Although it will be years before the first humans set foot on Mars, NASA is giving the public an opportunity to send their names — stenciled on chips — to the Red Planet with NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, which represents the initial leg of humanity’s first round trip to another planet.
“From now until Sept. 30, you can add your name to the list and obtain a souvenir boarding pass to Mars here:”
Early this month, the NASA InSight probe detected seismic events on Mars for the first time. Wired has a feature on how the Mars scientists achieved this staggering feat.
It took NASA’s InSight probe two long months of listening before it detected the first faint rumblings from the red planet. On April 6, the probe’s seismometer registered what was later confirmed as the first ever marsquake detected by human instruments. But measuring the rumblings of a planet that – at its closest – remains almost 34 million miles away, requires an almost unimaginable amount of patience. Twice a day, a team in Switzerland receives seismic data from the InSight probe, where they perform an initial analysis.
NASA confirmed Wednesday that the Mars Rover Opportunity is officially dead. It had been on the Red Planet for a record-breaking 15 years and helped establish the presence of water there. Space.com reflected on the historic craft which, along with its twin, Spirit, launched the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission in summer 2003. Opportunity landed on the planet’s surface in January 2004, a few weeks after Spirit.
Opportunity roamed the Martian surface for nearly a decade and a half, covering more than a marathon’s worth of ground and finding conclusive evidence that the Red Planet hosted large bodies of liquid water in the ancient past. The golf-cart-size rover and its twin, Spirit, also helped bring Mars down to Earth, in the minds of scientists and laypeople alike.
John has had some very interesting and inspiring guests on his Background Mode podcast recently. Here are a few in case you missed them.
Space X CEO Elon Musk has said that there is a 70% chance he will go to Mars and that he might even move there.
Check out Justin, a robot designed by German space agency DLR (via Wired). Justin is pretty special, starting with the fact that he was designed to make housing and other buildings on Mars. He’s powered by AI that allows him to do things he hasn’t been programmed to do, and he has three fingers and a thumb, each with eight joints, allowing him to handle a wide variety of tools. He can clean and maintain machinery, and in a recent test repaired a solar panel in minutes. Justin can also lift 31 pounds with each arm, which will go even further on Mars, which has a lower gravity. Oh, and he can make coffee and tee, thank you. Wired has more, and it’s very interesting.