Transforming ourselves takes a lot less energy than terraforming Mars

Popular Science has a brief article laying out the three steps to terraform Mars. The recipe for creating a habitable planet turns out to be surprisingly simple: Just add water—and atmospheric gases. Mars has both, relics from four billion years ago when the planet was warm and wet. “When it comes to Mars, and only … Continue reading Transforming ourselves takes a lot less energy than terraforming Mars

Interstellar travel: Raising children in space

BBC Future has an article looking at how living in space might effect humans and society, and asking, among other things, should we have babies in space? “Mars,” sang Sir Elton John in Rocket Man, “ain't the kind of place to raise your kids.” Sir Elton might be lacking in Nasa-related experience, but he had a … Continue reading Interstellar travel: Raising children in space

It’s time to look for life in Europa’s ocean

Lee Billings has a fascinating article up at Aeon asking why we continue to send missions to Mars when the best chance of life existing today is in Europa's underground ocean. If Europa is alive, if some biology dwells within those dark waters, the implications would be even more staggering than finding life on Mars. … Continue reading It’s time to look for life in Europa’s ocean

SpaceX Successfully Soft-Lands on Earth for First Time. Is Mars Next?

The other day, I noted that there wasn't much information on what had happened with the SpaceX soft landing.  Now there is a bit more, and it sounds promising.  In addition to maybe saving 70% of launch costs, the technology could have benefits for future Mars landings. After flying to the edge of space, a … Continue reading SpaceX Successfully Soft-Lands on Earth for First Time. Is Mars Next?

Why the Asteroid Belt Doesn’t Threaten Spacecraft

When Cosmos showed the asteroid belt Sunday night, I noticed that, taking some artistic license to quickly get a point across,  they showed it as crammed with asteroids.  Anyone familiar with the real asteroid belt knows that's not accurate.  Even in the belt, asteroids are lonely rocks. When you think of the asteroid belt, you … Continue reading Why the Asteroid Belt Doesn’t Threaten Spacecraft

The space age is in full swing, for robots

Yesterday I made the observation that it was much cheaper to transmit information than to travel to an interstellar destination, observing that sending a microscopic robot able to use raw materials in the destination system to bootstrap manufacture what it needs. The Leather Library pointed out that this applies as well to destinations in our solar … Continue reading The space age is in full swing, for robots

Ask Ethan #20: Is the Mars One crew doomed? – Starts With A Bang

What Mars One is counting on is that they can safely land a heavier payload than ever before, that they can do it more precisely than ever before (as in, within just a few hundred meters of previous successful landings), and they can do it for only 12% of the projected costs, with a total … Continue reading Ask Ethan #20: Is the Mars One crew doomed? – Starts With A Bang

Attempts To Terraform Mars Could Fail – With No Chance To Try Again

Most science fiction and news stories describe Mars terraforming as a long term but simple process. You warm up the planet first, with greenhouse gases, giant mirrors, impacting comets or some such. You land humans on the surface right away and they introduce lifeforms designed to live on Mars. Over a period of a thousand … Continue reading Attempts To Terraform Mars Could Fail – With No Chance To Try Again