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NASA reveals detailed plan to send humans to Mars

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Washington: The US space agency has released a detailed outline of its plans to send manned mission to Mars.

In a report titled ‘NASA’s Journey to Mars: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration’, agency administrator Charles Bolden said that NASA is closer to sending American astronauts to Mars than at any point in our history.

“Today, we are publishing additional details about our journey to Mars plan and how we are aligning all of our work in support of this goal.

“In the coming weeks, I look forward to continuing to discuss the details of our plan with members of Congress, as well as our commercial and our international and partners, many of whom will be attending the International Astronautical Congress next week,” he said in a statement.

The journey to Mars crosses three thresholds, each with increasing challenges as humans move farther from Earth.

The “Earth Reliant” exploration is focused on research aboard the International Space Station.

“From this world-class microgravity laboratory, we are testing technologies and advancing human health and performance research that will enable deep space, long duration missions,” Bolden added.

In the ‘Proving Ground’, NASA will learn to conduct complex operations in a deep space environment that allows crews to return to Earth in a matter of days.

“NASA will advance and validate capabilities required for humans to live and work at distances much farther away from our home planet, such as at Mars,” he stated.

“Earth Independent” activities build on what we learn on the space station and in deep space to enable human missions to the Mars vicinity, possibly to low-Mars orbit or one of the Martian moons, and eventually the Martian surface.

Future Mars missions will represent a collaborative effort between NASA and its partners – a global achievement that marks a transition in humanity’s expansion as we go to Mars to seek the potential for sustainable life beyond Earth.

Living and working in space require accepting risks – and the journey to Mars is worth the risks.

A new and powerful space transportation system is key to the journey, but NASA also will need to learn new ways of operating in space, based on self-reliance and increased system reliability.

“We will use proving ground missions to validate transportation and habitation capabilities as well as new operational approaches to stay productive in space while reducing reliance on Earth.” the statement further read.

With the Space Launch System, Orion crewed spacecraft, and revitalised space launch complex, the US space agency is developing core transportation capabilities for the journey to Mars and ensuring continued access for commercial crew and cargo partners to maintain operations and stimulate new economic activity in low-Earth orbit.

 

(IANS)

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NASA’s Kepler Discovers Nearly 100 New Exoplanets

NASA researchers found that some of the signals were caused by multiple star systems or noise from the spacecraft

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UFO religion as a concept is now becoming a part of popular understanding.
Countless galaxies exist in the universe, each hiding secrets that humankind is yet to unearth. Pixabay
  • NASA’s Kepler has discovered nearly 100 new exoplanets
  • Some of the planets discovered are as large as Jupiter
  • NASA has also found planet which orbits very bright stars

An international team of scientists have confirmed the discovery of nearly 100 new exoplanets — planets located outside our solar system.

The discovery was based on data from the second mission of NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope or K2 released in 2014.

NASA has discovered nearly 100 exoplanets. Wikimedia Commons
NASA has discovered nearly 100 exoplanets. Wikimedia Commons

K2 searches for exoplanet transits by registering dips in light caused by the shadow of an exoplanet as it crosses in front of its host star.

NASA researchers found that some of the signals were caused by multiple star systems or noise from the spacecraft.

But they also detected planets that range from sub-Earth-sized to the size of Jupiter and larger.

Also Read: Milky Way’s neighbouring galaxy is of the same size, not bigger

One of the planets detected was orbiting a very bright star.

“We validated a planet on a 10-day orbit around a star called HD 212657, which is now the brightest star found by K2 missions to host a validated planet,” said lead author Andrew Mayo, a doctoral student at the National Space Institute (DTU Space) at the Technical University of Denmark.

Some of the planets found are as big as Jupiter. VOA
Some of the planets found are as big as Jupiter. VOA

For the study, appearing in the Astronomical Journal, the team started out analyzing 275 candidates of which 149 were validated as real exoplanets.

In turn 95 of these planets have proved to be new discoveries, Mayo said.

The Kepler spacecraft was first launched in 2009 to hunt for exoplanets in a single patch of sky, but in 2013 a mechanical failure crippled the telescope.

NASA has found many planets before as well. Wikimedia Commons
NASA has found many planets before as well. Wikimedia Commons

However, astronomers and engineers devised a way to repurpose and save the space telescope by changing its field of view periodically. This solution paved the way for the follow up K2 mission.

Adding the newly discovered exoplanets brings the total number of exoplanets by K2 mission to almost 300, the study said.

Also Read: NASA sounding rocket probing dark regions of space falter

The first planet orbiting a star similar to our own Sun was detected only in 1995. Today some 3,600 exoplanets have been found, ranging from rocky Earth-sized planets to large gas giants like Jupiter. IANS