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Questions tagged [mars]

Questions about the science or exploration of the planet Mars.

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Could “peak Apollo levels” of support have gotten NASA astronauts to Mars in the 1980's?

In an "alternate universe" where NASA continued to receive a mandate, funding and public support at say peak Apollo levels, could another ten or twenty years have gotten boots on Mars, with astronauts ...
53
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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 ...
51
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3answers
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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 ...
51
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2answers
19k views

Why are we trying to build a base on Mars before the Moon?

My question is very close to the question answered in the link below and is raised by the answers that question received: Is a Moon-base inherently more dangerous than a Space Station? Why are we ...
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 ...
42
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5answers
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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 ...
41
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10answers
18k views

Which is closer to Mars, Earth or the Moon?

Which is closer to Mars, Earth or the Moon? I'm writing a novel and I'm so grateful for the wealth of information. The only answers I find refer to Phobos and Demos Mars moons.
41
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1answer
8k views

What was NASA's “Hack” to improve Opportunity's memory in 2015? Did it help?

The transcript of the 2015 NPR podcast NASA Hopes A Hack Will Overcome Mars Rover's Memory Gap says: You know how it goes - you're getting a little older, your memory starts to go, you forget where ...
40
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6answers
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How can a Mars helicopter be autonomous if there isn't a Martian GPS?

For a drone to be autonomous, it needs something like a GPS to be able to navigate. If it doesn't have GPS, you'd have to manually control it. Do the orbiters provide something like GPS then? I ...
36
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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 ...
35
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3answers
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Why was it necessary to program InSight with an ability to land in dust storms?

If the entire event of EDL (Entry - Descent - Landing) is going to take only 7 minutes and if the command to begin could be signalled based on ground weather conditions, why was it necessary to take ...
35
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5answers
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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 ...
34
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2answers
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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 "...
33
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1answer
2k views

Have any of the rovers ever recorded a solar eclipse on Mars?

I've heard a rumor that Curiosity rover sent a recording about Phobos covering the Sun on the Martian sky. Did it happen? If yes, how frequently could such things be recorded?
33
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4answers
7k views

Would colonising Antarctica be a good test for colonising Mars?

I've seen a lot of documentaries, articles, papers, etc which show people living in the desert or other deserted places to simulate living on Mars. However, it seems to me that a better way to really ...
32
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2answers
3k views

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?
32
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3answers
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About how long will Curiosity last on its nuclear power?

Curiosity, we know, has no little nuclear reactor, it has a RTG. Great! But how long will it last? For how many years will our little 1-ton friend be roaming around another planet?
30
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3answers
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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 ...
29
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1answer
5k views

Who took the Curiosity rover's self-portrait photo from the surface of Mars?

Curiosity is missing an arm, can you help us find it? The self-portrait photograph of the Curiosity rover from the Gale Crater is probably one of the most well known ones of this particular rover of ...
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 ...
28
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5answers
5k views

Why are there so few lunar rovers?

I'm a big fan of Curiosity and Opportunity, the Martian rovers. The science is over my head, but the images they've captured are mesmerizing. It seems unusual to me that we have two active Martian ...
28
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8answers
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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 ...
27
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3answers
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What happens to defunct lunar and Mars rovers? What technological barriers prevent humanity from creating a perpetual rover?

What happens to defunct lunar and Mars rovers? What technological barriers prevent humanity from creating a perpetual rover with sun batteries or nuclear portable reactors for use on Mars, the Moon, ...
27
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2answers
911 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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3answers
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How can Elon Musk's Tesla actually reach Mars orbit?

So the payload of the maiden Falcon Heavy flight will be... Elon Musks's Tesla This is one part publicity stunt (it's going to be playing David Bowie's Space Oddity, if for nothing more than the ...
26
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2answers
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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 ...
26
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2answers
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Does India have plans to explore Mars after Mangalyaan?

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is launching a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) this Tuesday (5 Nov 2013) from Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India, flying on the PSLV-C25 ...
25
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10answers
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What were the most inaccurate or accurate things in “The Martian”?

I am curious what the most accurate, versus most inaccurate things that were depicted in the space movie, "The Martian"? I thought the part where he punctures his suit and jets over to the rescue ...
25
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8answers
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Would a settlement on Mars need to import Nitrogen?

The air on Earth is about 20% oxygen and about 78% nitrogen. Best case, there seems to be sufficient oxygen (in water) to support colonization in the polar ice caps. What about the other 4/5 of the ...
24
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1answer
26k views

How many active or inactive artificial satellites are in Mars orbit?

I just read in the BBC news that four nations have placed satellites in Mars orbit. How many active or inactive artificial satellites are there in orbit around Mars (2014)?
23
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5answers
7k views

Why hasn't NASA planted a stationary lab on Mars yet?

Why does NASA send rovers such as Curiosity instead of remotely building a small building on the surface of Mars?
23
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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) ...
23
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2answers
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Could SpaceX land on the moon today?

Now that SpaceX has a bunch of flown Block 4 Falcon 9 rockets laying around, could they theoretically do a mission to the Moon with landing even if it's just a rocket with no payload? Does it work out ...
22
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4answers
7k views

Is Quantum Entanglement technology possible for interplanetary communication in future to achieve low real-time latency?

There is a small debate over the comment session in NASA Lands InSight on Mars video uploaded by JPL. The 1 minute and a half video is about the essential part of InSight's EDL event cropped out from ...
22
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2answers
2k views

Is Mars more at risk than Earth for asteroid collisions?

When looking at topographical pictures of Mars it seems like there are craters far more frequently than here on Earth. This statement, of course, is just pure speculation on my part. However, it makes ...
22
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3answers
11k views

Does Mars space suit have to be pressurized?

Various sci-fi movies treat Mars atmosphere differently, anywhere between "you just need oxygen rebreather" and "Your eyes will pop out and your head will explode". Meanwhile, I haven't seen any solid ...
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?
21
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3answers
4k views

Is water on Mars the same as Earth water?

I would like to know how similar Mars water is to Earth water. Can we survive on Mars with Martian water without any major health issues etc?
21
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1answer
2k views

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 ...
20
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3answers
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Can Curiosity pay InSight a visit?

InSight landed “just” 600 kilometers from Curiosity’s landing site. Can Curiosity make its way there for a rendezvous? Are there any plans for this?
20
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8answers
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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 ...
20
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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 ...
20
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2answers
9k views

Is it possible to grow plants on Mars?

If we provide adequate water supply will it be possible to grow plants/seeds/moss/algae (from Earth) on Mars? How different are Mars soil from Earth's soil?
20
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3answers
790 views

Is it possible to map the caves of Phobos?

Having read that Phobos at 27 km long is around 30% porous, I am going to assume that there are a number of voids large enough for human entrance. If it turned out there was a void large enough and ...
20
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1answer
277 views

Rock flipping operation

After the recent announcement of complex organics being found on Mars within the curiosity rover's meager 5cm drill depth, I had an idea about artificially increasing it: Is curiosity rover's arm ...
19
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4answers
4k views

Is wind-power a viable backup power source for Mars One?

A question related to What power source options provide reliable and sustainable power generation for a Martian Colony, particularly the answer that solar and nuclear based energy sources being the ...
19
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4answers
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What payload was expected for the 2018 Mars Dragon flight (“Red Dragon”)

SpaceX has long been planning to use Dragon capsules to carry objects anywhere in the Solar System. They have officially announced a 2018 launch to Mars. Specifically, the launch window is April-May ...
19
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2answers
6k views

Is it real to patch an opening to the vacuum with plastic tarp and duct tape as in Martian?

In the Martian movie Watney patched a broken door to the martian surface with plastic tarp and duct tape. The pressure on Mars is 0.5 kPa, which is 200 times smaller, that on Earth (100 kPa), i.e. it ...
19
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1answer
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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. ...
18
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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....