The ethics of colonizing Mars

Illustration: Valles Marineris, Mars. Artwork of Valles Marineris canyon system as the Sun sets. It is found on Mars, the fourth planet in our Solar System. The Valles Marineris is over 4000 kilometres (km) long, up to 200 km wide and up to 7 km deep, dwarfing the Grand Canyon of Arizona, USA. The canyons are found on the southeastern edge of the Tharsis Bulge and were originally created by faulting during the formation of Tharsis. The canyons have been further worn down by water and wind erosion. Finally, slumping has helped widen the canyon so that the bottom is visible from space. Should we take ourselves to other planets? Human rationality and values have woven dark, damaged, all-powerful systems into the tapestry of civilization. Most notably: capitalism and consumerism. Do we see ourselves moving planet to planet, sucking life out of each one for our own survival? If we are to impress ourselves onto this universe, we must solemnly inquire about our impact on it. Read More

What we learned about Elon Musk’s Mars plan in his Reddit AMA

musk-mars Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, hosted a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” this afternoon. He noted that the AMA should focus on SpaceX’s plans for Mars, which Musk revealed during the International Astronautical Congress last month. This will be under /r/spacex, not the general AMA. Meant to be supplemental to the IAC talk. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 23, 2016… Read More

A failed lander and a working orbiter – everything we know about ESA’s ExoMars mission

exomars-tgo-and-lander-credit-esa Yesterday morning, the European Space Agency hoped to become the second entity in history to operate a robot on Mars. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. ESA’s Schiaparelli rover is on the surface of Mars, but all signs point to a hard landing and a broken robot. The good news, however, is that Schiaparelli was only one part of ESA’s ExoMars mission. Schiaparelli,… Read More

Watch live as two spacecraft make it to Mars starting at 9 AM ET

esa-lander1 Two spacecraft are making their final approaches to mars as part of the European Space Agency and Russian Federal Space Agency’s joint ExoMars mission, including an orbiting craft designed to detect trace amounts of gas in the atmosphere, and a landing craft that will attempt to touch down on the surface of the Red Planet. The arrival of both space craft at Mars will be broadcast live by… Read More

China’s longest human spaceflight mission begins on the Chinese space station

The Long March 7 rocket carrying the Tiangong-2 module blasts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwest China's Gansu Province, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. (Chinatopix via AP) Two taikonauts (Chinese astronauts) have docked to the Chinese space station, Tiangong-2, kicking off the nation’s longest human spaceflight mission to date. Watch LIVE: #Shenzhou11 and #Tiangong2 set for orbital docking #Today at 19:30UTC https://t.co/6LJ8qJnY0O cc: @Astroguyz pic.twitter.com/hOsiWR3BWX — Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) October 18, 2016 Over the course of 30 days,… Read More

Orbital ATK returns to flight with successful Antares launch to the space station

antares-launch The Orbital ATK Antares rocket – the same rocket that exploded on its way to the International Space Station two years ago – returned to flight today with a much-anticipated launch. Lifting off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the Antares rocket is now on its way to deliver the Cygnus spacecraft filled with over 5,000 pounds of cargo to crew members aboard… Read More

White House puts $50M in small satellites, signs order to mitigate space-weather events

639303main_20120416-m1flare-orig_full-2 The Obama Administration is kicking off the White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh this week, and as part of that it’s announcing a number of new initiatives in civic technology. These investments and programs include space, as well as America’s terrestrial concerns. It’s announcing over $50 million in new Federal investments in small satellite tech, which… Read More

Obama wants to go to Mars, but will the next administration?

President Barack Obama greets NASA Commercial Crew astronauts: Robert Behnken, Eric Boe, Douglas Hurley and Sunita Williams, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, in the Map Room before White House Astronomy Night on the South Lawn of the White House, Oct. 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) President Obama released an op-ed on CNN today, praising the accomplishments of NASA to date and encouraging the nation to keep its sights set on Mars. While it was an inspiring endorsement for NASA and space exploration, it comes on the tails of a congressional bill intended to prevent the next presidential administration from changing NASA’s plan to send humans to Mars by the… Read More