By 2028, Humans Could Become An Interplanetary Species

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By 2028, Humans Could Become An Interplanetary Species

Why make plans for simply setting foot on Mars when we could be preparing for spending years there? It may sound ridiculous to you, but not to aerospace company Lockheed Martin. The company revealed a plan at a May 2016 conference detailing how humans could become an interplanetary species by the year 2028. Lockheed Martin gave a proposal to NASA describing a laboratory that orbits Mars. Humans would populate the laboratory by 2028, but would not set foot on the red planet until the 2030s. But from the laboratory, Lockheed Martin suggests that with its plan, astronauts at the Base Camp will be able to control rovers that explore the Martian surface in real time. Learn more about our efforts to travel to Mars below.

Every Year, The Curiosity Rover Sings A Lonely Birthday Song

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Every Year, The Curiosity Rover Sings A Lonely Birthday Song

On August 5, 2012, NASA's Curiosity Rover touched down on the Martian surface for the first time. It entered the Martian atmosphere at a staggering 13,000 mph. Curiosity, a huge accomplishment in interstellar exploration, is the largest rover ever delivered to the surface of a planet. And when August 5th rolls around year after year as Curiosity cruises Mars' surface, the lonely rover performs a special task: it sings "Happy Birthday" to itself all alone. Researchers at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center programmed the celebratory song to play on August 5 every year. To do this, Curiosity produces a series of frequencies that mimic the notes in the song. Watch the videos below to hear Curiosity sing the song, and for more information about this historic rover.

Time On Mars Moves Faster Than Time On Earth

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Time On Mars Moves Faster Than Time On Earth

A second on Mars is slightly shorter than a second on Earth. Here's why: Einstein's theory of general relativity states that gravity isn't just a force that one object places on another, but an actual distortion in the continuum known as space-time. Think of it this way: imagine setting a large object in the center of a trampoline, which in this example is a representation of space-time. The large object creates a dimple in the center the way that the gravity of massive objects distorts space-time. A smaller object, of course, would distort the trampoline slightly less. For the same reason, time moves more slowly on the surface of high-gravity bodies like Earth than it does on smaller ones like Mars. The difference in the speed of time on Mars versus that on Earth is so slight that it probably won't affect future Mars explorers much. But this isn't just a theory: a 1979 experiment with the spacecraft the Viking Lander found that the time it took light to get to Mars and back was ever so slightly affected by the planets' differences in gravity. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

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Key Facts to Know

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    Time dilation makes your time pass more slowly. Two things can cause it: moving fast relative to people looking at you, and high-level gravity. 0:43

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    Earth's surface has a higher gravity than Mars' surface, so you'll live your seconds faster on Mars than on Earth. 1:35

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    Because satellites are further from Earth's surface than we are, they experience less gravity so their clocks move faster. We pre-correct for this. 1:48

Why Future Astronauts Will Need To Cook

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Why Future Astronauts Will Need To Cook

For the HI-SEAS project in 2012, NASA built a 1,200 square-foot geodesic dome atop Hawaii's Mauna Loa volcano, then recruited six volunteers to live there for four months as if they were astronauts on Mars. That meant sleeping in cramped spaces, rationing water, and wearing full spacesuits during their once-a-week trips beyond the dome. It also meant eating like astronauts, which was the main focus of the project: would it be better for future Martian travelers to eat packaged food or to cook their own meals? Anyone who has eaten a TV dinner knows the strengths and weaknesses of pre-packaged meals, but on a multi-year mission, every weakness is amplified. Repetition in the form of instant meals can cause boredom, and boredom can cause a host of problems, including inattention, depression, malnutrition, and sleep problems, all of which pose serious risks to space missions. To add variety and creativity to mealtimes, HI-SEAS participants experimented with recipes that people submitted over social media, such as Moroccan tagine, salmon patties, and quinoa-coconut bars. "There's...been a lot of really good cooked dishes," HI-SEAS commander Angelo Vermeulen told Astrobiology Magazine. "Some of our crew members are accomplished cooks, and every week there are different surprises." Combined with other efforts to grow vegetables in space, the future of cooking on Mars looks bright. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

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from DNews

Key Facts to Know

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    Historically, space food has been made for the short term. Food on a mission to Mars would have to last for years. 0:51

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    In a call for recipe submissions, the HI-SEAS site received suggestions such as spicy veggie rolls and Cajun jambalaya. 1:32

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    Spices and hot sauce are an essential part of any space mission for two reasons. 2:16

How Would Baseball Be Different On Mars?

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How Would Baseball Be Different On Mars?

If humans colonize Mars, what will baseball games look like? First, let's assume by that time we'll have devices that will let us breathe and shield us from radiation without limiting our movement, so teams would be free to play outdoors just like they do on Earth. Martian gravity is roughly 40% of Earth's gravity, so the ball could fly higher and further. Records for the longest home run on this planet are around 500 feet, so the best Earthling batters could potentially send the ball hurtling 1,500 feet or more on the Red Planet. Games wouldn't be any fun if every pitch got a home run, so the back fence would need to be extended, requiring more outfielders to cover the larger field. The fence would also need to be raised: the lower gravity means players could jump higher to catch balls. Pitchers would have it the worst. Because the Martian atmosphere is 100 times thinner than Earth's, there'd be hardly any air resistance to guide the path of a curveball, so many pitches would be hard to predict. The good news is that a planet with no precipitation means no rain delays. But don't celebrate yet: Martian storms can kick up enough dust to limit visibility for months. Just hope they happen in the offseason.

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Key Facts to Know

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    On Mars, the atmosphere is thinner so there would be less air resistance on the ball. This would make curveballs very difficult. 1:59

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    Martian gravity is about 40% of Earth's gravity. This might mean the infield would need to be bigger. 5:25

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    If you extended the back of the field to account for longer home runs, that would enlarge the outfield's area, requiring more outfielders. 6:01