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Space edition: Earth without the Moon and the Mars Space Exploration Vehicle


Without the Moon we would have a short day, since the planet would spin faster. A day would be only 6 hours long. Also, without the Moon the tilt of Earth would vary so much that seasons would be wildly inconsistent from year to year. So, the Moon is very important.

Also, in this space edition we ask: how would you walk around on Mars in 30-40 years? Well, using the Space Exploration Vechile:

Read more about the Space Exploration Vehicle from PopSci.

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NASA plans to use inflatable heat shields to deliver bigger payloads to Mars

Bigger is always better. The future astronauts really need a ton of gear if they want to survive on the killer planet Mars. NASA plans to use what it is calling a Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator, or HIAD.

That is basically an inflatable shield which is currently tested in NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center. They will use several rings or toruses filled with some gas and then those toruses will be covered in a heat resistant layer. This way NASA hopes to deliver way more payload than it currently does.

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geek science

Phobos and Deimos, those tiny moons of Mars explained


Phobos and Deimos are the two tiny moons of Mars and, since they are way smaller than our Moon, those satellites don’t even have a spherical form. They have a potato form and are, most likely, asteroid pushed by Jupiter from the asteroid belt into Mars’ orbit.

In any case, we still could use those moons as waiting station before landing on Mars, right?

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geek learn science

SciShow space: secret space plane and Curiosity’s curiosity

X-37b is a space plane that flies since 2012, for 500 days in a row now, at about 175 km altitude. Nobody knows for sure what it does up there as it has no crew inside, but it is believed that it is used as a test bed for future reusable space shuttles. YAY.

On Curiosity news side, it has taken a new sample of dirt from Mars and it is trying, yet again, to see how Martian sand deposits turn into sandstone so that they can better understand how water helped the formation of other rocks. In any case, Curiosity is on its way to Mount Sharp and it has rolled about 4 kilometers since it landed in there.

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geek learn science

Colonizing Mars? Hell, yeah!


Fraser Cain explains why it is hard to get to Mars and colonize it. It does not have oxygen, water or anything that would allow us to live there more than 20 seconds before we die asphyxiated or frozen or burns, depending on where you are located on Mars.

Best is to use pods and protected cities at first and then try to create an environment where plants would be able to live and generate oxygen.

Colonizing Mars is hard because:
– Mars does not have a magnetic field – you are at the mercy of radiation form sun and beyond
– temperatures vary greatly and only on Ecuator you get 20 degrees Celsius
– air pressure is very low
– the air contains mostly carbon dioxide and no trace of Oxygen
– gravity is lower in there
– there is almost no liquid water
– the soil does not have enough nutrients for plants to grow in there

So, until our next trip to Mars, we’ll have to settle for the Moon 😀

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geek learn science

Should we use micro-ogranisms to colonize Mars?

I’d say YES, do this. We do not know the full scale effects and also how these bacteria would mutate, but if we can use micro-organisms that would generate enough oxygen for us to live and would also generate organic materials that would help plants grow, then why not?

Better to have a bacteria planet than a dead planet. As long as we can also get some plants in there and bring oxygen in the air, that should be a good starting step.

In any case, colonization of Mars is hard because:
– Mars does not have a magnetic field – you are at the mercy of radiation form sun and beyond
– temperatures vary greatly and only on Ecuator you get 20 degrees Celsius
– air pressure is very low
– the air contains mostly carbon dioxide and no trace of Oxygen
– gravity is lower in there
– there is almost no liquid water
– the soil does not have enough nutrients for plants to grow in there

So, colonization of Mars is a tricky thing to do and it may take us hundreds of years to perfect it. I’d like to travel back and forth to Mars some day 😀

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Plants on Mars? Yes and no!


Trace Dominques, from DNews, explains why it is hard to have plants on Mars even though the tests we did here, on Earth, were surprisingly good. While there is 2% water int he soil, the conditions are not quite ideal for plants to grow on Mars.

Plants need more than soil and water to grow, they also need nutrients, nitrogen, minerals that you might not find on Mars, some bacterium or other living organisms in the soil to break down matter and aerate it.

You will also discover that the gravity is lower on Mars and that also the temperatures drop drastically overnight. Also the Sun is a lot farther away and the plants might not be able to survive in such conditions.

But, there is a but, you first need to try this on Mars to really know what it will be.

If you build some greenhouses on Mars, maybe you’ll be able to have some nice crops. With a couple of genetically engineered plants you could even have forests in there. It could be pretty incredible to see Mars in about 200 years.

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geek learn science

SciShow about three big discoveries of 2013: Higgs Bosson, water on Mars and Neandertal genome


2013 was a great yer for the guys at SciShow, and for me too. I learned a lot, given the fact that I have another sci&tech blog in Romanian, tehnocultura.ro.

2013 brought us the Higgs Bosson, not such a big surprise after all, and then we found out that there is water on Mars and that it may have been habitable and, lastly, the scientists discovered an 400 000 years old human skeleton. It seems that it was a relative of Neandertal.

More info in the video from above.

What did 2013 brought you?

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The perils of going to Mars


Travelling to Mars? Piece o’cake, unless you really want to dive deeply into the science of space travel. The road to Mars is hellish and without special protection in the 6 or so month of flying to there you can get more than the accepted life time dose of radiation. So… yeah.

With a little work things are not THAT bad. Cosmic radiation could be avoided or protected of with some measures and then the radiation on Mars can be counteracted with special suits.

Because Mars does not have a magnetic field much like our own planet has, the solar radiation is way higher in there. Still keen on going to Mars? You can read details here.

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geek

Tribute to colonization of MARS [Curiosity Rover]

Mars Rover Curiosity from Mutant Jukebox – Music & Sound on Vimeo.

Curiosity Rover landed on Mars this august and will undergo many experiments in the search for any possible sign of life in there. Most probably it will do geological research to see fi there was ever water in those places, or even if there were rivers.

The photos sent over from Mars are incredible and the feat of controlling a semi-autonomous vehicle more than 35 million miles away form Earth is daunting and incredible in the same time. Recently there was a misunderstanding about a “historical discovery” made by Curiosity. No, it was about the fact that the entire mission is a historical leap. Many, including me, would have liked to see life on Mars.

Via [Geeksaresexy].