Sunday, May 31, 2015

Human settlements vs Martian dust storms

*From the MarsOne website
The environment of Mars contains dust that is much finer than that found on Earth. While the exact effects of this fine dust on technical hardware and equipment are not fully known, it is not impossible to engineer equipment to survive it. The NASA rovers Spirit and Opportunity were designed to operate for a minimum of 90 days, but have exceeded their target lifespans substantially. Spirit lasted about 1900 days. Opportunity is still driving around and investigating Mars since January 2004.

It is unknown how the fine Mars dust might affect humans, should they be exposed to it. However, the astronauts will only go outside in their fully-enclosed Mars suits, and inside the habitat, the air will be filtered to remove the dust.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ballooning around on Mars

Balloons provide a unique vantage point for scientific observation. Balloons can fly one hundred times closer to the surface of Mars than orbiters and can travel a thousand times further than rovers in a comparable period, thus providing views of much broader areas of the surface.

Proposed use of balloons on Mars

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Breathing in the air on Mars

The air on Mars would kill a human quickly. The atmosphere is less than 1% of Earth’s, so it would be hard to breath. What you would have available to your lungs would be undesirable to say the least. The air on Mars consists of 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, 1.6% argon, and the remainder is trace amounts of oxygen, water vapor, and other gases.
Mars soil is though to contain oxygen rich particles

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Battling solares flares on Mars

An incredible burst of energy and particles
Work on solar flares could prove important for future missions to Mars that might eventually be part of a plan outlined by President Bush in 2004. On Earth, solar flares have been known to damage or skew results from satellites such as those making up the Global Positioning System (GPS).
"If humans go to Mars and have a similar positioning system there, knowing about ionosphere effects will be important," Withers said.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Choking atmosphere on Mars

Mars has a thin atmosphere — too thin to easily support life as we know it. The extremely thin air on Mars can also become very dusty. Giant dust storms can blanket the entire planet and last for months.

What is Mars' atmosphere made of?

The atmosphere of Mars is about 100 times thinner than Earth's, and it is 95 percent carbon dioxide. Here's a breakdown of its composition:
  • Carbon dioxide: 95.32 percent
  • Nitrogen: 2.7 percent
  • Argon: 1.6 percent
  • Oxygen: 0.13 percent
  • Carbon monoxide: 0.08 percent
  • Also, minor amounts of: water, nitrogen oxide, neon, hydrogen-deuterium-oxygen, krypton and xenon

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Valles Marineris: Quick facts

1. It's the longest system of canyons in the Solar System, at over 4000 km long. If you were to drive a car at 100 km/h (60 miles per hour), it would take you over 40 hours to drive the length of Valles Marineris. It would be like driving from Madrid to Moscow.

This artist's depiction gives you an idea of how big this landmark is