Copy
A DOCUMENTARY FOR OUR NEWEST SPACE AGE
View this email in your browser
Madame Mars is a transmedia production designed to prepare all of us for our futures in space, whether orbiting Earth, returning to the moon, or colonizing Mars – and worlds beyond.
FALL 2016
With many returning to schools, colleges and universities this month, Madame Mars thinks this is a good time to remember our goal: to make sure that everyone with the dream of working in space or in the space industry will get the education and have the opportunity to do so. Your tax-deductible gift to support completion of the Madame Mars documentary and related educational games and apps is definitely the smart move!
 
THIS MONTH: 
EXCLUSIVE TO MADAME MARS!

HOMER: A LONG DISTANCE LOOK INTO LAVA TUBES ON MARS
BY DIVYA M. PERSAUD



 
Lava tubes - cave systems that form during large-scale volcanic flow - have been modeled for decades as ideal locations for human exploration and habitation on the Moon and Mars due to stable and relatively tolerable temperatures and radiation shielding. The lava tubes may also preserve important markers for everything from ancient oceans and hydrothermal vents to fossilized microbial life, and may contain subsurface water ice that could support present-day microbial life as well as future astronauts.
 
In 2015, I participated in a summer program at NASA Ames Research Center, the Academy for Space Exploration, that provides motivated students in space-related fields with resources and rigorous research opportunities to prepare them for leadership positions in NASA or industry. My ten-member team developed a preliminary mission design called HOMER - the High-resolution Orbiter for Mapping gEology by Radar - that would utilize a fleet of small satellites (smallsats) to map lava tubes and subsurface ice that may be viable for human exploration and utilization.

HOMER's unique technology combines radar methods - ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) - to optimize resolution in three dimensions, to survey at depths optimal for human access, and to minimize power consumption. The mission addresses a growing need in planetary exploration: to provide efficient and comprehensive methods for probing potential human landing sites over shorter periods of time than orbiters or rovers, with the ability to deliver very precise science that will enable the engineering and planning for human exploration and habitation.
 
HOMER consists of a fleet of five identical ground-penetrating radar (GPR) smallsat units and a single larger mothership. The smallsats collect data and transmit this to the mothership, which functions as a communications relay back to Earth for the duration of the mission.

As a geologist on the science team, I helped develop the science mission goals for HOMER and selected target regions on Mars - Elysium Mons and the Tharsis Montes (based on previous models and mission results) - that would offer the most geologically and astrobiologically viable and interesting lava tubes for eventual human exploration.

My experiences with the HOMER mission have shown me is that the next steps in successful space exploration will require more than science and engineering; we must also connect and utilize the minds and imaginations of all those involved. To me, HOMER represents the future of our collective knowledge and the capacity of humanity to ask the questions and seek and embrace the answers that will enable us to reach Mars.

About Divya M. Persaud:
 
The Madame Mars team met Divya and four other young women who were summer interns at the SETI Institute in 2014; an investigation she began there led to an opportunity at JPL this past summer to continue her examination of the properties of craters on icy bodies such as Saturn's moons.

Divya's work with the HOMER mission became the focus of her senior honors thesis at the University of Rochester. She will graduate this year and plans to further her education by applying to Ph.D. programs in planetary science. Divya's team presented the HOMER design at NASA Ames and at professional conferences, including the 47th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. The team is continuing the discussion with NASA Ames, as well as with earth science institutions and industry, on ways to further develop the mission. 
NEWS FROM MADAME MARS
HAVE YOU TAKEN THE ULTIMATE MARS QUIZ?

The Madame Mars education team has assembled some of the toughest Mars questions ever asked. Are You a Martian? exemplifies both the educational and entertainment value of the games and apps the team is producing to augment and extend the space-based science in our movie - try it on Playbuzz - we promise it will test your Martian mettle.
 

ARE YOU GOING TO DENT: SPACE?
 

 
DENT: SPACE, a mega-space event featuring two stages of high-profile speakers spanning the technological, artistic, commercial, scientific, educational, and DIY aspects of space exploration, plus an exhibit hall full of interactive features, will be held September 21-22 at the Innovation Hanger - former site of the Exploratorium - at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. 

The Madame Mars team will be there! Look for us, ask us questions; let's discuss our favorite planet - and the rest of the universe!
NEWS FROM FRIENDS OF MADAME MARS
Lori Ploutz-Snyder, formerly Lead Exercise Physiologist at Johnson Space Center, has been named Dean of the School of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan. In the Madame Mars movie, Lori will talk about ways to maintain fitness in space and how NASA is preparing astronauts for eventual life on Mars. 
Lara Kearney, was Deputy Director for the Orion Crew Capsule at Johnson Space Center when the Madame Mars team interviewed her last year - she now has a new title and expanded duties as Manager of the Orion Crew and Service Modules, vital components of NASA's Journey to Mars.
Teresa Segura, formerly with Space Systems Loral, has formed her own company, Isidis, LLC (named for a Martian crater), to further her work as a Mars climatologist.  
From Mars One:Permanent settlers on Mars will need to grow their own food. Recent experiments at the Wageningen University & Research Centre in the Netherlands, sponsored by Mars One, have produced edible crops including radishes, peas, rye, and tomatoes, cultivated in a simulated Martian soil prepared by NASA from Hawaiian lava fields. According to plant ecologist Wieger Wamelink, who directed the study, the soil contained more nutrients than expected. In addition to phosphorus and iron oxides, he found nitrogen, an essential plant nutrient.
ARE YOU MAKING NEWS ABOUT MARS, SPACE EXPLORATION OR STEM/STEAM EDUCATION? SEND US YOUR NEWS SO WE CAN INCLUDE IT IN FUTURE ISSUES OF THIS NEWSLETTER!
Madame Mars Welcomes New Friend:
The Space Station Museum
Located in Novato, California, the Space Station Museum offers displays, activities and events designed to to educate the public about the rich history and future possibilities of space exploration.


Astronaut panel at last month's Space Festival includes Yvonne Cagle (second from left), whose story is featured in the Madame Mars documentary.

Each August the museum sponsors the free Novato Space Festival, which brings astronauts, families, space enthusiasts, representatives of the space industry and a few storm troopers together to explore and celebrate human accomplishments in space.


Painter Michelle Rouch displays her space-themed artwork at the 2016 Space Festival.
From the Mars Society:

In advance of its annual convention, the Mars Society will re-launch its popular online podcast, Red Planet Radio, on Monday, September 19th. The 19th Annual International Mars Society Convention will take place at the University of America in Washington, D.C. from September 22 - 25, 2016, where leading scientists, government officials, commercial space representatives, policymakers and space advocates will address and discuss the latest updates about Mars exploration, plans for a human mission to the Red Planet and other current space news.
MARS IN THE NEWS
Two new ways to visit and explore Mars - from the comfort of your smart phone or computer!

Drive a Rover on Mars:
You can download NASA's free Mars Rover Game for your smart phone or computer and take a virtual rover out for a red planet spin, searching for subsurface water along the way. Good driving and good science are rewarded. Crash the rover and it's "game over." NASA's announcement page also includes information about how the game compares to actual rover driving (for instance, you can drive faster and in real time).

Notes from Madame Mars: NASA's finest engineers did not design this game! It's unnecessarily clunky, there is no help menu, and the interface can be confusing! For Apple iPhones and iPads, what you download is a more generic game app, GAMEE. You'll have to navigate several layers to activate and begin the rover game. For the computer version, the game plays right in the browser window; use your keyboard's arrow keys to navigate. Madame Mars had a hard time launching the game in Safari; the Chrome browser worked better. Bottom line: once you get the hang of it, it can be fun.
Learn How to Survive on Mars:
Monash University professors Tina Overton and Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway have created a free online course to introduce the basic scientific concepts humans will need to survive on Mars. Class members will work collaboratively to explore options that will help sustain human life in a hostile environment - including ways to produce water, oxygen, food and energy. The introductory course, beginning Oct. 24 and continuing for 4 weeks, is designed for those with no prior scientific knowledge, although those with science/tech skills are encouraged to bring their insights into the course's problem-based scenarios. Ready to enroll? Click here.
MEANWHILE, ON (OR NEAR) MARS
ANOTHER MARTIAN MOON?

Artist's rendering of long-ago moon/Mars collision in phys.org - credit: Université Paris Diderot / Labex UnivEarthS

For years scientists have believed Martian moons Phobos and Demios were once wandering asteroids that were captured by Mars' gravity.

A new theory, based on multiple computer simulations, argues that the two present-day moons were formed instead from left-over debris after an earlier Martian mega-moon crashed into the planet. A team of French, Belgian, and Japanese researchers at Université Paris Diderot and Belgium's Royal University, led by Pascal Rosenblatt, even think they know where the moon crashed: Borealis basin, an asymmetrical region in the planet's northern hemisphere,

"If the Martian moons would contain Martian material it would support our scenario," Rosenblatt said in an article by Irene Klotz on Seeker

How and when will we know for certain? Perhaps in 2022, when the Japanese space agency JAXA plans to launch a Phobos sample return mission in 2022. Or two years later, when Europe and Russia launch a similar venture.

Rosenblatt and his team published their findings in the July 04, 2016 issue of Nature Geoscience

 CLOSING IN ON MARS!
The European Space Agency (ESA) hopes for clear sailing as their deep space explorer ExoMars reaches its destination in what is typically the "stormy season" (when Mars most often experiences large dust storms).

The first of the two-part ExoMars program will arrive on October 16, 2016, when the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) enters into Mars orbit, jettisons the Schiaparelli lander, and begins its search for gases in the Martian atmosphere that could indicate signatures of active biological or geological processes. Meanwhile, the Schiaparelli lander will activate sensors to evaluate its performance as it descends and to study the environment at the landing site - all to gather essential data for the second ExoMars mission, scheduled for 2020.
ExoMars 2020 will deliver a rover, equipped with instruments dedicated to exobiology and geochemistry research, to the Martian surface. Currently scientists are testing the third prototype of the rover in the ‘Mars Yard’ near London, filled with 300 tons of specially-dried sand, where engineers stripped the rover of two-thirds of its weight to simulate Martian micro-gravity. 
Stay connected to Madame Mars:
  • send us your news for inclusion in future newsletters
  • send us feedback on this issue or suggest an article you'd like to see in the next one - maybe you'd like to write it (?)
  • forward this newsletter to your friends and invite them to subscribe
  • like us on Facebook and invite your FB friends to do the same
  • follow us on Twitter, favor and retweet at will!
READ OUR ARCHIVED NEWSLETTERS:

SUMMER 2016
APRIL/MAY 2016
MARCH 2016
FEBRUARY 2016
JANUARY 2016
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015
OCTOBER 2015
SEPTEMBER 2015

Earlier editions:

October 10, 2014 (400kb)
November 4, 2014 (425kb)
November 25, 2014 (580kb)
December 18, 2014 (843kb)
Copyright © 2016 Madame Mars Project/Documentary Film Institute, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp
VISIT OUR WEB SITE OR FIND US ON