Perseverance and Ingenuity on Mars

Ingenuity Gets an Upgrade on Mars (Medium)

The tiny 4-pound (1.8 kg) helicopter that hitched a ride to Mars with NASA’s Perseverance rover just got a mission upgrade. Initially planned as a “technology demonstration” to prove whether or not powered flight was possible in the thin martian atmosphere, Ingenuity surpassed all expectations on the—at the time of writing—four flights it has successfully conducted thus far in its short tenure on Mars. Thanks to that success, Ingenuity will now be put through some additional paces, getting an upgrade from a technology demonstration to an operational demonstration.

Read more: https://tanyaofmars.medium.com/ingenuity-gets-an-upgrade-on-mars-265a3ed25c84

Living in the Dawn of a Golden Era of Space Exploration (Viva Technology)

From Viva Technology:

There is a lot of traffic around Mars these days. The United States, China, the European Space Agency (ESA), India and the United Arab Emirates all currently have probes orbiting the red planet. And while the United States is currently the only one with rovers operating on the surface (and, as of last week, the first interplanetary helicopter, Ingenuity), China plans to land its own vehicle sometime next month.

The multiple missions are part of a new golden era of space exploration. Unlike the first one, which captured the imagination of a generation in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and played out against the backdrop of the Cold War competition between the United State and the Soviet Union, the current space race is not confined to national space agencies with deep pockets. 

Indeed, much of the activity, at least in near- and low-earth orbit, is now being driven by commercial and private enterprises like SpaceX, the company started by Elon Musk. Experts agree that it is the involvement of these new players, which are finding new, cost-efficient ways to use technology, that is behind the renaissance in space exploration and that is rapidly turning what a few years ago was science fiction into science possible and science fact.

Read more: Living in the Dawn of a Golden Era of Space Exploration by Dylan Loeb McClain

How Space Benefits Canadian Life on Earth (Medium)

As a scientist who works on robots that we send to other planets, I often hear complaints about how much money is spent on “space.” Space is viewed as this futuristic pipe dream, the realm of eccentric billionaires with money to burn. Many don’t see how money spent on “space” has any benefit to humanity, especially with pressing matters like war and poverty here on the ground.

And these are absolutely valid concerns, don’t get me wrong.

But space, like all of science, is thoroughly integrated with our society. Space is here and now. Space is completely entrenched in our everyday lives as Canadians to the point that we don’t even see it. At this very moment, thousands of satellites for everything from communications to navigation to imaging are flying over our heads. And in Canada, each one of us uses these satellites in some fashion an average of 20 to 30 times every single day.

Read more: https://tanyaofmars.medium.com/how-space-benefits-canadian-life-on-earth-faa89a1c29ba

For Earth Day: Ten Stunning Views of Earth from Space Missions (Medium)

Most people are probably familiar, even if not by name, with the iconic “Earthrise” and “Blue Marble” view of Earth taken by Apollo astronauts on their journeys to the Moon. Apollo 8’s Earthrise, taken on Christmas Eve in 1968, is often referred to as one of the catalysts that led to the environmental movement and the creation of Earth Day. Since then, many other space missions have captured photographs of Earth on their way to their final destinations across the Solar System. In honour of Earth Day, let’s take a look at ten of the most stunning views these spaceships have given us.

Read more: https://tanyaofmars.medium.com/liftoff-showcases-the-game-changing-the-early-days-of-spacex-book-review-a66955b6187c

Twilight Clouds—on Mars (Medium)

Mars is a freezing polar desert. Nearly all of the water there is locked up in ice in the polar caps or surface frost, buried underground, or locked up in the mineral structures within rocks. But some of it exists high in the air as water-ice clouds. The image above shows the latest view of these clouds on Mars, hanging over the Curiosity rover in Gale Crater near dusk on the 3072nd martian day (“sol”) the rover has been on the surface of the Red Planet. These clouds are similar to wispy cirrus clouds on Earth.

This is far from the first time a Mars rover has captured breathtaking views of clouds.

Read more: https://tanyaofmars.medium.com/twilight-clouds-on-mars-fe23cfcb53

“Liftoff” Showcases the Game-Changing the Early Days of SpaceX – Book Review (Medium)

Eric Berger’s new book gives me a whole new appreciation for what Elon Musk and all of the talented engineers at SpaceX have managed to achieve.

The commercial space landscape has come a long way in the past decade. Ten years ago, SpaceX barely had any successful launches under their belt. The Space Shuttle was about to retire, and I doubt anyone around at the time would have guessed that the next time humans launched into space from American soil would be aboard a SpaceX rocket, inside a SpaceX crew capsule, only nine years later. Booster landings only existed in the imaginations of engineers, but are now so routinely successful that it’s almost jarring when a SpaceX launch doesn’t have (or attempt) a booster landing.

Eric Berger’s new book Liftoff provides a fascinating and extremely detailed account of the earliest days of SpaceX straight from the mouths of the people that were there.

Read more: https://tanyaofmars.medium.com/liftoff-showcases-the-game-changing-the-early-days-of-spacex-book-review-a66955b6187c

Women Who Lead | Meet Professional Martian, Dr. Tanya (Spaced Out Doc)

From Spaced Out Doc:

As I round out an incredible month of highlighting the powerful stories of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and professions in the greater space community for women’s history month, the Spaced Out Doc forum is dedicated to celebrating women advancement all year long. Women and their allies are standing united across our Earth choosing to call out gender bias, choosing to dismantle inequality, and choosing to celebrate women empowerment objectives in everything we do. I am so inspired by the brilliant women I know in the space industry, and I am excited to share their unique and powerful stories. With that, I am proud to introduce, Dr. Tanya Harrison.

Read more: Women Who Lead by Dr. Michaelyn Thomas

The Lost Lure of Space Tourism? (Medium)

Any space fans that grew up in the era of Apollo will likely tell you they thought that by the 2020s, we’d have humans living on the Moon and traveling to Mars. Weekend jaunts up to space hotels orbiting Earth would be commonplace, and maybe we’d be getting to spaceports in our flying cars.

But we don’t have any of this. As of right now, only 7 “tourists” have been into space. All were launched aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket coordinated by a U.S.-based company called Space Adventures (who prefers the term “private astronauts” rather than “space tourists”). These flights included a 10-ish-day stay on the International Space Station and came with estimated price tags of $20 million USD or more—definitely not within financial reach of most of us here on Earth.

Read more: https://tanyaofmars.medium.com/the-lost-lure-of-space-tourism-21daadc0cd48

My Disability Does Define Me (Medium)

I resisted the idea of this for years, but I’ve finally come to terms with it.

When I was a child, I was a pretty normal kid in terms of physical activity. Growing up mostly before the age of home internet, all we had at our house was a Commodore 64 that my dad could only sporadically get to work. This meant my younger sister and I spent a lot of time playing outside. In grade 5, I was on the local basketball team—chosen specifically because I thought it would be unexpected of me as the shortest person in my grade (which is also why I chose to play trombone the same year). Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t great at basketball and so in grade 6, I switched over to softball after being inspired by the Mariners nearly making it to the World Series. From about age 7, I’d also been an avid dancer. One of my only career aspirations beyond my love of space in my entire life was to become a professional Irish dancer after Riverdance took the world by storm.

But as I entered junior high, everything changed.

Read more: https://tanyaofmars.medium.com/my-disability-does-define-me-a7fc3b9d9881