When you die you can stay as long as you want as a ghost. The year is 2028 and the crew of the first human mission to mars has no idea that the ship is filled with the ghosts of hundreds of scientists, explorers and intellectuals.
If there was a mission to colonize Mars and they needed brave volunteers or stupid volunteers I would be there so fast, I would abandon everything on Earth to go into space. And I would love it. I would love every struggle of it. - Mark
This week, we’re looking at MAVEN’s exploration of Mars, the Orionid meteor showers, Mercury’s “great valley” and more.
1. Celebrating MAVEN
MAVEN, the Mars Atmospheric and Volatile Evolution, was the second mission selected for our Mars Scout program and the first to explore the planet’s upper atmosphere
. It launched on November 18, 2013 and entered orbit around Mars on September 21, 2014.
This time-lapse sequence of Hubble Space Telescope images shows Jupiter’s moon Europa as it moved across the planet’s face over the course of 19 minutes. Europa is at the bottom center on Jupiter’s disk, the Great Red Spot to the left and Europa’s shadow to its right. The video was created by combining six snapshots taken in ultraviolet light with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3.
A newly discovered “great valley” in the southern hemisphere of Mercury provides more evidence that the planet closest to the sun is shrinking. Using stereo images from our MESSENGER spacecraft to create a high-resolution map, scientists have discovered that revealed the broad valley – more than 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) long – extending into the Rembrandt basin, one of the largest and youngest impact basins on Mercury. About 250 miles (400 kilometers) wide and 2 miles (3 kilometers) deep, Mercury’s great valley is smaller than Mars’ Valles Marineris, but larger than North America’s Grand Canyon and wider and deeper than the Great Rift Valley in East Africa.
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Discover the full list of 10 things to know about our solar system this week HERE.
In the 47 years since humans first stepped on the moon, space-helmet technology hasn’t exactly made a giant leap. But the prospect of exploring Mars has NASA’s designers scrambling for their drawing boards. “The requirements are different from anything we’ve done before,” says Dave Lavery, who leads NASA’s Solar System Exploration Program. They include durability (to withstand abrasion in wind storms), flexibility (for yearlong missions), and field of view (for 360-degree visibility).
Past — 1960s & ‘70s (Top) : The iconic bubble helmet worn by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin was built to withstand the moon’s extreme temperature swings and protect astronauts’ eyes from solar glare and radiation. At the back, the helmet’s fitted shape cushioned the head in case of an emergency during launch or landing.
Present (Middle) : Today’s helmet is almost identical to the Apollo era’s—bulbous and locked solidly into the neck of the suit—except that this one has cameras and lights. Since the International Space Station circles the Earth every 92 minutes, astronauts might be suddenly plunged into darkness during a spacewalk, so lights are a must.
Future — 2030s & '40s (Bottom) : On Mars, visibility and range of motion will be extremely important. That’s why the helmet for the BioSuit—one of the contending designs for a Mars mission—moves freely with the astronaut’s head, like a motorcycle helmet. It will also have a heads-up display with information on navigation, logistics, scheduling, situational awareness, and life support.
okay but where are all the science nerds geologist!cas and astrophysicist!dean aus? just like endless pages of dean and cas being utter fucking nerds debating string theory alongside the finer points of the carbon cycle. going on dates where they’re laid out on a blanket looking at the stars not because it’s romantic, but because they’re naming constellations and looking through the university’s $10,000 telescope. eating in the cafeteria and arguing about NASA’s upcoming mission to mars. complaining about the fact that their 101 students are not excited about mechanics or earth system science. dean’s first gift to cas being a meteorite pendant. cas’s first gift to dean being one of those cheesy deeds to a star.
just like, dean and cas being super nerdy and watching planet earth and stephen hawking documentaries in their spare time and being total freaking science nerds.
-something goes wrong at NASA, or anywhere where Mark Watney frequents, blame it on mars. it started as him mumbling about it, and it spread. coffee maker breaks? “goddamnit mars.” somebody’s computer fucks up? “fuckin’ mars!” another rocket explodes upon being launched? "I BLAME MARS”
-the people in Watney’s household, his students, and the people at NASA when he’s around like to play disco music at increasing volumes. they see how loud they can get it till he notices.
-Mark Watney starts listening to disco music on his own sometimes. nobody’s really sure if its ironically or not.
-everytime someone fucks up at NASA, they are met with a (mostly) joking remark along the lines of, “Mark Watney, space pirate, colonized MARS, and you can’t even transfer files correctly!!!!”
-the above but with the next manned mission to mars. someone’s like “ugh i spilled the dirt sample i just took so now i have to recollect it” and their crewmate is overdramatically like , “ mA RK WATNEY, SPACE PIRATE, COLONIZED THIS GODFORSAKEN PLANET, AND U CANT EVEN COLLECT DIRT ? U CALL URSELF A GOOD ASTRONAUT”
-”remember this, class, you might need it if NASA leaves you behind on a desolate planet someday”
-the crew with kids, at some point, all go to their kids school during “job day” or whatever where they talk about their jobs. the crews like “i was an astronaut! we accidentally left our friend on mars, but let’s not talk about that.” except Mark Watney and hes like “U WANT A JOB WITH A LOT OF EXCITEMENT? GO BE AN ASTRONAUT. THEY MIGHT LEAVE U ON MARS TOO, THEN PAY U A LOT BECAUSE THEY FELT BAD.”
-right after they found out that Watney was alive on mars, commander Lewis turns to Beck and is like, “uh huh. he’s dead, SUUURE” and cocks her eyebrow and beck is like “o H SHIT” bc hes the one that first plain out said that watney was dead and they had to go fast off the planet
-every year on his birthday NASA/the ares III crew/friends/family/fans send Mark Watney at least 80 different space/mars related things, including a card every year that says “sorry we left you on mars” with another sheet of custom made stickers that say “I SURVIVED MARS” with a lil thumbs-up astronaut