Mars-exploration

Reinventing the Wheel

Planning a trip to the Moon? Mars? You’re going to need good tires…

Exploration requires mobility. And whether you’re on Earth or as far away as the Moon or Mars, you need good tires to get your vehicle from one place to another. Our decades-long work developing tires for space exploration has led to new game-changing designs and materials. Yes, we’re reinventing the wheel—here’s why.

Wheels on the Moon

Early tire designs were focused on moving hardware and astronauts across the lunar surface. The last NASA vehicle to visit the Moon was the Lunar Roving Vehicle during our Apollo missions. The vehicle used four large flexible wire mesh wheels with stiff inner frames. We used these Apollo era tires as the inspiration for new designs using newer materials and technology to better function on a lunar surface.

Up springs a new idea

During the mid-2000s, we worked with industry partner Goodyear to develop the Spring Tire, an airless compliant tire that consists of several hundred coiled steel wires woven into a flexible mesh, giving the tires the ability to support high loads while also conforming to the terrain. The Spring Tire has been proven to generate very good traction and durability in soft sand and on rocks.

Spring Tires for Mars

A little over a year after the Mars Curiosity Rover landed on Mars, engineers began to notice significant wheel damage in 2013 due to the unexpectedly harsh terrain. That’s when engineers began developing new Spring Tire prototypes to determine if they would be a new and better solution for exploration rovers on Mars.

In order for Spring Tires to go the distance on Martian terrain, new materials were required. Enter nickel titanium, a shape memory alloy with amazing capabilities that allow the tire to deform down to the axle and return to its original shape.

These tires can take a lickin’

After building the shape memory alloy tire, Glenn engineers sent it to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mars Life Test Facility. It performed impressively on the punishing track.

Why reinvent the wheel? It’s worth it.

New, high performing tires would allow lunar and Mars rovers to explore greater regions of the surface than currently possible. They conform to the terrain and do not sink as much as rigid wheels, allowing them to carry heavier payloads for the same given mass and volume. Also, because they absorb energy from impacts at moderate to high speeds, there is potential for use on crewed exploration vehicles which are expected to move at speeds significantly higher than the current Mars rovers.

Airless tires on Earth

Maybe. Recently, engineers and materials scientists have been testing a spinoff tire version that would work on cars and trucks on Earth. Stay tuned as we continue to push the boundaries on traditional concepts for exploring our world and beyond.  

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.  

Aries Mars: He is forward with his intentions, might rush, fire is in his eyes, he takes what he wants, adores his love interest, is ardent.

Taurus Mars: He is slow but steady, he wins you over with his sensual touch, he can hold you all night, his scent is strong, such endurance.

Gemini Mars: Charms with wit, wants to get to know your mind, breathes excitement, experiences different intimacy with different people.

Cancer Mars: He is emotionally entrancing, goes after you in subtle ways, sensitive but surprises in the bedroom, slowly reveals.

Leo Mars: Bravely sweeps you off your feet, wants to be center stage in the bedroom, generous with affection, wants your admiration.

Virgo Mars: He is cautious but has a keen eye, wants to get to know you first, secret side in the sheets, can be sassy, learns to be fluid.

Libra Mars: Just wants to make you smile or…scream, easygoing, keeps everything light-hearted, he knows how to win you over, is a prince.

Scorpio Mars: He rides in on a motorcycle and leather jacket, uses mystery to get you, into the taboo, takes intimate risks.

Sagittarius Mars: Wants to explore you, can be wild, open minded, he grabs your attention with generosity and optimism, likes to share.

Capricorn Mars: Cool then surprises you with a sudden grab, can take charge, straight forward in the bedroom, very… physically active.

Aquarius Mars: Has a twinkle in his eye, engages in you unexpectedly, gives you a night to remember, always fun, will talk things out.

Pisces Mars: Mr. dreamy eyes, likes it when you take charge, giving, he takes your hand and pulls you under the covers, is kind and flexible. 

what she says: I’m fine

what she means: *WONDROUS UPLIFTING MUSIC* IN 2148, EXPLORERS ON MARS DISCOVERED THE REMAINS OF AN ANCIENT SPACEFARING CIVILIZATION. IN THE DECADES THAT FOLLOWED, THESE MYSTERIOUS ARTIFACTS REVEALED STARTLING NEW TECHNOLOGIES, ENABLING TRAVEL TO THE FURTHEST STARS. THE BASIS FOR THIS INCREDIBLE TECHNOLOGY WAS A FORCE THAT CONTROLLED THE VERY FABRIC OF SPACE AND TIME.

THEY CALLED IT THE GREATEST DISCOVERY IN HUMAN HISTORY.

THE CIVILIZATIONS OF THE GALAXY CALL IT…

MASS EFFECT

The Past, Present and Future of Exploration on Mars

Today, we’re celebrating the Red Planet! Since our first close-up picture of Mars in 1965, spacecraft voyages to the Red Planet have revealed a world strangely familiar, yet different enough to challenge our perceptions of what makes a planet work.

You’d think Mars would be easier to understand. Like Earth, Mars has polar ice caps and clouds in its atmosphere, seasonal weather patterns, volcanoes, canyons and other recognizable features. However, conditions on Mars vary wildly from what we know on our own planet.

Join us as we highlight some of the exploration on Mars from the past, present and future:

PAST

Viking Landers

Our Viking Project found a place in history when it became the first U.S. mission to land a spacecraft safely on the surface of Mars and return images of the surface. Two identical spacecraft, each consisting of a lander and an orbiter, were built. Each orbiter-lander pair flew together and entered Mars orbit; the landers then separated and descended to the planet’s surface.

Besides taking photographs and collecting other science data, the two landers conducted three biology experiments designed to look for possible signs of life.

Pathfinder Rover

In 1997, Pathfinder was the first-ever robotic rover to land on the surface of Mars. It was designed as a technology demonstration of a new way to deliver an instrumented lander to the surface of a planet. Mars Pathfinder used an innovative method of directly entering the Martian atmosphere, assisted by a parachute to slow its descent and a giant system of airbags to cushion the impact.

Pathfinder not only accomplished its goal but also returned an unprecedented amount of data and outlived its primary design life.

PRESENT

Spirit and Opportunity

In January 2004, two robotic geologists named Spirit and Opportunity landed on opposite sides of the Red Planet. With far greater mobility than the 1997 Mars Pathfinder rover, these robotic explorers have trekked for miles across the Martian surface, conducting field geology and making atmospheric observations. Carrying identical, sophisticated sets of science instruments, both rovers have found evidence of ancient Martian environments where intermittently wet and habitable conditions existed.

Both missions exceeded their planned 90-day mission lifetimes by many years. Spirit lasted 20 times longer than its original design until its final communication to Earth on March 22, 2010. Opportunity continues to operate more than a decade after launch.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter left Earth in 2005 on a search for evidence that water persisted on the surface of Mars for a long period of time. While other Mars missions have shown that water flowed across the surface in Mars’ history, it remained a mystery whether water was ever around long enough to provide a habitat for life.

In addition to using the rover to study Mars, we’re using data and imagery from this mission to survey possible future human landing sites on the Red Planet.

Curiosity

The Curiosity rover is the largest and most capable rover ever sent to Mars. It launched November 26, 2011 and landed on Mars on Aug. 5, 2012. Curiosity set out to answer the question: Did Mars ever have the right environmental conditions to support small life forms called microbes? 

Early in its mission, Curiosity’s scientific tools found chemical and mineral evidence of past habitable environments on Mars. It continues to explore the rock record from a time when Mars could have been home to microbial life.

FUTURE

Space Launch System Rocket

We’re currently building the world’s most powerful rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). When completed, this rocket will enable astronauts to begin their journey to explore destinations far into the solar system, including Mars.

Orion Spacecraft

The Orion spacecraft will sit atop the Space Launch System rocket as it launches humans deeper into space than ever before. Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.

Mars 2020

The Mars 2020 rover mission takes the next step in exploration of the Red Planet by not only seeking signs of habitable conditions in the ancient past, but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself.

The Mars 2020 rover introduces a drill that can collect core samples of the most promising rocks and soils and set them aside in a “cache” on the surface of Mars. The mission will also test a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identify other resources (such as subsurface water), improve landing techniques and characterize weather, dust and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on the Red Planet.

For decades, we’ve sent orbiters, landers and rovers, dramatically increasing our knowledge about the Red Planet and paving the way for future human explorers. Mars is the next tangible frontier for human exploration, and it’s an achievable goal. There are challenges to pioneering Mars, but we know they are solvable. 

To discover more about Mars exploration, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/journeytomars/index.html

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

4

Victoria LaBarre was climbing out of a canyon and into a bright, vast, seemingly lifeless landscape when she started to experience an astronaut’s nightmare.

“Suddenly,” she said, “I couldn’t breathe.”

The symptoms were real — maybe from claustrophobia, or from exertion at high altitude. But LaBarre didn’t unlatch her helmet to get a breath of fresh air because, in this simulated Mars exercise in the Utah desert, she was supposed to be an astronaut. The canyon was standing in for Candor Chasma, a 5-mile-deep gash in the Red Planet’s surface. On Mars, there’s no oxygen in the air — you do not take off your helmet.

So, instead, LaBarre radioed for help from fellow members of Crew 177. The team of students and teachers from a Texas community college had applied together to live and work for a week this spring in a two-story metal cylinder at the privately run Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah.

Elijah Espinoza, a freshman assigned to be a crew engineer and geologist for the week, heard LaBarre’s call and walked her through some breathing exercises.

“I think that’s really one of the best things about Mars — the teamwork,” said LaBarre.“I don’t think you could live without it.”

To Prepare For Mars Settlement, Simulated Missions Explore Utah’s Desert

Photos: Rae Ellen Bichell/NPR

8

In the year 2148, explorers on Mars discovered the remains of an ancient spacefaring civilization. In the decades that followed, these mysterious artifacts revealed startling new technologies, enabling travel to the furthest stars. The basis for this incredible technology was a force that controlled the very fabric of space and time. They called it the greatest discovery in human history. The civilizations of the galaxy call it… MASS EFFECT.

☄️⚔️Mars⚔️☄️

Mars, the war god; the embodiment of action and desire, the means to our determination and our upmost aggression. In Aries, his ruler, he thrives with his warrior spirit and taste for battle, Mars is purest. In Taurus, the daughter of Aphrodite, he remains stable and sensuous, his eyes tell tales of his longings. In Gemini, he is restless, always searching for a new conquest - here Mars’ mind flares when provoked, his words will bruise and fester. In Cancer, he retreats with protectiveness and a delicate heart; but beware, he is not to be underestimated. In Leo, Mars longs to create, here he is vivacious and sparkling, his desires run as high as his passions. In Virgo, Mars turns practical, he is critical and nervous with an aura of restlessness and humility. In Libra, Aphrodite’s love child, Mars becomes the peace lover; he seeks balance - when Mars falls into his lover, he posses upmost charm. In Scorpio, the underworlds treasure and Mars’ empress, he challenges the impossible; he becomes Hades and Ares in one - dangerous eyes that flare with the wild flames of passion, his willpower turns intense with impenetrable walls of steel. In Sagittarius, Mars wants to explore - with an optimistic soul, here he turns into the purest form of adventure and restlessness; but beware of their anger. In Capricorn, he turns orderly; here he transforms into the embodiment of determination, his veins run gold with the essence ambition - Mars self control is becoming, he turns disciplined and focused. In Aquarius, the water barer, a God-complex is not uncommon, he becomes independent, unyielding and open minded; he despises normality - here Mars can be detached, with a sparkling mind. In Pisces, Mars becomes gentlest, his temper is cooed by Poseidon’s oceans, here he turns mellow, charming and imaginative; beware though, Mars is not afraid to play for their favour.

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Reaching out into space yields benefits on Earth. Many of these have practical applications — but there’s something more than that. Call it inspiration, perhaps, what photographer Ansel Adams referred to as nature’s “endless prospect of magic and wonder." 

Our ongoing exploration of the solar system has yielded more than a few magical images. Why not keep some of them close by to inspire your own explorations? This week, we offer 10 planetary photos suitable for wallpapers on your desktop or phone. Find many more in our galleries. These images were the result of audacious expeditions into deep space; as author Edward Abbey said, "May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.”

1. Martian Selfie

This self-portrait of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows the robotic geologist in the “Murray Buttes” area on lower Mount Sharp. Key features on the skyline of this panorama are the dark mesa called “M12” to the left of the rover’s mast and pale, upper Mount Sharp to the right of the mast. The top of M12 stands about 23 feet (7 meters) above the base of the sloping piles of rocks just behind Curiosity. The scene combines approximately 60 images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, camera at the end of the rover’s robotic arm. Most of the component images were taken on September 17, 2016.

2. The Colors of Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft captured this high-resolution, enhanced color view of Pluto on July 14, 2015. The image combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC). Pluto’s surface sports a remarkable range of subtle colors, enhanced in this view to a rainbow of pale blues, yellows, oranges, and deep reds. Many landforms have their own distinct colors, telling a complex geological and climatological story that scientists have only just begun to decode.

3. The Day the Earth Smiled

On July 19, 2013, in an event celebrated the world over, our Cassini spacecraft slipped into Saturn’s shadow and turned to image the planet, seven of its moons, its inner rings — and, in the background, our home planet, Earth. This mosaic is special as it marks the third time our home planet was imaged from the outer solar system; the second time it was imaged by Cassini from Saturn’s orbit, the first time ever that inhabitants of Earth were made aware in advance that their photo would be taken from such a great distance.

4. Looking Back

Before leaving the Pluto system forever, New Horizons turned back to see Pluto backlit by the sun. The small world’s haze layer shows its blue color in this picture. The high-altitude haze is thought to be similar in nature to that seen at Saturn’s moon Titan. The source of both hazes likely involves sunlight-initiated chemical reactions of nitrogen and methane, leading to relatively small, soot-like particles called tholins. This image was generated by combining information from blue, red and near-infrared images to closely replicate the color a human eye would perceive.

5. Catching Its Own Tail

A huge storm churning through the atmosphere in Saturn’s northern hemisphere overtakes itself as it encircles the planet in this true-color view from Cassini. This picture, captured on February 25, 2011, was taken about 12 weeks after the storm began, and the clouds by this time had formed a tail that wrapped around the planet. The storm is a prodigious source of radio noise, which comes from lightning deep within the planet’s atmosphere.

6. The Great Red Spot

Another massive storm, this time on Jupiter, as seen in this dramatic close-up by Voyager 1 in 1979. The Great Red Spot is much larger than the entire Earth.

7. More Stormy Weather

Jupiter is still just as stormy today, as seen in this recent view from NASA’s Juno spacecraft, when it soared directly over Jupiter’s south pole on February 2, 2017, from an altitude of about 62,800 miles (101,000 kilometers) above the cloud tops. From this unique vantage point we see the terminator (where day meets night) cutting across the Jovian south polar region’s restless, marbled atmosphere with the south pole itself approximately in the center of that border. This image was processed by citizen scientist John Landino. This enhanced color version highlights the bright high clouds and numerous meandering oval storms.

8. X-Ray Vision

X-rays stream off the sun in this image showing observations from by our Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, overlaid on a picture taken by our Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The NuSTAR data, seen in green and blue, reveal solar high-energy emission. The high-energy X-rays come from gas heated to above 3 million degrees. The red channel represents ultraviolet light captured by SDO, and shows the presence of lower-temperature material in the solar atmosphere at 1 million degrees.

9. One Space Robot Photographs Another

This image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows Victoria crater, near the equator of Mars. The crater is approximately half a mile (800 meters) in diameter. It has a distinctive scalloped shape to its rim, caused by erosion and downhill movement of crater wall material. Since January 2004, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been operating in the region where Victoria crater is found. Five days before this image was taken in October 2006, Opportunity arrived at the rim of the crater after a drive of more than over 5 miles (9 kilometers). The rover can be seen in this image, as a dot at roughly the “ten o'clock” position along the rim of the crater. (You can zoom in on the full-resolution version here.)

10. Night Lights

Last, but far from least, is this remarkable new view of our home planet. Last week, we released new global maps of Earth at night, providing the clearest yet composite view of the patterns of human settlement across our planet. This composite image, one of three new full-hemisphere views, provides a view of the Americas at night from the NASA-NOAA Suomi-NPP satellite. The clouds and sun glint — added here for aesthetic effect — are derived from MODIS instrument land surface and cloud cover products.

Discover more lists of 10 things to know about our solar system HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

boom-kaka-laka  asked:

Hey :) I don't want to be annoying or anything but I was wondering if you could recommend some books or websites were I could learn more about space.. I have huge interest in it but I don't really know much about anything from the astro field >_<

Since space always has a bunch of crazy shit going on in it, I’ll just take a bunch of random bookmarked links I have and throw them at you!

Books:Videos:Space Image Galleries: Cool Online Programs:Random Articles:
Taking the Vital Signs of Mars

Does Mars have quakes? What is the temperature of the Red Planet? How did Mars even form? What can it tell us about how other rocky planets formed?

The Mars InSight lander is scheduled to launch in May 2018 to search for the answers to those questions.

InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) will conduct the first thorough “check-up” of Mars in more than 4.5 billion years, measuring its “pulse”, or seismic activity; its temperature; and its “reflexes” (the way the planet wobbles when it is pulled by the Sun and its moons).

How and Why?

By using sophisticated instruments – tools that can measure the vital signs of a planet – InSight will delve deep beneath the surface of Mars, detecting the clues left by the earliest stages of planetary formation.  

Previous Mars missions have explored the surface history of the Red Planet. Mars has been less geologically active than Earth, so it retains a more complete record of its history in its core, mantle and crust. InSight will study the sizes, densities and overall structure of the Red Planet’s core, mantle and crust. 

The lander will also measure the rate at which heat escapes from the planet’s interior, and provide glimpses into the evolutionary processes of all the rocky planets in our solar system, including Earth, and even those circling other stars!

Send Your Name to Mars!

You can send your name to Mars onboard the InSight lander! The deadline to get your Martian boarding pass is Nov. 1. To submit your name, visit: mars.nasa.gov/syn/insight

Learn more about Mars InSight HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

10 Tools for the Armchair Astronaut, or  How to Explore the Solar System from Home

At this very moment, spacecraft are surveying the solar system, from Mars, to Saturn, to Pluto and beyond. Now you can ride along to see the latest discoveries from deep space. For this week’s edition of 10 Things, we’ve assembled a toolkit of 10 essential resources for the desktop astronaut.  

1. It’s Like Facebook, but for Planets

Or is it more of a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Solar System? Whatever one calls it, our planets page offers quick rundowns, as well as in-depth guides, for all the major bodies in the solar system. Explore from the sun all the way to the Oort Cloud.

+ Peruse the planets
+ See how objects in the solar system stack up against each other

2. Keep Your Eyes on This One

If you still haven’t tried Eyes on the Solar System, you’re missing out. This free, downloadable simulation app lets you tour the planets and track the past, current and future positions of spacecraft–all in 3D. Eyes on the Solar System uses real NASA data to help you take a virtual flight across both space and time.

+ Prepare for departure

3. Dateline: Deep Space

With so much exploration underway, discoveries and new insights into the solar system come at a pace that borders on bewildering. NASA is rewriting the textbooks, literally, on a regular basis. Relax, though: there are several easy ways to stay up to date with what’s happening in space.

+ See the latest headlines
+ Stay connected on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
+ Find more top NASA social media accounts

4. Space? There’s an App for That

NASA offers phone and tablet apps for star gazing, pictures, news, 3D tours, satellite tracking, live NASA TV and many other kinds of info.

+ Start downloading
+ See other cool apps

5. A (Very) Long Distance Call

We’re in constant communication with spacecraft all over the solar system. The Deep Space Network is a global network of giant antenna dishes that makes it possible. With this online app, you can learn how it works – and even see which spacecraft are phoning home right now.

+ Deep Space Network (DSN) Now

6. Collect ‘Em All

Spacecraft 3D is an augmented reality (AR) application that lets you learn about and interact with a variety of spacecraft that are used to explore our solar system, study Earth and observe the universe. Print out the AR target and your camera will do the rest, making the spacecraft appear in 3D right in front of you. Learn more about these robotic explorers as they pop up on your desk, in your hand, or on your dog’s head.

+ Download Spacecraft 3D
+ See more cool 3-D resources from NASA

7. Ever Wanted to Drive a Mars Rover?

This site will give you a 3D look at the Mars Curiosity rover, along with some of the terrain it has explored. It will even let you take the controls.

+ Experience Curiosity

8. More E-Ticket Attractions

But wait, there’s more. NASA offers a variety of other fascinating (and free) online experiences, all based on actual data from real missions. Here are a few to explore:

+ Mars Trek
+ Vesta Trek
+ Moon Trek

9. The Universe Is Our Classroom

Studying the solar system makes for a compelling route into learning and teaching science, engineering and math. We have some great places to start.

+ Find resources for teachers
+ Build your own solar system with your classroom

10. Bring It on Home

After you’ve toured the far reaches of the solar system, you can always come home again. When you have spent time studying the harsh conditions on our neighboring planets, the charms of a unique paradise come into sharp focus, the place we call Earth.

+ Watch a real-time video feed from Earth orbit
+ See a daily global view of our planet from a million miles away
+ Hold the earth in your hands with the Earth Now mobile app

Discover more lists of 10 things to know about our solar system HERE.

Follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

anonymous asked:

Have you heard about the MarsOne project? Is it really real, and do you think it'll work? Thanks!

I have heard! To be honest, I feel a little bit skeptical of it, but so far, they’ve kept to their schedule. The Mission Roadmap states that they should start training people in this year, and they have selected their crew on 2015, and NASA has confirmed liquid water on Mars so… it looks like things are going their way.

The reason I feel skeptical is because unless they can show it can really work, it’s unlikely they’re gonna get the funding needed to keep this going. Their plan goes on until 2033, and so far the cheap part has happened. The incoming pieces are going to be expensive as heck. According to their mission page, they have gathered 1 million USD, and that’s nowhere the range of what’s needed to go out there. Much less have people colonize an almost-barren planet.

But I so want to be proven wrong.

Solar System: 10 Things to Know This Week

State of the Solar System: 10 quick updates from around our galactic neighborhood.

1. Powered by the Sun

Fifty-nine years ago, Vanguard 1 launched to demonstrate a new spacecraft technology – solar power. We’ve been going farther and for longer ever since.

+More on Vanguard 1

2. Mapping Mercury

A big week in history for exploration of the innermost planet. On March 16, 1975, our Mariner 10 made its third and final flyby of Mercury. One day and 36 years later, MESSENGER became the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. Next up: ESA’s BepiColumbo, undergoing testing now, is set to launch for Mercury in 2018.

+Missions to Mercury

3. Return to Venus

U.S. and Russian scientists are discussing a planned revival of the successful Venera program that revealed much about Venus in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Meanwhile, Japan’s Akatsuki orbiter continues to study our sister planet.

+More on Venera-D

4. Rocket Power

Back on Earth 91 years ago (March 16, 1926), inventor and dreamer Robet Goddard changed the world forever with the first test of a liquid-fueled rocket. We’ve been going farther and faster ever since.

+More on Goddard

5. Moon Watch

Our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been sending a steady stream of high-resolution images back to Earth for more than seven years.

+More on LRO

6. Busy Mars

There are currently five orbiters (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, MAVEN, ESA’s Mars Express and India’s Mars Orbiter Mission) and two rovers (Curiosity and Opportunity) exploring Mars, making it second only to Earth in the number of robotic spacecraft studying its secrets.

+Meet the Mars Fleet

7. Vote for Jupiter

Polls close today (March 20) so vote not to point a real spacecraft camera at Jupiter during the mission’s 5th perijove pass.

+Vote now

8. Science to the Last Second

In a little less than six months, our Cassini orbiter will plunge into Saturn as a spectacular finale to its 19-year mission – but not before it embarks on a completely new mission into unexplored space between Saturn and its mighty rings.

+More on Cassini’s Grand Finale

9. By George?

Happy belated birthday to Uranus, discovered on March 13, 1781 by William Herschel. The English astronomer wanted to name his discovery – the first planet discovered in recorded history – “Georgium Sidus” after England’s King George III. But he was overruled, and astronomer stuck with traditional mythological names – creating an opportunity for 263 years of student jokes at the expense of the ice giant planet’s name.

+More on Uranus

10. Go Farther

The round trip light time from Voyager 1 to Earth is more than 38 hours. Voyager 1 is almost 13 billion miles from our home planet.

+More on Voyager

Discover more lists of 10 things to know about our solar system HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Aries seems to embody the fury of Fire the most, I think its the elixir of flaming cardinal energies, the radiant Sun exaltation, being ruled by fiery Mars, its all about exploration and pure intuition

Earth is consolidation and fabric, sort of like being rooted and safe, I think the Fixed quality in Taurus tightens the wrapped vines, like Taurus are very present in the Earth, they are embalmed in it, and Venus emanates a love of earth and nature, so there is like the earth child in their flower cradle

Mutable Gemini seems to embody air, Mercury is quicksilver and changeable, Gemini is as light as air, changes swiftly, and vanishes just as quickly, air has no body and flows through everybody, Gemini is the etheric body who’s energy lies behind every sign

Pisces is the most soaked, the Water valve I think, Neptune is a very watery planet, and the collective unconscious and dreams are associated with Water and this is where Pisces spends much of their time, I think the mutable quality means they can float and change form like water and experience all facets of human life, Pisces symbolizes all things, oceanic consciousness

-C.