SciShow Space explores the origins of Earthquakes that aren’t on Earth. Moonquakes and Marsquakes can happen, too!
I am a certified Mars Rover pilot, and you can be too.
(Thanks to Mission To Mars 3D, anyway)
Chances are, if I polled 100 people on whether they’d like to command a space mission to Mars, or pilot a six-wheeled rover as if it were the universe’s most advanced remote-controlled vehicle (I mean, it has a nuclear power source, for cryin’ out loud), 99 of them would say HELL YES. I don’t know what the other person would be thinking, honestly.
Well, you can do that now. Thanks to a collaboration between the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and Mozilla’s Ignite competition, you can simulate a future trip to the red planet inside your browser with the Mission to Mars 3D Experiment.
This educational game/tool challenges you to plan and carry out two missions off the bat. First, you devise a rocket launch scheme to send an emergency resupply payload to a science colony on Mars, using a planetary orbit simulator. After you master “the slingshot”, you pilot a Mars Curiosity rover clone, using its onboard instruments to locate a good spot to drop a greenhouse module. I decided to launch my mission using the private SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, and had it arrive at Mars on my birthday … in 2038.
I’ll be old, but what a birthday present, eh?
The folks behind the project told me that the 3D platform is completely open source (their GitHub page) and missions can be remixed, but I haven’t played with that part yet. Teachers will enjoy the educational resources attached, because face it, this beats the physics lesson you had planned this week.
Oh yeah … and this is especially appropriate since India just launched a Mars mission today, and it was beautiful (more info on that from Emily Lakdawalla at The Planetary Society):
Earlier today, mission specialists with NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory announced that they have found, for the first time, evidence of an ancient environment on Mars that could have sustained life. Hank tells us the specifics in this very special, super-exciting episode of SciShow News.
Mysterious Mars News
Hank brings us news from planets all around the solar system: Mars, Mercury, and even planet Earth have been in the news lately. A retraction from NASA about the Curiosity mission; the discovery of water and organic material in craters on Mercury; bad news for Earth’s climate and good news about mRNA flu vaccines for the future.
Mars Colony Plans?
Hank is all about Mars, and Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, has some plans for colonizing the Red Planet that have got Hank very excited.
As opposed to this fake image that has been propagated around the ‘net, this one is from NASA’s Goddard flickr page. This is the first image ever taken of Earth from the surface of a planet beyond the Moon.It was taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit one hour before sunrise on the 63rd Martian day, or sol, of its mission. (March 8, 2004)
The image is a mosaic of images taken by the rover’s navigation camera showing a broad view of the sky, and an image taken by the rover’s panoramic camera of Earth. The contrast in the panoramic camera image was increased two times to make Earth easier to see.The inset shows a combination of four panoramic camera images zoomed in on Earth. The arrow points to Earth. Earth was too faint to be detected in images taken with the panoramic camera’s color filters.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/Texas A&M
Hank comes to you from his inner sanctum of science news to bring you a couple of things you never knew about human origins, the latest from his best friend on Mars, and what you can do to help one of the craziest, greatest people in the history of science.
Hank updates us on two new missions that will help us learn more about some of the fascinating things in our space neighborhood.
Curiosity’s Seven Minutes of Terror
“When people look at it, it looks crazy. That’s a very natural thing.”
This is a summary of the Curiosity rover’s descent plan from the top of the Martian atmosphere, from 13,000 mph to zero with zero room for error. There’s 76 explosives, a supersonic parachute, and a completely insane skycrane involved, too.
Hooooooooly crap. At 10:31 PM, PDT, August 5th, 2012 … we will know if it worked. I can’t wait :)
Bonus: Best YouTube comment on this video? “I wish ALL my tax dollars went to NASA”