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Mars

Space

Simulated Martian and lunar soils sprout their first crops

When and if colonists ever arrive on Mars, they're going to need something to eat … on a long-term, ongoing basis. That's why several research groups are looking into the feasibility of growing crops on the Red Planet. One of those teams, from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, previously tried growing food plants in simulations of both lunar and Martian soil. Although those tests proved unsuccessful, that wasn't the case the most recent time around.Read More

Space

Ordnance Survey creates map for Martian ramblers

When the first astronauts set foot on Mars, they'll need to be able to find their way around without the aid of GPS. To this end, Britain's Ordnance Survey (OS) has released its first map of another planet. Created in the distinct OS style, the one-off chart's purpose is to examine the potential of the agency's advanced cartographic methods in creating detailed, easy to understand maps for planning future missions to the Red Planet.Read More

Space

Fungi survive on the ISS under Mars-like conditions

Results are back from one of the latest experiments hosted on the International Space Station (ISS), with researchers from Spain's National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) using the facility to study how hardy fungi species, collected from the Antarctic, cope under simulated Martian conditions. The results are helping scientists gain insights relevant to the search for life on the Red Planet.Read More

Space

Faulty instrument delays Mars lander launch

NASA's next big Mars mission will have to wait a couple of years due to a faulty piece of equipment that won't stay fixed. The space agency announced today that the launch of the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander mission scheduled for next March has been scrubbed due to a persistent vacuum leak in the lander's primary science instrument. A new launch date has yet to be determined.Read More

Biology

Scientists plan to grow potatoes under Martian conditions

A new collaborative project between the International Potato Center (CIP) and NASA will see a crop of potatoes grown on Earth under the same conditions found on the Red Planet. The effort is not only a big step towards the goal of one day constructing a controlled farming dome on Mars, but will also demonstrate the potential of growing potatoes in inhospitable environments back home – something that the researchers hope will help tackle world hunger.Read More

Sending a letter to Mars would need a £11,602.25 stamp

Keeping in touch with your Martian pen pal won't be cheap according to the British postal service. Five-year old aspiring future astronaut Oliver Giddings asked the Royal Mail how much it would cost to post a letter to the Red Planet. After consulting with NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the answer came back: 18,416 First Class stamps costing £11,602.25 (US$18K).Read More

Space

Novel theory explains carbon levels in the modern Martian atmosphere

Scientists believe that Mars once played host to a much warmer and wetter climate, but for that to be the case it must have once had a thicker atmosphere. There's a big problem with that theory, though, with detected levels of carbon not playing nice with atmospheric loss theories. Now, a joint team from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) believes it may have solved the problem, with a new theory that explains the issue by means of two simultaneous mechanisms.Read More

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