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.

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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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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

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 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 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

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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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A Look Into The Wild Economy Of Tabletop Board Game Funding – NPR

Tim Overkamp shows the game "The Settlers of Catan." Britta Pedersen/dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images hide caption

Tim Overkamp shows the game "The Settlers of Catan."

Long before the coronavirus pandemic, tabletop board games were having something of a renaissance, with popular games like The Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride becoming mainstream additions to family game nights.

Then, COVID-19 hit and, as Quartz reported, it changed how many hobbyist board game creators approached the industry. But for many people who suddenly found themselves stuck at home under lockdown, the pandemic also spurred newfound interest in strategy games that require creativity and concentration. Board game hobbyists had more time to spend learning about new games coming out, while newbies to the scene were discovering a world beyond classics like Monopoly and Clue.

Then, on March 30, the board game Frosthaven the dungeon crawling, highly-anticipated sequel to the hit game Gloomhaven surpassed its funding goal of $500,000 on Kickstarter in mere hours. Today, it is the most-funded board game on the site ever, with nearly $13 million pledged toward funding the game's development. Only two projects have ever crowdsourced more funding on the site.

Frosthaven's success seemed to exemplify a shift that has been happening in the tabletop gaming community for years: toward games that are not only focused on strategy and adventure, but also a new type of funding model where fans have more say than ever in which games move from the idea stage to their living rooms. And hobbyist tabletop games are a different breed of entertainment altogether.

"You have mass market games, which are Monopoly and everything that you find at Target or Toys "R" Us, and you have hobbyist games, which you typically find at your FLGS your friendly local gaming store," said Cree Wilson, the programming and tabletop gaming manager for Comicpalooza. "Then there's this blurry line of stuff in between, which I've heard sometimes called entertainment gaming, and it's games selling tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of copies, but isn't selling millions yet."

For many of these smaller games, funding from fans has proved essential. Hasbro, the company that makes games like Monopoly and Connect 4, earns hundreds of millions each year through everything from game sales and licensing deals to its TV and film business. But funding models are far different for newer or smaller game makers. These makers have become part of one of the country's most popular quarantine hobbies, but they've done so through a mini-economy that relies on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter.

It makes for a unique experience that can line creators up for success and it isn't specific to Frosthaven. Games like Dark Souls, Ankh: Gods of Egypt, Cthulhu: Death May Die and Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon are among those that earned multiple millions through crowdfunding.

Creators use Kickstarter like a social media site, an advertisement and a fundraising tool all in one, and they use it more successfully than nearly any other game creators on the site. In 2019, fans pledged more than $176 million toward tabletop games up 6.8% over the previous year, according to Kickstarter data gathered by the entertainment site Polygon. In all, more than 1 million people pledged to games on the site last year.

For fans, the benefits of pledging can go beyond the games themselves. Fans can earn special gifts from game makers in exchange for their support. And often, pledging toward a game can end up costing less than waiting to buy it in a store.

Another factor motivating fans, Wilson says, is fear of missing out.

"The FOMO on Kickstarter is real," Wilson said, adding that often people will pledge because they don't want to miss out on a game their friends will be getting.

It's a feeling that Ash Mehra can identify with. Mehra, a 27-year-old board game fan and medical resident in Miami, said she checks Kickstarter every day, and has spent about $1,200 on the site, pledging to games like the Terraforming Mars Big Box and The Age of Atlantis. She said there "definitely is a visceral thrill, an endorphin rush" to watching games she has pledged money to not only reach early fundraising targets, but then stretch them due to momentum on the site.

Fans like Mehra are already on Kickstarter either awaiting their favorite game-makers next move or looking for new games to try out so connecting with them and pulling in funding pledges is almost inevitable.

"For the board game community, there's a culture of looking on Kickstarter ... and being more willing to fund things," said Isaac Childres, the CEO of Cephalofair Games and creator of Forge War, Gloomhaven and Frosthaven. "It's like a larger avenue for board game creators to use that automatically picks up a following."

This is what makes Kickstarter so attractive to individual makers and less attractive to other gaming industries like video game makers. It takes a lot of startup value to create your own video game, for instance, but for board games, you only need a good enough idea and a well-placed Kickstarter page to gauge public interest.

Once a maker has proven success, it's easier to build on that success. Raising millions from fans "is a pretty strong sign of there's demand," said Ethan Mollick, an associate professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania who has studied crowdfunding, entrepreneurship and games. "And I can go to investors. And that also means that if I deliver a good game, I can go back and do, [for example] Fire Haven."

It's not a perfect system. Childres says he devotes much of his success to Kickstarter, but adds that there are "upper limits" to the size of the community on the site. While their engagement is deep, he said, it can only carry a game so far.

"When GloomHaven was published and all those people on Kickstarter got their copy [and started] raving about it, that's when it sort of was able to reach a wider audience outside of Kickstarter."

And there are drawbacks to the funding technique, too. Creators are responsible for everything if their goals are reached. They have to print the games and send them to their customers on their own a process that can be grueling, time-consuming and even detrimental. One board game creator miscalculated the amount of money it would cost to ship games and lost his house due to the unexpected financial burden.

But, for many creators, the positives outweigh the negatives.

Childres said it's hard to imagine where he might be without crowdfunding. Offering his game Forge War as an example, he said had he "somehow found the money to publish it on my own and get it into stores, I don't think anyone would have paid attention to it."

Now, he's one of the most successful hobbyist tabletop board game creators in the country.

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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 is being worked on and is expected to be released in 2020 or 2021.[10]There's also a Terraforming Mars: the dice game in the works, to be released in 2020 or 2021 as well. [11]

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

How Do We Terraform Mars? – Universe Today

As part of our continuing Definitive Guide To Terraforming series, Universe Today is happy to present our guide to terraforming Mars. At present, there are several plans to put astronauts and ever settlers on the Red Planet. But if we really want to live there someday, were going to need to do a complete planetary renovation. What will it take?

Despite having a very cold and very dry climate not to mention little atmosphere to speak of Earth and Mars have a lot in common. These include similarities in size, inclination, structure, composition, and even the presence of water on their surfaces. Because of this, Mars is considered a prime candidate for human settlement; a prospect that includes transforming the environment to be suitable to human needs (aka. terraforming).

That being said, there are also a lot of key differences that would make living on Mars, a growing preoccupation among many humans (looking at you, Elon Musk and Bas Lansdorp!), a significant challenge. If we were to live on the planet, we would have to depend rather heavily on our technology. And if we were going to alter the planet through ecological engineering, it would take a lot of time, effort, and megatons of resources!

The challenges of living on Mars are quite numerous. For starters, there is the extremely thin and unbreathable atmosphere. Whereas Earths atmosphere is composed of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and trace amounts of other gases, Mars atmosphere is made up of 96% carbon dioxide, 1.93% argon and 1.89% nitrogen, along with trace amounts of oxygen and water.

Mars atmospheric pressure also ranges from 0.4 0.87 kPa, which is the equivalent of about 1% of Earths at sea level. The thin atmosphere and greater distance from the Sun also contributes to Mars cold environment, where surface temperatures average 210 K (-63 C/-81.4 F). Add to this the fact that Mars lacks a magnetosphere, and you can see why the surface is exposed to significantly more radiation than Earths.

On the Martian surface, the average dose of radiation is about 0.67 millisieverts (mSv) per day, which is about a fifth of what people are exposed to here on Earth in the course of a year. Hence, if humans wanted to live on Mars without the need for radiation shielding, pressurized domes, bottled oxygen, and protective suits, some serious changes would need to be made. Basically, we would have to warm the planet, thicken the atmosphere, and alter the composition of said atmosphere.

In 1951, Arthur C. Clarke wrote the first novel in which the terraforming of Mars was presented in fiction. Titled The Sands of Mars, the story involves Martian settlers heating up the planet by converting Mars moon Phobos into a second sun, and growing plants that break down the Martians sands in order to release oxygen.

In 1984, James Lovelock and Michael Allaby wrote what is considered by many to be one of the most influential books on terraforming. Titled The Greening of Mars, the novel explores the formation and evolution of planets, the origin of life, and Earths biosphere. The terraforming models presented in the book actually foreshadowed future debates regarding the goals of terraforming.

In 1992, author Frederik Pohl released Mining The Oort, a science fiction story where Mars is being terraformed using comets diverted from the Oort Cloud. Throughout the 1990s, Kim Stanley Robinson released his famous Mars Trilogy Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars which centers on the transformation of Mars over the course of many generations into a thriving human civilization.

In 2011, Yu Sasuga and Kenichi Tachibana produced the manga series Terra Formars, a series that takes place in the 21st century where scientists are attempting to slowly warm Mars. And in 2012, Kim Stanley Robinson released 2312, a story that takes place in a Solar System where multiple planets have been terraformed which includes Mars (which has oceans).

Over the past few decades, several proposals have been made for how Mars could be altered to suit human colonists. In 1964, Dandridge M. Cole released Islands in Space: The Challenge of the Planetoids, the Pioneering Work, in which he advocated triggering a greenhouse effect on Mars. This consisted of importing ammonia ices from the outer Solar System and then impacting them on the surface.

Since ammonia (NH) is a powerful greenhouse gas, its introduction into the Martian atmosphere would have the effect of thickening the atmosphere and raising global temperatures. As ammonia is mostly nitrogen by weight, it could also provide the necessary buffer gas which, when combined with oxygen gas, would create a breathable atmosphere for humans.

Another method has to do with albedo reduction, where the surface of Mars would be coated with dark materials in order to increase the amount of sunlight it absorbs. This could be anything from dust from Phobos and Deimos (two of the darkest bodies in the Solar System) to extremophile lichens and plants that are dark in color. One of the greatest proponents for this was famed author and scientist, Carl Sagan.

In 1973, Sagan published an article in the journal Icarus titled Planetary Engineering on Mars, where he proposed two scenarios for darkening the surface of Mars. These included transporting low albedo material and/or planting dark plants on the polar ice caps to ensure they absorbed more heat, melted, and converted the planet to more Earth-like conditions.

In 1976, NASA officially addressed the issue of planetary engineering in a study titled On the Habitability of Mars: An Approach to Planetary Ecosynthesis. The study concluded that photosynthetic organisms, the melting of the polar ice caps, and the introduction of greenhouse gases could all be used to create a warmer, oxygen and ozone-rich atmosphere.

In 1982, Planetologist Christopher McKay wrote Terraforming Mars, a paper for the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. In it, McKay discussed the prospects of a self-regulating Martian biosphere, which included both the required methods for doing so and ethics of it. This was the first time that the word terraforming was used in the title of a published article, and would henceforth become the preferred term.

This was followed in 1984 by James Lovelock and Michael Allabys book, The Greening of Mars. In it, Lovelock and Allaby described how Mars could be warmed by importing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to trigger global warming.

In 1993, Mars Society founder Dr. Robert M. Zubrin and Christopher P. McKay of the NASA Ames Research Center co-wrote Technological Requirements for Terraforming Mars. In it, they proposed using orbital mirrors to warm the Martian surface directly. Positioned near the poles, these mirrors would be able to sublimate theCO2 ice sheet and contribute to global warming.

In the same paper, they argued the possibility of using asteroids harvested from the Solar System, which would be redirected to impact the surface, kicking up dust and warming the atmosphere. In both scenarios, they advocate for the use of nuclear-electrical or nuclear-thermal rockets to haul all the necessary materials/asteroids into orbit.

The use of fluorine compounds super-greenhouse gases that produce a greenhouse effect thousands of times stronger than CO has also been recommended as a long term climate stabilizer. In 2001, a team of scientists from the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at Caltech made these recommendations in the Keeping Mars warm with new super greenhouse gases.

Where this study indicated that the initial payloads of fluorine would have to come from Earth (and be replenished regularly), it claimed that fluorine-containing minerals could also be mined on Mars. This is based on the assumption that such minerals are just as common on Mars (being a terrestrial planet) which would allow for a self-sustaining process once colonies were established.

Importing methane and other hydrocarbons from the outer Solar System which are plentiful on Saturns moon Titan has also been suggested. There is also the possibility of in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), thanks to the Curiosity rovers discovery of a tenfold spike of methane that pointed to a subterranean source. If these sources could be mined, methane might not even need to be imported.

More recent proposals include the creation of sealed biodomes that would employ colonies of oxygen-producing cyanobacteria and algae on Martian soil. In 2014, the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NAIC) program and Techshot Inc. began work on this concept, which was named the Mars Ecopoiesis Test Bed. In the future, the project intends to send small canisters of extremophile photosynthetic algae and cyanobacteria aboard a rover mission to test the process in a Martian environment.

If this proves successful, NASA and Techshot intend to build several large biodomes to produce and harvest oxygen for future human missions to Mars which would cut costs and extend missions by reducing the amount of oxygen that has to be transported. While these plans do not constitute ecological or planetary engineering, Eugene Boland (chief scientist of Techshot Inc.) has stated that it is a step in that direction:

Ecopoiesis is the concept of initiating life in a new place; more precisely, the creation of an ecosystem capable of supporting life. It is the concept of initiating terraforming using physical, chemical and biological means including the introduction of ecosystem-building pioneer organisms 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.

Beyond the prospect for adventure and the idea of humanity once again embarking on an era of bold space exploration, there are several reasons why terraforming Mars is being proposed. For starters, there is concern that humanitys impact on planet Earth is unsustainable, and that we will need to expand and create a backup location if we intend to survive in the long run.

This school of though cites things like the Earths growing population which is expected to reach 9.6 billion by mid-century as well as the fact that by 2050, roughly two-thirds of the worlds population is expected to live in major cities. On top of that, there is the prospect of severe Climate Change, which according to a series of scenarios computed by NASA could result in life becoming untenable on certain parts of the planet by 2100.

Other reasons emphasize how Mars lies within our Suns Goldilocks Zone (aka. habitable zone), and was once a habitable planet. Over the past few decades, surface missions like NASAs Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and its Curiosity rover have uncovered a wealth of evidence that points to flowing water existing on Mars in the deep past (as well as the existence of organic molecules).

In addition, NASAs Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission (MAVEN) (and other orbiters) have provided extensive information on Mars past atmosphere. What they have concluded is that roughly 4 billion years ago, Mars had abundant surface water and a thicker atmosphere. However, due to the loss of Mars magnetosphere which may have been caused by a large impact or rapid cooling of the planets interior the atmosphere was slowly stripped away.

Ergo, if Mars was once habitable and Earth-like, it is possible that it could be again one day. And if indeed humanity is looking for a new world to settle on, it only makes sense that it be on one that has as much in common with Earth as possible. In addition, it has also been argued that our experience with altering the climate of our own planet could be put to good use on Mars.

For centuries, our reliance on industrial machinery, coal and fossil fuels has had a measurable effect Earths environment. And whereas this has been an unintended consequence of modernization and development here on Earth; on Mars, the burning of fossil fuels and the regular release of pollution into the air would have a positive effect.

Other reasons include expanding our resources base and becoming a post-scarcity society. A colony on Mars could allow for mining operations on the Red Planet, where both minerals and water ice are abundant and could be harvested. A base on Mars could also act as a gateway to the Asteroid Belt, which would provide us with access to enough minerals to last us indefinitely.

Without a doubt, the prospect of terraforming Mars comes with its share of problems, all of which are particularly daunting. For starters, there is the sheer amount of resources it would take to convert Mars environment into something sustainable for humans. Second, there is the concern that any measure undertaken could have unintended consequences. And third, there is the amount of time it would take.

For example, when it comes to concepts that call for the introduction of greenhouse gases to trigger warming, the quantities required are quite staggering. The 2001 Caltech study, which called for the introduction of fluorine compounds, indicated that sublimating the south polar CO glaciers would require the introduction of approximately 39 million metric tons of CFCs into Mars atmosphere which is three times the amounts produced on Earth between 1972 and 1992.

Photolysis would also begin to break down the CFCs the moment they were introduced, which would necessitate the addition of 170 kilotons every year to replenish the losses. And last, the introduction of CFCs would also destroy any ozone that was produced, which would undermine efforts to shield to surface from radiation.

Also, the 1976 NASA feasibility study indicated that while terraforming Mars would be possible using terrestrial organisms, it also recognized that the time-frames called for would be considerable. As it states in the study:

No fundamental, insuperable limitation of the ability of Mars to support a terrestrial ecology is identified. The lack of an oxygen-containing atmosphere would prevent the unaided habitation of Mars by man. The present strong ultraviolet surface irradiation is an additional major barrier. The creation of an adequate oxygen and ozone-containing atmosphere on Mars may be feasible through the use of photosynthetic organisms. The time needed to generate such an atmosphere, however, might be several millions of years.

The study goes on to state that this could be drastically reduced by creating extremophile organisms specifically adapted for the harsh Martian environment, creating a greenhouse effect and melting the polar ice caps. However, the amount of time it would take to transform Mars would still likely be on the order of centuries or millennia.

And of course, there is the problem of infrastructure. Harvesting resources from other planets or moons in the Solar System would require a large fleet of space haulers, and they would need to be equipped with advanced drive systems to make the trip in a reasonable amount of time. Currently, no such drive systems exist, and conventional methods ranging from ion engines to chemical propellants are neither fast or economical enough.

To illustrate, NASAs New Horizons mission took more than 11 years to get make its historic rendezvous with Pluto in the Kuiper Belt, using conventional rockets and the gravity-assist method. Meanwhile, the Dawn mission, which relied relied on ionic propulsion, took almost four years to reach Vesta in the Asteroid Belt. Neither method is practical for making repeated trips to the Kuiper Belt and hauling back icy comets and asteroids, and humanity has nowhere near the number of ships we would need to do this.

On the other hand, going the in-situ route which would involve factories or mining operations on the surface to release CO, methane or CFC-containing minerals into the air would require several heavy-payload rockets to get all the machinery to the Red Planet. The cost of this would dwarf all space programs to date. And once they were assembled on the surface (either by robotic or human workers), these operations would have to be run continuously for centuries.

There is also several questions about the ethics of terraforming. Basically, altering other planets in order to make them more suitable to human needs raises the natural question of what would happen to any lifeforms already living there. If in fact Mars does have indigenous microbial life (or more complex lifeforms), which many scientists suspect, then altering the ecology could impact or even wipe out these lifeforms. In short, future colonists and terrestrial engineers would effectively be committing genocide.

Given all of these arguments, one has to wonder what the benefits of terraforming Mars would be. While the idea of utilizing the resources of the Solar System makes sense in the long-run, the short-term gains are far less tangible. Basically, harvested resources from other worlds is not economically viable when you can extract them here at home for much less. And given the danger, who would want to go?

But as ventures like MarsOne have shown, there are plenty of human beings who are willing to make a one-way trip to Mars and act as Earths first-wave of intrepid explorers. In addition, NASA and other space agencies have been very vocal about their desire to explore the Red Planet, which includes manned missions by the 2030s. And as various polls show, public support is behind these endeavors, even if it means drastically increased budgets.

So why do it? Why terraform Mars for human use? Because it is there? Sure. But more importantly, because we might need to. And the drive and the desire to colonize it is also there. And despite the difficulty inherent in each, there is no shortage of proposed methods that have been weighed and determined feasible.In the end, all thats needed is a lot of time, a lot of commitment, a lot of resources, and a lot of care to make sure we are not irrevocably harming life forms that are already there.

But of course, should our worst predictions come to pass, we may find in the end that we have little choice but to make a home somewhere else in the Solar System. As this century progresses, it may very well be Mars or bust!

We have written many interesting articles about terraforming here at Universe Today. Heres The Definitive Guide To Terraforming, Could We Terraform the Moon?, Should We Terraform Mars?, How Do We Terraform Venus?, and Student Team Wants to Terraform Mars Using Cyanobacteria.

Weve also got articles that explore the more radical side of terraforming, like Could We Terraform Jupiter?, Could We Terraform The Sun?, and Could We Terraform A Black Hole?

Astronomy Cast also has good episodes on the subject, like Episode 96: Humans to Mar, Part 3 Terraforming Mars

For more information, check out Terraforming Mars at NASA Quest! and NASAs Journey to Mars.

And if you like the video, come check out our Patreon page and find out how you can get these videos early while helping us bring you more great content!

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How Do We Terraform Mars? - Universe Today

Learning to Live Sustainably on the Red Planet: Habitat Mars – Universe Today

Theres quite a bit of buzz these days about how humanity could become a multiplanetary species. This is understandable considering that space agencies and aerospace companies from around the world are planning on conducting missions to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), the Moon, and Mars in the coming years, not to mention establishing a permanent human presence there and beyond.

To do this, humanity needs to develop the necessary strategies for sustainable living in hostile environments and enclosed spaces. To prepare humans for this kind of experience, groups like Habitat Marte (Mars Habitat) and others are dedicated to conducting simulated missions in analog environments. The lessons learned will not only prepare people to live and work in space but foster ideas for sustainable living here on Earth.

Habitat Marte was founded in 2017 by Julio Francisco Dantas de Rezende, the professor of sustainability in the Department of Product Engineering at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) and the Director of Innovation with the State Foundation to Research Support (FAPERN). He is also the Coordinator of Habitat Marte and Mars Society Brazil.

Prof. Rezende was inspired to bring the Mars Society to Brazil after attending their 2016 convention in Washington DC, where famed scientists and founder Robert Zubrin spoke of their mission. These include conducting simulated missions at their analog environments located in Utah (the Desert Mars Research Station) and Nunavut, Canada (the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station).

Inspired by this work, Prof. Rezende returned to Brazil and dedicated his own resources to launch similar initiatives. The result was the Mars Society Brazil and the creation of its Habitat Marte training environment. As a location, they chose the semi-arid region of Caiara do Rio do Vento about 100 km (62 mi) west of Natal a rugged region that receives rainfall only a few times a year, making it a good approximation to Mars.

At present, this training environment remains the only Mars analog station operating in the southern hemisphere and, like its counterparts in other countries, is dedicated to developing the skills and technologies necessary to live sustainably on Mars and other planets. As Prof Julio Rezende explained to Universe Today via email:

[W]e are interested in designing systems that collaborate to have a self-sustainable/circular system in which the energy itself is generated, the waste generated is recycled and the food itself is produced. At Habitat Marte we are committed to the development of social technologies such as greenhouses, solar oven, cisterns, aquaponics, water filters, and greenhouses. Our challenge is to develop technologies that are applied both to space and in arid and semi-arid regions, or other regions threatened by water scarcity and droughts.

Between December of 2017 and 2020, Habitat Marte has conducted 42 missions with more than 150 participants, totaling almost 1300 hours (98 days) of mission time. As Prof. Rezende indicated, these activities have generated large volumes of data that has resulted in a variety of scientific studies and publications. For each mission, applicants spend time in the simulated habitat and conducting the following activities:

In terms of food, the crews grow all the fruits and vegetables they will need, which has included eggplant, lettuce, bananas, tomatoes, peppers, and sweet potatoes in the past apologies to Mark Watney for the lack of redskins, russets, purple, and other potatoes! For the sake of protein, the crews also farmed tilapia fish, and grew basil and cilantro for flavor and added nutrition.

Theyve even cultivated trees for the sake of reforestation at home (and possibly terraforming on Mars!) When not working inside, the teams would conduct extra-vehicular activity (EVA) walks outdoors while wearing spacesuits. In one instance, a team conducted an EVA to Pico do Cabugi (Cabugi Peak), an extinct volcano located about 40 km (25 mi) from the training grounds that stands 590 meters (1935 ft) in height (shown below).

While there, the team took rock samples which they will examine with the help of the geology labs in UFRN. Prof. Rezende and his colleagues also hope to use finely ground rock samples to develop a Mars soil simulant, which they will use to test the viability of growing Earth crops in Martian soil. For this research, they will be collaborating with Prof. Wieger Wamelink of the Wageningen University & Research Center in the Netherlands.

For loyal readers of Universe Today (or fans of MarsOne), Dr. Wamelink ought to be a familiar name. A few years ago, Dr. Wamelink and colleagues from Wageningen University conducted a series of agricultural studies in conjunction with MarsOne. This involved growing different types of crops in Lunar and Martian soil simulants to see which would germinate, grow, and be safe for consumption.

Between 2013 and 2015, they confirmed that a total of ten crops (including rye, radishes, garden cress, peas, green beans, tomatoes and potatoes) could all grow in Martian soil. They further found that seeds produced from these crops were able to germinate as well, thus ensuring successive harvests, and that the plants did not retain harmful levels of heavy metals (which are common in lunar and Martian soil).

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, these missions have been temporarily suspended but will resume soon. The last mission took place on March 14th, 2020, In the meantime, Prof. Rezende and his colleagues have carried on with virtual simulations, which is what the last 6 missions have been. As he described them:

In virtual missions, participants are invited to participate in remote activities related to the Habitat Marte protocols and research themes that associate space and sustainability, observing how Habitat Marte can contribute to solutions related to isolation during the coronavirus period. We realized that the actions of Habitat Marte may present guidelines for this challenging moment.

This is a common theme among researchers, scientists, and advocates that are dedicated to finding solutions to the problem of living in space. For example, Vera Mulyani (Vera Mars) recently stated how this years Mars City Design competition which is focused on Urban Farming has drawn inspiration from the pandemic and the need for social isolation.

In this time of crisis, envisioning how to live abundantly on another planet seems to be a far-off predicament, she said. However, this critical time can also offer a new perspective, a change that in the long term, is necessary for the sake of our existence and evolution as human beings. This initiative can also lead to technological discoveries and innovations. Pursuing a vision of tomorrow may save today before it is too late!

Another common element is the way research into living sustainability on other planets can have positive consequences here on Earth. In the past, efforts to send astronauts to space and the Moon (the Apollo Program) resulted in countless applications here on Earth, ranging from respirators, heart monitors, and microwave ovens to GPS, satellite communications, microchips, and solar panels.

It is therefore easy to see how Project Artemis, missions to Mars, and other plans to go interplanetary will help address problems here at home. With the global population expected to reach 10 billion by mid-century, and the way climate change will disrupt the natural systems we depend upon to live, knowing how to do more with less resources (and produce less waste) is vital to our survival.

Prof. Rezende himself expressed how this connection between Earth and exploring/living off-world is at the heart of Habitat Martes mission:

We are interested in creating a new generation of people interested in science and technology, seeing knowledge as a tool to collaborate for sustainable development. We believe that the experience at Habitat Mars is motivating for its participants to empower themselves and expand their vision, based on a spatial experience, which can change the world, collaborating for a more prosperous world.

[We are] also committed to presenting solutions for semiarid regions in Brazil. Mainly based in social technologies. Some also possibly adapted to space habitats. We have two pillars: space and arid/ semiarid regions. Because I consider that areas affected by climate change will become more. Our initiatives are connected with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

These goals were set by the UN in 2015 to act as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. In addition to the elimination of all forms of inequality, the SDGs call for the elimination of poverty and hunger, as well as action on climate change, the provision of clean water and sanitation, and the development of sustainable cities and communities by 2030.

Key to accomplishing these goals is the development of technologies and methods that allow human beings to use local resources more wisely and sustainability and minimize their impact on the local environment. In this respect, the work being conducted by Habitat Marte, The Mars Society, HI-SEAS, and groups like Mars City Design and Stellar Amenities will have implications that go far beyond space!

To learn more about Habitat Marte, check out their website and their page at the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). You can also find testimonials recorded by people who have participated in their missions here.

Further Reading: Habitat Marte

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Learning to Live Sustainably on the Red Planet: Habitat Mars - Universe Today