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Questions tagged [mars]

Questions about the science or exploration of the planet Mars.

47
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7answers
68k views

How would it be possible to kick start Mars's magnetic field?

Jumping from this question about terraforming Mars, how would one mitigate the main obstacle, namely Mars's lack of a magnetic field? Are there any hypothetical processes that might restart Mars's ...
36
votes
2answers
6k views

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 ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

How much can the Mars rover Curiosity do autonomously, after four years of operation?

I was under the impression (when asking this question) that over the past four years that experience by ground operators and programmers had lead to a configuration where the Mars rover Curiosity ...
17
votes
3answers
8k views

How do you 'make oxygen' on Mars?

This morning's BBC News says that a 2020 rover mission to Mars will "make oxygen". There is a brief line indication that it will extract it from atmospheric CO₂, but no other details. What process ...
53
votes
4answers
15k views

Would terraforming Mars be possible?

Mars is a planet commonly brought up when talking about terraforming. Even if we were to manage to get past all economic barriers, and somehow form a thick atmosphere, would the lack of a magnetic ...
35
votes
5answers
7k views

Why should space probes have to orbit the Earth before being launched at other planets?

I'm curious to know why any satellites that need to be sent to other planets should be moving around the Earth rather than directly going towards their destination? Today, India launched one satellite ...
2
votes
2answers
685 views

How can the two MarCO cubesats remain reliably close to InSight during their six month trip to Mars?

According to the NASA JPL web page Mars Cube One (MarCO) Mission Overview and the YouTube video MarCO: First Interplanetary CubeSat Mission linked there, after the Centaur upper stage deploys InSight, ...
-5
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does the Mars InSight Lander look wet like a cardboard box that came in contact with water? [closed]

NASA has just released a photo showing a part of the InSight Mars lander wet, like a cardboard box that came in contact with water (see the picture). What is that liquid? The Instrument Deployment ...
23
votes
5answers
9k views

Could a helicopter fly on Mars?

Helicopter drones are awesome fun here on earth, but What if... we took one to Mars? This sounds like a good question for Randall Munroe. But I read about a proposal to send a helicopter drone (MHS) ...
5
votes
5answers
551 views

What's the scientific evidence of water for return trip methalox on Mars?

EDIT: I am not asking if you think finding water is necessary for a return flight. I'm asking for the scientific evidence that there is mineable water on Mars that could be used for this purpose. ...
3
votes
2answers
391 views

Why would InSight's arrival date at Mars be fixed, and independent of the launch date?

Despite the 34 day long launch window, the day that InSight will arrive has already been chosen. See mars.nasa.gov's insight mission timeline below, a site I found linked in this answer. I'm not ...
2
votes
1answer
177 views

How will InSight's RISE antennas end up pointed in the right direction?

The rendering of InSight shows the RISE antennas, the two microwave horns pointed just above the horizontal over each of the solar array paddles. If I understand correctly the experiment works when ...
30
votes
3answers
4k views

What uses would the Aldrin-Cycler have?

An Aldrin-Cycler is a vessel on an orbit on which it passes both Earth and Mars every few years without expending much fuel. At first glance this seems like a great thing for a permanent ...
18
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the largest hurdle of the mission to Mars?

I was shocked when I recently found out just how long it takes to get to Mars. I've been conducting a very informal survey amongst peers of how just how long people think it takes us to travel to Mars....
15
votes
2answers
23k views

Could you feel the wind on Mars?

The air pressure on Mars is about 1% that of Earth's at sea level. But wind speeds on Mars can be higher, up to maybe 60 mph sustained (actually I have come across several different figures, some ...
14
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4answers
3k views

How would swimming on Mars feel, given the lower gravity?

The hypothetical swimming pool is inside a habitat at atmospheric pressure, and on Mars at 0.38g of Earth. What are the major differences regarding water properties (viscosity, surface tension, ...
12
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2answers
2k views

Is Mars' gravity strong enough to hold a human-breathable atmosphere?

If we ever try to make Mars outdoors habitable, won't the air just keep flying off into the outer space because of low gravity?
10
votes
2answers
945 views

How could an induced magnetosphere be created at Mars for terraforming?

In the long run Mars needs a magnetic field to keep a thick atmosphere and for radiation shielding, if humanity were to terraform it. Starting a dynamo in Mars' core seems forever impossible, but a ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

Solar panels on Mars?

I was wondering if a base on Mars could be powered by solar energy alone? Since Mars is further away from the Sun wouldn't that mean lower efficiency thus making solar not scalable? Let's assume a ...
3
votes
3answers
415 views

Has the Curiosity rover ever communicated directly with Earth via its high-gain antenna? Signal strength & data rate?

In the question How does Curiosity know how to point and move it's high gain antenna in real time? I show an image of the hexagonal, articulated high gain antenna on the curiosity rover, as well as ...
34
votes
2answers
8k views

Why can't we use the same radiation shielding in Mars that we used when going to the moon?

Note that this is somewhat related to this question but here I am specifically asking about the suitability of using existing shielding for Mars travel. This is about this article and video titled "...
14
votes
2answers
5k views

Place a satellite at Sun-Mars L1 to shield Mars from Sun radiation

Instead of placing many magnetic satellites close to Mars to artificially generate a magnetic field to protect Martian colonists from harming radiation, we could place a magnetic satellite at ...
51
votes
3answers
16k views

Curiosity: Why did they “reinvent the wheel” instead of using pressure tires?

Curiosity rover's wheels seem a bit tired and show signs of wear and tear, as reported for example in this Discovery News article from May 22, 2013. This damage only increased since then and wheels ...
19
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1answer
2k views

Brushing clean a Mars lander's solar panels

A comment by SF. regarding the InSight Mars lander caught my attention: I really, really wonder why they didn't just include a small compartment with a duster brush grippable by the robotic arm. ...
15
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2answers
882 views

What is the deepest position in space we can get a GPS signal?

Can we use GPS in orbit at the moon? What about on Mars?
3
votes
1answer
673 views

Blimp on Earth, but a glider on Mars?

Could enough surface area be created with a blimp to shed speed using Mars' atmosphere to have a controlled soft landing to minimize the need for retrorockets? Runway would need to be in place. While ...
20
votes
8answers
3k views

Is there any economical way to move the water from the Martian poles to the people?

update: Water at the poles has some more recent news: Science: 03-August-2018 Radar evidence of subglacial liquid water on Mars EarthSky.org: 28-Sept-2018 Pink lagoon provides clues to possible Mars ...
13
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2answers
1k views

Curiosity is still dirty! How will the ExoMARS Rover keep its solar panels dust-free and collecting sufficient power?

update: Current events makes this question even more poignant sols 5183 to 5189, Aug. 23, 2018 - Aug. 29, 2018: Team Continues to Listen for Opportunity Curiosity selfie has been released just a few ...
9
votes
2answers
328 views

Could InSight lift off and move somewhere else?

InSight used its built-in thrusters for the final stretch of the Entry, Descent and Landing, and the thrusters seem to still be attached. Would it have been at all possible for InSight to lift off ...
2
votes
2answers
203 views

Maximum height for a Mars Balloon?

The altitude record for an unmanned balloon is 53.0 kilometers. wikipedia If we use this Earth based record for an estimate of the maximum possible height of a balloon started from Mars surface, ...
20
votes
3answers
7k views

Why not travel to Mars in 2 months?

Just to clarify... I've made some research and generally know what the case is, didn't mean to make the question sound stupid... :) I know there is a thing called Hohmann transfer orbit, named after ...
28
votes
8answers
3k views

How could one navigate on Mars?

There are two primary systems of navigation on Earth today, using maps/compass, and using GPS satellites. It seems unlikely there will be a full constellation of GPS satellites prior to the first ...
21
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3answers
8k views

How can Mars have dust storms with such a thin atmosphere?

Mars, as I understand, has a very thin atmosphere. However, it still has weather like this: What causes the thin atmosphere to move fast enough to cause such a monster wave of dust?
27
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2answers
905 views

Is there an independent cost estimate of the Mars One proposal?

Has anyone outside of the Mars One foundation done an independent evaluation that concept in terms of the following heads? Initial Cost Ongoing Cost Technical feasibility?
26
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
12
votes
4answers
7k views

How big would a manned ascent stage for Mars need to be?

For a manned mission to Mars that isn't a one-way trip, we'll need an ascent stage that can reach orbit from Mars' surface. How big would this need to be to transport e.g. 3 astronauts to orbit? We've ...
42
votes
5answers
14k views

Why aren't we sending quadcopters to mars?

After watching the MARS series on National Geographic I noticed that they sent one of their crew members down a chasm to check for ice. I wondered, why they did not just take a regular commercial ...
11
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4answers
2k views

Boiling ponds and pools on Mars?

In the related questions Can you take a bath on Mars? & How would swimming on Mars feel, given the lower gravity? we learn that bathing and swimming on Mars is much like it is on Earth. Some ...
11
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2answers
742 views

What risk management options are available for Mars orbiters and rovers to mitigate threat of impacting with Siding Spring cometary debris?

I was reading this article on New Scientist titled Fiercest meteor shower on record to hit Mars via comet. Long story short, the Oort cloud comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring is predicted to near-miss Mars ...
4
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2answers
1k views

GPS constellation for Mars

How would a constellation of GPS satellites differ for Mars? For Earth the system is supposed to work with at least 24 satellites orbiting at ~20.000 km. Would Martian equivalent need less of them? At ...
28
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4answers
7k views

Can either Opportunity or Curiosity explore the state of Spirit?

If you have a rough map of Mars a picture would help, but how far away are the three big rovers on Mars from each other? Is there any possibility of "roadside assistance" on Mars to "unstick" and ...
18
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2answers
1k views

Why is Curiosity not heading for Peace Vallis?

For over 5 years Curiosity has been successfully searching for many signs that water was once present at Gale crater. Its geology is notable for containing both clays and sulfate minerals that may ...
17
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1answer
1k views

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 ...
9
votes
6answers
715 views

Will suits worn on Mars lose kilograms of “expendable water” each time they are used?

In this excellent answer I learned that space suits from the Apollo missions and even when used in space walks from the ISS today use water sublimation to remove both body heat and other heat ...
9
votes
1answer
456 views

What, if any, reduction in radiation exposure does the atmosphere of Mars provide?

In the book "The Case for Mars", cited in this answer, there is a study cited that states that 20-50 REM radiation occurs due to cosmic rays in deep space. It seems likely that the atmosphere of Mars ...
8
votes
1answer
422 views

How cold is the Martian sky at night? Or the day for that matter?

If you take a simple infrared "thermometer" which is actually a lot like a bolometer and point it at a clear sky, it says "cold!" because in the wavelength range that it's using (roughly 5 to 15 ...
8
votes
1answer
493 views

How thick would a Marscrete structure need to be to provide adequate protection against radiation?

Regarding a manned shelter on the surface of Mars... With all of this esoteric talk of ice shelters, why not simply create concrete (Marscrete) buildings? The ice probably provides better radiation ...
7
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1answer
540 views

How deep a valley or trench would be needed on Mars to provide the same atmospheric pressure as 6 km above sea level on Earth?

Atmospheric pressure increases the deeper you go & the highest growing plants on Earth have been found at a height of 6 km so how deep a trench would we need on Mars to provide similar air ...
6
votes
1answer
250 views

Any scholarly or serious work in Sports Science for the low surface gravity of Mars or the Moon?

One of my favorite answers in SXSE is this one which addresses subtler effects of low gravity on sports that one might not anticipate. There are other answers there, and other questions and answers ...
5
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1answer
320 views

What factors would make station-keeping of an Areostationary Mars satellite necessary?

This answer introduced me to the word Areostationary Orbit - (hint, comes from Ares), an orbit that would remain stationary above a point on the equator of Mars. The article mentions that ...