New answers tagged

4

Let's see: Olympus Mons is at 18.65° N, 226.2° E The westernmost point of the Vallis Marineris is Noctis Labyrinthus, which is at 7° S, 102.2° W According to this calculator on the NASA website, the answer is 2387.8 km. (Note that in order for the lines on the map to match, you need to enter Point 1 as 18.65, -226.2 and Point 2 as -7, 102.2, so the ...


1

This isn't an exact approximation. It's an order of magnitude of the mass required to be able to manufacture almost anything. Think mining equipment, refineries, manufacturing facilities... Just people and their personal effects - or even a ton of useful cargo - won't work. Heck, initial cargos will be a fuel production facility, ice mining equipment and ...


2

It's very likely that inhabitants of the atoll Makatea in the South Pacific were the closest to Mars ! (As was discovered and announced by @SE-stop firing the good guys in one of his comments to this answer.) Now that one of the other answers has ruled out any Apollo astronaut, and the ISS crew could be excluded too, we can focus on determining the exact ...


0

First of all, some effort is made to prevent contamination by earth organisms for precisely this reason, but it is not perfect. But, if scientists do detect life it will probably be possible to tell that it is not of earthly origin. Here are some possible lines of evidence: Biochemistry is complicated. We don't know that DNA is the only way genetic ...


0

Actually, it should be possible to prevent Mars from losing its water, or at least keep its water loss to a suitably low rate. In an atmosphere, there's something called a cold trap, the coldest layer of the atmosphere (relevant links: 1, 2). It causes water vapour to condense and thus prevents it from rising into the upper atmosphere. If the water did reach ...


7

One tool in the astrobiology toolbox is chirality, the property that many chemical compounds exist as "left-handed" and "right-handed" mirror images. These have the exact same properties of course, as they are the exact same compounds. But biochemical processes will typically only be able to produce one of them. Which means that if a ...


4

It could have almost been an Apollo astronaut! but only during 1969-1972, and it wasn't. I think I can rule it out conclusively. 55.758 million km on 2003-08-27 is the closest the Earth has been to Mars since 1961. No trip to the Moon got closer. I took Apollo 10 through 17 dates and plotted them on the distances of Earth to Mars, and to the difference ...


4

Regarding the dust issue: much to the surprise of the early Mars scientists and rover teams, Mars takes care of the dust problem for us! Mars' typical weather generates these dust devils that whip through periodically and clean off the solar panels, thus giving new life to the rovers every time. This is useful for the landers and earlier rovers, but the ...


21

Even if Apollo 11's crew would build a Moon base in 1969, and lived there until now, they would not be closer to Mars than without such base! Mars approaches Earth during opposition every couple of years. However the distance between Mars and Earth varies a lot between these approaches because of eccentricity of Mars and Earth orbits. From Mars opposition ...


27

There's very little opportunity to do maintenance on Mars. I could find an example of shaking the arm of Curiosity to get rid of dust. That's cleaning, and hence maintenance, for the purpose of avoiding cross contamination of samples. A specialised dust cleaning device (a "wiper") did not end up going to Mars. I could find no evidence of the Dust ...


100

Let's start with some basic facts, which helps narrowing it down: Humans have not been outside the Earth-Moon system. Except from the Apollo program, humans have not been outside low Earth Orbit. The distance between the Earth and Mars varies in a 2.13 year long cycle. Some of these minima are lower than others. As a first approximation, everyone on Earth ...


1

In the process of typing out the question, as often happens, I stumbled upon the answer. The budget for LDSD was cut in 2016 Which explains why things have been very quite since. Supposedly, efforts may speed up again when we eventually need to land heavy things on Mars.


10

Is it possible to create a cycler that can travel from Venus to Mars, then back to Venus? Yes. When only two planets are involved, there are several infinite families of cycler orbits. Given the 434 day long orbital period of an ellipse touching both Venus and Mars is almost twice as long as the 225 days orbital period of Venus, it's even possible to ...


1

Could you interact with static objects in what would be an artificial virtual real time? Not unless the rovers move at micrometers per second, or slower. The Mars rovers are slow, but not that slow. The round trip time for information from a rover to travel to Earth and an response from Earth received y the rover is ranges from over 6 minutes to as long as ...


6

Question 1: Have electrostatic discharges within dust storms been detected and quantified somehow on Mars using standard radio communications equipment? Not "standard" equipment (DSS-13, the 34m radio telescope (image)). The evidence we have so far (1), which was only detected briefly and has not been observed again (2,3), used fancy processing of ...


Top 50 recent answers are included