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Category Archives: Mars Colonization

This AI-enabled Mars exploration rover is as adorable as WALL-E! – Yanko Design

Posted: November 26, 2020 at 10:49 pm

Inhabitating a planet other than Earth is the next frontier for humankind, and were inching closer to that elusive dream, thanks to the rapid developments in science and technology. Already NASA has conducted unmanned missions on the Red Planet, and visionaries like Elon Musk already have their eyes set on colonizing Mars by 2050. This elusive dream has ignited the imagination of many who envision the future scenario, wherein, humans will rule the Red Planet.

This advanced rover christened Robonetica Explorer 1.0 is the culmination of the intuitive design thinkers AltSpace, Dmitry Lebedko, Dmitry Egorov, Oleg Butov, Yaroslav Goglev, Rashid Tagirov and Timur Mullya. The concept zeros-in on the importance of AI in the not so distant future. In fact, the Robonetica Explorer 1.0 is an AI and robotics platform envisioned by these young minds giving us a glimpse of what things could be like 4-5 decades in the future. Looking like an amalgam of the raw WALL-E robot and the sophisticated EVE (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) the swift robot will scout the planets surface for explorations missions. It has a fully movable head with advanced cameras and sensors presumably to look for signs of life. To conquer the harshest of terrains, Robonetica Explorer 1.0 has six robust wheels mounted on individual suspensions.

The rover is a window into the future for sure and the team has designed it to be more like an interactive being than an autonomous robot. Perhaps, an advanced AI-enabled being that has feelings just like WALL-E!

Designer: AltSpace for Robonetica

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How long will it take to reach Mars? –

Posted: at 10:49 pm

Elon Musk has a vision to carry one million people to Mars by 2050.

Although the CEO of SpaceX recently revealed that humans plan to live on the planets glass domes, many are still questioning how long it will take to get there, even if life on Mars is ideal?

There is a long distance between Earth and Mars, which means that any trip to the red planet will take a long time.

This is further complicated by the fact that the distances are constantly changing as the two planets revolve around the sun.

The closest distance between Earth and Mars is 33.9 million miles 9,800 times the distance between London and New York.

However this is very rare: the most useful distance is the average, i.e. 140 million miles.

Earth scientists have already launched a bunch of space probes to (or near) Mars, so we have a rough idea of how long it will take with current technology.

Historically, the voyage took 128 to 333 days a long time for humans to travel in a narrow spacecraft.

No man has ever set foot on Mars.

The Soviets first sent unmanned spacecraft to Mars in the 1960s.

NASAs Mariner 4 was the first successful space probe to orbit Mars.

This happened in 1965. In 1971, Soviet spacecraft landed on the surface of the Red Planet.

Since then, several spacecraft have been sent to explore Mars, but we will have to wait a little longer to send one person.

NASA has once again revealed its goal of sending one man to Mars by 2037.

Currently, no strong evidence of Mars past or present life has been found.

This does not mean that scientists are not looking.

There is evidence that the dry planet once had surface water and habitable conditions.

However, just because a planet has habitable conditions does not automatically mean that it has lived there or that there is life there.

Mars is the second most habitable planet in our solar system.

It is neither too hot nor too cold, and is thought to have enough gravity to adapt to the human body.

However, there is no free oxygen in the atmosphere, so humans cannot breathe if they do not receive oxygen on their own.

Humans also need to wear a pressure suit.

The soil is toxic, water is scarce, and you need protection from radiation and cold.

If any living thing on Earth wants to survive on Mars it must be in some kind of protective bubble.

Some scientists thought it could be more habitable because we could change the atmosphere of the planets.

We do not know exactly when humans will land on Mars.

NASA plans to place a man and the first woman on the moon in 2024.

After this mission, the Red Planet will be on the agenda, with current estimates that by 2030 we could see one man on Mars.

Elon Musk has previously stated that he wants to send a team of humans to Mars within the next decade.

Here is what you need to know about the red planet

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Mars mission: Elon Musk says first settlers on Red Planet will live in glass domes – EconoTimes

Posted: at 10:48 pm

One of the goals when it comes to the upcoming Mars missions is to colonize the neighboring planet. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently stated that those who would become the first settlers on the red planet would have to live in glass domes.

Musk has already been planning for potential colonization of the neighboring planet as space agencies are already preparing for the upcoming Mars missions. Musk shared on Twitter that because of the lack of atmosphere on Mars, the first people who will settle there will be temporarily residing in glass domes. However, before the first settlers arrive on Mars, the red planet will have to be terraformed as soon as possible. Terraforming refers to transforming a planet to make its conditions similar to Earths which would make it habitable for humans.

Life in glass domes at first. Eventually, terraformed to support life, like Earth, tweeted Musk. Terraforming will be too slow to be relevant in our lifetime. However, we can establish a human base in our lifetime. At least a future spacefaring civilization -- discovering our ruins -- will be impressed humans got that far.

Musk previously shared that a way to terraform Mars is through the use of thermonuclear explosives in its polar regions. These regions are where the most carbon dioxide on the planet is stored. This would result in carbon dioxide getting released into the atmosphere to thicken it, and making the planet warm enough to sustain liquid water. However, the SpaceX CEO already warned of the dangers of being among the first people to set foot on Mars.

Musk previously stated that being able to make the trip to Mars, more so get to work on establishing a base on Mars is not for the faint of heart. Musk warned that the first travelers to Mars may die in the midst of an attempt to put up a base.

Meanwhile, NASAs Perseverance Rover is currently on its way to the Red Planet and will touch down on the Martian surface next year. But even as it is on its way at the moment, the agency has recorded the sounds of space as the Rover makes its way to Mars. The agency has since released the recordings of space sounds on its SoundCloud, where a faint humming noise could be heard.

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Japan Startup Aims to Colonize the Moon – AkihabaraNews

Posted: at 10:48 pm

Akihabara News (Japan) The Tokyo-based start-up ispace Inc. is taking further steps in an attempt to realize its vision of beginning the human colonization of the Moon within just a few years.

In its latest move, ispace opened this month a new office in Denver, Colorado, utilizing part of the approximately US$125 million that it has so far been able to raise in investment in its decade-long history.

The Japanese firm recently announced the appointment of Kyle Acierno as the CEO of its US branch and hired Kursten ONeill, who had seven years experience at SpaceX, as its US lander program director.

Upon the opening of the Denver office, ONeill stated, I truly believe exploring the Moon, Mars, and beyond is our destiny as a human race; the uniting factor to further our presence among the stars. By joining ispace to lead our US lander mission to the Moon, Im excited to bring together the best and brightest to innovate, create, and inspire an even larger shift in aerospace advancement and exploration.

Company founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada added, We are very pleased to begin active operations in the United States, which is spearheading the global momentum toward lunar exploration. We believe we can provide value to the United States by complementing the deep US-Japan collaboration on lunar exploration as a commercial services provider operating in both countries.

ispace has opened its office in Denver mainly to more closely cooperate with its US partners, especially the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and its Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.

That program aims to begin deliveries of cargo to the Moon, setting the stage for astronauts to start landing in 2024.

Currently, ispace is completing the lander design for its Mission 1 and expects to start assembling and testing it early next year.

Three years ago, ispace produced a video outlining its 2040 Vision of a Moon colony with a thousand inhabitants. It can be viewed below.

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Elon Musks Plans for Mars Are a Huge Waste of Money and Resources – Energy & Capital

Posted: at 10:48 pm

Elon Musk wants to send settlers to colonize Mars.

He said theyll ultimately have to terraform the planet, but first, theyll live in glass domes.

He also said he hoped to populate Mars with 1 million people in just 30 years.

Now, Ive never been one to trivialize big ideas. Particularly from Musk.

What hes done in terms of launching a transition away from the outdated internal combustion engine is truly amazing.

And his reusable rocket?

The implications of that technology will absolutely change the world.

But when it comes to Musks big plans for Mars, I have to call bullshit.

And also

As reported in The Independent, terraforming in this instance is a process that is believed would make Mars more habitable for human life:

This involves blasting the planet with nuclear weapons at its poles to cause the ice caps to melt and induce accelerated warming to make it comfortable for humans to live there.

Musk said, Eventually you can transform Mars into an Earth-like planet. Theres a fast way and a slow way. The fast way is to drop thermonuclear weapons over the poles.

He also suggested"a system of giant mirrors could be placed in orbit around Mars in order to reflect sunlight onto the surface."

No one has a price tag for any of this, by the way, but we do know that, according to Musk, it will cost $500,000 to send a single person to Mars.

And if Musk is trying to get 1 million humans to the red planet, youre looking at $500 billion.

And for what?

Why would we spend a half-trillion dollars to send people to Mars?

Well, according to Musk, we must colonize Mars to preserve our species after a third world war.


I dont know about you, but that seems like an awful lot of money to spend to preserve a species that put itself in this precarious situation to begin with.

Perhaps we should really ask ourselves if our species is even worth preserving at all...

And if it is, maybe we should table the Mars colonization thing for a bit while we figure out how to ensure our survival on this planet. Its not that we dont have the tools, intelligence, and resources to make that happen.

I imagine that with a half-trillion dollars to spend, we could make some pretty meaningful inroads into ensuring our survival for a very long time right here on Earth.

Certainly the ROI would be a lot higher.

Look, Im not trying to trivialize the value of Musks ability to make the impossible, well, possible.

What he did with Tesla and SpaceX is truly inspirational and has made a lot of people very, very rich.

But I would never invest in some fakakta plan to put a million people on Mars. Its stupid and a giant waste of money and resources.

What isnt stupid, however, is something Musk recently mentioned about a new energy technology that he says will be much bigger than anything hes accomplished with electric cars.

And thats a pretty bold statement to make when you consider Tesla is solely responsible for launching the electric car revolution.

Today, nearly every major automaker has dozens of new electric cars in development or on the roads. And that all started after Musk showed that electric cars didnt have to be glorified golf carts and, of course, people would buy them.

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But this new technology hes talking about has nothing to do with electric cars. In fact, Musk said this technology will not only dwarf what weve seen with the electric car, but the market will grow much, much faster.

So what is it?

And why is he so bullish on it?

Well, it is pretty incredible.

Its a new energy technology that can power the 90 million-plus buildings and homes in the U.S. alone and do it more cheaply than any fossil fuel or other renewable energy technology currently on the market.

So cheap, in fact, it can do it for virtually nothing 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Apple already has $3 billion invested in a version of this technology, and Facebook is ponying up $416 million.

Bottom line: Unless you hate money, you need to learn everything you can about this technology now, and that includes the name of the company producing it and, of course, its stock symbol.

You can get access to all this information in this recent investor note.

Theres also a special report that outlines this technology, who invented it, and how much its worth. That report can be downloaded here.

I know its Thanksgiving, and not a lot of folks are thinking about investing right now.

But I am.

And given the potential of this new technology that Elon Musk is salivating over, Id be a fool not to.

Click here to learn more.

To a new way of life and a new generation of wealth...

Jeff Siegel

@JeffSiegel on Twitter

Jeff is the founder and managing editor of Green Chip Stocks, a private investment community that capitalizes on opportunities in alternative energy, organic food markets, legal cannabis, and socially responsible investing. He has been a featured guest on Fox, CNBC, and Bloomberg Asia, and is the author of the best-selling book, Investing in Renewable Energy: Making Money on Green Chip Stocks. For more on Jeff, go to his editor's page.

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The Interplanetary Transport Platform and Space Travel Community Network – Your Digital Wall

Posted: at 10:48 pm

(YourDigitalWall Editorial):- San Francisco, Oct 22, 2020 ( Transport, the main information platform, network portal, and project organization was started in 2015 and founded in 2016 by Oliver Gediminas Caplikas. The official pages were registered by the founder and are saved by international rights. Most of the projects and websites are in work and will be published if they are ready so far, even if it needs some years more, especially in these times. Interplanetary Internet and international partners will support various project developments. Joint ventures, long-term cooperations, collaborations, or other sustainable partnerships are welcome. New investors and sponsors are invited to join the outstanding projects. You can get more details on the official pages and request information by the official channels.

With the right support, the main project development of the communication portal and information platform will not just inform about interesting developments for upcoming space developments and innovations for Earth, Moon, Mars, and space. Together we can work on awesome developments and projects like moon drones, space drones, space debris clean up solutions, better interplanetary internet services, and much more of awesome space stuff. Help us to reach new frontiers and horizons, for a better future on Earth and in space. Interplanetary Transport project developments like the Cargo Spacecraft project working on recyclable and reusable transport systems. Old parts of cargo ships, satellites and space crafts can be used to build big cargo ships in space. Innovative foldable containers, thin solar panels and solar foils will provide enough energy. Sustainable propulsion technologies with an alternative or renewable fuels will power the autonomous transport ships between space stations, moons and planets like Mars. Much of the materials and fuels can be mined on asteroids and the moons in future.

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For advanced space exploration and space colonization or space settlement, we need a special space station and base camp for the Moon. For advanced space travels and interplanetary transport logistics, we need a moon and mars station, a kind of hub or gateway in the orbits. Humanity and especially the space industry should rethink their space programs towards more reusable and sustainable space developments. There are much good cleantech and Greentech developments on Earth that can be used for space, lunar, and Mars missions. Many old satellites could be reactivated and upgraded as carriers for new technologies, even as simple communication node they would be useful. It is really time for startups who work on satellite or spacecraft recycling and upcycling solutions.

Another great idea is to use old space stations for future space exploration. The next generations will thank us and they will have a kind of live museum of the human history of space travel. The International Space Station can be sent into higher Earth orbit and later after the official lifespan in moon or Mars orbit or even into deep space! The station can be used as an autonomous science lab, similar to satellites with sensors and scientific equipment. It is a chance to use the ISS as an unmanned space system, network node/server, and science platform with a lot of new sensors to study our solar system. Change from wasting resources to a sustainable space economy, industry and space society. Start to clean up and recycle the space debris, use lasers, and other innovative tools for small parts. Collect bigger parts of space junk with special satellites or cargo spaceships.

Newest developments and projects are Cargo Spacecraft, Galactic Internet, Interplanetary Europe, Lunar Base Camp, Moon Base Station, Moon Drone, Moon Station EU, Solar System Internet Hub,.. tbc.

Check also the project Greening Mars. All kinds of cleantech, greening, GreenTech, and sustainable space projects or innovative ideas are welcome. Think about green spots or oases on moons and desert planets like Mars, no problem with greening space stations and greenhouse spaceships. But we need to care about our planet first! If the Earth becomes a desert planet we dont need to travel or colonize Mars. Even space exploration or space travel makes no sense with such problems on Earth which should be solved primarily. We need to reduce deforestation, desertification and global warming on planet Earth before it is too late. Each day humans destroying so many species on Earth, some of them are even unknown. The mass extinction goes on, the space programs should care more about. Lets discuss such important issues and topics. You are welcome to join the Interplanetary Internet and Interplanetary Transport network groups on Facebook and Linkedin. The founder focusing since 2017 on the climate crisis and climate change problems. Thats why he started new projects and initiatives like the Greening Deserts Greening Camps and the Trillion Trees Initiative to reduce the human-made deforestation, desertification and global warming. The projects have big potential to improve the air quality, biodiversity, soil and water quality worldwide. Humanity needs healthy environments and functioning ecosystems to expand or to be really productive. We need a healthy planet Earth for future generations and developments. Without that there wont be a real future for humanity on Earth and in space. Constructive feedback, useful advises and real support is always welcome.

Interesting space quotes:

As we begin to comprehend that the earth itself is a kind of manned spaceship hurtling through the infinity of space it will seem increasingly absurd that we have not better organized the life of the human family. Hubert H. Humphrey

Human exploration and colonization of Mars will keep us busy for hundreds, even thousands, of years. During that time, there will be advances in nanotechnology, space sailing, robotics, biomolecular engineering, and artificial intelligence. These advances are occurring even now, affecting our outlook about what it means to be human and engage in human activity. Those technologies will not merely allow us to stay home on Earth and Mars, but our minds will extend our presence throughout the universe so that we will not need or want to extend our bodies there even if we could, which I think is doubtful. Louis Friedman

I look up at the night sky, and I know that, yes, we are part of this Universe, we are in this Universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up many people feel small because theyre small and the Universe is big, but I feel big because my atoms came from those stars. Neil deGrasse Tyson

In space, race doesnt matter, nationality doesnt matter. In space, you see the world as a globe and you dont see the boundaries. Maggie Aderin-Pocock

The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space. John F. Kennedy

Space is for everybody. Its not just for a few people in science or math, or for a select group of astronauts. Thats our new frontier out there, and its everybodys business to know about space. Christa McAuliffe

Space tourism will bloom very soon Regular tourist flights, orbital hotelsthen the real payoff begins. I foresee an interplanetary cruise ship, a lunar cycler. Assembled in Earth orbit, this liner is given a powerful pushsending it on its way to the moon. The lunar cycler will undergo a cosmic dance: loop around the moon, return to Earth, slingshot around Earth, and return to the moon again. The round-trip will take just over a week. And every time the lunar cycler swings by Earth, itll be met by a supply ferry, maybe even restocked with champagne, and boarded by a fresh group of travelers. Buzz Aldrin

Welcome to the future of humanity. A society of developers, explorers, pioneers, and real humane humans. The case we survive the climate crisis. We need to reduce deforestation, desertification, and global warming on planet Earth before it is too late. If the Earth becomes a desert planet we dont need to travel or colonize Mars. Even space travel makes no sense with such problems on Earth which should be solved primarily. Why humanity is wasting so much money and resources for space exploration who does not help to reduce the climate crisis? Why explore space for a single new life form like bacteria or unicellular organisms? Each day humans destroying so many species on Earth, some of them are even unknown. This is really senseless and paradoxical. The mass extinction goes on, the space programs should really care more about. Oliver G. Caplikas

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First Arab space probe set to reach Mars orbit on February 2021 – HeraldScotland

Posted: November 24, 2020 at 8:54 pm

The Hope probe illustrates the United Arab Emiratess drive to become a major global space player

Today we announce the exact date of the arrival to Mars, tweeted Sheikh Mohammed, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, on November 8.

The ambitious Emirati leader was talking about the Hope probe, the first Arab interplanetary mission to Mars, now well on track to reach the Red Planets orbit on February 9, 2021 at 7.42pm (UAE time).

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The fact that the UAE will be one of the very few nations to reach Marss orbit will probably come as a surprise to many. Indeed, despite its historical contributions to science (starting with algebra, trigonometry, and astronomy), the modern Middle East is not the part of the world most associated with scientific breakthroughs, let alone space exploration.

Yet, in barely six years, the small, oil-rich Gulf country has quietly put itself on the space exploration map, harnessing close collaborations with universities and space agencies around the world.

Historical passion for space

Although the UAE was founded less than 50 years ago, it quickly put its impressive financial resources to good use, developing massive infrastructure projects, diversifying its economy, and investing in groundbreaking technologies that allowed it to soon become one of the worlds innovation hubs.

Space, and Mars exploration in particular, plays a key in this innovation-centric strategy, but it also has a deeply-rooted emotional value for Emiratis. Early on, it fascinated the countrys beloved Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who met with astronauts from several Apollo missions in the 1970s and cherished the fragment of moon rock that American president Nixon offered him in 1973.

But if its no wonder, really, that this commitment to space carried on over the years, it actually started to materialize in 2006, when the UAE government initiated knowledge transfer programs via the newly-established Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST).

Thrusters on

EIAST, now the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, developed a three-step approach intended to give the UAE the full capabilities, knowledge, and facilities it needed to develop advanced satellite missions by Emirati scientists and engineers on its own soil.

In less than ten years, it launched three ever more sophisticated Earth observationsatellites, the latest of which, dubbed KhalifaSat after the UAE President, left Earth in 2018 and was the first fully Emirati-designed, built, and tested spacecraft. Equipped with a state-of-the-art camera that captures and beams detailed imagery of the Earth, the remote sensingobservationsatellite should help tackle a range of global issues, from climate change and disaster relief to urban planning.

Meanwhile, the UAE Space Agency, founded in 2014 to develop the countrys very own space program, established a $27 million Space Research Centre that serves as an incubator for space research, development, and innovation. Most importantly, it also signed a flurry of cooperation agreements with, among others, theFrench Centre National d'tudes Spatiales, theUK Space Agency, and NASA.

These agreements are what allowed one of the countrys most symbolic achievements to materialize: sending a UAE national to space. In 2019, Hazzaa Al Mansoori made history by becoming the first Emirati to leave Earth a feat achieved by only two other Arab nationals, Prince Sultan Bin Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud from Saudi Arabia and Muhammed Faris from Syria, in the 1980s.

The then 35-year-old former pilot was chosen from the thousands of candidates who had answered Sheikh Mohammeds Twitter call for young Emiratis to join the UAE Astronaut Program in 2017. A whopping 4,000 people, including one third of women, had applied. Al Mansoori joined the International Space Station (ISS) on a short eight-day mission during which, among other things, he conducted experiments created by UAE school students.

Only getting started

Then, on June 20, 2020, the Hope probe launched from Japans Tanegashima Space Centre. Since, it has covered more than half of its seven-month, 480-million km journey to Mars. There, it will spend a Martian year (almost two Earth years) building the first holistic study of the Martian climate and trying to identify the reasons why the planets atmosphere erodes. This data will be shared freely with scientific and academic organizations around the world.

The fact that Hopes entry in Marss orbit will coincide with the countrys golden jubilee next year holds significant symbolic value for a country set on driving global innovation and scientific progress.

After all, the UAEs brand promise is Impossible is Possible and the Emirate has made significant investments to make these dreams come true: by end of 2017, it had poured more than $6 billion in its space sector and announced last September that more funds would be added, with an eye on moon exploration and the first fully Arab mission to space by 2024.

However, nothing illustrates better the UAEs space ambitions than its plan to establish the first self-sustaining habitable settlement on Mars by 2117. The country will even start researching space agriculture and how to grow climate-resistant palm trees on Mars in particular at the soon-to-be-established, $135 million Mars Science City. The center, covering 176,000 sqm in the desert outside of Dubai, will be fully dedicated to studying Mars colonization; architects of Bjarke Ingels Group have already designed an intriguing prototype.

See here

Clearly, no one can accuse the UAE of lacking vision, but a 2017 Sheikh Mohammed tweet summarizes the countrys posture perfectly: Mars 2117 is a seed we are sowing today to reap the fruit of new generations led by a passion for science and advancing human knowledge.

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SpaceXs Mars-Colonizing Starship Is Ready for Its First Huge Test – Observer

Posted: October 7, 2020 at 8:51 am

The newest prototype of SpaceXs moon-landing and Mars-colonizing spaceship, Starship, is expected to undergo its first high-altitude test flight this month. The giant spacecrafts development site in Boca Chica, Texas has been extremely busy over the past few weeks with preparation for the big test.

Starship is SpaceXs ultimate rocket designed for future interplanetary trips. Two previous prototypes, Starship SN5 and SN6, successfully performed 500-foot-high (150 meters) hops in a test flight last month. The latest prototype, SN8, aims to fly up to 50,000 feet (9.3 mile) above sea level, paving the way for SpaceXs next target to reach Earths orbit.

On Friday, Elon Musk said on Twitter that an orbit-reaching prototype called V1.0 would be revealed before the end of October. Starship update coming in about 3 weeks, he tweeted. The design has coalesced. What is presented will actually be what flies to orbit as V1.0 with almost no changes.

A number of smaller tests need to take place before SN8 takes to the sky. The giant cylinder-shaped rocket, weighing over 150,000 pounds, was rolled to the launch pad in Boca Chica and hooked into a ground support system on September 26. Due to weather-induced delays, SN8 was held on-site for four days before being lifted onto one of the pads test stands. Technicians then began the process of installing the mounts temporary hydraulic ram (used to simulate engine thrust) to the rockets thrust puck.

See Also: Elon Musk Says SpaceX Could IPO StarlinkBut Only Under One Big Condition

Like previous prototypes, SN8 will need to pass a proof test to make sure that the rocket (filled with liquid nitrogen) wont leak under the pressure equivalent to the thrust of three Raptor engines. SN8 will be the first Starship prototype to be fired up by three Raptor engines at the same time, which would more than 600 metric tons (1.3 million pound-force) of thrust.

After that, the rocket will be paired with a nosecone and flaps and undergo two or more static fire tests with the actual engines.

Meanwhile, SpaceX is assembling additionalStarship prototypes for more tests. The next-generation model, Starship SN9, is now fully stacked inside the Boca Chica facility. Local reporters have also spotted SN10 and SN11 at the development site, although SpaceX hasnt confirmed progress on those projects.

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How 3D Printing in Space Will Help Put a Million People on Mars – Observer

Posted: at 8:51 am

Mention space missions, what may first come to mind is either rocket blastoffs, spaceships voyaging toward another planet or astronauts walking in the black of vacuum in fat spacesuits. All of those things are made on Earth, but for both convenience and long-haul trips, building thingsin space is an increasingly important aspect of space travel.

If were going to colonize Mars, we absolutely have to have the ability to do manufacturing there and ideally using local materials, Andrew Rush, president of Made In Space, Inc., a Jacksonville, Florida startup specializing in 3D printing in space, tells Observer.

Made In Space is the first company to successfully manufacture an object in an off-Earth environment. In 2016, NASA commissioned Made In Space to install a permanent 3D printer on the International Space Station to produce tools, equipment and whatever onboard astronauts might need.

In a recent interview with Observer, Rush broke down the intriguing science of manufacturing in microgravity environments and why this technology is key in the human races quest for interplanetary industrialization.

How is 3D printing in space different than 3D printing on Earth?

The end goal is the same, which is to build stuff in real-time to meet user need. The biggest difference in space is that we dont have the benefit of gravity to help us put things where we want to put them, so we have to rely on other forces to do the depositing of material.

Also, in a zero-gravity environment, we dont have any natural convection like air currents that move naturally to help with cooling. So we have to build thermal control into the 3D printing system to keep the hot parts hot and the cool parts cool.

Basically you are creating an Earth-like environment inside the 3D printing machine.

Yes. Thats a good way to say it.

One of the great things about manufacturing in microgravity, though, is that we can actually make structures that wouldnt be able to support their own mass if they were on Earth. That allows us to do really interesting things. For example, we can make a spiderweb-like structure that can hold and stabilize its own weight in space. But if you put it down on the ground, it would collapse under the weight of its own mass.

With 3D printing, we can directly make that kind of objects in space instead of making it on Earthand then blasting it into space.

How big is the device thats currently on the space station?

Its about the size of a decent microwave. But really, the size of our printers depends on what needs to be printed and the amount of space available. We have some printers that can make structures much bigger than the printers themselves. They can operate outside the ISS in the vacuum of space.

What kind of objects has that printer made? And what are they made of?

It has made a wide variety of stuff, such as ratchets that can be used to tweak things down, radiation covers for different science experiments and student-designed art.

Right now, we have three materials on the space station. We have acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which is kind of like Lego plastic and a common material used in 3D printers on Earth as well. Then, we have a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) thats a more flexible and food-safe plastic. Polyethylene is also what milk jugs are made out of. Then, we also have a Polyetherimide/Polycarbonate (PEI/PC), which is an aerospace-grade polymer that produces stronger, more heat-resistant materials. It can actually hold strength in a vacuum and a low-temperature environment in space.

Can you give an example of how 3D printing can be used in future space missions, such as colonizing Mars?

The key to colonizing anywhere is bringing tools and living off the land. If were going to colonize Mars, we absolutely have to have the ability to do manufacturing there and ideally using local materials. What weve been doing in space for the last several years is developing manufacturing technology that can work off of Earth. By the time we move to Mars, larger versions of these 3D printers can be used to lay foundations and build out our habitat there.

Speaking of Mars colonization, Elon Musk has said he wants to send one million people to Mars by 2050. Do you think thats a realistic timeline?

I think 2050 is a realistic target. Im very excited about returning humans to the moon in this decade. I think once we return to the moon, its realistic to say that Mars is within our reach in another 10 years.

Made In Space was the first company to send a 3D printer to the ISS (in 2016). How has 3D printing in space evolved in the past four years? Have you had any notable competitors?

Weve had some governmental competition. 3D printing is a high interest to the European Space Agency (ESA). Russia has done some experiments in this area. So has China. And weve seen other companies in the U.S. that are very interested, too.

How has COVID-19 affected your company, whether its R&D or the business side of things?

COVID-19 has obviously shocked every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Were not immune to that at all. Weve been extraordinarily fortunate to have customers, especially NASA.

Weve been trying really hard to make sure that were continuing to execute our visions while doing that in a way thats as safe as possible for our team and other organizations we work with.

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How 3D Printing in Space Will Help Put a Million People on Mars - Observer

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A Machine Learning Tool Supports the Search for New Craters on Mars – Science Times

Posted: at 8:51 am

Planetary scientists and artificial intelligence (AI) researchers have collaborated on a machine learning tool that helped discover new craters on Mars - including small impacts left by a meteor about eight years ago.

Between March 2010 and May 2012, a meteor flew over Mars, burned, and eventually disintegrated into smaller pieces that crashed into the planet's surface. This left unusually small - and relatively easy to miss, at only 4 meters (13 feet) wide - craters. With the help of its AI-driven tool, NASA scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California are looking forward to reduced lead time and increased findings on the Red Planet's surface.

(Photo: Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)PASADENA, CA - MAY 27: Principal Investigator, HiRise Camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Brian Portock talks to reporters in front of an image of a crater taken during the descent of the Phoenix Mars Lander during an update briefing, two days after landing in a northern polar region of Mars, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on May 27, 2008, in Pasadena, California. The Phoenix Mars Lander is the newest hope in the search for signs of life on Mars. Fewer than half of the Mars missions have made successful landings. At a cost of $420 million, the Phoenix Mars Lander has flown 422 million miles since leaving Earth in August 2007.

Usually, NASA scientists have to manually analyze the images taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) in search of uncommon phenomena in the Red Planet's surface - avalanche, shifting sand dunes, dust devils, and more. Throughout the MRO's 14-year service, it has provided data that allowed the space agency to find more than 1,000 craters. Most of these discoveries begin with the Context Camera installed in the orbiter, taking extremely large yet low-resolution images of the planet's surface, covering hundreds of miles per shot.

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Craters are detected through their blast marks, making them visible from the low-res images. However, the craters themselves remain virtually invisible, which leads to the next process. Using the High-Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE). It provides clearer, more detailed pictures of the target. In fact, its vision system can detect even the tracks left behind by the Curiosity rover. Additionally, the research team allows the public to put in their specific request through the HiRISE HiWish website.

This next process, according to a NASA press release, takes around 40 minutes for a researcher to go through a single Context Camera image. To cut the time required, the JPL team created a machine learning tool called the Automated Fresh Impact Crater Classifier. The AI tool is a part of a wider effort among Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists called COSMIC - for Capturing Onboard Summarization to Monitor Image Change - that aims to continuously improve Mars orbiters.

JPL researchers trained the crater classifier by providing it with a total of 6,830 Context Camera images, including locations that contained impacts already identified and confirmed by HiRISE. The images provided to the machine learning tool also included images with no impacts, to also train the tool to identify what not to look for.

After the training phase, the crater classifier was deployed on Context Camera's repository of more than 100,000 pictures. A process that used to take 40 minutes is now accomplished on an average of 5 seconds, thanks to a set of high-performance computers operating in parallel within JPL's supercomputer cluster.

"It wouldn't be possible to process over 112,000 images in a reasonable amount of time without distributing the work across many computers," explained Gary Doran, a computer scientist at JPL. The team was challenged at first with running 750 copies of the classifier across the entire cluster.

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However, a human operator still checks the data returned by the AI tool. Kiri Wagstaff, also a JPL computer scientist, explained that AI tools still can't do the "skilled analysis" that a scientist can do.

Check out more news and information on Mars in Science Times.

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A Machine Learning Tool Supports the Search for New Craters on Mars - Science Times

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