Tag Archives: Mars

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, after Mercury. Named after the Roman god of war, it is often referred to as the “Red Planet” because the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth.

Mars/Earth comparison:
Average Distance from Sun: 142 million miles (228.5 million km) / Earth: 93 million miles (150 million km)
Average Speed in Orbiting Sun: 14.5 miles per second (23.34 km per second) / Earth: 18.5 miles per second (29.77 km per second)
Diameter: 4,220 miles (6,791 km) / Earth: 7,926 miles (12,755 km)
Tilt of Axis: 25 degrees / Earth: 23.5 degrees
Length of Year: 687 Earth Days / Earth: 365.25 Days
Length of Day: 24 hours 37 minutes / Earth: 23 hours 56 minutes
Gravity: 0.375 that of Earth
Average Temperature: -81 degrees F (-62.78 degrees C) / Earth: 57 degrees F (13.88 degrees C)
Atmosphere: mostly carbon dioxide, some water vapor / Earth: nitrogen, oxygen, argon, others
Number of Moons: 2 / Earth: 1

The poles of Mars

The planet Mars has two permanent polar ice caps. During a pole’s winter, it lies in continuous darkness, chilling the surface and causing the deposition of 25–30% of the atmosphere into slabs of CO2 ice (dry ice). When the poles are again exposed to sunlight, the frozen CO2 sublimes, creating enormous winds that sweep off the poles as fast as 400 km/h. These seasonal actions transport large amounts of dust and water vapor, giving rise to Earth-like frost and large cirrus clouds. Clouds of water-ice were photographed by the Opportunity rover in 2004.
The caps at both poles consist primarily of water ice. Frozen carbon dioxide accumulates as a comparatively thin layer about one metre thick on the north cap in the northern winter only, while the south cap has a permanent dry ice cover about 8 m thick. Photo: windows2universe.org

5 Surprising Facts about Mars

For eons, skywatchers have been fascinated by the pale red dot that not only unpredictably moves backward in the night sky but also shines a compelling blood-red. Its color, indeed, is one of the first features we notice about Mars. It seizes our attention, and its compelling ambiguity has evoked a deep visceral reaction from the nomad in ancient savannas to modern astronomers. The ancient astronomer may be satisfied to know that, in fact, Mars is literally blood-red: the same chemical reaction that occurs in the iron in Mars’ soil is the same is the same chemical reaction that occurs in the hemoglobin molecule. Mars, is, quite literally, blood red. Even with our cutting-edge technology and science, Mars still bewitches and amazes us as seen with these five surprising facts about Mars.

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How NASA Reinvented The Wheel

On August 6, 2012, at 05:17 UTC, NASA has successfully landed a Mini-Cooper-sized rover, Curiosity, on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars. The 900-kg rover (899 kg, to be exact, which is 1,982 lbs) is equipped with six 50 cm (20 in) diameter wheels in a rocker-bogie suspension. Notes 1 For the first time in the history of the space exploration, the suspension system also served as landing gear for the vehicle, unlike its smaller predecessors.

Curiosity “soft-landed”  (wheels down) on the surface of Mars. But, even it’s called “soft-landing”, the touchdown speed was 0.6739m/s vertical and 0.044m/s horizontal, which could damage the wheels. Plus, while the rover is moving, the wheels should withstand the substantial damage through the rough Martian surface. That’s why the wheels of the Curiosity rover have been one of the biggest technical difficulties encountered on the mission. Notes 2

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A Quick Peek Into the Future: 10 Ways Technology Will Transform Our Lives by 2050

All of us remember the iconic opening scene from Wall-E, where the lone robot goes about his daily routine, clearing up rubble. Amid the debris-filled surface of the planet, we see glimpses of how things used to be, before a gross violation of the ecosystem and rampant consumption of energy resources made our planet inhabitable. It is a gloomy picture indeed, and fills us with despair to witness what we are doing to our planet, armed with technological advancements that are gradually eating into the earth’s very soul.

However, the movie also teaches us that it is never too late to turn over a new leaf and mend our ways. Technology, when used to benefit humankind, can actually be the very tool with which we can build our futures, and make our planet a better place for the generations to come. This post is an overview of what could happen in 2050, given the rate of technological progression, with a special emphasis on how we can do good to the planet that has sustained us for so long.

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The Confluence Of Robotics With Space Research And Exploration

Those of us who have grown up watching the iconic space saga Star Wars are quite informed about what robots can accomplish. While that’s only a reel representation, but it definitely points to an abundance of opportunities in the realm of space research.

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Why it’s only science that can answer all the big questions

Science has proved itself to be a reliable way to approach all kinds of questions about the physical world. As a scientist, I am led to wonder whether its ability to provide understanding is unlimited. Can it in fact answer all the great questions, the ‘big questions of being’, that occur to us?

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Watch: Top 10 Tallest Rockets Ever Launched

To able to reach the space, we need rockets. Rocket engines work by action and reaction (“To every action, there is always opposed an equal reaction”Notes 1) and push rockets forward simply by expelling their exhaust in the opposite direction at high speed and can therefore work in the vacuum of space. Space rockets are usually enormous in size, because the bigger the rocket is, the more thrust can produce its engine and can carry more weight into the orbit. Here are the 10 tallest rockets ever launched in the history of space exploration.
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Photographer Catches the Launch of NASA’s Mars InSight Lander

On May 5, 2018, NASA’s robotic Mars lander, InSight, which designed to study the interior of Mars, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base space launch complex 3-East. This was the first American interplanetary mission to launch from California. Andy Fortson, adventure and lifestyle photographer based in Los Angeles, California has photographed the launch and the result is stunning.
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Mars Curiosity Rover Celebrates Sol 2,000

This week, NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover celebrated its 2,000th Martian day (or Sol) on the Red Planet. The nuclear-powered rover was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011, and landed on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars on August 6, 2012. A Mars day is slightly longer than a day here on Earth: a sidereal day is 24 hours, 37 minutes, and 22 seconds (on Earth, it is 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds) and a solar day is 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds (on Earth, 24 hours).

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Watch: Others Will Follow (Short Sci-Fi Film)

A great short science fiction film, “Others Will Follow”, created and directed by Andrew Finch and published on Vimeo, tells the story of a manned Mars mission. An accident occurs and the spacecraft breaks apart, the last survivor (we don’t see what happens to the rest of the crew, but presumably they have died) manages to send an inspirational message back to Earth. A must-watch.

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