Tag Archives: Mars

A Balance Sheet on All of the Landings on Mars


Since the beginning of the space age there have been 17 landings on the surface of Mars, some of which were not successful. Initially the Soviet Union carried out two attempted landings in 1971, Mars 2 and 3, but the … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Scientific Exploration of Mars”


The Scientific Exploration of Mars. By Frederic W. Taylor. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010. V + 348 pages. Prologue, acknowledgments, notes, illustrations, appendices, index. ISBN: 978-0-521-82956-4. $45, hardcover. Mars has long held a special fascination for humans who pondered … Continue reading

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Recalling the First Vikings on Mars


The 20th of July marked the 39th anniversary of Viking 1’s touch down on Mars after a voyage of nearly one year, followed within a two months by Viking 2. The landings represented the culmination of a series of missions to … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Why Mars”


Why Mars: NASA and the Politics of Space Exploration. By W. Henry Lambright. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. Preface, introduction, conclusion, notes, index. Hardcover. Pp. ix – 320. USD $45.46. ISBN: 978-1-4214-1279-5. W. Henry Lambright’s Why Mars: NASA and the … Continue reading

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Curiosity’s Remarkable Findings after Two Years


Since the 1960s humans have been engaged on a concerted effort to understand Mars. The landing of Mars Curiosity on the surface in the early hours of August 6, 2012, is the latest effort to learn about one of our … Continue reading

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That Was the Year That Was: Civil Space 2013


We say this about every year, but 2013 was memorable in so many ways that I cannot begin to catalog them all. As a result, let me confine my remarks to three accomplishments that I consider the most significant taking … Continue reading

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Humanity and the Extreme Environment of Space


It seems that microbial life is capable of surviving the extreme conditions of space. Even so, for Homo sapien sapiens the space environment remains remarkably dangerous to our lives. Is it a place humans might ultimately move to on a … Continue reading

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Proposed Syllabus for “Spaceflight and Society” Course, Fall 2013


I am the instructor for a course at Johns Hopkins University in the Fall 2013 semester with the title, “Spaceflight and Society.” I taught this class in the fall of 2011 as well and had a great time doing it, … Continue reading

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Redirect: “If You Set Out to Go to Mars, Go to Mars”


I’d like to call your attention to a really interesting piece in the by Harley Thronson submitted to the  Human Spaceflight Study Group at the National Academies. Entitled “If You Set Out to Go to Mars, Go to Mars.” Its … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Talking About Life: Conversations on Astrobiology”


Talking About Life: Conversations on Astrobiology. Edited by Chris Impey. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010. V + 408 pages. Photographs, preface, glossary, reading list, index. ISBN: 978-0-521-51492-7. $29.99 Hardcover with dust jacket. Astrobiology, sometimes still referred to as exobiology, … Continue reading

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