Questions tagged [mars]

Questions about the science or exploration of the planet Mars.

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Why are Curiosity's wheels aluminum rather than titanium?

I was just reading this article on how Curiosity's aluminum wheels are getting pretty dinged up. Usually titanium alloy is considered an upgrade from aluminum alloys in most applications, from ...
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Is vibration useful in shaking off Mars dust?

I had just read this article about how they were trying to figure out how to make a vibrating superconductor move in 1 direction, for propulsion, but it didn't sound too promising. So I thought of ...
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What are the resource implications of the prevalence of supervolcanoes on Mars?

According to the article "Supervolcanoes Rocked Early Mars" (Vergano, 2013), there is evidence that supervolcanic activity has occurred on the red planet. Also, it is believed some features ...
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Depressurization of a habitat on Mars

Wikipedia lists the atmospheric pressure of Mars to be about 600 pascals, or just 0.6% of Earth's atmosphere. I'm wondering, can anyone shed any light on what that means, in practical terms? ...
14
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646 views

Are data we get from surface rovers accurate?

NASA have already sent several surface rover vehicles to the surface of planets, mostly to Mars. Just think about Curiosity. Compared to the fact that these rovers are remotely controlled and have ...
7
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804 views

Will Santa Claus deliver presents to Mars in 2025? [closed]

Recently, CNN informed us that Mars One seems to still be on track for landing on Mars in 2025. If this is the case, we may have humans celebrating the first Christmas on Mars of all time. Since this ...
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432 views

Sample return mission to Mars

Are there any plans to launch a sample return mission to Mars? Is such mission possible, and what would be approximate max weight of returned sample? Is it possible to return sample to Earth orbit ...
36
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What would it feel like to be in a Martian dust storm?

In a recent question, 'Could an EVA Suit meant for Mars be used for EVA on another celestial, or vice-versa?', there was some discussion in the comments about the effects of a dust storm on Mars ...
5
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How does Curiosity find its own way to selected destination?

What kind of technique does the Curiosity rover employ to find the safest (probably not the fastest) way to its destination that was given to it by NASA from the Earth?
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What are the black and white circular patterns on the Curiosity rover?

On the Mars Curiosity rover, there are black and white circular patterns or marks spaced around the rover, as seen here marked in lime green:     What are these? If I had to guess, ...
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339 views

What caused Curiosity's electrical trouble?

According to this NASA announcement, there seems to have been some kind of trouble with Curiosity's electrical system: The decision to resume science activities resulted from the success of work to ...
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534 views

What is the projected death-rate displacement for colonists to Mars?

Unlike Earth Mars does not have an atmosphere with oodles of Carbon Dioxide and water-vapour. lacks a planet-wide magnetic field Even alone these two factors make a significant difference to the ...
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660 views

How will the Mars One landing site be chosen?

How is Mars One planning on choosing a landing site? Will they be able to use NASA assets (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, etc) to assist with choosing a site, or will they have to make do with public ...
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What technological barriers, if any, prevent a manned mission to Mars at this time?

Is the technology currently in place to launch a manned mission to Mars (and is it thus just a resource constraint that's preventing such a mission from occurring), or are there still other ...
9
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331 views

Any explanation for morphology of within crater formations on the northern Nili Patera caldera of the Syrtis Major volcanic plain of Mars?

The Nili Patera region has enjoyed fairly good media exposure recently, ever since high detail HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) photographs hit the Internet, showing fabulous sand ...
6
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279 views

Was the ISRO Mars mission really scaled down?

This news-report writes to say India’s bid to explore Mars will be a scaled down affair with the space agency flying experimental payload of less than 15 kg as against 25kg planned originally Was ...
7
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715 views

Curiosity: Rockets kick up more dust than a sandstorm?

I was reading the NASA page about Curiosity's crazy landing scheme, and I ran across this sentence: With a payload this size, the rockets could kick up enough dust to compromise the rover and its ...
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640 views

Is hydroponics the only viable solution to plant growth on Mars?

The problem with Mars is that it's surface is not very rich in minerals important to plants. There is also a significant lack of water on Mars. Does this mean that the only viable solution to plant ...
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318 views

Could Curiosity be used as a transportation device by future Mars explorers?

NASA's Curiosity rover is a 'car-sized, six-wheeled robot' on the surface of Mars. The phrase car-sized caught my eye - car... Hmm... Could future Mars explorers potentially find the rover and use it ...
14
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328 views

The heaviest martian spacecraft

What was the heaviest artificial object to reach orbit of Mars? Delivering the heaviest object of all times should have been quite an achievement in itself. So I'd like to understand the details of ...
10
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172 views

Features on border of a crater & ravine on Mars

This image of the Sirenum Fossae Trough - MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-248 of Mars shows spots on the northern lip of the crater that draw my attention. See the Mars Global Surveyor - Mars Orbiter Camera ...
9
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689 views

What factors are considered when choosing a Mars lander landing site?

NASA seems to have a mission planned to send a 2016 lander to Mars, and they say that they are in the process of choosing landing targets. What factors are considered when selecting these sites?
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320 views

How seriously did astronomers take the idea of a hollow Phobos?

Phobos, the larger moon of Mars, was once theorized to be hollow by Iosif Shklovsky. Plenty of publications reference the idea (such as this snippet from Popular Science), but did anyone take it ...
8
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264 views

When could MAVEN launch to get to Mars, if it misses its launch date?

What kind of transfer orbit will MAVEN follow? If it is a Hohmann Transfer Orbit which will be effective only when the launch point and destination of spacecraft are in straight line. Earth is its ...
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What's the coin on the Curiosity rover?

The image above was taken from the Curiosity rover (I hope). There appears to be a coin in the image. Is that really a coin or some kind of button? Is it really present on the rover? If it is ...
7
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242 views

Could a magnetorquer be used in orbit around Mars?

One way to align a spacecraft into a certain manner while in orbit around a body is the use a Magnetorquer. Does Mars have enough of a magnetic field to allow such a device to operate?
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358 views

What caused Cydonia mesas, such as “The Face on Mars”, to be created?

The Cydonia region of Mars is littered with mesas, which are an unusual geographic feature on Mars. A sample of a few of these, including the commonly known as "The Face on Mars", is shown below. How ...
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591 views

How many square kilometres of Mars is exactly mapped?

I've heard somewhere that we have better maps of the surface of Mars than the deepest areas of the sea. But how accurate are the maps really? Also, how much we have mapped about the surface of Mars?
9
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266 views

What is the naming procedure for rocks on Mars?

I think that the relevant naming 'authority' for e.g. craters on the Moon (and Mars) is the International Astronomical Union. Besides weak spots in the system, the basic idea is that people or ...
9
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407 views

Did Curiosity rover communicate to the ground station during its descent phase?

During descent phase and entering Mars' atmosphere, was the rover's descent controlled by the Earth based ground station, or by the rover itself? What are the technical challenges, when communicating ...
21
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Why do the Mars rovers move so cautiously?

All the Mars rovers tend to move very slowly. For example, Curiosity moves at an average speed of 30 metres per hour and a maximum speed of 90 metres per hour. Why is this so? Is it because of safety ...
7
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1answer
374 views

Why are Martian rovers still looking for water?

It seems obvious that water has been on Mars at some point, be it long ago or recent. My question, then, is this: Why are we still looking for evidence of water on Mars? Shouldn't we be focusing on ...
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Why would NASA include a speaker on Curiosity?

Curiosity celebrated it's first birthday by playing, on Mars, Happy Birthday. How was this accomplished, and why would this capability even be included on Mars?
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Why are there no video transmissions from the Moon and Mars?

There is one new project, like Google Maps, which would be an online video transmission of the Earth's surface from a satellite: http://www.urthecast.com/ Another good one is a web cam situated on ...
10
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441 views

Will the Mars Entomopter actually work?

Could a fixed wing entomopter with a wingspan of 2 meters actually fly in the Martian atmosphere? If so, could it reach a flight speed of over 250 mph in the thin atmosphere of Mars?
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Does NASA have any plans for future Mars rovers after Curiosity?

Curiosity should last a very long time - up to around 14 years. My question is whether NASA has any plans for a Mars rovers after Curiosity. If so, are any specifics known?
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What problems led to the use of the Sky Crane system used by Curiosity?

We all know about the fancy 'sky crane' system used on NASA's Curiosity rover. The rockets slow the descent to 1 ½ mph and power a sideways parry to avoid the faster falling chute. As Sky Crane ...
14
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695 views

How does NASA keep radiation from frying rovers?

I know that on Mars, radiation levels are quite high (turns out lack of an atmosphere does that). On the rovers that are sent to Mars, etc. How is radiation kept from playing havoc with the rover's ...