Questions tagged [mars]

Questions about the science or exploration of the planet Mars. See wiki for related tags.

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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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) ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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Is the “Mars blue dune” actually blue? And what makes it so?

NASA recently released an image of a blue dune on Mars. The accompanying story seems to suggest to me that it is a false color image - some property of that part of the image is detected and rendered ...
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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 (...
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Will suits worn on Mars lose kilograms of “expendable water” each time they are used?

In this excellent answer to How have space suits dissipated the heat removed from astronauts? I learned that space suits from the Apollo missions and even when used in space walks from the ISS today ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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Who discovered “Egg Rock”? The Curiosity rover or people?

"Egg Rock" is a smooth, shiny nickel-iron meteorite found sitting on the surface of Mars on Curiosity's Sol 1505, or 30-Oct-2016. It is described the next day in Arizona State University's ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 "...
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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, ...
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Brachistochrone variation for Earth-to-Mars Orbit

Wouldn't a Brachistochrone curve to Mars orbit be a much faster and more efficient way to send personnel and equipment to mars as compared to the Hohmann transfer if we used an Ion engine? The below ...
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When things land on Mars what fraction of their velocity do they remove propulsively?

Some recent comments have got me wondering about this What is the distance between one of the mars's satellite revolving near the highest volcano olympus mons and the volcano olympus mons? comments ...
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Is it possible to extend high speed data transmission with lasers to the distance Earth to Mars?

Data transmission using an optical laser between ground station and a GEO satellite may offer very high data rates, up to 1.8 GBit/s for instance. But what about a transmission from Earth to Mars ...
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What precautions are planned to prevent samples returned from Mars crashing and releasing organisms on Earth?

Bias disclaimer: I think that returning samples from Mars to Earth at a point in time where we also suspect there is a chance that there is microbial life on Mars is ill-advised and arrogant. We are ...
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How could InSight's seismometers be intentionally and meaningfully “pinged”?

I had a friend whose summer job, a long long time ago, was to travel around an unsuspecting rural area, lay a heavy steel plate on the ground, and whack the plate with a sledge hammer. Apparently he ...
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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, ...
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How would travel to Mars without artificial gravity affect a crew's initial experience in Mars gravity?

This answer and the linked YouTube video discuss some difficulties with the experience of artificial "gravity" generated by small rotating craft (like one that could be launched to Mars in the near ...
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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....
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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 ...
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How hard is it to receive direct signals from vehicles on the surface of Mars, and has anyone other than the DSN done so?

Almost all communication from vehicles on the surface of Mars is relayed by spacecraft in orbit around Mars. However vehicles on the surface do communicate directly with Earth. This communication, ...
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What would sounds on Mars be like?

Figure there was a microphone on the surface of Mars, exposed to the atmosphere. If it recorded stuff, how would it sound? E.g. walking through sand, stuff falling down onto rock, a rocket engine, the ...
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The types of motors used on the Martian rovers?

I have a question regarding the types of motors that were used on the Martian rovers, specifically the Mars Exploration Rovers and Curiosity. I am wondering about the main 6 motors that turn the ...
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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 ...
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Could “live” video be transmitted from Mars?

With the approach of InSight to Mars today, and the two cubesats watching it, much is being made about seeing "Live Video" from the cubesats. I'm pretty sure that simply can't happen, but I'm ...
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Does the Curiosity rover really have a chance of driving to the top of Mt. Sharp?

This great answer suggests the limiting high altitude to which the Curiosity rover on Mars could drive would be the top of Mt. Sharp (Aeolis Mons) - in the center of Gale crater. I'm wondering, is ...
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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?
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
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How long could the Mars helicopter Ingenuity keep up with the Perseverance rover if it wanted to?

Wikipedia's Mars Helicopter Ingenuity says: It could potentially cover a distance of up to 300 metres (980 ft) per flight. Perseverance is somewhat similar to Curiosity which drove about 22970 ...
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Would a GPS type system on Mars really need a ground station?

This question and answer has got me thinking. Would one or more ground stations be necessary (or even just very beneficial) for a GPS-like system to operate around Mars? The atmospheric issues are ...
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How was InSight's vertical seismometer (accelerometer) tested in Earth's stronger gravity?

The BBC article InSight Diary: The silence of space tells an interesting story and has an interesting audio recording of InSight's seismometer signals sped up to audio frequency, made while in ...
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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 ...
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Was the telltale on the Mars Phoenix Lander used for meteorology? Why not a hot wire anemometer instead?

Reading about ping pong ball anemometers I discovered that the Mars Phoenix Lander had an anemometer of this design, and there are images and GIFs of it moving. When imaged from one or two different ...
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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 ...
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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 ...

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