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Friday, July 4, 2003

MER-B Launch Set For Sunday

Delta II Rocket.
Delta II Rocket.
NASA has announced that they will try again to launch the much-delayed MER-B mission, Opportunity, on Sunday. NASA believes that the cork insulation problems that were found after previous delays have been corrected, and none too soon; the launch window for the next four years is rapidly drawing to a close.

In other news, for all of you proud Americans out there, happy Independence Day! Today is Red Colony's birthday as well.

(More info:

- posted by Brian @ 16:53 EST

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Happy Birthday Red Colony!

Happy birthday to the United States too :-)
Happy birthday to the United States too :-)
Credit: Unknown
Today is Red's third anniversary! It was on July 4th, 2000 when the domain became active. It was eight days later when I wrote the first news update. And it was just a month later when we became the largest Mars colonization website on the Internet. If you folks get back from the fireworks and want to sit down and reminisce, read the News Archive which dates back to the first days ever. Oh, and check out the first screenshot ever taken of the website.

Here are some more screenshots for a walk down memory lane:

July 28, 2000
Aiugust 26, 2000
September 8, 2000
October 7, 2000
November 5, 2000
January 1, 2001
July 21, 2001
September 11, 2001

- posted by Alex @ 19:58 EST

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Sunday, July 6, 2003

Opportunity Delayed Until Monday

The second Mars Exploration Rover to be launched by NASA has suffered its fourth setback. The current one is caused by a faulty battery in the rover, forcing a replacement. If everything goes well, the rover will launch Monday, with a 70% chance of good weather.

(More info: Reuters)

- posted by Brian @ 11:16 EST

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Monday, July 7, 2003

General Mars Facts

Valles Marineris.
Valles Marineris.
Credit: NASA
Chris Schubert. Chris Schubert. Chris Schubert. I'd like to extend a special thanks to Mr. Schubert for sending (a long time ago actually) information for the new General Mars Facts page. He also sent us the specs for the instruments on the Mars Express and Mars Exploration Rovers. Now, the Instruments page is up for MER. Great job, Chris, even though it took me forever to post everything.

- posted by Alex @ 17:48 EST

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Mars Meat Article

Credit: BBC
Steven Wintergerst, author of several Red Colony articles and a terraforming method, has written Mars Meat. His article covers some of the more obscure aspects of a trip to Mars... one of the things that I know I haven't given much thought to. How will we satisfy our animal instinct to bite down on a piece of juicy, red meat? Robert Zubrin proposes that the first animals that we bring to Mars should be hassle-free. A cow? A lizard? A bioengineered goat? Hmmmm. Vegetarians beware...

- posted by Alex @ 18:33 EST

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Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Opportunity Away!

NASA's MER-B Opportunity mission is away after many unsuccessful attempts at launching. What more can be said?

(More info: Edinburgh Evening News)

- posted by Brian @ 17:24 EST

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Monday, July 14, 2003

Mars Closest in 73,000 Years Soon

Make your plans and mark your calendars: Mars will come its closest in 73,000 years come August 27th, when it will appear to be as large as Jupiter.

More info: The Times of India)

- posted by Brian @ 19:38 EST

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Saturday, July 19, 2003

Opportunity Makes Course Correction

The Mars Exploration Rover spacecraft Opportunity made a scheduled course correction on route to Mars yesterday, putting the mission right on schedule. Opportunity is now roughly twenty million miles away from Earth.

(More info: Spaceflight Now)

- posted by Brian @ 9:46 EST

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Monday, July 21, 2003

Mars Society Online Marspapers

The Mars Society has recently announced the creation of an online library of Marspapers. Similar to Red Colony's articles, Marspapers will cover topics "ranging from analog research stations, technologies for robotic and human Mars exploration, utilization of Mars resources, the search for life, settlement, to related societal and philosophical implications that may be expressed in fiction or non-fiction." Also similar to Red Colony, visitors will be able to submit their own Marspapers. If you're not a Mars Society member, you only have access to the MarsAbstracts, short descriptions of each of the papers. Mars Society members have access to all 140 papers, in pdf format. A basic Mars Society membership is $50 US.

- posted by Alex @ 10:47 EST

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Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Radon, Not Radar, the Key to Water Search?

Finding water is perhaps the largest task for the current wave of missions to Mars, and the search may continue into the next decade or beyond as we gain a greater understanding of the Martian environment. The ESA's MARSIS radar system on the Mars Express can search up to five kilometers underground for water -- but it misses the first 100 meters. NASA is planning on plugging the gap with a new mission in 2005, but there is an even greater issue. Radar is generally good at seeing liquid water...but when it comes to ice it becomes difficult to tell it apart from the surrounding rock.

So what's the solution? A scientist in France has submitted a proposal to include a radon detector on the next Mars mission by NASA. Radon is that radioactive gas that is produced from the natural decay of uranium in the ground, as many homeowners know. Normally it gets stuck in the rock, but when ice is present it can seep up through the ground, to be detected by a very inexpensive scientific instrument. It seems nearly perfect, especially since radon should be able to travel farther in the lower atmospheric pressure on Mars.

Even so, Mars has given us surprises before. We have no way of knowing if radon release from the soil works the same way on the red planet as it does in our backyard, but we don't have much to lose from trying.

(More info: New Scientist)

- posted by Brian @ 19:44 EST

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Thursday, July 24, 2003

CafePress Announces Book Publishing

So what does this mean? Well, I happen to have an obsession with writing. It's what I'm going to college for, and it's why I started this site. A few years back, some members of the forum and I discussed the possibility of creating a "joint-effort Red Colony book" of sorts. It would include the articles and stories on Red Colony with some background information about Red Colony. More of a reference than an attempt at the New York Times bestseller list, we gave up on the idea.

However, now that publishing is easier than ABC, our options are limitless. Could we write a small monthly magazine, or a yearly encyclopedia? Could we make an index of the entire site, word-by-word, or a public service announcement-esque pamphlet? A joint-novel or terraforming method perhaps? It's up to you to decide. Email me or voice your opinion on the Forum. I want to run with this.

- posted by Alex @ 14:33 EST

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Sunday, July 27, 2003

Bill Clark's Theory of F and G Forces

Bill Clark, author of several novels and scientific articles and speaker at the upcoming Mars Society annual conference, has sent us his Theory of F and G Forces. Here is his description of his (somewhat controversial) theory:

The "f and g equations" are a solution to the Two Body Equation, for the gravitational forces of one body orbiting another. I show these "f and g equations" represent two new gravitational forces. These "f and g forces" have contributed to the very high failure rate of missions to Mars (nine of twelve missions have failed; all six Russian probes were lost years ago, and three recent US missions were lost). One of the forces originates near Mars' orbit, and it is not accounted for in typical trajectory models. This force near Mars is also the cause of a mysterious aspect of the geology of Mars which could only have been done by huge oceans of water existing there for aeons. This is physically not possible because Mars is so small that any water would quickly evaporate to space. The second force, originating near the Sun, is shown to cause a distortion in space usually attributed to Relativity. Independent, analytical proof of these "f and g forces" is presented from many perspectives: complex analysis, relativity theory, celestial mechanics, solid state physics, dynamics, fractal theory, and via a numerical model of the Earth to Mars trajectory. Five spacecraft are currently en route to Mars ~ will they arrive OK?

You'll want to look at this one.

- posted by Alex @ 0:48 EST

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Water Map Completed

The results of a year-long survey by NASA of Mars Odyssey data have confirmed what we have expected about the water concentrations on Mars. Not only do there appear to be significant amounts of water on Mars, but the landing sites for the spacecraft currently en route to Mars appear to lie directly in them.

(More info: USA Today)

- posted by Brian @ 22:49 EST

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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

New Theory for Mars' Moons

A new theory about how Phobos and Deimos came about suggests that they are just the remnants of one larger moon. No one has yet been able to explain their orbits. Fred Singer, by performing complex orbital calculations, has said that a large moon in close proximity would have broken up due to gravitational forces. The chunks left would cling together into larger piles. The smallest remain as Phobos and Deimos. The rest would have crashed into Mars. Singer also says, that surface and deep soil samples are needed to see if the moons have the same composition, a fundamental prediction of his hypothesis.

(More info:

- posted by Jim @ 12:48 EST

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Thursday, July 31, 2003

The Mars Trajectory as a Four Body Problem

The Mars Trajectory as a Four Body Problem, by Bill Clark, offers an explanation of how to optimize the Earth to Mars trajectory. If you're interested in the physics of traveling to Mars, look no further!

Bill also has submitted a short story entitled Mr. Bill versus NASA. This amusing dialog between a geologist and a US senator illustrates, or caricaturizes, the public's ignorance with fact: Mars holds water.

- posted by Alex @ 15:25 EST

(permanent link)

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