop any such lander. SpaceX had a program, called Red Dragon, which might have created a comparable capability, but it was cancelled when NASA showed no interest in using such a system to soft land crews returning to Earth from the ISS or other near-term missions.
In the absence of such a capability, NASA has been reduced to proposing irrelevant projects, such as building a space station in lunar orbit (not needed for either lunar or Mars expeditions), or claim that it is working on the technology for large visionary interplanetary spaceships which will someday sail from lunar orbit to Mars orbit and back, accomplishing nothing.

For full details about the Red Eagle student engineering contest, including team rules, guidelines and requirements, please click here.

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