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Saturday, March 2, 2002


Told Ya (Frozen Water Found)

Frozen water found.
Frozen water found.
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
(JPL Press Release) - Initial science data from NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft, which began its mapping mission last week, portend some tantalizing findings by the newest Martian visitor, including possible identification of significant amounts of frozen water. "We are delighted with the quality of data we're seeing," said Dr. Steve Saunders, Odyssey project scientist at JPL. "We'll use it to build on what we've learned from Mars Global Surveyor and other missions. Now we may actually see water rather than guessing where it is or was. And with the thermal images we are able to examine surface geology from a new perspective." "These preliminary Odyssey observations are the 'tip of the iceberg' of the science results that are soon to come, so stay tuned," said Dr. Jim Garvin, lead scientist of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. New images taken by the thermal emission imaging system show the temperature of the surface at a remarkable level of clarity and detail during both the martian day and night. Odyssey's camera system is studying Mars' surface mineralogy to reveal geologic history. The thermal infrared images are 30 times sharper than previously available images, and the camera's visible-light images will fill a gap in resolution between Viking Orbiter and Mars Global Surveyor pictures.

Special thanks to Paul Sulzbacher.

(More info: JPL NASA)


- posted by Alex @ 23:21 EST

(permanent link)

Thursday, March 14, 2002


Odyssey Fixed

(CNN) - An instrument carried by the Mars Odyssey spacecraft to measure martian radiation began gathering science data seven months after it suddenly stopped communicating with flight controllers, NASA said. Engineers who had been troubleshooting the problem since late February finally re-established communication on Wednesday with the instrument, which stopped working in August. Roger Gibbs, the Odyssey project manager at JPL, said fixing communications with the instrument means the spacecraft's entire payload is now working. The instrument, designed to assess radiation risks that future human missions to Mars may encounter, stopped communicating while Odyssey was en route to the Red Planet.

(More info: CNN.com)


- posted by Alex @ 18:23 EST

(permanent link)

Friday, March 15, 2002


New Paper

Jim has written the first edition of his paper entitled, A Biological Terraforming Overview, marking the beginning of a new format for Red Colony.com. Jim, Brian, and myself will write "papers" about Mars colonization or terraforming. These scientific papers will begin with an overview, or broad explanation, of our theories. Each statement in the papers will then be researched in-depth as "articles." The articles will correspond with their respective "paper", and will be released in the same format as previous articles, except with much more scientific data instead of pure speculation. After an article has been written and published online, the original paper will be updated. The process will continue until the paper is completely researched and updated. This type of specific "micro-research" is much more efficient than researching the entire paper at once.

- posted by Alex @ 19:25 EST

(permanent link)

Thursday, March 21, 2002


Sailing to the Stars

Sailing to the stars.
Sailing to the stars.
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
(MSNBC) - Humans will begin a voyage to the nearest star this century, a NASA researcher says. And the crew might more resemble a tribal society than the chain of command of traditional space missions. Traditional means of space travel are too slow to push humans out of the solar system. Instead, Landis envisions ships with vast sails, propelled by laser light to about 10 percent the speed of light. Such a craft could make the 4.3-light-year trip to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system, in about 43 years, though slowing down would be a problem. Stopping could take up to 100 years. Sending humans out into deep space over a period of generations probably means a one-way trip for those aboard, researchers say, and would require the development of reliable power sources and closed-loop life support systems. The technological hurdles of building a laser large enough (on the order of a 100 meters or 330 feet wide) in space, and designing a stable sail - not to mention the spacecraft itself - are not small. "The laws of physics are on our side, but itís a hard question to answer: Is the technology going to be there?" Landis said, adding that to date, only a handful of scientists are thinking about ideas for advanced space exploration. "The earth itself is not entirely a safe place," Landis said. "It would be a good thing for our survival if we lived on more than one planet." If humanity didnít reach out to the stars, all of its proverbial eggs would be in one basket.

(More info: MSNBC.com)


- posted by Alex @ 19:26 EST

(permanent link)

Wednesday, March 27, 2002


Ideal Moonbase Spot

Ideal moonbase spot.
Ideal moonbase spot.
Credit: US Naval Research Laboratory
(MSNBC) - Two sharp-eyed investigators using radar astronomy imagery and photos of the moon snapped by the U.S. Defense Departmentís Clementine orbiter have pinpointed the best place to help kick-start a 21st-century program of lunar exploration and utilization. The site, Malapert Mountain, is located 76 miles (122 kilometers) from the moonís south pole. This ideal spot - unlike any other area on Luna - has been highlighted as being suitable for astronomy and communications relay purposes, and perfect to help foster commercial development of the moon. A central attribute of 16,400-foot-high (5,000-meter-high) Malapert Mountain is that it basks in sunlight more than 90 percent of the time. The site is power-rich thanks to that constant rain of sun, enough to energize habitats and keep all manner of high-tech gear humming along. In addition, Malapert Mountain is the master of its domain. From the mountain peak, a staggering view of the lunar south polar region is available. That lunar terrain is thought to hold a reservoir of frozen water ice, pocketed in deep craters that never see a ray of warming sunlight. Transforming such a resource into drinkable water, breathable oxygen and rocket propellant could radically alter a now-dead moon, turning it into a lively location for human exploration. Europe too has given the once-over to the mountain. The European Space Agencyís EuroMoon 2000 project also pointed out that Malapert Mountain was a place of uninterrupted power and communications. The sun is above the horizon for all but 35 to 40 days a year, every year. "A real estate developer would want dibs on this more than any other place up there," Sharpe concluded."There are big priorities for going into space. You need communications and power. So finding a site that gives you both continuous communications and the longest period of sunlight... itís a dream situation," said Schrunk.

(More info: MSNBC.com)


- posted by Alex @ 22:28 EST

(permanent link)

Saturday, March 30, 2002


England's Queen

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the British people on the death of their great Queen. With her rule, the world was blessed a hundred years.

- posted by Alex @ 19:29 EST

(permanent link)


Robo Doc

Robo Doc.
Robo Doc.
Credit: Space.com
(Space.com) Robo Doc, NASA's vision for astronaut health care, is an automated high-tech physician. Robo Doc would be an onboard, integrated set of devices that would allow astronauts to easily monitor and maintain their own health on the International Space Station, as well as on years-long missions to Mars. The system works by using a plethora of scanners to check all functions of the body. The scanners could be the size of a quarter and measures blood flow and other functions. They would be connected to an on-board computer or a "Palm Pilot" type device to determine the illness and prescribe a treatment.

(More info: Space.com)


- posted by Jim @ 20:30 EST

(permanent link)

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