Mars news roundup 4-21-2020

Hi all! For all of you stuck at home, I have special edition news roundup! Lots of science links and my insightful commentary. OK, maybe not, but I have lots of space science links to help you waste some time.

MARS NEWS

Amid everything, I thought I would start out with wonderful NASA worm logo returning. Back to your roots, Perhaps. At least some painters will get work. Also in Mars news, NASA thinks the new 2020 rover will find life within 2 years.

However NASA, with their ‘never say die!’ attitude, put technology to work driving the rovers from workers home offices. Man, that’s cool. Driving a rover on Mars from your desktop. Think about that! Also was this very thoughtful article I found debating whether getting to Mars is easier then Magellan’s voyage. Slashdot comments here.

LUNAR NEWS

The race to the moon is heating up. I found this BRILLIANT proposal for building a telescope in a lunar crater . Its so simple, I’m amazed they waited this long. You can find the official NASA link here, and a relevant SlashDot discussion here. Drop a package with some rovers, have them drive out and pull the antenna mesh out and anchor themselves. On the dark side of the moon, shielded from earth radio noise. Read the article for details, but it really is..brilliantly simple. (In terms of mission)

Also this is in the news, “Trump signs executive order to support moon mining, tap asteroid resources” Headline says it all. The OSIRIS-REx (wiki) spacecraft will be the first to pave the way for research on mining asteroids by a sampling mission. (Official NASA link here)

This got me thinking about rover design, for lunar mining. Firstly, It seems as though SpaceX will be the cargo supplier to the the Lunar Gateway space station. The VIPER rover (wiki) which is a reboot of the Resource Prospector (wiki) should be delivered (by SpaceX presumably) to the moon sometime in 2023. All these rovers are so much fun! NASA is even considering allowing tag along packages, if you can fit it into a box the size of a bar of soap. You can do a LOT with an electronic package the size that small. Think 1/16 scale RC car that unfolds via origami. NASA press release here, additional article by Engadget.

Speaking of moons, Popular Mechanics had this EXCELLENT article ranking the best moons of moons in our solar system! Its worth the read. Also worth the watch, is this YouTube video of the Apollo 11 landing profile. Give it a like, someone put a lot of love into that video.

EARTH NEWS

Let us turn to more terrestrial matters. The Event Horizon Telescope (wiki) is producing its first images of a black hole. Pretty neat read on the wiki, I got lost in the links. SpaceX also lost a 3rd ship during its cryogenic test. Slashdot discussion here. Its important to remember how fast SpaceX is working to get us off the ground and become a space faring civilization. There will always be failures, but the successes will always improve.

Speaking of getting off the ground, the United States Space Force (wiki) has gotten off the ground. Another article here from launch day. Good to know the ‘Space Fence‘ (wiki) is now operational. Click here for the usual Slashdot commentary.

Also worthy of note, NASA and SpaceX are about to launch their first humans on the Demo-2 on May 27. First time in nearly a decade the USA launches their own astronauts. This is Very Good.

Hopefully, the Starlinks wont become a form of space advertising by adding LED’s to them..

Looking deeper into our universe, it amazes me how far telescopes have come. This is still in the initial stages but the ‘Direct Multipixel Imaging and Spectroscopy of an Exoplanet with a Solar Gravitational Lens Mission‘ looks pretty gosh darn cool!

The BepiColombo (wiki) spacecraft made a swing past earth and took some pictures on its way to Mercury. Courtesy of the ESA space agency. (Official mission page)

Saturn’s atmosphere is HOT. Why? Read more here!

URANUS NEWS

Finally some news from the outer rim of our solar system. The voyager 2 data has been revisited, and all these years we are still reviewing the data, and deriving new results. Apparently, Uranus is leaking atmosphere. The sad thing is not a single article I can find with science does not include jokes and puns in poor taste. However, our friend over at Centauri Dreams has an EXCELLENT science based write up on the data.

Well, that’s it for this week folks. Stay frosty in these difficult times.