MOXIE: First step to a factory on Mars

Slowly but surely NASA is moving toward the accumulation of technologies which will allow humans to go to Mars, spend time there in a constructive manner and return to Earth.

The Mars 2020 Rover will test one of those technologies, the use of carbon dioxide on Mars to create oxygen, oxygen for the astronauts to breathe and to create the fuel needed for the crew to launch from the Martian surface for the return flight. Continue reading “MOXIE: First step to a factory on Mars”

Mars 2020 Rover: The search for life on Mars

NASA announced this week that the next Martian rover has passed its final development milestone. The design will be finalized and construction begun with a view to launching the rover in the summer of 2020 and landing on Mars in February 2021.

Continue reading “Mars 2020 Rover: The search for life on Mars”

Journey To Mars: Where astronauts might live when they get there

In March 2016 NASA awarded three prizes for proposals on the use of in situ Martian resources to construct habitats for astronauts.

The focus of the proposal was on using Martin regolith to build the habitat as opposed to earlier proposal which envisioned using regolith to shield a habitat brought from Earth.

This approach would have an extremely significant impact on the journey to Mars.

Quoting NASA:

“ . . . for every kilogram of native materials used, one saves 11 kg of transportation propellant and spacecraft mass required to launch to Low Earth Orbit . . .”

NASA estimates the cost of lifting one kilogram into Low Earth Orbit to be US$110,000. Building habitats on site rather than carrying them there results in cost savings which can be channeled into the science aspects of the mission. Continue reading “Journey To Mars: Where astronauts might live when they get there”