The biggest barrier to future space exploration is in our heads

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With enough time, the technological challenges of sending humans to Mars and beyond are solvable. But psychologically, we’re not ready to leave our home.

In 1945 British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke—now best known for 2001: A Space Odyssey—correctly predicted the invention of satellites, the first of which launched into space in 1958. Then in 1963, Clarke predicted that a man would land on the moon and safely return to Earth sometime around the year 1970—which Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin did in the summer of 1969. In 1973, Clarke predicted a future where humans would be able to monitor outer-space threats such as asteroids and other near-earth objects—NASA established its Near-Earth Object Observations Program in 1998.

Much of what Clarke suggested about our future in outer space, however, has slipped further and further behind schedule in recent years. For example, he predicted commercial space flights by the year 2011 and a manned mission to Mars by 2021. He also spoke of a manned mission to Jupiter by 2099, which experts say looks pretty unlikely at this point.

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NASA’s prototype drone aircraft destined for Mars

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This may be the first aircraft to fly the Martian skies.  NASA revealed that they are building a Prandtl-m (Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars) prototype for a glider drone that would launch from a descending rover and survey landing sites for the eventual manned mission.   Continue reading… “NASA’s prototype drone aircraft destined for Mars”

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Saturn Rings Oscillate Like Mini Milky Way

Perhaps it is the wrong “Milky Way”… but hey, I was hungry

Scientists believe they finally understand why one of the most dynamic regions in Saturn’s rings has such an irregular and varying shape, thanks to images captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. And the answer, published online in The Astronomical Journal, is this: The rings are behaving like a miniature version of our own Milky Way galaxy.

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Carbon Dioxide On Space Beaches!

Now if we could only find water or oxygen!

A growing bounty of images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals that the timing of new activity in one type of the enigmatic gullies on Mars implicates carbon-dioxide frost, rather than water, as the agent causing fresh flows of sand.

Continue reading… “Carbon Dioxide On Space Beaches!”

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