Think camping out in the great outdoors and earning all those badges in the Boy or Girl Scouts was impressive? Try pitching a tent on Mars and setting up a Sabatier reactor for producing water, fuel and oxygen to survive Mars' CO2 landscape.
In just the past week, Congress has introduced a bill directing NASA to put a manned base on the moon by 2022, and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has said that he'll be sending humans to Mars in a little as 10 years. But can it happen, and do we even want it to?
Yesterday, we brought you up to date on the new Orion spacecraft, which is designed to take manned spaceflight into the next few decades. Lockheed Martin has big plans for their capsule, and wants to use it to send humans to asteroids, the moon, and ultimately Mars.
After more than 250 long days in a wood-paneled approximation of a spaceship headed toward the Red Planet, the six-man crew of Mars500 has finally reached their goal: touching down on Mars. Even though this "Mars" is really just a sandbox in a suburb, one team member still saw the sight as inspiring.
Getting to Mars is going to involve building a huge spacecraft and loading it up with tons of fuel and radiation shielding. Unless, that is, we could just tag along with a spacecraft that's already headed in that direction, like an asteroid.
It sounds crazy, but 233 days ago a team of six scientists entered a sealed simulator in Russia. Their mission? Recreate the conditions of a 520-day round trip to and from Mars, realistically cutoff from the rest of the world. Come February they'll finally reach the Red Planet, but the hardest part of the journey will still be ahead.
One of the spacecraft orbiting Mars has snapped some pictures of what could be the entrances to huge caves. You may be looking at the future site of our first Mars colony.
If you think Mount Everest is something to write home about, take a look at Olympus Mons. Standing at an incredible 27 miles high, this ancient Martian volcano is three times the size of Everest, making it the tallest mountain in our solar system — by a lot.
The next photos we get of the surface of Mars will be taken by this camera, NASA's most advanced.
The genius lads and ladies over at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been so kind as to set up a webcam in their state-of-the-art clean room, the very same one where they're assembling the Curiosity Mars rover. Tonight? They're working...