Getting to the Moon was one of the greatest accomplishments in human history. But now, the Moon may be reduced to a mere pit stop for space travelers headed elsewhere. A Mars mission might be much easier, say researchers at MIT, if we use the Moon as a refueling station.
The list of countries that have mounted successful missions to Mars is not exactly long: the U.S. and Russia, as you’d expect, and more recently India. But now the United Arab Emirates has an ambitious plan to enter the race as soon as 2020.
Following the 105-day simulated mission that ended this summer, the European Space Agency is looking for volunteers to spend 520 days in isolation, simulating a Mars mission. So what could possibly go wrong when you never leave the ground?
Speaking at a Washington lecture over the weekend, Apollo 11 crewmembers Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins expressed concern about NASA focusing too much on past accomplishments. That is to say, they believe we should focus our efforts on Mars.
For 105 days, 4 Russians and 2 Europeans holed up in isolation in Moscow, to see if they could survive a mission to Mars without killing one another in frustration, while American scientists watched. Tomorrow, they'll be freed.
Much of the excitement over the Phoenix Lander of late has focused on its discoveries of water on Mars. The Phoenix has touched Martian ice, found the planet’s internal plumbing, and even seen it snow. Now the team is preparing the Phoenix for a different sort of first, as NASA scientists prepare to turn on its…