Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/J.D. Gammell
Unlike other rovers, NASA’s DuAxel consists of two-wheeled rovers, each called Axel. How does it work? The rover stops, lowers its chassis and anchors it to the ground before separating into two halves. When the rear half locks firmly in place, the forward half undocks and rolls away on a single axle. A tether connects the two, but unspools as the lead axle approaches the hazard and rappels down the slope, using instruments stowed in its wheel hub to study inaccessible terrain on Mars and beyond. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is planning to launch its first uncrewed mission to Mars in less than four years. Why so long? Well, the opportunity to launch a mission to Mars comes every 26 months, since Earth would be closest to the red planet at that time. Musk believes that human beings need to establish a permanent and self-sustaining presence on Mars to ensure the continuance of consciousness as we know it in case of a catastrophic event that leaves Earth uninhabitable. Read more for a video and additional informaiton.
Photo credit: Steve Lee, Univ. Colorado/Jim Bell, Cornell Univ./Mike Wolff, SSI/NASA
Scientists published new research today in the journal Nature Astronomy that indicates the evidence of a buried reservoir of super-salty water near the south pole Mars, thus vastly improving the likelihood that the planet might harbor microscopic life of its own. This underground “lake” of liquid water pooled beneath frozen layers of sediment near the Martian south pole, similar to the subglacial lakes found beneath the Antarctic and the Greenland ice sheets on Earth. Read more for a video and additional information.
JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) have teamed up to build a “Super Hi-Vision Camera” capable of filming 4K and 8K images in space for JAXA’s Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission. The MMX spacecraft is slated to be launched in 2024, with the aim of discovering the origin of the Martian moons and their evolutionary process of the Martian system. Read more for a video and additional information.
Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA has just rolled out their full-scale engineering version of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rove, complete with functional wheels, cameras, and powerful computers to help it navigate autonomously. It passed its first driving test in a warehouse-like room at JPL on Sept. 1, with engineers expecting to take it out next week into the Mars Yard, which is basically a field of red dirt studded with rocks and other obstacles that simulates the Red Planet’s surface. Read more for a video and additional information.
Photo credit: NASA/MAVEN/Goddard Space Flight Center/CU/LASP
NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) discovered that the planet’s atmosphere pulsed exactly three times per night, and only during the spring and fall. Unexpected waves and spirals over the winter poles was also found in the data, while also confirming that this nightglow was brightest over the winter polar regions. Read more for a video and additional information.
Limited to 200-units worldwide, the NASA x Anicorn Mars Mission watch celebrates the historic launch. Faaturing Miyota 9015 automatic movement with 24 jewels, housed in a 316L stainless steel case, water resistance up to 50 meters and a stainless steel bracelet with butterfly clasp. An alternate fabric strap is also included embroidered with the NASA logo. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
Photo credit: NASA/KSC
NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is set for a 7:50 a.m. EDT launch on Thursday, July 30, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Viewers will be able to tune in at 7 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, and Theta.TV to witness the event. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Photo credit: ESA/GCP/UPV/EHU Bilbao
A bizarre thin elongated cloud has recently appeared over the 12.4-mile high Arsia Mons volcano on Mars. It’s made up of water ice, and while it may look like a smoke plume linked to volcanic activity, its airflow is directly influenced by the volcano’s ‘leeward’ slope, or the non wind-facing side. The cloud can reach up to 1118-miles in length, and was photographed between July 17-19 by the Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC) on Mars Express, which has been studying the Martian surface from orbit for the past 16 years. Read more for another picture and additional information.
Called Cryptococcus neoformans fungi, this type of fungus was found growing inside the buildings of the Chernobyl disaster, and it one day could help protect humans from radiation on Mars as well as space travel. It was discovered in 1991, five years after the disaster, and it survives by feeding on radiation due to its high melanin content, a pigment found in skin which turns it dark. Read more for a video and additional information.