Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Mars

The pool of applicants for the Mars One mission has been reduced to 1,058

And then there were 1,058. Mars One, the nonprofit organization that wants to send colonists on a one-way lifetime trip to Mars, announced on Monday that it has narrowed its applicant pool down from 200,000 people to just over a thousand. The applicants were notified by email and Mars One says that the next selection phase in 2014 will reduce the pool still further in the search for the first settlers to go to the Red Planet in 2025.  Read More

Artist's concept of the Mars One lander (Image: Lockheed Martin)

The nonprofit Mars One foundation is mainly known for trying to recruit people who really, really want to go to Mars. That redundant "really" is because it's a one-way ticket to the Red Planet for life. But now, Mars One is looking at something a bit less dramatic. On Monday, it was revealed that Lockheed Martin, and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) have been selected to carry out concept studies for a Mars lander mission in 2018 as a prelude to colonization.  Read More

View of Yellowknife Bay formation with drilling sites (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

The chances of life having once existed on Mars got a boost this week alongside good news for astronauts on any future expeditions to the Red Planet. Six papers from Curiosity team members presented to the autumn meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco revealed that they had directly dated their first Martian rock, gave details of an ancient lake where life may once of existed, and found new evidence about the radiation hazards that explorers and colonists may one day face.  Read More

Artist's impression of MOM (Image: Nesnad/Wikipedia)

After a month spent jockeying about in Earth Orbit, India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is finally on its way to the Red Planet. According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the unmanned spacecraft fired its main engine on Sunday at 12:49 AM (IST) and completed the firing 22 minutes and 8.89 seconds later, completing the Mars orbit insertion that will see it arrive in orbit around Mars in September of next year.  Read More

MAVEN sets off for Mars (Photo: NASA)

Today, a new attempt at learning the mysteries of early Martian history came a step closer to an answer. At 1:28 pm EST, NASA’s unmanned Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) probe launched from Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. It’s the first step in a mission to study the Martian upper atmosphere and learn more about the history of the planet’s climate.  Read More

Tuesday's launch may make India an interplanetary space-faring nation

Today at 2:38 PM IST, India made its bid to join the elite rank of interplanetary space-faring nations with the successful launch of its unmanned Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) from the First Launch Pad at the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (IRSO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) on the island of Sriharikota, atop a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25).  Read More

Mars Orbiter Mission ready for heat shield closure

India has started the clock on its most ambitious space project to date. On Sunday at 6:08 IST, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) began the countdown for its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). If all goes to schedule, the unmanned probe will lift off on Tuesday from the First Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR), on the island of Sriharikota at 2:38 pm IST atop a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25), marking the point where India hopes to launch itself into the space-faring big leagues.  Read More

View of 'Cooperstown' taken by Curiosity's navigational camera (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

After over a year on Mars, NASA's Curiosity rover has pretty much run through its list of firsts. As it continues its “long trek” to Mount Sharp, however, it’s still showing a few surprises. This week, NASA announced that Curiosity picked up the pace of its travels by completing its first two-day autonomous drive, in which the unmanned explorer did one leg of an autonomous drive on Sunday, then completed it on Monday.  Read More

The prototype Mars sample return container (Image: ESA)

A mission to return samples from the planet Mars is still many years away and, officially, not on the calendar. That hasn't stopped ESA from producing a proof-of-concept prototype of the scientific “box of delights,” which could one day bring bits of the Red Planet back to Earth for study.  Read More

Artist's concept of the MAVEN spacecraft (Image: NASA/Goddard)

On Monday, NASA confirmed the launch date of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission (MAVEN). According to the space agency, MAVEN will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at 1:28 PM EST on November 18 on the first leg of its mission to study the upper atmosphere of the Red Planet.  Read More

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