john big

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New Mars Rover Will Have Lasers, X-Ray Vision, And More

Curiosity is about to get a kick-butt little brother<p>The Curiosity rover (or Mars Science Laboratory, as NASA wonks call it) has been an immensely successful mission so far. Though it landed on Mars less than two years ago, the SUV-sized rover has detected evidence that the Red Planet was once warm …

No Mars For Muslims? Mars One Asks Imams To Rescind Fatwa

Islamic leaders ruled that a Mars journey would be akin to suicide, but the private Mars colonization project disagrees, citing a 14th century Muslim explorer.<p>Martian colonization is a risky proposition. So risky, in fact, that a group of Islamic leaders in the United Arab Emirates issued a …

A Mission Back In Time

Rosetta is on a journey to unlock the history of the solar system.<p>After 10 years of circuitous travel, <i>Rosetta</i> has begun to edge toward the icy, black core of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In August, it will become the first spacecraft to orbit a comet’s nucleus and, shortly after, the first to …

UAE announces 'first Arab spaceship to Mars' in 2021

The United Arab Emirates is establishing an official space agency with the goal of sending an uncrewed spaceship to Mars by 2021. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE vice president and ruler of Dubai, said in a statement that the space agency would be responsible for organizing the …

How to create a bill of rights for Mars colonies

Our descendants may one day live in colonies on the Moon or Mars. How will they be governed? Some are already trying to come up with a space-age constitution.<p>In a dimly lit, windowless room in an unfashionable area of south London, a group of around 30 philosophers, scientists, anthropologists, …

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Space Travel

Big Pic: A Planet-Wide Map Of Martian Geology

From the equatorial highlands to the alluvial plains<p>The ground in Elysium is made of volcanic flows. That's according to the newest geologic map of Mars, above, from the U.S. Geological Survey. Elysium Planitia is a named feature on Mars, but we're guessing the area is rather drier than the …

The Comet We've Targeted To Land On Turns Out To Be Duck-Shaped

On closer inspection, this comet is a lot weirder than scientists expected.<p>At this moment, the Rosetta spacecraft is about 250,000,000 miles away from Earth and quickly approaching the (not-so-poetically named) comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The European Space Agency launched Rosetta in 2004 with …

See Mars Map Landmarks for Yourself

Changing Planet<p>USGS’s new geologic map of Mars is the most thorough representation yet of the red planet’s surface. The map will help guide scientists as they investigate the possibility of a human expedition to Mars. Courtesy of USGS<p><b>Every experienced traveler knows never to leave home without a</b> …

Space Travel