Mars One Monday - June 22

Mars One Monday rounds up the past week’s reports on the project to send people on a one-way journey to Mars.

A dune field near the south pole gets shaped as carbon dioxide frost forms and sublimates. Scientists use images like this taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRise camera to understand how these processes change with time. Credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

An artist's concept of the Mars One settlement's organic life support system. Reality will probably look much different. Credit: Bryan Versteeg/Mars One

In its article “The Most Important Thing We Will Need To Survive In Space” Gizmodo compares Mars One to the disastrous Biosphere 2 project. It cites the MIT feasibility analysis which found that similar imbalances in carbon dioxide and oxygen could develop without appropriate countermeasures. The article concludes with ways to avoid these problems by isolating the plant-growth chambers from the human living areas.

Mars One Candidates in the News

Media coverage of Mars One last week focused on Maggie Lieu’s withdrawal from the program. Most of the reports simply paraphrased her original tweet. The BBC picked up Lieu’s statement explaining her decision to withdraw from Mars One

Having reviewed my position with the Mars One project, I realised that I didn’t want to be tied to a contract that didn’t suit me going forward. I very much want to complete my PhD in astronomy at the University of Birmingham, as well as continue with my public engagement and outreach activities, which I am extremely passionate about. I can now concentrate my efforts on pursuing these goals.

Mars Odyssey's view of Gale Crater. The enhanced color image from the Themis camera shows the distribution of minerals on the surface. The pink shading is wind-blown dust that partially covers basalt (purple) created during the asteroid impact. The bluish regions at the peak of Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp) may be a different mineral that Curiosity may identify later in its journey. Credit: Nasa/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University

Nasa’s Mars Odyssey will complete its 60,000th orbit after nearly 14 years at the red planet. The space agency’s press release summarizes the spacecraft’s many discoveries and its role as a communications relay for the Mars rovers. One of its instruments, the Themis infrared camera, was designed by scientists at Arizona State University. Philip Christensen, an ASU professor and the Themis principal investigator, explained in this ASU press release how he uses Themis images in first-year undergraduate geology classes. Themis images are also the cornerstone of the Mars Student Imaging Project which lets high school students schedule original images of the Martian surface.

Nasa helped the town of Mars, Pennsylvania, celebrated the Martian New Year. In addition to providing exhibits and outreach activities, the space agency’s Director of Planetary Science, Jim Green, delivered a keynote about Nasa’s plans to explore Mars. Dr. Green told the celebration’s attendees about the challenges humanity must overcome to live on Mars, concluding “none of that is insurmountable.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Terraforming Mars may be a short-term solution. Data from Nasa's Maven mission let scientists simulate the Sun's interaction with Mars. The solar wind generates electric fields that accelerate atmospheric ions to the poles and away from the planet. Credit: X. Fang/University of Colorado/Maven science team

Analysis of the Martian atmosphere by scientists on the Maven mission uncovered a plume of particles escaping from the red planet’s poles. The solar wind creates an electric field that channels ions to the poles and away from the planet. The spacecraft also detected ions left behind by the comet Siding Spring last year.

Other news from Mars: