News That Matters

Tag: Mars

Christmas card from Mars: Images of 82km-wide ice-filled crater

Christmas card from Mars: Images of 82km-wide ice-filled crater

Technology
The European Space Agency's (ESA) Mars Express satellite has sent home spectacular Christmas card images from the Red Planet. The Korolev crater is an 82km-wide (50 mile) impact crater near the planet's north pole.It contains an estimated 2,200 cubic kilometres of water ice, frozen up to an estimated 2km (1.2 miles) deep.ESA's Mars Express mission launched back in 2003. It went into orbit around Mars on Christmas Day of that year, making this month the 15-year anniversary of the beginning of its science programme. The beautiful Christmas card image and two others are "an excellent celebration of such a milestone", according to ESA.They were taken by the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) and the view they offer of the Korolev crater is composed of five di...
Sending astronauts to Mars would be stupid, astronaut says

Sending astronauts to Mars would be stupid, astronaut says

Science
One of the first men to orbit the Moon has told BBC Radio 5 Live that it's "stupid" to plan human missions to Mars.Bill Anders, lunar module pilot of Apollo 8, the first human spaceflight to leave Earth's orbit, said sending crews to Mars was "almost ridiculous".Nasa is currently planning new human missions to the Moon.It wants to learn the skills and develop the technology to enable a future human landing on Mars. Anders, 85, said he's a "big supporter" of the "remarkable" unmanned programmes, "mainly because they're much cheaper". But he says the public support simply isn't there to fund vastly more expensive human missions."What's the imperative? What's pushing us to ...
Mars: Pictures reveal 'winter wonderland' on the red planet

Mars: Pictures reveal 'winter wonderland' on the red planet

Science
Earth's North Pole is famous for its snowy climes - and for hosting Santa's workshop, of course.But as these pictures reveal, it's not the only planet with snow scenes this holiday season.This is the Korolev crater, near the north pole of Mars, as captured by the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Mars Express mission. The crater is 82km (50 miles) across, and filled with ice 1.8km thick.It was named after rocket engineer and spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev, the architect of the Soviet Union's space programme. Mr Korolev worked on the first interplanetary missions to the Moon, Mars and Venus, and the Sputnik programme, which launched the world's first artificial satellite. You might also like:The pictures of the crater are composites made up of shots taken ...
InSight lander places seismometer on the surface of Mars

InSight lander places seismometer on the surface of Mars

Science
Dec. 20 (UPI) -- NASA's InSight lander has finally placed one of its instruments on the surface of Mars. The spacecraft laid the first seismometer in history on the Martian soil. Since InSight landed on the Red Planet in late November, the spacecraft has been surveying its surroundings and performing systems checks to ensure everything is in working order. The preparations went smoothly. "InSight's timetable of activities on Mars has gone better than we hoped," Tom Hoffman, mission project manager and scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a news release. "Getting the seismometer safely on the ground is an awesome Christmas present." As InSight has prepared for the deployment of its two main external instruments, one of its internal instruments has been studying the Martia...
What chance has Nasa of finding life on Mars?

What chance has Nasa of finding life on Mars?

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your device It could be easier to detect the signs of ancient life on Mars than it is on Earth, say scientists connected with Nasa's next rover mission.The six-wheeled robot is due to touch down on the Red Planet in 2021 with the specific aim of trying to identify evidence of past biology.It will be searching for clues in rocks that are perhaps 3.9 billion years old.Confirming life on Earth at that age is tough enough, but Mars may have better preservation, say the researchers.It comes down to the dynamic processes on our home world that constantly churn and recycle rocks - processes that can erase life's traces but which shut down on the Red Planet early in its history. "We don't believe, for example, that Mar...