Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

NASA Discusses Lunar CATALYST Commercial Lunar Lander Initiative

Well now, China has landed a rover on the Moon.
They might find something there that needs transportation back to Earth.
There might be a need to send supplies up to the Moon.
Who wants to kickstart a new business venture?
- LRK -

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Jan. 24, 2014
MEDIA ADVISORY M14-023
NASA Discusses Lunar CATALYST Commercial Lunar Lander Initiative
NASA will host a media teleconference at 12:30 p.m. EST Monday, Jan. 27, to discuss the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar CATALYST) initiative.
Through Lunar CATALYST, announced on Jan. 16, NASA seeks proposals to partner in the development of reliable and cost-effective commercial robotic lunar lander capabilities that will enable the delivery of payloads to the lunar surface. Such capabilities could support commercial activities on the moon while enabling new science and exploration missions of interest to NASA and the larger scientific and academic communities.
Media will have an opportunity to discuss the initiative with NASA officials following an 11 a.m. pre-proposal conference call with the U.S. private sector.
Participants for the media teleconference are:
-- Jason Crusan, director of Advanced Exploration Systems, NASA Headquarters
-- Nantel Suzuki, Robotic Lunar Lander program executive, NASA Headquarters
For dial-in information, media should e-mail their name, affiliation and telephone number to Trent Perrotto attrent.j.perrotto@nasa.gov by noon Monday.
The Advanced Exploration Systems Division in NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate manages Lunar CATALYST. Advanced Exploration Systems pioneers new approaches for rapidly developing prototype systems, demonstrating key capabilities and validating operational concepts for future human missions beyond Earth orbit.
For more information about Lunar CATALYST and the pre-proposal teleconference for the U.S. private sector, visit:
Audio of the media teleconference will be streamed live on NASA's website at:
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Watch what happens next.
- LRK -

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Announcement: 
Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar CATALYST)
Building on the progress of NASA's partnerships with the U.S. commercial space industry to develop new spacecraft and rockets capable of delivering cargo -- and soon, astronauts to low Earth orbit -- the agency recognizes the U.S. industry's interest in reaching and exploring the moon, and is now looking for opportunities to spur commercial cargo transportation capabilities to the surface of the moon.
NASA has released an announcement seeking proposals to partner in the development of commercial robotic lunar lander capabilities. Such capabilities could support commercial activities on the moon while enabling new science and exploration missions of interest to the larger scientific and academic communities.
NASA's new Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar CATALYST) initiative calls for proposals from the U.S. private sector that would lead to one or more no-funds exchanged Space Act Agreements (SAA). The purpose of these SAAs would be to encourage the development of robotic lunar landers that can be integrated with U.S. commercial launch capabilities to deliver small and medium class payloads to the lunar surface.
Key Dates (2014):
Jan. 16: Announcement released
Jan. 27: Pre-proposal teleconference
Feb. 10: Proposed NASA Contributions forms due (4 p.m. EST) by email to: greg.chavers@nasa.gov
Feb. 28: NASA feedback on Proposed Contributions form submissions
March 17: Proposals due (4 p.m. EDT) by email to: hq-lander@mail.nasa.gov
Pre-proposal Teleconference:
NASA will conduct a Pre-proposal teleconference on Jan. 27, 2014 at 11 a.m. EST, and proposers will have an opportunity to ask questions about this announcement.
To call in to the teleconference: 
Toll-Free Number: 888-989-6418
Toll Number: 1-630-395-0035
Passcode: LANDER (Verbal)
To view the presentation slides using WebEx: 
https://nasa.webex.com/
Meeting Number: 993 670 449
Password: lunarC@T2014
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ANNOUNCEMENT
- LRK -

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...
A Right Image Posted: Jan 16, 2014 Center: HQ
Title: LUNAR CARGO TRANSPORTATION AND LANDING BY SOFT TOUCHDOWN {LUNAR CATALYST} - -ANNOUNCEMENT
Solicitation: Lunar-CATALYST-01
Response Due: Mar 17, 2014
Synopsis - Posted on Jan 16, 2014
Lunar CATALYST Announcement - Posted on Jan 16, 2014
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Thanks for looking up with me. 
- LRK -
 
NASA INTERNET ACQUISITION SERVICE
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Caution: Some of the above links point to destinations not owned nor maintained by NASA. Non-NASA destinations will contain domain addresses other than "...nasa.gov". NASA takes no responsibility for these outside sources of information. While they may be of interest to the viewer, NASA does not endorse the information found at those sites.
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China's moon rover faces problem
Saturday, Jan 25, 2014, 16:24 IST | Agency: IANS

China's moon rover, Jade Rabbit, has experienced a mechanical control problem and scientists are organising repairs.
The problem occurred due to "complicated lunar surface environment", the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) said Saturday.
According to SASTIND, the rover faced problems when it entered its second dormancy in the morning when the lunar night fell, Xinhua reported. The lander, another part of the Chang'e-3 probe, also "fell asleep" earlier Friday.
The pair went dormant for two weeks about one month ago, when the first lunar night of the mission occurred. One night on the moon is about 14 days on Earth, during which the temperature falls below minus 180 degree celsius. During the lunar night, there is no sunlight to provide power to Jade Rabbit's solar panel.
After the first dormancy, the lander's moon-based optical telescope carried out observation of the sky, while its extreme ultraviolet camera observed the plasmasphere over the Earth, according to the SASTIND.
An ultra high frequency communication test between the lander and the moon rover was also conducted. The rover obtained data through its radar, panorama camera, a particle X-ray device and infrared imaging equipment, said the SASTIND.
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WHAT THE MIND CAN CONCEIVE, AND BELIEVE, IT WILL ACHIEVE - LRK -

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Friday, January 24, 2014

ESA’s ‘sleeping beauty’ wakes up from deep space hibernation

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ESA’s ‘sleeping beauty’ wakes up from deep space hibernation20 January 2014 It was a fairy-tale ending to a tense chapter in the story of the Rosetta space mission this evening as ESA heard from its distant spacecraft for the first time in 31 months.
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There was a teleconference on what Rosetta will be up to now that it has been awakened from its hibernation. 
The following web site has a lot of information and images about Rosetta.
- LRK -

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Rosetta Media Teleconference
Jan. 24, 2014
NASA is hosting a media teleconference at 9 a.m. PST (12 p.m. EST) Friday, Jan. 24, to discuss the road ahead for the three U.S. science instruments, as well as other NASA support, that are part of the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta mission. Having been reactivated Monday after a record 957 days in hibernation, the spacecraft will be the first to orbit a comet and land a probe on its nucleus. 
The Rosetta mission could help inform NASA's asteroid initiative, which will be the first mission to identify, capture and relocate an asteroid for astronauts to explore.
Audio of the event will be streamed live at: http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio
Participants:
James Green, director of planetary science, NASA Headquarters, Washington
Mark McCaughrean, ESA senior scientific advisor,  Noordwijk, the Netherlands
Matthew Taylor, ESA Rosetta project scientist, Noordwijk
Claudia Alexander, U.S. Rosetta project scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Art Chmielewski, U.S. Rosetta project manager, JPL
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Awakened and now to be checked out.
More will follow as it tags along with the comet if all goes well.
- LRK -

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Jan. 24, 2014
RELEASE 14-033
NASA Instruments on European Comet Spacecraft Begin Activation Countdown

Three NASA science instruments are being prepared for check-out operations aboard the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft, which is set to become the first to orbit a comet and land a probe on its nucleus in November.

Rosetta was reactivated Jan. 20 after a record 957 days in hibernation. U.S. mission managers are scheduled to activate their instruments on the spacecraft in early March and begin science operations with them in August. The instruments are an ultraviolet imaging spectrograph, a microwave thermometer and a plasma analyzer.

"U.S. scientists are delighted  the Rosetta mission gives us a chance to examine a comet in a way we've never seen one before -- in orbit around it and as it kicks up in activity," said Claudia Alexander, Rosetta's U.S. project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. "The NASA suite of instruments will provide puzzle pieces  the Rosetta science team as a whole will put together with the other pieces to paint a portrait of how a comet works and what it's made of."

Rosetta’s objective is to observe the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko up close. By examining the full composition of the comet's nucleus, and the ways in which a comet changes, Rosetta will help scientists learn more about the origin and evolution of our solar system and the role comets may have played in seeding Earth with water, and perhaps even life.
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Thanks for looking up with me. 
- LRK -
 

Mission to Catch a Comet!

Comets have inspired awe and wonder since the dawn of history. Many scientists today believe that comets crashed into Earth in its formative period spewing organic molecules that were crucial to the growth of life. Comets may have formed about the same time as the giant planets of our solar system (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) - about 4.6 billion years ago. Some scientists think that comets and planets were both made from the same clumps of dust and ice that spewed from our Sun’s birth; others think that these roving time capsules are even older than that, and that they may contain grains of interstellar stuff that is even older than our solar system!

Attempting New “Firsts” in Space

Rosetta is a spacecraft on a ten-year mission to catch the comet "67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko" (C-G) and answer some of our questions about comets. Rosetta will be the first spacecraft to soft-land a robot on a comet! Rosetta will also be the first spacecraft to accompany a comet as it enters our inner solar system, observing at close range how the comet changes as the Sun’s heat transforms it into the luminous apparition that has frightened and inspired people for centuries.
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Rosetta is a robotic spacecraft built and launched by the European Space Agency to perform a detailed study of comet67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. It is part of the ESA Horizon 2000 cornerstone missions and is the first mission designed to both orbit and land on a comet.[3]
Rosetta was launched in March 2004 on an Ariane 5 rocket and will reach the comet in August 2014. The spacecraft consists of two main elements: the Rosetta space probe orbiter, which features 12 instruments, and the Philae robotic lander, with an additional nine instruments.[4] The Rosetta mission will orbit 67P for 17 months and is designed to complete the most detailed study of a comet ever attempted. The mission is controlled from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), inDarmstadt, Germany.[5]
The probe is named after the Rosetta Stone, as it is hoped the mission will help form an idea of how the Solar System looked before planets formed. The lander is named after the Nile island Philae where an obelisk was found that helped decipher the Rosetta Stone. The spacecraft has already performed two successful asteroid flyby missions on its way to the comet.[6] In 2007, Rosetta also performed a Mars swingby (flyby), and returned images.[7] The craft completed its fly-by of asteroid 2867 ┼áteins in September 2008 and of 21 Lutetia in July 2010.[8] On 20 January 2014, Rosetta was taken out of a 31-monthhibernation mode and is continuing to its target.[9][10]
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WHAT THE MIND CAN CONCEIVE, AND BELIEVE, IT WILL ACHIEVE - LRK -

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NASA Receives Mars 2020 Rover Instrument Proposals for Evaluation



Planning for NASA's 2020 Mars rover envisions a basic structure that capitalizes on the design and engineering work done for the NASA rover Curiosity, which landed on Mars in 2012, but with new science instruments selected through competition for accomplishing different science objectives. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
› Full image and caption
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January 21, 2014

NASA has received 58 proposals for science and exploration technology instruments to fly aboard the agency's next Mars rover in 2020, twice the usual number submitted for instrument competitions in the recent past, and an indicator of the extraordinary interest in exploration of the Red Planet.

The agency is beginning a thorough review to determine the best combination of science and exploration technology investigations for the mission and anticipates making final selections in the next five months.
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The Mars 2020 mission is designed to accomplish several high-priority planetary science goals and will be an important step toward meeting President Obama's challenge to send humans to Mars in the 2030s. The mission will conduct geological assessments of the rover's landing site, determine the habitability of the environment, search for signs of ancient Martian life, and assess natural resources and hazards for future human explorers.
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Before sending humans to Mars it would be advisable to make sure there isn't already some life form there that we humans might contaminate.
- LRK -

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The Mars 2020 rover mission is a Mars planetary rover mission concept under study by NASA with a possible launch in 2020. It is intended to investigate an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars, investigate its surface geological processes and history, including the assessment of its past habitability and potential for preservation of biosignatures within accessible geological materials.[1][2]
The Mars 2020 rover mission was announced by NASA on 4 December 2012 at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.[3] The rover's design will be derived from the Curiosity rover, and would carry a different scientific payload.[4] Proposals for rover instrumentation are being evaluated.[5]
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Very nice blog I ran across looking for hiding Martians, - LRK -
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More than any other world in the solar system, Mars has captured the imagination of the human race (except maybe for Pluto, but it’s not a planet, right?). Mars has dominated our imaginings of other worlds for more than a century, beginning with H.G. Wells’ masterpiece of invasion, The War of the Worlds.  Since The War of the Worlds was first written, many other tales of adventure, danger and horror have been penned or filmed concerning Mars — Kim Stanley Robinson’s epic Mars Trilogy, the classic 1964 film Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Elton John’s sonorous musings that Mars is no place to raise a family in “Rocketman,” and many many more.
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martian-chronicles


It may yet be true that Mars harbors no indigenous life, but we’ll never know until we ourselves go, and turn over every rock we can find. It will be the work of a lifetime, indeed of uncountable lifetimes if the exploration of the Earth is any kind of indicator.  In the end, there will be Martians, but as Carl Sagan so aptly noted (and Rock Hudson discovered at the end of The Martian Chronicles), the Martians will be us.
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Thanks for looking up with me. 
- LRK -
 
NASA has received a whopping 58 science-instrument proposals for its next Mars rover, which is slated to launch in 2020 to search for signs of past Red Planet life.
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Building on the success of Curiosity's landing, NASA has announced plans for a new robotic science rover set to launch in 2020. This announcement affirms the agency's commitment to a bold exploration program that meets our nation's scientific and human exploration objectives.
The proposed 2020 rover mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. Designed to advance high-priority science goals for Mars exploration, the mission would address key questions about the potential for life on Mars. The mission would also provide opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars.
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WHAT THE MIND CAN CONCEIVE, AND BELIEVE, IT WILL ACHIEVE - LRK -

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Red Mars "mars was empty before we came"

I have been using Kim Stanley Robinson's book "Red Mars" as a source of ideas for thoughts about going to Mars with humans. At the beginning of Part 1, Festival Night, there are two pages, in the 1983 Bantam paper back edition, that provide an introduction to the story that follows. If your Google search works as mine did, you can read them here. - Mars was empty before we came.

Mars has been viewed by humans by just looking up with the naked eye, then with telescopes, and more recently with mechanical explorers, both in its sky and on the ground. Ideas of what was there have changed as our technology has improved.

Our mechanical eyes have not found any Martians, big or small, but the red planet still holds our attention and for some a desire to go there, even if the only life found will be what we put there.  

Since I have been looking at "Red Mars" I should mention that not everyone agrees with all of the praise you might read inside the cover, nor will everyone agree that sending humans to Mars is the right thing to do. Still, reading reviews and comments can give you a flavor for what might be expected should we be able to promote an expedition to Mars with humans and since it comes up, it can't hurt to read some of them.

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Red Mars and Green Mars
Random House LLCMay 27, 2003 - Fiction - 592 pages

In his most ambitious project to date, award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson utilizes years of research and cutting-edge science in the first of three novels that will chronicle the colonization of Mars.
for eons, sandstorms have swept the barren desolate landscape of the red planet. For centuries, Mars has beckoned to mankind to come and conquer its hostile climate. Now, in the year 2026, a group of one hundred colonists is about to fulfill that destiny.
John Boone, Maya Toitavna, Frank Chalmers, and Arkady Bogdanov lead a mission whose ultimate goal is the terraforming of Mars. For some, Mars will become a passion driving them to daring acts of courage and madness; for others it offers and opportunity to strip the planet of its riches. And for the genetic "alchemists, " Mars presents a chance to create a biomedical miracle, a breakthrough that could change all we know about life... and death.
The colonists place giant satellite mirrors in Martian orbit to reflect light to the planets surface. black dust sprinkled on the polar caps will capture warmth and melt the ice. And massive tunnels, kilometers in depth, will be drilled into the Martian mantle to create stupendous vents of hot gases. Against this backdrop of epic upheaval, rivalries, loves, and friendships will form and fall to pieces--for there are those who will fight to the death to prevent Mars from ever being changed.
Brilliantly imagined, breathtaking in scope and ingenuity, "Red Mars" is an epic scientific saga, chronicling the next step in human evolution and creating a world in its entirety. "Red Mars" shows us a future, with both glory and tarnish, that awes with complexity and inspires with vision.
"The best tale of space colonization--a lyrical, beautiful, accurate legend of the future by one of the best writers of our time." -- David Brin
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Great science meets great story telling. - Goodreads 
Pacing was somewhat difficult at times - Goodreads 
 
Great sci-fi if you skim past the weird sex scenes. - Goodreads 
I just was not a fan of the writing style. - Goodreads 
 
An amazing amount of research went into this book. - Goodreads 
Great science, minimal characterizations. - Goodreads

Review: Red Mars (Mars Trilogy #1)

User Review  - Fb - Goodreads
good story, too much detail Read full review

Review: Red Mars (Mars Trilogy #1)

User Review  - Heather kranz - Goodreads
Wow, the long journey is finally over. It took me about seven months to read this book - about the same length of time it would take to travel to Mars! After reading it, I realize that I no longer ... Read full review
All 1003 reviews »

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The subject of manned missions to Mars is not limited to science fiction.
There are a number of challenges and the Wikipedia articles lists some of them.
- LRK -

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manned mission to Mars has been the subject of science fictionengineering, and scientific proposals throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century. The plans comprise proposals not only to land on but in the end for settling on and terraforming Mars, while exploiting its moons Phobos and Deimos.
Preliminary work for missions has been undertaken since the 1950s, with planned missions typically taking place 10 to 30 years in the future. The list of manned Mars mission plans in the 20th century shows the various mission proposals that have been put forth by multiple organizations and space agencies in this field of space exploration.
Challenges
There are several key challenges that a human mission to Mars must overcome:
  1. The cost of sending people to Mars has been the main obstacle of any mission. Estimates of cost have ranged from $6 billion to $500 billion for various crewed programs.[5][6][7]
  2. The health threat from exposure to high-energy cosmic rays and other ionizing radiation.[8][9] On 31 May 2013, NASA scientists reported that a possible manned mission to Mars may involve a great radiation risk based on the amount of energetic particle radiation detected by the RAD on the Mars Science Laboratory while traveling from the Earth to Mars in 2011-2012. The calculated radiation dose was 0.66 sieverts round-trip. The agency's career radiation limit for astronauts is 1 sievert.[2][3][4][10]
  3. The negative effects of a prolonged low-gravity environment on human health, including eyesight loss.[11][12][13]
  4. The psychological effects of isolation from Earth and, by extension, the lack of community due to impossibility of real-time connections with Earth.
  5. The social effects of several humans living under crowded conditions for more than one Earth year, possibly two or three years, on the mission to Mars, and a comparable length of time on the return to Earth.
  6. The inaccessibility of terrestrial medical facilities.
  7. Possible equipment failure of propulsion or life-support systems.
  8. Avoiding forward contamination of potential habitable zones.[14]
  9. Avoiding potential back contamination of Earth with possible Martian microbes.
  10. Some of these issues were estimated statistically in the HUMEX study.[15] Ehlmann and others have reviewed political and economic concerns, as well as technological and biological feasibility aspects.[16] While fuel for roundtrip travel could be a challenge, methane and oxygen can be produced using Martian H2O (preferably as water ice instead of liquid water) and atmospheric CO2 with mature technology.[17]
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I will leave you with this Wikipedia article on previously proposed manned missions.
- LRK -

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This list of manned Mars mission plans in the 20th century is a listing of formal proposals, studies, and plans for a human manned mission to Mars during the 20th century. It is limited to serious studies done with engineering and scientific knowledge about the capabilities of then current technology, typically for high-budget space agencies likeNASA. Mission profiles included manned flybys, manned landers, or other types of Mars system encounter strategies. For later plans see Manned mission to Mars.
Many mission concepts for expeditions to Mars were proposed in the late 1900s. David Portree's history volumeHumans to Mars: Fifty Years of Mission Planning, 1950—2000 discusses many of these.[1] Portee notes, every 26 Earth months a lower energy Earth to Mars transfer opportunity opens,[1] so missions typically coincide with one of these windows. In addition, the lowest available transfer energy varies on a roughly 16 year cycle, with a minimum in the 1969 and 1971 launch windows, rising to a peak in the late 70s, and hitting another low in 1986 and 1988.[1] Also of note, the Mariner 4 Mars flyby in 1965 provided radically more accurate data about the planet; a surfaceatmospheric pressure of about 1% of Earth's and daytime temperatures of -100 degrees Celsius (-148 degrees Fahrenheit) were estimated. No magnetic field[2][3] or Martian radiation belts[4] were detected. The new data meant redesigns for planned Martian landers, and showed life would have a more difficult time surviving there than previously anticipated.[5][6][7][8] Later NASA probes in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s confirmed the findings about Mars environmental conditions.
The first "engineering analysis" of a manned mission to Mars was made by Wernher von Braun in 1948.[9] It was originally published as Das Marsprojekt in West Germany in 1952, and as The Mars Project in English in the United States in 1953. Von Braun's Mars "flotilla" included ten 4,000-ton ships with 70 crewmembers.[10] The expected launch year was 1965.[9]
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Thanks for looking up with me. 
- LRK -
 
It is Mars One's goal to establish a human settlement on Mars. Human settlement of Mars is the next giant leap for humankind. Exploring the solar system as a united humanity will bring us all closer together. Mars is the stepping stone of the human race on its voyage into the universe. Human settlement on Mars will aid our understanding of the origins of the solar system, the origins of life and our place in the universe. As with the Apollo Moon landings, a human mission to Mars will inspire generations to believe that all things are possible, anything can be achieved. - See more at: http://www.mars-one.com/mission#sthash.bNv54wcL.dpuf

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Sustained Budget Key to Manned Mars Missions, Experts Say
By Miriam Kramer, Space.com | Jan. 20, 2014
NEW YORK — Sending humans to Mars by the 2030s is affordable, a group of experts finds, but some key changes are needed if it is going to happen.
A workshop group of more than 60 individuals representing more than 30 government, industry, academic and other organizations has found that a NASA-led manned mission to Mars is feasible if the space agency’s budget is restored to presequestration levels. Putting the first humans on the red planet would also require international cooperation and private industry support.
There is a growing consensus in the space community that a manned mission to Mars should be a priority worth working toward in the coming years, according to Chris Carberry, executive director of Explore Mars Inc., the organization that hosted the workshop with the American Astronautical Society.
“To be able to make it feasible and affordable, you need a sustainable budget,” Carberry said. “You need a budget that is consistent, that you can predict from year to year and that doesn’t get canceled in the next administration.”
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WHAT THE MIND CAN CONCEIVE, AND BELIEVE, IT WILL ACHIEVE - LRK -

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Moon and Mars - Videos

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