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Space News [Jun. 3rd, 2010|03:47 pm]

  • Pheonix Mars Lander confirmed dead (as expected) - The Pheonix lander wasn't really designed to survive the Martian winter but there was always that slim chance. They've officially confirmed that it didn't make it. What's cool, though, is that they were able to image it from orbit (via Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) and actually get some sense of the extent of the damage from ice and environment.

  • Volunteers Begin Dry Run of Mars Trip Isolation - Volunteer "astronauts" are simulating what a mission to Mars would mean for the human side of things. Five people are being locked into a sealed facility with provisions in an attempt to simulate long-duration (520 days) space travel. They'll even simulate surface activities in a Mars sandbox with hardsuits and the communication delay in talking with Earth.

  • SpaceX Prepares for First Falcon-9 Launch - They're staged for a full test launch at Cape Kennedy of their nine-engine rocket. This is what they hope will ultimately be able to carry a Dragon capsule or heavy commercial payloads to orbit. They're careful to downplay expectations for this first test launch; they'll consider it a success if just the first stage performs correctly.

    Launch window is tomorrow and Saturday morning, 8:00 AM PST / 11:00 AM EST.

[User Picture]From: kj_roo
2010-06-04 12:28 am (UTC)
I'd only ever put up with 520 days in a box to walk on mars. :)
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[User Picture]From: twigmouse
2010-06-04 12:48 am (UTC)
So much cool stuff! That SpaceX blog is full of awesome :-)
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[User Picture]From: orv
2010-06-04 05:46 pm (UTC)
The Mars trip isolation experiment is a useful one, but I think it misses one of the biggest obstacles to sending humans to Mars — the biological effects of long-term weightlessness. Experiments on Mir and the International Space Station have suggested that yes, people can survive being in freefall for long enough to get to Mars, but they won't be good for much once they land there.
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