Destination Red Planet: For space buffs, this summer has brought multiple Mars bound space launches – The Times of India Blog

Mars is back in the news. In July, three countries launched missions to Mars. The first was the United Arab Emirates, which sent its Hope orbiter on board a Japanese rocket on July 19; Chinas Tianwen-1 mission followed on July 23; and, finally, the United States launched NASAs Perseverance rover on July 30. A fourth mission, by the European Space Agency and Russia, was postponed to 2022.

It might seem like a race is on to reach the Red Planet, akin to the race to the Moon in the 1960s. But the explanation is a bit more mundane: every 26 months, the Earth and Mars are closest together. This offers a brief window for a quick journey to Mars. If you miss the window, you have to wait another 26 months which is what happened to the ESA/ Russia mission.

Mars has always loomed large in our imagination, and science fiction writers have been depicting voyages to the red planet for centuries. In 1887, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli undertook detailed telescopic observations of Mars and observed a dense network of features on the surface. He called them canali which stands for channels in Italian, implying narrow and long depressions. However, that got mistranslated into English as canals, giving rise to immense speculation and an entire corpus of science fiction, the most famous of which is HG Wells The War of the Worlds.

Theres reason to be fascinated by Mars. The planet has numerous features in common with Earth. Although smaller than Earth, it has a similar rocky composition and marked seasons. NASA missions over the decades have made it clear that an environment different from the cold, dry world we see today once existed on Mars. Liquid water flowed on the Martian surface in the past: there are vast dry gorges and canyons etched by water and ice (Schiaparellis channels). Some scientists think Mars might have harboured life not the advanced aliens of science fiction, but more mundane bacterial life that might today be extinct.

In 2007, when the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of Sputnik, Id asked Arthur C Clarke, famous science fiction writer and visionary, about whether human beings would set foot on Mars soon. During my lifetime, Ive been lucky enough to see our knowledge of Mars advance from almost complete ignorance worse than that, misleading fantasy to a real understanding of its geography and climate, he had replied. He had even gone on to talk about what would make Mars habitable for humans since now we have fairly accurate maps of the Red Planet, and can imagine how it might be modified terraformed to make it nearer to our hearts desire.

In fact, terraforming Mars has been advocated in recent years by Mars enthusiasts and would-be colonisers such as Elon Musk, who has publicly said he wants to die on Mars (although not just on impact). Terraforming or earthforming is a Herculean feat of planet-wide engineering that will change the Martian atmosphere and allow humans to make uninhabitable Mars into a planet fit for natural life. While terraforming has a lot of followers, some recent studies have said it might actually not be possible on the scale humans would need to survive on Mars.

But first humans have to get there. And, hopefully, return. To do that, we would need large, reusable rockets and a plan for humans to be able to survive the entire duration of the roundtrip, which is going to be a few years. In 2010, US President Barack Obama predicted that a crewed mission will orbit Mars by 2030, followed by a landing soon after. President Trump signed an order directing NASA to send astronauts to Mars in 2033.

Russia has also publicly announced intentions to send humans to Mars in the 2040-2045 time frame, and the ESA wants to do so as well. Nations like India, China and Japan have already attempted uncrewed Mars orbiters. Indias Mangalyaan mission was successful, and started orbiting Mars in 2014, but China and Japan have both failed to get their missions into Mars orbit. China is now trying again, and the UAE has become the first Arab country to attempt an interplanetary mission.

Its well documented by now that missions to space are a great catalyst for a nations advance in science and engineering. Many technologies we now take for granted wireless headsets, electrolytic water purification systems, camera phones, CAT scans, to name a few owe a lot to the Apollo missions to the Moon. In fact, some argue that the investment by the US government in the Moon race led to its current science leadership.

Whether geopolitics and rivalries between different nations will speed up the timeline to Mars remains to be seen. Competition can only be healthy, and the world is likely to benefit from the fallout. Like the Moon missions, missions to Mars will probably produce technologies that will benefit humans on Earth as well.

In fact, the question is not if we humans will reach Mars but when. Clarke, who more than most 20th century visionaries had the knack of being proved right, had quipped back in 2007, I have sometimes wondered if there might be a committee to protect the Martian wilderness in the 22nd century!

Meanwhile, the Red Planet continues to yield new surprises. Just this week, NASA announced that its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took pictures of baffling ridges on the surface of the planet. Some of us will probably witness a Mars landing in our lifetimes. We will certainly know by then if life ever existed on Mars, even if it were a primitive, bacterial kind. Should the answer be yes, it would be another profound milestone in our evolving understanding of humanitys place in the universe, the scientific revolution that started with Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Destination Red Planet: For space buffs, this summer has brought multiple Mars bound space launches - The Times of India Blog

Cool! Heres how Venus would look as a water world – EarthSky

Its hot enough on the surface of Venus to melt lead. There are also crushing surface pressures and clouds full of sulfuric acid. So theres no water on the surface of Venus today. This planet orbiting next-inward from Earth around the sun is one of the most inhospitable places in our solar system. But scientists think that, a few billion years ago, Venus might have had oceans, perhaps much like those on Earth. Venus might once have been habitable. Even now, some have suggested terraforming Venus, so that it could become a water world once again in the future. What would Venus look like with water? Reddit user Dragonite-2 has created a map, based on spacecraft data about Venus terrain, and posted it to the MapPorn subreddit. It portrays Venus if it were terraformed to become a more Earth-like world, with a similar amount of water to Earth.

The map has now gone viral.

How accurate is it? And what does it show?

Venus is covered with dense clouds. So we cant see its surface. But radar from spacecraft orbiting this world, or (in the early days) from Earth can penetrate the planets clouds and has let scientists make maps of the highs and lows on Venus surface. Thats why Venus has a known topography, which Dragonite-2 used to create his map of Venus as a water world. Radar images show us Venus mountain ranges, volcanoes, quasi-continental formations and other, flatter regions.

Thus, weve known and now Dragonite-2 has helped us see that if Venus had an Earth-like quantity of water, it would have one large continent in its northern hemisphere. Scientists have named this continent already; they call it Ishtar Terra. Its about the size of Australia. The highest point on Venus, the mountain Maxwell Montes, is located on Ishtar Terra. Theres also a second large continent which scientists call Aphrodite Terra located along the equator of Venus. Its the size of South America (if South America were stretched out along Earths equator, instead of running perpendicular to it). Dragonite-2s map also illustrates smaller continents and islands that would be scattered throughout Venus global oceans, if Venus were a water world.

Dragonite-2s map posted to Reddit is based on spacecraft data. Most of our information about what lies beneath the dense clouds of Venus was obtained by the Soviet space probe missions Venera 15 and 16 and by the American Pioneer Venus and Magellan spacecraft during the period 1978 to 1994. Today we have good information about 98% of the surface of Venus, according to this page from ESO. This map comes from NOAAs Science on a Sphere. Its a compilation of Venus radar data, showing Venus topography as its known today. NOAA wrote: Most of Venus appears to be covered with gently rolling plains. Two areas rise up above the rest of the surface and are referred to as continents.'

Writing in Inverse on August 29, 2020, Mike Brown described the new Venus-as-water-world map. He quoted an associate professor of planetary sciences at North Carolina State University Paul Byrne who told Brown that, in one sense, the map is fairly accurate:

in that someone has taken the real-world digital elevation model for Venus and added a sea level to it.

I dont know how realistic the if Venus had as much water as Earth part is, but Im guessing that whoever made this map picked an average ocean depth for Earth and flooded the Venus topography to that same depth.

However, as Byrne also noted to Brown, the surface would look quite different after erosion by rainfall, rivers and lakes. The map portrays Venus surface as-is, without plate tectonics. But a planet with oceans likely would have plate tectonics the gradual movement of land plates on the planets crust, relative to one another just as Earth does.

And that movement of crustal plates would, of course, affect the configuration of continents and islands.

Venus as seen in enhanced color by Japans Akatsuki spacecraft. Its surface cannot be seen with the eye alone. Its completely covered with dense clouds. Theres a wonderful article about real images of Venus via Japans Akatsuki spacecraft, at the Planetary Society blog. Akatsuki began orbiting Venus in 2015. The images were put through special processing and released in 2018.

Artists concept of what a terraformed Venus might look like, with Earth-like oceans, continents and clouds. Image via Ittiz/ Wikimedia Commons.

But, of course, in another sense, the map of Venus as a water world doesnt compute under current real-world conditions. As planetary scientist Byrne noted in the Inverse article:

In reality, its not remotely realistic.

Thats because of the extreme conditions that exist on Venus today. A watery ocean cant exist on a world thats hot enough to melt lead. So the map isnt accurate in terms of the real planet Venus now. And now is what this map shows. See the contradiction?

Still, Dragonite-2s map helps us use our imaginations and cast our minds back in time or forward into the future when, according to some visionaries, Venus might be a very different place. Byrne was speaking of the past Venus when he said:

Although a Venus with oceans wouldnt look much like the Reddit image, it is fun to think about what a blue Venus might once have looked like, and why its climate turned into the hellish world it is today.

And we can imagine Venus as a terraformed world, purposely made to be more habitable and Earth-like again. This is a well-known concept for Mars, to transform the dry, cold planet back into a habitable one. Despite the fact that Mars is the most Earthlike world in our solar system, terraforming Mars would be difficult, according to most experts.

But terraforming Venus a world the same size and density as Earth, but not remotely like Earth on its surface would be even more difficult.

That hasnt stopped some people from thinking about it, though. The famed astronomer Carl Sagan was one of the first to propose ways to terraform Venus, back in 1961. Sagan had suggested seeding Venus clouds with algae; later, it was determined that wouldnt work because the atmosphere was found to be too thick. Astronomer Geoffrey Landis mentioned Sagans ideas, and the history of terraforming in general, in a paper from 2011.

Below is a short video animation depicting how the surface of Venus might look during a gradual transformation back into a water world:

Of course, the biggest hurdle in terraforming Venus would be in trying to reverse the runaway greenhouse effect that caused the planet to heat up to the extreme temperatures we see today. That wouldnt be easy. It would require huge amounts of energy and advanced technology. But a terraformed Venus might have some advantages over a terraformed Mars, according to Paul Byrne. As Byrne points out, Venus is almost the same size as Earth, with similar gravity, and it might be easier to remove carbon dioxide which makes up most of the planets atmosphere and causes the greenhouse effect from its atmosphere to cool the planet, than to add gases to Mars thin atmosphere to warm it. Byrne commented:

If we were to terraform anywhere, then Id pick Venus over Mars. But, to be clear: its going to be orders of magnitude more achievable to stop f%#&ing up our own climate here on Earth than trying to make anywhere else even remotely habitable for humans.

Good point.

So while Dragonite-2s map in Reddit might not be all that accurate according to scientists it does give us a reason to think. It provides an interesting glimpse at Venus as weve never known it, but which might have existed in the past. And just maybe it gives us a vision a world that might exist again in the future.

Not ready to stop thinking about maps and worlds made habitable via terraforming? Dragonite-2 posted another imaginary water-world map on the subreddit MapPorn, a few days after the Venus map. Its shared below. It shows what Earths moon would look like, if it were covered with water. Enjoy!

Another great map that depicts the moon if its had as much water as Earth from r/MapPorn

Bottom line: A cool new map by a Reddit user shows what Venus might look like with oceans on its surface.

Via Reddits MapPorn

Via Inverse

Via NOAAs Science on a Sphere

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Cool! Heres how Venus would look as a water world - EarthSky

Longtime Literature Professor, Noted Poet Begins Next Chapter with Retirement – University of Texas at Dallas

University of Texas at Dallas professor Dr. Frederick Turner, who over the past 50 years has won numerous literary awards, published dozens of books, touched the lives of hundreds of students, and even been quoted in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, retired from teaching Sept. 1.

Dr. Frederick Turner

Turner, the Founders Professor of literature and creative writing, is described by many as a Renaissance scholar, with interests that span poetry and literature to neuroscience and psychology.

He could not have fit more seamlessly into the vision that started UTDallas that is, seeing linkages across disciplines, seeing that the more interesting the problem, the more it demanded seeking multiple modes of understanding it, said Dr. Dennis Kratz, senior associate provost, director of the Center for Asian Studies, and the Ignacy and Celina Rockover Professor. He has been adventurous and willing to address the large ideas underlying the specific concepts that too many academics limit themselves to.

Dr. Nils Roemer, interim dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, director of the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies, and the Stan and Barbara Rabin Professor in Holocaust Studies, described Turner as an unbound professor who will delve into anything to follow his curiosity.

For Fred, its all connected science, nature, poetry and theres no real separation. These types of scholars are not governed by boundaries or disciplines or a sense of respective expertise. If theres something that interests them something beautiful and aesthetic they are there, Roemer said.

He could not have fit more seamlessly into the vision that started UTDallas that is, seeing linkages across disciplines, seeing that the more interesting the problem, the more it demanded seeking multiple modes of understanding it. He has been adventurous and willing to address the large ideas underlying the specific concepts that too many academics limit themselves to.

Dr. Dennis Kratz, senior associate provost, director of the Center for Asian Studies, and the Ignacy and Celina Rockover Professor

The son of an anthropologist, Turner grew up in Zambia where he learned through correspondence courses. Eventually, he earned his bachelors and masters degrees at the University of Oxford, where he also earned a BLitt (no longer given), which is a terminal degree at the PhD level.

Turner came to UTDallas in 1985 after beginning his teaching career in 1967 at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Turner taught a range of subjects, including Shakespeare, Renaissance studies and performance studies, but writing and literature always remained the heart of his work.

Fundamentally, Im a poet, he said. I had my sense of poetic vocation when I was about 10 years old. And although I love teaching and love being a scholar, those were essentially ways of supporting my writing habit. Poets need patrons, and probably the best patron you can have is yourself.

Turner is a winner of the Miln Fst Prize (Hungarys highest literary honor), the Levinson Prize for poetry, the Dallas Chapter Golden Pen Award, The Missouri Review essay prize, the David Robert Poetry prize, the Gjenima Prize, and several other literary, artistic and academic honors. He has participated in literary and TV projects that have won the Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Award and an Emmy, respectively. He is a fellow of the Texas Institute of Letters. Turners Genesis: An Epic Poem, published in 1988, was the first major work of poetry that addressed the idea of terraforming Mars.

Dr. Frederick Turner (right) and Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsvth read testimonies written by concentration camp prisoners during a special Holocaust event in March 2018. Turner and Ozsvth, who also retired recently, collaborated on a number of writings and events, particularly translation projects.

He has published nearly 50 books, which include collections of poetry, book-length poems, literary criticism, cultural criticism and literary translations. Most of the translation books were done with his longtime collaborator, Dr. Zsuzsanna Ozsvth, UTDallas professor of literature and history, who also retired recently. The two plan to continue their weekly meetings and translation collaboration. Turner called Ozsvth his closest non-family friend.

Roemer said Turner has been popular even life-changing among students.

You have normal professors, and you have professors with whom students form very deep, long-lasting relationships. Fred is among those professors who have been very transformative to many, many students, Roemer said.

Even though Turner is retiring from teaching, he said he will continue to contribute to the University through talks, advice and institutional memory. He plans to spend most of his time diving deeper into his writing.

You have normal professors, and you have professors with whom students form very deep, long-lasting relationships. Fred is among those professors who have been very transformative to many, many students.

Dr. Nils Roemer, interim dean of the School of Arts and Humanities

For Fred, retirement is about finally being able to do all the other things he wants to do particularly writing, Roemer said. His writing was part of UTDallas, but it also extended beyond that, to the world, which is why I think his teaching is the biggest mark that he is leaving behind.

Turner said he hopes UTDallas will continue to focus on its interdisciplinary nature.

The University, of course, has big demands to shine in particular niches or pigeonholes, and thats fine, he said. But I think the soul of the University is in what happens in between the pigeonholes. And I hope we continue with that.

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Longtime Literature Professor, Noted Poet Begins Next Chapter with Retirement - University of Texas at Dallas

Don’t ignore Venus Earth’s twin hides surprising opportunities (op-ed) – Space.com

The planet Venus is fascinating, terrifying, ironic, beautiful, deadly and just possibly alive with organisms.

In many ways, Venus shows us an Earth that could have been; the twin that grew up in a different environment. As one of the few other rocky worlds in our solar system with a thick atmosphere and active volcanoes, Venus can help scientists on Earth learn valuable lessons on global carbon balance, ozone depletion and acid rain. Its wrinkly highlands probably conceal chapters in the origin story of life in the cosmos.

It is faster and easier to get to Venus than Mars. Despite Venus' hellish surface conditions, it may be practical for humans to explore and someday settle the second planet from the sun. Yet no active spacecraft have been sent to its surface since the Soviet Union's Vega 2 mission in June 1985.

As long as there have been human imaginations, Venus has inspired them. A feminine presence in the mythology of ancient Europe and the Middle East, and a masculine spirit in Mesoamerica, the duality of the "Morning/Evening Star" has launched wonder and inquiry about the universe. Interviewing 10 planetary scientists for our documentary film "Venus: Death of a Planet" and its follow-on series "Exploring Venus," we became entranced with the planet's promise. For limited time, Space.com readers can view these films for free at MagellanTV.

Earth and Venus appear to have assembled themselves out of matching materials, very near to one another in the protoplanetary disc of our early solar system. They are nearly identical in mass, gravitation and size; Earth is just 396 miles (638 kilometers) larger in diameter. As of this writing, astronomers have cataloged and confirmed 4,201 exoplanets. But the alien world that most closely resembles Earth's chemical composition, mass, diameter and gravity is actually the planet that orbits nearest to Earth.

"Everything points to Venus and Earth having been twins," planetary scientist David Grinspoon says in our film. "There's a lot of circumstantial evidence that Venus had a more Earthlike environment when it was young. They may have both had warm oceans and all the other conditions necessary for an origin of life at the time when Earth, apparently, had an origin of life."

But not anymore: The Soviet Venera and Vega landers of the 1970s and 1980s recorded temperatures around 864 degrees Fahrenheit (462 degrees Celsius) and pressures equivalent to being submerged 3,051 feet (930 meters) in an ocean on Earth. Studying when and how Venus and Earth diverged so radically from their initial similarities could be essential for sensibly managing our planet in this Anthropocene age.

Venus has been called the poster child for the greenhouse effect. Measurements of the ghastly conditions at its surface have alerted and will continue to inform Earthly climate science. Spoiler Alert: Humans will not succeed in liberating enough carbon to bring about a Venus-like hell on Earth. But, as an outlier in planetary climate data sets, Venus data calibrate and refine models of global warming upon which critical geopolitical decisions will be made for decades to come.

Understanding the cause of and cure for the so-called "ozone hole" over Antarctica arose directly from research into chlorine reactions observed in Venus' atmosphere. The worst acid rain in the solar system falls through Venus' heavy carbon dioxide air, where sulfuric acid solution replaces water as the cycling fluid. In our short film "Venus: Warnings of a Doomed Planet," scientists detail the lessons learned from comparing these macroclimates.

Video: Venus: Lessons from a climate catastrophe

"We need to understand the molecular fossils that are left in Venus' atmosphere: the noble gases of argon, neon, xenon, krypton," Lori Glaze, Director of NASA's Science Mission Directorate's Planetary Science Division, says in our film. "Those gases don't react with anything else."

So, they carry a record of how fast the early Venus atmosphere escaped to space. In particular, Venus' ratio of deuterium (an isotope of hydrogen that makes "heavy water") to hydrogen today is roughly a hundred times higher than Earth's, which scientists interpret as evidence that Venus had oceans of water in the ancient past.

What washes over Venus now? Frozen waves of lava. "Most of the surface of Venus is actually covered by volcanoes," Rosaly Lopes, a planetary volcanologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, says in the film. "We think that the volcanism on Venus happened fairly recently. There's like this real zoo of volcanoes."

Some, like shield volcanoes, resemble their counterparts on Earth. Others are like nothing else in the solar system: ones with flat tops that researchers call "pancake domes," some with both radial and concentric fractures resembling spiderwebs and so nicknamed "arachnoids," others called "ticks" with blobby bodies and spiky, leg-like slopes, and widespread tiny cinder cones, some no bigger than a house.

At the other end of the volcanic size range are huge caldera-like circles, with concentric cracks, called "coronae." Oddly, at the edges of the larger coronae, some sections of Venus' crust seem to be diving under others. But Venus doesn't have the kind of crustal plates geologists see on Earth. "Why do we see evidence of subduction, yet it hasn't developed into plate tectonics?" asks Suzanne Smrekar, a planetary geophysicist at JPL, in our film. "[Perhaps] the lithosphere is too hot, and that prevents the huge faults that define the edges of the plate from being maintained over a long term. Another idea is that we need surface water to help lubricate those faults and allow plates to slip past each other."

With no tectonic means to gradually vent its internal heat, Venus may undergo spasms of planet-wide eruptions. "The vast majority of Venus' surface is geologically very young," says Anthony Del Genio, Research Scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. "Something happened, 500 million to a billion years ago, that created tremendous amounts of volcanism and essentially overwrote most of Venus' surface."

Left standing above the global lava fields are creased and furrowed highlands called "tesserae" that may hold confirmation of ancient oceans. "That's where we want to go," says planetary geoscientist Martha Gilmore. "These rocks are the only rocks from the first 80% of the history of Venus. Were there evidence of ancient environments that would support life? Whatever the science is to form life on Earth, everything that we know about chemistry, about physics, about geology, suggests that those conditions were there on Mars and Venus too."

Gathering evidence of past life on Venus will not be simple. Mission planners are contemplating an armada of orbiters, balloons, landers and rovers. Our short film "Venus: Doing Science in Hell" explains the engineering challenges and some promising solutions.

Watch few clips for free here: "Venus Demands Extreme Engineering and Radical Robots"

But the biggest challenge in finding evidence of past life on Venus may be to assemble a critical mass of public and governmental support for big Venus missions.

There's no evidence of premeditated sedition against Venus in the science or space agency communities. Yet Mars, despite its smaller mass, clearly exerts stronger gravitational influence on policy and program planning. Why?

More Mars data is available, drawing more graduate students. Thus, more careers are building around the Red Planet. It's harder to land on Mars but much easier to do surface science: Optics and electronics much prefer the cold, thin Martian atmosphere to the viscous blast furnace of Venus. If we "follow the water," we won't find any on the landscape of Venus.

Related: Scientists want NASA to send a Flagship mission to Venus

We've seen a lot more of Mars' surface and it looks like Earth; so much so that lay observers easily forget its fundamental unfriendliness to biology. Visiting and populating the landscape of Mars is going to be a lot more challenging for humans than those inspirational illustrations from SpaceX, NASA and others make it look. Still, a certain Martian chauvinism persists.

In the quest for other bioworlds, Venus offers more frequent optimum launch windows and shorter trip time than Mars; much shorter than to Jupiter's moon Europa or Saturn's moons Enceladus or Titan. But can anything live on Venus? Likely not on the superhot surface! But rise up 25 to 45 miles (45 to 70 km) into the Venus clouds and you'll notice the temperature and pressure drop to that of sea level on Earth. And there's an anomaly floating in these temperate altitudes.

For more than 100 years, astronomers have photographed dark patches appearing in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum. "These patches are because something is absorbing sunlight in the clouds of Venus,' says Sanjay Limaye, a senior scientist at the Space Science and Engineering Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"Some of the properties of terrestrial bacteria mimic the spectral absorption that we see on Venus. And we hypothesize that maybe there are some microorganisms, given the fact that Venus maybe had liquid water. It had all the conditions to evolve life," Limaye added. Researchers have found bacteria in the clouds of Earth, as well as every other Earthly environment ever checked.

There's more discourse on this question, from Limaye and other scientists, in our short film "Is There Life in the Clouds of Venus?" on MagellanTV.

You can see a few clips here: "Does Life Survive in Venus' Atmosphere?"

The cloud-climate appears to shift on a scale of decades. The dark absorption patches ebb and flow. And this "living mist" concept is not new: In 1967, biologist Harold Morowitz and astronomer Carl Sagan speculated on the possibility of cloud-borne biota floating over Venus. If they are there, it should be a simple matter to find them. No landing is required, just a mission to the cool cloud tops.

"Venus winds are extremely fast," says Limaye. "On Earth it'll take you a month to fly around the Earth, whereas, on Venus, the clouds go around every four to five days and even less time than that at a higher latitude." In 1985, the Soviet Vega 2 balloon probe rode these turbulent hurricane-force thermal currents to travel more than 6,900 miles (11,100 km) at an average speed of 150 mph (240 km/h). It found the clouds at 33 miles (53 km) altitude to be warm; about 100 degrees F (38 degrees C).

Imagine what might be discovered using materials and electronics developed over the past 35 years. Geoffrey A. Landis, engineer and scientist at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio believes we can do better than just floating at the mercy of the winds. Picture a semi-buoyant electric airplane, dispatched into the cloud layer. Sunlight, bouncing around the clouds, scatters in every direction so the plane can employ solar panels on many surfaces. In addition to analyzing the atmosphere perhaps searching for microbial life this flying platform can serve as a relay station, in contact with landers or rovers on the surface and with orbiters overhead.

"Most of the processing power, most of the computers, most of the things that run the mission would be in an airplane, that's flying 50 kilometers above, or maybe in a satellite," says Landis in our film. "And it controls the probe on the surface, almost like you'd be controlling a radio-controlled car."

Northrop Grumman Corporation's Venus Atmospheric Maneuverable Platform (VAMP) proposes a dirigible flying wing, plying the atmosphere. NASA's High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC) envisions the beginnings of crewed sorties to the temperate zones of Venus' atmosphere.

Landis and other visionaries imagine going even further: Permanent human outposts in the clouds, depicted in our films "Venus: Death of a Planet" and "Cloud Cities of Venus"

You can see a few clips here: "Could astronauts explore Venus (and live there permanently)?"

"You could float habitats in the atmosphere of Venus," says Landis, "And the habitats could be very large. They could be kilometers in scale. You wouldn't even need hydrogen or helium. Because the atmosphere of Venus is mostly carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen ordinary breathable air would float. The air that's holding you up is also the air that you can breathe. The lifting gas is your environment."

"I love the idea of a human crewed mission to a cloud city on Venus," says Jonathan Sauder, senior mechatronics engineer at JPL. "You would just need to wear some type of suit that would provide you with oxygen to breathe as well as protection from the chemical air. But you wouldn't necessarily need a pressure suit."

Sauder, however, also sees the downside: "Humans tend to not like the idea of not being able to be on firm ground. And the idea that you have to stay floating above this furnace essentially, in some ways is a hard sell!" It also requires a very powerful rocket to launch back out of the atmosphere and to pull away from Venus' Earth-level gravity for your return to our planet.

As long as we're stretching our imaginations into advanced technologies, what would it take to break the planet's global greenhouse and let the heat out? On Earth, rain pulls carbon out of the sky and into the crust, then a few active volcanoes release CO2 back into the air; a (usually) healthy balance between what scientists call "sources and sinks."

"If you wanted to scrub the Venus atmosphere, you would need an ocean, and you would need weathering," says Gilmore. "Then the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can link with calcium and form rock. That's what sequesters our CO2. Four and a half billion years ago, Earth's atmosphere was also CO2 rich; that is the original atmosphere of the terrestrial planets."

Over the border between currently practical engineering and science fiction lies the idea that we may, someday, be able to remodel the entire second planet to be more like the third. Terraforming the transformation by technology of an object to have Earth-like climate characteristics can be an entertaining mental exercise. But is it remotely realistic for Venus?

"Well, you know, our more immediate task is to avoid "Venera-forming" Earth right now, says Grinspoon. "However, the mental exercise of imagining how we would terraform another planet is, I think, very valuable for learning how we would manage ourselves on Earth better, because it forces us to ask: How would we interact constructively with the planet?"

For Venus, constructive interaction means collapsing the heat trap, perhaps by dusting the air and getting the CO2 to condense out onto the landscape. To bind it into rock, we would need water; lots and lots of water. "If this was your goal," says Grinspoon, "there are a lot of stray icy objects in the solar system; I would take some large number of them and crash them into Venus."

In 1991, British scientist Paul Birch proposed transporting trillions of tons of hydrogen from the gas giant planets, like Jupiter, to convert atmospheric CO2 to oceans of water plus mountains of graphite. And he suggested shielding Venus from the sun's heat with enormous shade-panels; collecting solar energy while shrinking the atmosphere.

As it did with ancient peoples of Earth, Venus is still stimulating creativity! Some distant day, human ingenuity and machine intelligence may guide Venus onto a path more like the Earth. But in the nearer term, human recklessness could tip Earth's climate toward the present hellish conditions of Venus. Either way, these twin planets will grow more alike. Now, here in the Anthropocene, let's choose wisely.

Dave Brody writes and directs non-fiction documentary television. He was formerly Executive Producer at Space.com and Supervising Producer of Original Programs at Syfy/USA Networks. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSkyBrody. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

MagellanTV is an ad-free documentary streaming service run by filmmakers, available on iOS, Android, Fire TV, Roku, Comcast, Samsung, Vizio and the websiteMagellanTV.com. New programs are added every week, curated by MagellanTV's team of award-winning documentary filmmakers.

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Don't ignore Venus Earth's twin hides surprising opportunities (op-ed) - Space.com

Mars covered in oceans: what terraformation on the Red Planet might look like – ZME Science

Credit: Aaditya Raj Bhattarai.

Both from afar and up close, Mars looks like a desolate world that glows in bright red due to the iron-rich dust that covers the planet. However, were it to be terraformed, Mars may very well look like blue marble, similar to Earth.

In a fantastic exercise of imagination and design, a Nepal-based civil engineer mapped out Mars as it might have looked like if 71% of its surface was covered in water.

The visualizations generated by Aaditya Raj Bhattarai are part of his bachelor thesis at Tribhuwan University in Nepal, which immediately rose to fame after he shared them on the MapPorn subreddit. They show two distinct landmasses or continents, one dominated by the 20-km-tall Olympus Mons (the largest volcano in the solar system), the other more covered in flatlands, including planes like Terra Sabaea.

I am [a] big fan of Elon [Musk] and SpaceX and their plan to put man on Mars, and I hope I could help in his cause, Bhattarai told Inverse. This is a part of my side project where I calculate the volume of water required to make life on Mars sustainable and the sources required for those water volumes from comets that will come nearby Mars in [the] next 100 years.

Bhattarai notes that on his maps, the Martian sea level is as low as 963 meters below the geoid level (an approximation of the mean sea level).

Musk had previously alluded to the idea that he would terraform Mars by nuking its poles. Although it may read like satire, he was only half-joking. Later, Musk said a continuous stream of small nuclear explosions above the poles would act like artificial suns, raising the temperature.

The increasing surface temperatures would vaporize some of the carbon dioxide trapped in the south polar cap, which would end up in the atmosphere and further cause more heating. The temperature would be enough to melt the ice and provide liquid water needed to sustain life. The added liquid water would raise the atmospheric pressure to the equivalent of that found in the highest mountaintops on Earth. Although far from being survivable, it would be enough to start growing plants and trees that thrive on CO2 and produce oxygen. In March 2017, scientists grew potatoes in Mars-like soil and conditions akin to Matt Damon in The Martian, so thats doable already.

But even though these images might look enticing, Mars terraforming would be incredibly complex. It might take centuries before Mars looks anything like Earth if such a thing would even be possible in the first place.

Even so, producing an oxygen-rich atmosphere is just the tip of the iceberg. Scientists would still have to find a way to address the myriad other problems like:

Even with this out of the day, theres still the issues that:

Nevertheless, terraforming Mars might be worth pursuing. Who knows what the 22nd century might look like

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Mars covered in oceans: what terraformation on the Red Planet might look like - ZME Science

Terraforming of Mars – Wikipedia

hypothetical modification of Mars into a habitable planet

The terraforming of Mars is a hypothetical procedure that would consist of a planetary engineering project or concurrent projects, with the goal of transforming the planet from one hostile to terrestrial life to one that can sustainably host humans and other lifeforms free of protection or mediation. The process would presumably involve the rehabilitation of the planet's extant climate, atmosphere, and surface through a variety of resource-intensive initiatives, and the installation of a novel ecological system or systems.

Justifications for choosing Mars over other potential terraforming targets include the presence of water and a geological history that suggests it once harbored a dense atmosphere similar to Earths. Hazards and difficulties include low gravity, low light levels relative to Earths, and the lack of a magnetic field.

The terraforming of Mars may not be feasible. Disagreement exists about whether current technology could render the planet habitable. Other objections included ethical concerns about terraforming and the considerable cost that such an undertaking would involve. Reasons for terraforming the planet include allaying concerns about resource use and depletion on Earth and arguments that the altering and subsequent or concurrent settlement of other planets decreases the odds of humanity's extinction.

Future population growth, demand for resources, and an alternate solution to the Doomsday argument may require human colonization of bodies other than Earth, such as Mars, the Moon, and other objects. Space colonization would facilitate harvesting the Solar System's energy and material resources.[2]

In many aspects, Mars is the most Earth-like of all the other planets in the Solar System. It is thought[3] that Mars had a more Earth-like environment early in its history, with a thicker atmosphere and abundant water that was lost over the course of hundreds of millions of years. Given the foundations of similarity and proximity, Mars would make one of the most plausible terraforming targets in the Solar System.

Side effects of terraforming include the potential displacement or destruction of indigenous life, even if microbial, if such life exists.[4][5][6][7]

The Martian environment presents several terraforming challenges to overcome and the extent of terraforming may be limited by certain key environmental factors. Here is a list of some of the ways in which Mars differs from Earth, which terraforming seeks to address:

Mars does not have an intrinsic global magnetic field, but the solar wind directly interacts with the atmosphere of Mars, leading to the formation of a magnetosphere from magnetic field tubes.[13] This poses challenges for mitigating solar radiation and retaining an atmosphere.

The lack of a magnetic field, its relatively small mass, and its atmospheric photochemistry, all would have contributed to the evaporation and loss of its surface liquid water over time.[14] Solar windinduced ejection of Martian atmospheric atoms has been detected by Mars-orbiting probes, indicating that the solar wind has stripped the Martian atmosphere over time. For comparison, while Venus has a dense atmosphere, it has only traces of water vapor (20 ppm) as it lacks a large, dipole induced, magnetic field.[13][15][14]Earth's ozone layer provides additional protection. Ultraviolet light is blocked before it can dissociate water into hydrogen and oxygen.[16]

The surface gravity on Mars is 38% of that on Earth. It is not known if this is enough to prevent the health problems associated with weightlessness.[17]

Mars's CO2 atmosphere has about 1% the pressure of the Earth's at sea level. It is estimated that there is sufficient CO2 ice in the regolith and the south polar cap to form a 30 to 60 kilopascals [kPa] (4.4 to 8.7psi) atmosphere if it is released by planetary warming."[18] The reappearance of liquid water on the Martian surface would add to the warming effects and atmospheric density,[18] but the lower gravity of Mars requires 2.6 times Earth's column airmass to obtain the optimum 100kPa (15psi) pressure at the surface.[19] Additional volatiles to increase the atmosphere's density must be supplied from an external source, such as redirecting several massive asteroids containing ammonia (NH3) as a source of nitrogen.[18]

Current conditions in the Martian atmosphere, at less than 1kPa (0.15psi) of atmospheric pressure, are significantly below the Armstrong limit of 6kPa (0.87psi) where very low pressure causes exposed bodily liquids such as saliva, tears, and the liquids wetting the alveoli within the lungs to boil away. Without a pressure suit, no amount of breathable oxygen delivered by any means will sustain oxygen-breathing life for more than a few minutes.[20][21] In the NASA technical report Rapid (Explosive) Decompression Emergencies in Pressure-Suited Subjects, after exposure to pressure below the Armstrong limit, a survivor reported that his "last conscious memory was of the water on his tongue beginning to boil".[21] In these conditions humans die within minutes unless a pressure suit provides life support.

If Mars' atmospheric pressure could rise above 19kPa (2.8psi), then a pressure suit would not be required. Visitors would only need to wear a mask that supplied 100% oxygen under positive pressure. A further increase to 24kPa (3.5psi) of atmospheric pressure would allow a simple mask supplying pure oxygen.[22][clarification needed] This might look similar to mountain climbers who venture into pressures below 37kPa (5.4psi), also called the death zone, where an insufficient amount of bottled oxygen has often resulted in hypoxia with fatalities.[23] However, if the increase in atmospheric pressure was achieved by increasing CO2 (or other toxic gas) the mask would have to ensure the external atmosphere did not enter the breathing apparatus. CO2 concentrations as low as 1% cause drowsiness in humans. Concentrations of 7% to 10% may cause suffocation, even in the presence of sufficient oxygen. (See Carbon dioxide toxicity.)

According to scientists, Mars exists on the outer edge of the habitable zone, a region of the Solar System where liquid water on the surface may be supported if concentrated greenhouse gases could increase the atmospheric pressure.[18] The lack of both a magnetic field and geologic activity on Mars may be a result of its relatively small size, which allowed the interior to cool more quickly than Earth's, although the details of such a process are still not well understood.[24][25]

There are strong indications that Mars once had an atmosphere as thick as Earth's during an earlier stage in its development, and that its pressure supported abundant liquid water at the surface.[26] Although water appears to have once been present on the Martian surface, ground ice currently exists from mid-latitudes to the poles.[27][28] The soil and atmosphere of Mars contain many of the main elements crucial to life, including sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon.[29]

Any climate change induced in the near term is likely to be driven by greenhouse warming produced by an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and a consequent increase in atmospheric water vapor. These two gases are the only likely sources of greenhouse warming that are available in large quantities in the Mars environment.[30] Large amounts of water ice exist below the Martian surface, as well as on the surface at the poles, where it is mixed with dry ice, frozen CO2. Significant amounts of water are located at the south pole of Mars, which, if melted, would correspond to a planetwide ocean 511 meters deep.[31][32] Frozen carbon dioxide (CO2) at the poles sublimes into the atmosphere during the Martian summers, and small amounts of water residue are left behind, which fast winds sweep off the poles at speeds approaching 400km/h (250mph).[citation needed][original research?] This seasonal occurrence transports large amounts of dust and water ice into the atmosphere, forming Earth-like ice clouds.[33]

Most of the oxygen in the Martian atmosphere is present as carbon dioxide (CO2), the main atmospheric component. Molecular oxygen (O2) only exists in trace amounts. Large amounts of elemental oxygen can be also found in metal oxides on the Martian surface, and in the soil, in the form of per-nitrates.[34] An analysis of soil samples taken by the Phoenix lander indicated the presence of perchlorate, which has been used to liberate oxygen in chemical oxygen generators.[35] Electrolysis could be employed to separate water on Mars into oxygen and hydrogen if sufficient liquid water and electricity were available. However, if vented into the atmosphere it would escape into space.

Terraforming Mars would entail three major interlaced changes: building up the magnetosphere, building up the atmosphere, and raising the temperature. The atmosphere of Mars is relatively thin and has a very low surface pressure. Because its atmosphere consists mainly of CO2, a known greenhouse gas, once Mars begins to heat, the CO2 may help to keep thermal energy near the surface. Moreover, as it heats, more CO2 should enter the atmosphere from the frozen reserves on the poles, enhancing the greenhouse effect. This means that the two processes of building the atmosphere and heating it would augment each other, favoring terraforming. However, it would be difficult to keep the atmosphere together because of the lack of a protective global magnetic field against erosion by the solar wind.[36][37][38][39]

One method of augmenting the Martian atmosphere is to introduce ammonia (NH3). Large amounts of ammonia are likely to exist in frozen form on minor planets orbiting in the outer Solar System. It might be possible to redirect the orbits of these or smaller ammonia-rich objects so that they collide with Mars, thereby transferring the ammonia into the Martian atmosphere.[40] Ammonia is not stable in the Martian atmosphere, however. It breaks down into (diatomic) nitrogen and hydrogen after a few hours.[41] Thus, though ammonia is a powerful greenhouse gas, it is unlikely to generate much planetary warming. Presumably, the nitrogen gas would eventually be depleted by the same processes that stripped Mars of much of its original atmosphere, but these processes are thought to have required hundreds of millions of years. Being much lighter, the hydrogen would be removed much more quickly. Carbon dioxide is 2.5 times the density of ammonia, and nitrogen gas, which Mars barely holds on to, is more than 1.5 times the density, so any imported ammonia that did not break down would also be lost quickly into space.

Another way to create a Martian atmosphere would be to import methane (CH4) or other hydrocarbons,[42][43] which are common in Titan's atmosphere and on its surface; the methane could be vented into the atmosphere where it would act to compound the greenhouse effect.[44] However, like ammonia (NH3), methane (CH4) is a relatively light gas. It is in fact even less dense than ammonia and so would similarly be lost into space if it was introduced, but at a faster rate than ammonia. Even if a method could be found to prevent it escaping into space, methane can exist in the Martian atmosphere for only a limited period before it is destroyed. Estimates of its lifetime range from 0.64 years.[45][46]

Especially powerful greenhouse gases, such as sulfur hexafluoride, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), or perfluorocarbons (PFCs), have been suggested both as a means of initially warming Mars and of maintaining long-term climate stability.[18][19][47][30] These gases are proposed for introduction because they generate a greenhouse effect thousands of times stronger than that of CO2. Fluorine-based compounds such as sulphur hexafluoride and perfluorocarbons are preferable to chlorine-based ones as the latter destroys ozone. It has been estimated that approximately 0.3 microbars of CFCs would need to be introduced into Mars' atmosphere in order to sublimate the south polar CO2 glaciers.[47] This is equivalent to a mass of approximately 39 million tonnes, that is, about three times the amount of CFCs manufactured on Earth from 1972 to 1992 (when CFC production was banned by international treaty).[47] Maintaining the temperature would require continual production of such compounds as they are destroyed due to photolysis. It has been estimated that introducing 170 kilotons of optimal greenhouse compounds (CF3CF2CF3, CF3SCF2CF3, SF6, SF5CF3, SF4(CF3)2) annually would be sufficient to maintain a 70-K greenhouse effect given a terraformed atmosphere with earth-like pressure and composition.[19]

Typical proposals envision producing the gases on Mars using locally extracted materials, nuclear power, and a significant industrial effort. The potential for mining fluorine-containing minerals to obtain the raw material necessary for the production of CFCs and PFCs is supported by mineralogical surveys of Mars that estimate the elemental presence of fluorine in the bulk composition of Mars at 32 ppm by mass (as compared to 19.4 ppm for the Earth).[19]

Alternatively, CFCs might be introduced by sending rockets with payloads of compressed CFCs on collision courses with Mars.[34] When the rockets crashed into the surface they would release their payloads into the atmosphere. A steady barrage of these "CFC rockets" would need to be sustained for a little over a decade while Mars changed chemically and became warmer.

Mirrors made of thin aluminized PET film could be placed in orbit around Mars to increase the total insolation it receives.[18] This would direct the sunlight onto the surface and could increase Mars's surface temperature directly. The mirror could be positioned as a statite, using its effectiveness as a solar sail to orbit in a stationary position relative to Mars, near the poles, to sublimate the CO2 ice sheet and contribute to the warming greenhouse effect.[18]

Reducing the albedo of the Martian surface would also make more efficient use of incoming sunlight in terms of heat absorption.[48] This could be done by spreading dark dust from Mars's moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are among the blackest bodies in the Solar System; or by introducing dark extremophile microbial life forms such as lichens, algae and bacteria.[citation needed] The ground would then absorb more sunlight, warming the atmosphere. However, Mars is already the second darkest planet in the solar system, absorbing over 70% of incoming sunlight so the scope for darkening it further is small.

If algae or other green life were established, it would also contribute a small amount of oxygen to the atmosphere, though not enough to allow humans to breathe. The conversion process to produce oxygen is highly reliant upon water, without which the CO2 is mostly converted to carbohydrates.[49] In addition, because on Mars atmospheric oxygen is lost into space (unlike Earth where there is an Oxygen cycle), this would represent a permanent loss from the planet. For both of these reasons it would be necessary to cultivate such life inside a closed system. This would decrease the albedo of the closed system (assuming the growth had a lower albedo than the Martian soil), but would not affect the albedo of the planet as a whole.

On April 26, 2012, scientists reported that lichen survived and showed remarkable results on the adaptation capacity of photosynthetic activity within the simulation time of 34 days under Martian conditions in the Mars Simulation Laboratory (MSL) maintained by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).[50][51]

One final issue with albedo reduction is the common Martian dust storms. These cover the entire planet for weeks, and not only increase the albedo, but block sunlight from reaching the surface. This has been observed to cause a surface temperature drop which the planet takes months to recover from.[52] Once the dust settles it then covers whatever it lands on, effectively erasing the albedo reduction material from the view of the Sun.

Since 2014, the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program and Techshot Inc are working together to develop sealed biodomes that would employ colonies of oxygen-producing cyanobacteria and algae for the production of molecular oxygen (O2) on Martian soil.[53][54][55] But first they need to test if it works on a small scale on Mars.[56] The proposal is called Mars Ecopoiesis Test Bed.[57] Eugene Boland is the Chief Scientist at Techshot, a company located in Greenville, Indiana.[53] They intend to send small canisters of extremophile photosynthetic algae and cyanobacteria aboard a future rover mission. The rover would cork-screw the 7cm (2.8in) canisters into selected sites likely to experience transients of liquid water, drawing some Martian soil and then release oxygen-producing microorganisms to grow within the sealed soil.[53][58] The hardware would use Martian subsurface ice as its phase changes into liquid water.[56] The system would then look for oxygen given off as metabolic byproduct and report results to a Mars-orbiting relay satellite.[55][58]

If this experiment works on Mars, they will propose to build several large and sealed structures called biodomes, to produce and harvest oxygen for a future human mission to Mars life support systems.[58][59] Being able to create oxygen there would provide considerable cost-savings to NASA and allow for longer human visits to Mars than would be possible if astronauts have to transport their own heavy oxygen tanks.[59] This biological process, called ecopoiesis, would be isolated, in contained areas, and is not meant as a type of global planetary engineering for terraforming of Mars's atmosphere,[55][59] but NASA states that "This will be the first major leap from laboratory studies into the implementation of experimental (as opposed to analytical) planetary in situ research of greatest interest to planetary biology, ecopoiesis, and terraforming."[55]

Research at the University of Arkansas presented in June 2015 suggested that some methanogens could survive in Mars's low pressure.[60] Rebecca Mickol found that in her laboratory, four species of methanogens survived low-pressure conditions that were similar to a subsurface liquid aquifer on Mars. The four species that she tested were Methanothermobacter wolfeii, Methanosarcina barkeri, Methanobacterium formicicum, and Methanococcus maripaludis.[60] Methanogens do not require oxygen or organic nutrients, are non-photosynthetic, use hydrogen as their energy source and carbon dioxide (CO2) as their carbon source, so they could exist in subsurface environments on Mars.[60]

One key aspect of terraforming Mars is to protect the atmosphere (both present and future-built) from being lost into space. Some scientists hypothesize that creating a planet-wide artificial magnetosphere would be helpful in resolving this issue. According to two NIFS Japanese scientists, it is feasible to do that with current technology by building a system of refrigerated latitudinal superconducting rings, each carrying a sufficient amount of direct current.[62]

In the same report, it is claimed that the economic impact of the system can be minimized by using it also as a planetary energy transfer and storage system (SMES).

Another study proposes the deployment of a magnetic dipole shield at the Mars L1 Lagrange point, therefore creating a partial and distant artificial magnetosphere located between Mars and the Sun, that would protect the whole planet from solar wind and radiation.[14]

During the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop[14] in late February 2017, NASA scientist Jim Green proposed a concept of placing a magnetic dipole field between the planet and the Sun to protect it from high-energy solar particles. It would be located at the L1 orbit at about 320 R. The field would need to be "Earth comparable" and sustain 50000nT as measured at 1 Earth-radius. The paper abstract cites that this could be achieved by a magnet with a strength of 12 teslas (10,00020,000 gauss).[63] If constructed, the shield may allow the planet to restore its atmosphere. Simulations indicate that within years, the planet would be able to achieve half the atmospheric pressure of Earth. Without solar winds stripping away at the planet, frozen carbon dioxide at the ice caps on either pole would begin to sublimate (change from a solid into a gas) and warm the equator. Ice caps would begin to melt to form an ocean. The researcher further argues that volcanic outgassing,[dubious discuss] which to some degree balances the current atmospheric loss on Earth, would replenish the atmosphere over time, enough to melt the ice caps and fill 17 of Mars' prehistoric oceans.[64][65][14]

The overall energy required to sublimate the CO2 from the south polar ice cap was modeled by Zubrin and McKay in 1993.[18] If using orbital mirrors, an estimated 120 MW-years of electrical energy would be required in order to produce mirrors large enough to vaporize the ice caps. This is considered the most effective method, though the least practical. If using powerful halocarbon greenhouse gases, an order of 1,000 MW-years of electrical energy would be required to accomplish this heating. However, if all of this CO2 were put into the atmosphere,it would only double[30] the current atmospheric pressure from 6 mbar to 12 mbar, amounting to about 1.2% of Earth's mean sea level pressure. The amount of warming that could be produced today by putting even 100 mbar of CO2 into the atmosphere is small, roughly of order 10K.[30] Additionally, once in the atmosphere, it likely would be removed quickly, either by diffusion into the subsurface and adsorption or by re-condensing onto the polar caps.[30]

The surface or atmospheric temperature required to allow liquid water to exist has not been determined, and liquid waterconceivably could exist when atmospheric temperatures are as low as 245K (28C; 19F). However, a warming of 10K is much less than thought necessary in order to produce liquid water.[30]

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Terraforming of Mars - Wikipedia

How Terraforming Mars Will Work | HowStuffWorks

We have been going to space for decades now, but until the year 2000, those stays in orbit were always temporary. However, when three astronauts moved into the International Space Station (ISS) for a four-month stay, it marked the beginning of a decade and a half of a permanent human presence in space. The arrival of these three astronauts at the ISS on Nov. 2, 2000, sparked one NASA official to remark, "We're going into space forever with people first circling this globe, and then we're going to Mars...."

Why would we ever want to go to Mars? As pictures beamed back from planetary probes and rovers since 1964 have shown, Mars is a desolate, lifeless planet with seemingly little to offer humans. It has a very thin atmosphere and no signs of existing life -- but Mars does hold some promise for the continuation of the human race. There are more than six billion people on Earth, and that number continues to grow unabated. This overcrowding, or the possibility of planetary disaster, will force us to eventually consider new homes in our solar system, and Mars may have more to offer us than the photos of its barren landscape now show.

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How Terraforming Mars Will Work | HowStuffWorks

NASAs Curiosity Rover Reaches an Impressive Milestone During its Mars Mission – Webby Feed

Home News NASAs Curiosity Rover Reaches an Impressive Milestone During its Mars Mission

The Curiosity rover was sent to Mars by NASA in 2012 in order to study the planets Gale Crater. The bigger goal was to find out if the crater could have supported life as it exists on Earth. Very few people suspected that Curiosity could go so far as it did. Life wasnt found on Mars until now, but Curiosity reached an unprecedented milestone.

Its time to say Happy Birthday! to the Curiosity rover that had been roaming the Martian surface for eight wonderful years.

NASAs Curiosity rover celebrated its 8th anniversary yesterday, on August 5. The rover didnt find any little green men living on the Red Planet, but it still had enormous contributions for making scientists understand the planet a lot better.

Judging by the data gathered by the Curiosity rover, scientists were able to conclude that the Gale crater from Mars hosted a potentially habitable lake-and-stream system. The rover also found some complex organic chemicals on Mars.

Space agencies are continuing to explore the Red Planet in order to find out all the possible dangers that astronauts could be facing there. NASA plans to send humans to the Moon after more than half a century, along with the Artemis program. If everything goes according to the plan, the next destination is Mars. Scientists hope to begin the terraforming of Mars in the future, but we are naive to think that well be able to move our luggage on the Red Planet in less than a hundred years. But for a short visit to Mars, that wouldnt be a problem with the current technology.

If the distance between Earth and the Moon is only 384,000 kilometers, well have to travel much more if we want to arrive to our neighboring planet. The shortest distance between our planet and Mars is 54.6 million kilometers.


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NASAs Curiosity Rover Reaches an Impressive Milestone During its Mars Mission - Webby Feed

Terraforming Mars (board game) – Wikipedia

2016 strategy board game

Terraforming Mars is a board game for 1 to 5 players designed by Jacob Fryxelius and published by FryxGames in 2016, and thereafter by 12 others, including Stronghold Games.

In Terraforming Mars, players take the role of corporations working together to terraform the planet Mars by raising the temperature, adding oxygen to the atmosphere, covering the planet's surface with water and creating plant and animal life.[1] Players compete to earn the most victory points, which are measured by their contribution to terraforming and to human infrastructure. Players accomplish these goals by collecting income and resources which allow them to play various projects, represented by cards (drawn from a deck of over 200 unique cards), which increase their income or resources or directly contribute to terraforming the planet or building infrastructure.

The game has been well received by fans and critics, winning or being nominated for multiple awards and accolades.

Players represent competing corporations who all have a stake in terraforming Mars. The game board depicts the planet's surface, which is represented by an array of 61 contiguous hexes. Each hex represents about 1% of Mars' surface area. Onto these hexes, players can place oceans, greenery, cities and other special features.[2] The object of the game is for players to complete three terraforming conditions: raise the atmosphere's oxygen level to 14%; raise the temperature from -30 to +8 degrees Celsius; and cover 9% of Mars' surface by ocean (represented in-game as having 9 ocean tiles placed on Mars).

Players accomplish these goals by playing cards that represent various technologies or buildings used to terraform Mars.[3][2] The game is played over a number of generations, each represented as one game round. A generation begins with players drawing cards, then players take turns performing actions (which can be playing cards, using the ability of a card already in play or paying for one of the several actions depicted on the board). Once all players have finished taking actions, players collect income and resources according to their production of the different resources, then the next generation begins.

One of the unique aspects in Terraforming Mars is the Terraforming Rating (TR) system. Whenever a player performs an action that advances one of the terraforming conditions, the player's TR increases. A player's TR not only represents the victory points they have earned during the game, but is also added to a player's money income when collecting income and resources at the end of each generation.

The game ends at the end of any generation when the three terraforming conditions have been met.[4][5] Then, players count up their points, which come from their TR at the end of the game, cities and greeneries that they have placed on Mars, achievements they have claimed during the game and cards they have played, and the player with the highest score wins.

Five expansions have been released:[6][7][8][9]

A legacy variant[10] and a dice game[11] are being developed and are expected to be released in 2020 or 2021.

A video game adaptation of Terraforming Mars, developed by Asmodee Digital, was released in October 2018. Matt Thrower of Strategy Gamer considered the adaptation to have "too many rough edges to recommend".[12] However, in a list of Best Board Games On PC from the same site he later revised this opinion, saying "developer Asmodee Digital has stepped up the plate with a host of updates. And while the interface remains a bit obtuse, the game itself is shining as it should."[13]

Popular Mechanics named Terraforming Mars as one of its 50 best games of the year.[14] Polygon named Terraforming Mars its runner up for best game of 2016 and best strategy game of 2016,[15] Ars Technica listed the game as one of its 20 best games of 2016,[16] and Vulture called it "the best high strategy game of 2016."[17]

The game was nominated for the 2017 Kennerspiel des Jahres award for best strategy game of the year.[18] As of 2019, Terraforming Mars is ranked 3rd among all board games on BoardGameGeek.[19]

Hellas and Elysium and Venus Next were the two runners-up for the Golden Geek award for the best expansion to a game in 2017.[20]

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Terraforming Mars (board game) - Wikipedia

Conquer the solar system in the upcoming game Solar Expanse . Drop asteroids, terraform, and plan rocket flights to eventually explore the entire…

[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource GamesPress.]

Go to the edge of our galaxy and beyond in the one-of-a-kind space challenge that awaits you in Solar Expanse. Take on the leading role of an early 21st-century space exploration company and show your competitors how space exploration is supposed to be done!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 4th, Warsaw, Poland.

Solar Expanse cleverly mixes strategy elements with economics and management factors and will demand that gamers familiar with the genre bring their A game, as this time theyll be operating on a whole new, cosmic scale.

Watch the Solar Expanse announcement trailer HERE to better understand the sheer scale of the challenge.

Solar Expanse is coming to Steam soon, but you can already add the game to your Steam Wishlist (https://store.steampowered.com/app/1369700/Solar_Expanse/).


Its the early 21st century in an alternate future where SpaceX isnt the only privately-owned space technology company capable of sending astronauts into orbit. The competition in this market is huge, and the days when putting people on the International Space Station was called an achievement are long gone. Now your competitors mine and drop asteroids, colonize planets ready to be inhabited while terraforming those considered not habitable, and do everything they can to gain dominance in space. You have to think big if you want to be ahead of them, so dont limit yourself to our planetary system, but treat it as the starting point of your career. Reach the planets, moons, and asteroids of the system to mine and colonize them. Once youre ready, visit Alpha Centauri, Proxima Centauri, TRAPPIST-1, Gliese 581, or Kepler-452 your strategic thinking, management skills, and budget are your only limitations.


Solar Expanse is currently under development and will soon come to Steam.

Aside from Steam, more information about the game can be found on the publishers Facebook and Twitter.


About Games Operators

Games Operators is a publishing company that invests in, releases, and promotes video games. The company helps to develop innovative and unique video games like 911 Operator and Radio Commander by getting involved in projects at various levels of progress from the conceptual phase to nearly-finished products. http://www.gameops.pl/

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Conquer the solar system in the upcoming game Solar Expanse . Drop asteroids, terraform, and plan rocket flights to eventually explore the entire...

Mars: Oodles of facts, figures and fun questions about the Red Planet – BBC Focus Magazine

Our nearest planetary neighbour has been inspiring astronomers, stargazers and those trying to understand night sky for thousands of years, but we are forever learning more about the Red Planet. Who knows, one day we might discover even more by living on it.

Here are the Mars facts, figures and info you need to get to know the fourth planet from the Sun.

Mars as seen from Mariner 7 NASA/JPL

That depends on when you travel and how you plan on getting there. As the distance between Earth and Mars is constantly changing, so too does the amount of time it takes to get there. The quickest journey to the Red Planet by a spacecraft was Mariner 7s 1969 flyby, which took 128 days to arrive.

Due to their elliptical orbits, the distance between Mars and Earth is always changing as they spin around the Sun. At their closest approach, Mars is only 54.6 million kilometres (33.9 million miles) away. At their furthest, there are some 400 million km (250 million miles) between them.

Read more about human missions to Mars:

NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC/Univ. of Arizona

Mars has two moons; Phobos and Deimos. Phobos is the larger of the two but it is still tiny, with a radius of around 11km. Both moons were named after the Greek gods (and twin sons of the god Mars) of fear and terror respectively. They were discovered in 1877 by American astronomer Asaph Hall.

Mars and Earth have very similar lengths of day. One day on Mars, known as a sol, lasts 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35.244 Earth seconds.

In 1960, the Soviet Union was the first country to attempt a flyby of Mars with 1M (known in the West as Marsnik) but the mission was unsuccessful. The USA was the first nation to reach Mars successfully when Mariner 4 made a flyby of the Red Planet in July 1965.

NASAs Curiosity rover scoops up some Martian soil (left), and the scoop carrying soil NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Alas, there have been no reported sightings of little green men (yet), but what has been discovered on the planets surface is evidence of persistent liquid water, microbe-supporting chemistry, organic molecules, active methane and rocks. Lots of rocks.

As Mars is smaller than Earth, the effect of gravity is much weaker. Thats great news if you want to lose weight quickly, because if you weighed 75kg on Earth, that would drop to just over 28kg on Mars. The formula is Weight on Mars = (Weight on Earth/Earths gravity (9.81m/s2)) * Martian gravity (3.711m/s2).

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Asteroids. Many, many asteroids. The majority of the Solar Systems known asteroids lie between Mars and Jupiter, with between 1.1 and 1.9 million of them larger than a kilometre in diameter. There are millions more smaller ones, but are so spread out the distance between them is in the millions of kilometres.

Martian dust storm NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Despite its thin atmosphere, Mars is still capable of clouds and weather. In fact, when it comes to wind, Mars has the biggest dust storms in the whole of the Solar System. If you want to know the weather right now, NASAs InSight rover is acting as an on-location weather reporter.

Valerio Pellegrini

Mars is currently home to 16 robots, with more planned in the near future. Only two are currently operational, NASAs Curiosity rover and InSight lander, and four either crash-landed on the surface or broke up on entry. To date, Mars is the only known planet in the Universe to be entirely inhabited by robots.

Internally, Mars is made up of a dense iron, nickel and sulphur core, and this is surrounded by a softer silicon and oxygen mantle. The planets 50km-thick crust consists mainly of iron, magnesium, aluminium, calcium and potassium.

Observed structure of the Milky Ways spiral arms NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESO/R. Hurtderivative work: Cmglee/Public domain

Mars can be found in space, but if you want to be more specific its the fourth planet from the Sun in our Solar System, which itself is in the Orion-Cygnus Arm of the Milky Way. If youre into astronomical co-ordinates, it currently resides at RA 0h 58m 6s | Dec +2 10 32.

Strata at Base of Mount Sharp NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The red colour of Mars comes from the high level of iron oxide in its regolith (surface material). However, why there is so much oxidised iron on a planet with virtually no oxygen in the atmosphere is still a mystery.

Mars is not the sort of place you want to go on a summer holiday. After a months-long journey, you will be welcomed by a maximum temperature of around 20C on the equator in summer. Down at the poles, Mars can get as cold as -125C. The average temperature for the Red Planet is -63C.

Earth is roughly two times bigger than Mars NASA/JPL

The diameter of Mars is 6,790km (4,220 miles), making it roughly half the size of Earth and twice as big as the Moon. This makes it the second-smallest planet in the Solar System.

Although Earth is twice as big a Mars, it is around ten times heavier! So, well let you work out the mass of our home planet knowing that the red one pushes the scales at 6.42 x 1023 kilograms.

Mars is as old as the rest of the Solar System, making it a sprightly 4.6 billion years old.

Mars takes 687 Earth days to orbit the Sun, which means it travels at a brisk 24km/s over its 9.55 AU journey (1 AU is about 150 million km, roughly the distance between the Earth and the Sun).

Mars was once a warm, wet planet thanks to an atmosphere as thick as Earths, but those days are long gone. Now its a dusty old place due to atmospheric erosion, caused by a process known as sputtering. This happens when ions carried by solar wind knock atoms out of the atmosphere and into space.

The various sources of carbon dioxide on Mars and their estimated contribution to Martian atmospheric pressure NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Terraforming means changing a planets surface and atmosphere to be more like Earths and therefore a suitable place to live. However, for it to work we need carbon dioxide, and Mars just doesnt have enough going spare. So until we sort that out, the answer is somewhere between a very, very long time to never.

Mars has what is known as an eccentric orbit, which means its not perfectly circular around the Sun. That means the distance between the two is always changing, but at their closest it is 206 million km, while its furthest is 249 million km. This averages out to around 229 million km.

Galileo Galilei Getty Images

Mars is visible in the night sky with the naked eye, so its impossible to say exactly when anybody first saw it. There are reports of it being sighted by the ancient Egyptians two millennia BCE. However, the first to spot it through a telescope was Galileo Galilei in 1610.

A Viking Orbiter/Lander spacecraft photographed this view of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the Solar System Getty Images

Mars is a rocky planet, covered in impact craters, mountains, volcanoes and deep canyons stretching thousands of miles. Olympus Mons is the tallest mountain in the Solar System, stretching 21,229m above the surface of the planet. That towers more than 12km above Mount Everest.

Mars, the Roman god of War Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The planet Mars was named after the Roman god of War. He was second only to the king of gods, Jupiter, and was a pretty bloodthirsty chap. That might go some way to explaining why the Red Planet was named after him. The animals most associated with him were the wolf and the woodpecker.

A Mars 2 Lander model at the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics in Russia NASA

The USSR was the first country to place a human-made object on the planets surface. The first attempt, Mars 2, crash-landed in November 1971, but less than a week later Mars 3 landed and remained operational for 14.5 seconds.

One of the first pictures taken by the camera on the Mars Pathfinder lander shortly after its touchdown in 1997 NASA/JPL

Weirdly, the colour of the sky on Mars is the opposite to Earth, being blue towards sunset and sunrise and reddish-pink during the day. This unusual daytime colour is caused by the vast amounts of dust containing Magnetite, an iron ore, suspended in the atmosphere.

Curiosity made these tracks (but killed no cats in the process) NASA/JPL-Caltech

Because Curiosity killed the cat. Its a joke, obvs If you need a little more explanation, NASAs Mars Curiosity Rover landed on the Red Planet in 2012, presumably on top of any Martian felines. As of publication, there have been no reported sightings of cats on Mars and this band has a solid alibi.

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Mars: Oodles of facts, figures and fun questions about the Red Planet - BBC Focus Magazine

Pandemic Legacy, the Board-Game Series for the Age of the Coronavirus – The New Yorker

In a list of retail shortages from early March, plague historians will include toilet paper, baking yeast, and, at some stores, every kind of meat except shrimp and ribs. They should also mention a coperative board game called Pandemic. In 2004, not long after the SARS virus wound a deadly path through China, Singapore, and Canada, Matt Leacock, then a designer at Yahoo, started working on the game during his off hours. Pandemic came out four years later, and made its way from classrooms to medical schoolsit was a staple of the short-lived gift shop at the Centers for Disease Control and Preventioneventually jostling for shelf space among Hasbro stalwarts like Monopoly and Clue in Walmarts across the country. A favorite among doctors battling the coronavirus, Pandemic has grown from curiosity to cathartic release, offering, in miniature, a finite version of our stricken world.

In the past decade, board games have exploded in popularity and variety, and thousands of new games come out every year. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter have encouraged the emergence of a lucrative publishing system: veteran designers like Eric M. Lang, who crafts games set in ancient Egypt and feudal Japan, have been able to raise millions of dollars before theyve even finished making their promised sets. Across North America, board game cafs and bars have popped up, from Game Knight Lounge, in Portland, Oregon, to the Uncommons, in Manhattan, to capitalize on a new generations interest.

Modern board-games fans, bored with Life and Scrabble, pursue novelty, drawn by themes that reflect their esoteric interests. In Terraforming Mars, which was released in 2016, players control corporations and institutions, vying to erect domed cities and fill the dusty ocean beds of Mars with fish and water. Its ranked the fourth-best game of all time on the Web site BoardGameGeek. Humbler conceits have proven just as popular. Elizabeth Hargraves Wingspan, about nurturing birds in a nature preserve, relies on data from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The game has sold out every one of its print runs since it came out last year; Hargraves next project, set to appear in August, revolves around migrating monarch butterflies.

Pandemic resembles the Parker Brothers classic Risktheres a world map and continents associated with different colorsbut the goal is reversed. Instead of seeking world domination, as you raise and spread armies against your friends, you must work with other players to stop the march of multiple diseases that threaten to devastate the Earth. Each player controls a character who is uniquely suited to the games tasks. The dispatcher can shuttle another character between continents. The medic can treat more cases of a disease than his colleagues. The scientist can find a cure a little quicker. Players take in the totality of the board and advise one another, wincing together when the results are grim, cheering together when they eradicate a disease. Leacock began devising Pandemic after the bad blood resulting from a particularly acrimonious board-game experiencehis wife was among the unhappy playersspilled into real life. Enter the attractive spell cast by coperative game play: the people around you remain your friends; your enemy is the unfolding of events on the board.

Coperative board games have been gaining popularity, and, in the decade since Pandemic was released, new versions of the game, like novel strains of the flu, have cropped up every year or so. Sometimes the changes are mostly cosmetic: the tenth-anniversary edition comes in a handsome blue case meant to resemble a first-aid kit. Recently, Pandemics publisher, Z-Man Games, announced that Leacock would collaborate once again with Rob Daviau, a veteran Hasbro game designer, to create the third and final installment to their more complex Pandemic Legacy saga, which was begun in 2015.

In a legacy-style game, every time you play, the board might be permanently altered, leaving behind traces of previous decisions and their consequences. Daviau has said that the idea occurred to him while he was tinkering with a new version of Clue. He wondered why Mr. Boddy, apparently untraumatized, kept inviting the same murderous guests to his manor, over and over. What would it be like if the ghost of games past could haunt the present? In an ordinary round of Pandemic, when disease overwhelms a city, an outbreak occurs, and the infection spreads to other states or countries. In the first season of Pandemic Legacy, each game takes place in a given month of a single year. A city pummelled by infection begins to destabilize, and distress simmers among its people. Characters can be scarred and perish. Further outbreaks blossom into riots. Buildings descend into a heap of ashes. As the infected become increasingly restive, you have the option to lob grenades at them. When the players begin the game again, weeks have passed, and they must confront the same web of cities, now wrecked by disease and unrest. Half a decade after the release of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, the series has revealed itself to be an uncanny fit for the age of COVID-19.

It starts simply. A virus tougher than the rest, the unfortunately prophetic Season 1 teaser reads. But as January turns to February, things take a turn for the worse. This is no ordinary virus. What results is a year that will never be forgotten. The story is also more than a sum of the players past missteps and misfortunes. As the game progresses, a stack of cards directs players to specific panels attached to a set of top secret dossiers, along with cardboard containers that conceal game pieces. (Designers appreciate the delight players take in handling thick tokens and small cubes; Pandemics ninety-six disease cubes, in four colors, mix a satisfying object with a stressful conceit, and more game pieces lie hidden in cardboard containers, like chocolates in an advent calendar.)

The first thing you learn in this meticulous unboxing is that one of the four diseases has mutated into an untreatable form that scientists call C0dA. The name seems to reflect the way in which the game unfolds. As you play, the story develops and new characters emerge: a quarantine specialist in a leather jacket shields the populace from new infections; an operations expert with a walkie-talkie and a hard hat quickly erects research stations. The world changes and yet you return again and again to the beginning of the game. C0dA, incurable, still looms.

Many of the top-secret panels hide stickers to fill in blank spaces in the rule book, leading to moreand more complexdecisions. A minute to learn... a lifetime to master, the motto of the black-and-white-disk-flipping game Othello, is not always taken to heart by game designers. Like vintage-car collectors marvelling at shifters and carburetors, indie-board-game enthusiasts revel in elaborate systems of dos and donts. But such structures often overwhelm casual players. Gloomhaven, a fantasy-themed role-playing gameDungeons & Dragons, without the improvised storytellingis the highest-rated game of all time on BoardGameGeek; its also discouragingly complex for the uninitiated. In this respect, Pandemic Legacy performs a magic trick: as part of the story, the player must earn the rules, tying each new dictum to the suspense of the narrative. You learn about how to deploy roadblocks only after you absorb the fact that C0dA outbreaks might necessitate the drastic step of blockading a city rife with infection. The rules dont just constrict the worldthey construct it, too.

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Pandemic Legacy, the Board-Game Series for the Age of the Coronavirus - The New Yorker

Bottom Line: Quarterstaff Games Stays Alive for the Next Level of the Pandemic – Seven Days

You will not find a single video game on the shelves at Quarterstaff Games, a hobby shop tucked away up a flight of stairs next to Earth Prime Comics, on Burlington's Church Street. Instead, you might find a board game called Myrmes, an ant battle royale. ("Fill up your larder, hunt down insects and wisely place your pheromones to conquer the territory.") There's also Pandemic, whose premise now sounds depressingly like real life ("The clock is ticking as outbreaks and epidemics fuel the spreading plagues."), and Meeple Party, whose premise now sounds depressingly insane ("You and your roommates are throwing a house party."). Not surprisingly, said Quarterstaff manager Benjamin Higgins, Pandemic has been selling particularly well over the past few months.

As people cocooned themselves at home this spring, puzzle and board game sales skyrocketed. In the last two weeks of March, puzzle maker Ravensburger saw a 370 percent increase in U.S. sales compared to the same period in 2019; game manufacturer Hasbro reported strong first-quarter earnings.

Major corporations weren't the only beneficiaries of this analog gaming bubble: At the end of March, the creepy dungeon-y board game Frosthaven, created by a one-person design company, became the third-most-funded project in Kickstarter's history, generating $3 million in donations within three hours.

While the country's three biggest game retailers Target, Walmart and Amazon have profited from the pandemic-induced online retail boom, independent hobby stores such as Quarterstaff are struggling to recover from the shutdown. According to Higgins, Quarterstaff is currently operating at 50 to 60 percent of last year's sales.

Before the pandemic, Quarterstaff held tournaments and open games most nights of the week. "Gamers are very social people, and our customers describe us as family," said Higgins, who, like Quarterstaff's four other employees, found his way there through his own gaming proclivity. (Higgins is especially fond of Terraforming Mars, in which players compete to create the most suitable living conditions on our planetary neighbor.) "People were constantly here, bringing their friends and hanging out for multiple hours. We've all suffered a bit from having to sequester ourselves."

After the shop closed in late March, Higgins and the rest of the staff two other full-time employees and two part-timers quickly pivoted to a contactless business model. They set up an e-commerce site; one staffer at a time went into the store to prepare orders for shipping. Three days a week, other employees made home deliveries within Chittenden County. During the shutdown, said Higgins, they received eight to 12 delivery requests a day.

"Honestly, I expected less," he said. "Our community really rallied and supported us when we needed it, and for that we will always be thankful."

While many other small businesses laid off employees, Quarterstaff kept everyone on payroll. "In the gaming community, everyone looks out for everyone else. That's something you might not see at a clothing store," said Higgins.

In fact, the whole point of Quarterstaff is community, the shared experience of inhabiting an alternate reality. Owner Chris Farrell, 58, opened Quarterstaff in 1989 as a clubhouse for people who shared her obsession with tiny tabletop universes. "I think I got into it because I didn't have enough playmates as a kid," she said.

Since 2005, Farrell has left the day-to-day management to Quarterstaff's employees. She is so hands-off, in fact, that she told a Seven Days reporter she doesn't even know, off the top of her head, how many people work there. But the finances are still under her purview. This spring, Farrell secured a Paycheck Protection Program loan to cover payroll for both Quarterstaff and Earth Prime Comics, which she also owns.

Now that the federal money has run out, Farrell is a bit cagey about what's next. "I don't want to give this up, and I'm not ready to pull the plug, but the income just isn't there," she said. Her plan is to keep both businesses open for as long as she can. "I've already ordered inventory for the comic book store through September, so we'll be open until then!" she said with a bleak chuckle.

In true gamer fashion, Higgins has conceptualized each phase of reopening as a series of levels; currently, Quarterstaff is on Level 3, which allows up to five masked customers in the store at a time. Higgins, for his part, is in no rush to advance.

"I think we're going to hang out here for a while, until we see either a massive drop-off in infection rates everywhere or a vaccine becomes available," he said. "I'd like to think we're being more cautious than most, which is definitely a choice. We sell luxury products. Nobody needs them, and nobody will want to come in if we're not doing things right."

At Level 3, the sense of community is finally starting to come back. Since June, Quarterstaff has been holding Saturday tournaments of Warhammer 40,000, a two-player game that consists of dozens of miniature combatants, with names like Daemons of Slaanesh and Maggotkin of Nurgle, assembled in attack formations on 6-by-4-foot tables. In this particular realm, the demands of social distancing and the rules of play are fortuitously aligned.

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Bottom Line: Quarterstaff Games Stays Alive for the Next Level of the Pandemic - Seven Days

Alien Life Dwelling Beneath the Surface of Mars? New Theory Emerges – Webby Feed

Scientists had been hoping to find alien life on Mars for a lot of time, but they could witness a totally different turn of events. If little green men dont exist on the Red Planet, that doesnt mean that its impossible for them to live beneath the surface.

No life forms had been detected above or beneath the Martian surface, but theres no use losing hope just yet. A new study made by the astrophysicist Dimitra Atri from the Center for Space Science at NYU Abu Dhabi claims that conditions below the surface of the Red Planet could potentially support life.

As Atri claims, humanity could catalyze organic activity below the surface of Mars with energy provided by the steady bombardment of penetrating galactic cosmic rays (GCRs). The scientist declared:

It is exciting to contemplate that life could survive in such a harsh environment, as few as two meters below the surface of Mars,

When the Rosalind Franklin rover on board the ExoMars mission (ESA and Roscosmos), equipped with a subsurface drill, is launched in 2022, it will be well-suited to detect extant microbial life and hopefully provide some important insights.

Besides Mars, few other cosmic objects could theoretically sustain any life forms. We can also count on Enceladus, Europa, and Titan. Two of them are moons of Saturn (Enceladus and Titan), while Europa revolves around Jupiter.

Hopefully, well get rid of all doubts as soon as humanity lays foot on Mars. This is supposed to happen if the upcoming Artemis mission of NASA will successfully return humans to the Moon. The next step is to send a man and a woman to Mars, and that will only be the beginning of a much larger project of terraforming the Red Planet in the far future.


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Alien Life Dwelling Beneath the Surface of Mars? New Theory Emerges - Webby Feed

The Expanse Season 5: Cast, Plot, Release And Everything You Want To Know! – World Top Trend

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The Expanse Season five Renewal Status: Yes, It is renewed. The Expanse Season five already renewed with the aid of using Amazon Prime Video on July 27, 2019. Before the run of Season four, The Amazon Prime Video declared Season fives renewal status. Throughout its Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, its miles mentioned the renewal.Though Amazon does now no longer formally affirm the discharge date, It indicates that Amazon is attempting to gather the Season five out. According to the sources, the Filming of Season five already started, and the Filming of Season five formerly completed primarily based totally on one of these Star Cast Shohreh Aghdashloo. This suggests we might also additionally assume the Season five release on the cease of 2020, historical in 2021. We will hold updating you!

The Main Star Cast for Your Expanse Series is the following: Thomas Jane Cas Anvar seemed as Alex Kamal. Dominique Tipper acted as Naomi Nagata whilst Steven Strait performed James Holden. Season five will truly be accomplished in with the aid of using Each of the cast, together with the only too, besides for the characters. Davis Strathairn wont go back as his position resulted in Season four.

The Expanse Season five Plot goes to be primarily based totally on the Nemesis Games. It is some of the maximum well-known James S.A Coreys Novels. It clarifies the problems across the Solar System because of the electricity of Mars and Earth. People went to Ring Gates. In Season five, The Most Important Plot will screen the Casts Personal lives. Naomis Past and Alex visit forestall with the aid of using his wife. Also, Amos back to Earth.

The Main Storyline is all approximately the avoidance of battle among Earth and Mars. A United Nations govt Chrisjen Avasarala appoints to features on it. While joe miller appoints to achieve the lacking lady Julie Mao. The boats damage canterbury Donnager, The Martain Navy flagship. Jules Pierre Mao constructed the ones ships. Alex Kamal, Naomi Nagata, James Holden, and Amos Burton visit a gunship known as Tachi. They rename the delivery as Rocinante, which turns into a useful resource for this collections storyline.

Miller enables the team of the boat to investigate, and that they observed a Biohazard. It kills. Subsequently, collection of activities will arise until Season four; in Season four, it completed with Earth begins offevolved to spend money on significant resources; the citizens have been hoping to enhance the lifetime, terraforming on Mars, start to wane, etc..

The Expanse was given approval for Visuals, Character Development, and Political narrative. Its a Hugo award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Its nominated for three Saturn Awards.

No Trailer is launched to date for Season five. Here Im presenting Season four Watch, Trailer, and Enjoy! Its to be had in Amazon Prime Video in case you would really like to look at Season four; you may Watch and revel in!

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The Expanse Season 5: Cast, Plot, Release And Everything You Want To Know! - World Top Trend

Perseverance Rover Launches on July 30, Here’s How to Watch – autoevolution

Just a little over a week separates us from the moment when the Perseverance rover is scheduled to take off on its mission to Mars. The American space agency is targeting a 7:50 a.m. EDT Thursday, July 30 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, but that may change depending on a variety of factors.

To get the hype up, NASA launched in the previous years a naming competition for the rover (Perseverance won) asked people to digitally write their names on chips that would travel to the Red Planet (about 11 million names were entered) and even had a live feed of the rovers bay up and running the whole time the machine was being assembled.

It only makes sense for the launch to be a very in-your-face event. NASA will kick off pre-launch festivities on Monday, July 27, with a pre-launch news conference and science briefing, On Tuesday, some more briefings will follow, this time related to the sample return part of the mission, and another news conference is scheduled for Wednesday, July 29.

On the day of the launch, NASA will air live the start of the mission on the NASA Television Youtube channel (video attached below) and the agencys website. By 11:30 a.m. EDT, the launch should all be done with, and a post-launch briefing is scheduled.

If you still have mixed feelings about Perseverance, you should know this: the rover is the single most important machine humans have sent to another planet. Not only is it tasked with all the chores described above, but it is also the first piece of hardware to be sent to Mars as part of the countrys Moon to Mars exploration approach that will culminate, some hope by the end of the current decade, with the first humans setting foot on another planet.

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Perseverance Rover Launches on July 30, Here's How to Watch - autoevolution

China successfully launches its first space mission that will attempt to land on Mars – Explica

The Tianwen-1 mission will take 7 months to reach Mars and will attempt to orbit, land, and explore the red planet, all simultaneously.

The ambitious Chinese space program took the first step towards the red planet: the Tianwen-1 mission which in Chinese means questions to the heavens was successfully launched this Thursday morning from Wenchang, on the south coast of China.

Unlike other unmanned launches, Tianwen-1 has three unprecedented goals for a single mission: to orbit, land, and explore the Martian surface through a rover with six scientific instruments.

This is a comprehensive plan that, if carried out successfully, would represent a historic achievement for a relatively new country in space exploration that has tripled its launches in the last decade, with special emphasis on unmanned lunar exploration.

The Tianwen-1 orbiter aims to achieve the gravitational pull of Mars and send information from both the rover and its seven scientific instruments including radars, spectrometers, magnetometers, and particle analyzers.

After getting into orbit, the most complicated part of the mission will come: getting the lander (with the vehicle inside) to enter the atmosphere and land on Martian soil without taking further damage.

Using six scientific instruments, the missions rover aims to be the first to analyze ice below the surface and shed more clues to the Red Planets past, especially the likelihood that it had harbored life millions of years ago.

Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / ASU

Tianwen-1 will travel some 58 million kilometers before reaching the fourth planets orbit with respect to the Sun in February 2021 and is part of the new 21st century space race, whose main objective is Mars.

The first mission to land a rover on Mars was the Soviet space probe Mars 3 in 1971. Five years later, NASAs Viking program captured the first sharp images of the red planet, and since then the United States has maintained rovers for various periods, such as Pathfinder and Curiosity exploring the surface of Mars.

In the near future, manned missions to Mars will mark humanitys first step on a planet other than Earth, and with them, different plans that seemed science fiction decades ago, such as establishing a Martian colony or working in terraforming the red planet, they could gain strength and become targets of agencies and aerospace companies.

Now read:

This is what the sunsets look like on Mars and other worlds according to NASA

How many people will be able to live on Mars? This is the number to survive

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China successfully launches its first space mission that will attempt to land on Mars - Explica

Terraforming Mars on the App Store


Lead a corporation and launch ambitious Mars terraforming projects. Direct massive construction works, manage and use your resources, create cities, forests and oceans, and set rewards and objectives to win the game!

In Terraforming Mars, place your cards on the board and use them wisely:- Achieve a high Terraform Rating, by increasing the temperature and oxygen level or creating oceans... Make the planet habitable for future generations!- Get Victory Points by building cities, infrastructure and other ambitious projects.- But watch out! Rival corporations will try to slow you down... That's a nice forest you planted there... It'd be a shame if an asteroid crashed right on it.

Will you be able to lead humanity into a new era? The terraforming race begins now!

Features:The official adaptation of Jacob Fryxelius' famous board game.Mars for all: Play against the computer or challenge up to 5 players in multiplayer mode, online or offline.Game variant: Try the rules of the Corporate Era for a more complex game. With the addition of new cards, including 2 new corporations, focused on economy and technology, you will discover one of the most strategic variants of the game!Solo Challenge: Finish terraforming Mars before the end of generation 14. Try new rules and features in the most challenging Solo mode on the (red) planet.

Languages available: French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish

To find more information about Asmodee Digital, please go to http://www.asmodee-digital.com/

Having an issue? Looking for support? Please contact us: https://asmodee.helpshift.com/

Find all the latest news for Terraforming Mars on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube!

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Terraforming Mars on the App Store

Adventure Time: Distant Lands Premiere BMO the Hero – Show Snob

Adventure Times: Distant Lands "BMO" - Courtesy of HBO Max

Despite all evidence of the world around them falling apart, most characters in Adventure Time: Distant Lands maintain a contagious enthusiasm. Perhaps more than any does BMO.

The first episode of the four-part HBO Max limited series Adventure Time: Distant Lands centers on the brave little robot. BMOs adventure begins with him on a ship destined to terraforming Mars. And it isnt long before BMO laughs in the face of danger, happily fixing the hole in his ship by welding a Band-Aid over it.

Soon after, he meets another robot in space, one that looks like Plankton from SpongeBob SquarePants condensed into a little ball. BMO names his new friend Olive. Olive, much to BMOs chagrin, zips the ship past its original destination and takes BMO through trippy space travel akin to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Eventually, BMO crashes on a troubled planet. And even though he loses an arm, he is ecstatic to meet a young rabbit scientist, whom he encourages to think up her own name. She settles on Y5.

Much like Finn the Humans parents in the original series, Y5s parents are dismissive and demeaning. They look down on Y5, and tell her to scrap BMO for parts. But BMOs contagious heroicness leads Y5 to her own coming-of-age story.

Its too simple to characterize BMO as childlike. Throughout Adventure Time, and especially in Adventure Time: Distant Lands, BMO is sanguine in the trials and tribulations of his maturity.

But BMO always makes the adult decision to heed the cry of dangers. So often does he rush into action that it takes the sound of an alarm for Y5 to realize she misses BMO.

With the help of his new friends Y5 and Olive, who plays the Jake the Dog role to BMOs Finn, BMO helps save the planet on numerous occasions. He also has incredible one-liners that make him a 21st century Adam West Batman.

He died as he lived, sucking big time, BMO says, as a villain is sucked into outer space.

And even when BMO is at the depths of despair, with his systems shut off and his hardware scattered and littered in the dangerous jungle pod, he calmly and patiently awaits the good he knows will arrive.

Adventure Times: Distant Lands BMO Courtesy of HBO Max

After helping Y5 stand up to her parents, BMO is saved by his new rabbit friend. They save the day together, and BMO only leaves the planet after the young scientist decrees that all the citizens have to learn how to get along and share the limited remaining resources after the villains took most for themselves.

BMO ponders on his ship how Y5 will probably become Mayor of the planet.

BMO ends the episode on a new, strange planet. He looks to the horizon and finds a young Finn and Jake playing outside their treehouse. Ever the optimist, BMO is excited about this new adventure.

Theres much to admire about Adventure Time: Distant Lands. Obviously, having new Adventure Time content is great. Each episode is an hour-long, even better. But retaining the story, humor, and humanity of the characters is the best.

Which Adventure Time character do you wish had their own special as part of Adventure Time: Distant Lands? Let us know in the comments below!

Adventure Time: Distant Lands Episode 1 is available now on HBO MAX.

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NASA, China and the UAE are scheduled to send missions to Mars in July | TheHill – The Hill

Starting in July the window opens when missions to Mars can be easily sent across the interplanetary gulf. If all goes well, three such missions, mounted by NASA, China and the United Arab Emirates, will depart Earth for the Red Planet. The number of missions, who is launching them and their complexity illustrate the importance Mars has for purveyors of space exploration policy.

NASA Perseverance is currently scheduled to launch somewhere between July 30 and August 15. It will land in the Jezero Crater on Mars on February 18, 2021. Perseverance will roll about the Martian landscape looking for signs of life past and present and collecting rock and soil samples for later pickup and delivery to Earth. The rover will also carry a helicopter drone that is envisioned as the first aircraft to fly in the skies of another world.

Chinas Tianwen-1 is the most complex, consisting of an orbiter, a lander and a rover. The name translates roughly to the quest for heavenly truth. The rover is much smaller than Perseverance and contains six scientific instruments. While the rover spends 90 Martian days rolling about studying Mars at close range, the orbiter will examine it from a wider perspective for about a Martian year, serving as a communication relay.

The United Arab Emirates mission is a small orbiter called Hope. Hope is scheduled to launch on a Japanese rocket and will spend 200 days cruising to Mars. The probe will enter an elliptical orbit around the Red Planet. Hope will spend at least two years studying aspects of the Martian atmosphere.

Why are so many missions being sent to Mars in a single month? The answer is different for each player.

NASAs primary mandate since its beginning has been to explore space. The space agency has been sending robot probes to Mars since the Mariner 4 in the mid-1960s. NASA also has a renewed mandate to send astronauts beyond low Earth orbit to Mars as well as other destinations. Each robotic probe that flies by, orbits or lands on Mars is a prelude to the day when Americans step out of the Mars lander and tread the face of a second alien world. The human expedition to Mars, which will stop by the moon to top off rocket fuel created by lunar water, will be a singular, historic event of this century, dwarfing the Apollo moon landing.

China is mounting an expedition to Mars to enhance its status as a major space power. Beijing envisions its space program, which includes a planned crewed space station and several robotic expeditions to the moon leading to a crewed landing, as a means to define itself as a superpower, first as a peer of the United States, but in the long term to supplant America.

The UAE, conscious that oil and gas are beginning to lose their appeal, has embarked on creating a high-tech economy. The Hope mission, the first of its kind by any Arab nation, is part of that strategy.

Every iota of data gleaned by these missions, as well as everyone past and future, will support the grandest Mars vision of all. SpaceXs Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskThe Hill's 12:30 Report- Presented by Facebook - Trump threatens schools' funding over reopening NASA, China and the UAE are scheduled to send missions to Mars in July Kanye tweets he's running for president MORE has made no secret of his desire to found a city on the Red Planet, thus establishing, as the space visionary Robert Zubrin has advocated, a second branch of human civilization. The idea is to spark the pioneering spirit on Earth by opening a human frontier on the fourth planet from the sun, enabling innovation and optimism that has been sorely lacking in recent years. Coincidentally, Mars would become an insurance policy for the human race, ensuring that it does not become extinct due to some calamity, such as the object that crashed into the Earth, killing the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

The ultimate dream is to use terraforming techniques to transform Mars into a habitable world, one of oceans and forests and an atmosphere that humans can breathe. Terraforming the Red Planet into a blue world would be the work of centuries. The process would restore Mars to what it once was billions of years ago, before a slow-motion calamity created the arid, chilly planet that we know today.

Musks dream, should it be fulfilled, would be as consequential as the emergence of life from the ocean to the land. It would constitute the evolution of humanity into a multi-planet species.

Mark Whittington, who writes frequently about space and politics, has published a political study of space exploration entitled Why is It So Hard to Go Back to the Moon? as well as The Moon, Mars and Beyond. He blogs at Curmudgeons Corner. He is published in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Hill, USA Today, the LA Times, and the Washington Post, among other venues.

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NASA, China and the UAE are scheduled to send missions to Mars in July | TheHill - The Hill