For those of you dreaming of visiting Mars, readings taken during the Curiosity rover's voyage to the Red Planet offer a new measurement to ponder as you weigh the risks.
Mars-bound pioneers will be exposed to radiation levels that could effectively retire astronauts under NASA's current standards, scientists reported Thursday. The radiation astronauts would face on a round trip would be comparable to getting an abdominal CT scan "about once every five days," said Cary Zeitlin, principal scientist for the NASA-led Martian Radiation Environment Experiment.
By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
Leave it all behind and start anew on a planet no humans have occupied - how does that sound? More than 78,000 people applied to go on a one-way trip to Mars, through Mars One, an organization aiming to put four people on the Red Planet by 2023.
Apparently, they are unfazed by the idea that they can never come back or that taking showers on the way there would not be an option.
The applications came from more than 120 countries, although the United States led with 17,324 applications, the Dutch company said.
By Buzz Aldrin, Special to CNN
Editor's note: Buzz Aldrin, best known for his Apollo 11 moonwalk, holds a doctoral degree in astronautics and, at the age of 83, continues to wield influence as an international advocate of space science and planetary exploration. Aldrin’s new book "Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration," co-authored with space journalist Leonard David, is a blueprint and strategy for American-led presence of human beings from Earth on the Red Planet Mars. He is on Twitter at @therealbuzz.
We need to get the world excited again about space exploration and have the pioneering spirit to reach beyond our boundaries and current capabilities.
I want a new generation of space explorers to feel as I did when it was my privilege to take part in the Apollo program that landed the first humans on the surface of the Moon. This is important, not only for the USA but for the rest of the world.
Let me tell you why.
Buzz Aldrin's new book is called "Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration."
Step right up and prove why you should get a one-way ticket to Mars! But wait - you might want to know a little more about this venture first.
A Dutch company called Mars One is looking for volunteer astronauts to fly to Mars. The search began Monday. Departure for the Red Planet is scheduled for 2022, landing seven months later in 2023.
The space travelers will return ... never. They will finish out their lives on Mars and die there, representatives from the nonprofit organization said.
"It's likely that there will be a crematorium," said CEO Bas Lansdorp. "It's up to the people on Mars to decide what to do with their dead."
Last week we learned that, yes, Mars could have hosted life, based on the analysis of powder procured by rover Curiosity drilling into the Red Planet.
Now, data from other instruments on board Curiosity show more evidence of water in the area. The rover's Mast Camera (Mastcam) spotted evidence of water-bearing minerals in the "Yellowknife Bay" area where Curiosity drilled. Mastcam has infrared-imaging capability that allows scientists to detect certain minerals.
Scientists released the news at a briefing at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.
"With Mastcam, we see elevated hydration signals in the narrow veins that cut many of the rocks in this area," Melissa Rice of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena said in a statement. "These bright veins contain hydrated minerals that are different from the clay minerals in the surrounding rock matrix."
Another instrument on board Curiosity adds to these findings. The Russian-made Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons tool detected hydrogen under the rover that appears to be part of water molecules that are bound into minerals. There is more of this evidence of water at Yellowknife Bay than at other sites Curiosity has visited so far, researchers said.
The clay that Curiosity discovered during its drilling must have been created by wet environmental processes, NASA said. The overall mix of chemical elements didn't change much when the clays were produced, scientists said. Information from the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer, a Canadian-made technology, delivered this insight.
The rock outcrop into which Curiosity drilled appears to have an elemental composition that matches basalt, the most commonly seen rock on Mars.
Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6. The rover weighs 2 tons and is about the size of a small SUV. The mission costs $2.5 billion.
Read about last week's results
Editor's note: Jim Bell is a professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University and a member of the NASA Curiosity Mars rover camera team. He is the president of The Planetary Society and author of "Postcards from Mars," "Mars-3D," and "The Space Book."
(CNN) - An announcement on Tuesday marked, quite literally, a watershed moment in the history of solar system exploration. NASA scientists said an analysis of drilled rock samples collected by the Curiosity rover shows that ancient Mars could have supported living microbes.
It is the first time that we've discovered actual evidence for fresh water on another planet.
We've been down this watery path before - sort of. Back in 2004, NASA's Opportunity rover found evidence of ancient water on Mars.
Curiosity, humanity's most powerful rover to land on Mars, has made a startling discovery: Conditions that could have supported life once existed there.
"We have found a habitable environment that is so benign, and supportive of life, that probably if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it," John Grotzinger, Curiosity project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said in a Tuesday news conference.
This discovery is based on the chemical analysis of powder that the rover recovered by drilling a hole in a rock. This was the first time a robot sent from Earth had drilled on another planet.
It was fun reading the responses to our recent article about the relationship issues surrounding a proposed mission to Mars, which the Inspiration Mars Foundation is aiming to launch in 2018.
The organization has said it wants to send a man and a woman on the 501-day voyage in order to "represent humanity," and that potentially this would be a married couple. Some readers had humorous takes on why this would not be a good idea. Here are some quotes from the comments:
One man. One woman. Five hundred and one days in an RV-size space capsule. Will they still be speaking when they return?
The Inspiration Mars Foundation is seeking to send two people - potentially a middle-aged married couple - to space in a capsule that would pass within 100 miles of Mars.
Although no formal application process has begun, the Mars mission masterminds are already receiving résumés and technology ideas from interested people, said Jane Poynter, president of Paragon Space Development Corp., which is developing technologies for the mission that's hoping to launch in 2018.
CNN's Erin Burnett spoke to millionaire Dennis Tito about his ambitious plan to send a middle-aged married couple to the Red Planet. Check out the video, above.
Read more about Tito's plan
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July 19thAtlas V launch of US DOD MUOS-2 satellite, notable for large "551" config of Atlas
Aug 3rdJapanese HTV-4 flight to ISS on cargo supply mission
Aug 14thSpaceX launch of Canadian satellite in the first launch from their new Vandenberg facility, and first launch of upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle
Aug 28thDelta IV Heavy launch of NROL-65 spy satellite
SeptemberSoyuz TMA-08M flight returning Expedition 36 crew from ISS to Earth (Kazakhstan)
Sept 12thOrbital Sciences maiden flight of Cygnus cargo vehicle on Antares rocket to ISS
Sept 25thSoyuz TMA-10M flight launching Expedition 38 crew to ISS
Dec 9thSpaceX Dragon launch by Falcon 9 v1.1 on CRS-3 cargo supply mission to ISS
recurringfirst powered test flights of Scaled Composites' SpaceShipTwo commercial vehicle, to be used by Virgin Galactic for sub-orbital tourism