Feeds

back to article NASA outlines 2020 plans for Mars life search with Curiosity v2.0

By 2020 NASA aims to have a next-generation Curiosity rover on Mars to search for signs of organisms that could have lived on the Red Planet, and to collect a cache of deep-drilled rock samples for eventual analysis back here on Earth. Teh second version of Curiosity for Mars Curiosity 2: the upgrade The space agency has …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

Dear NSA

It is entirely possible that there may be frozen DNA at the martian poles. DNA for bacteria against which Earth organisms have not evolved defenses. You really should pull your fingers out and get some people up there before the Russians/Chinese/etc. beat you to it. Oh, and it might be useful to conduct some actual science while you're up there. You know, as a cover.

(chuckle)

2
4
Silver badge

Samples

It would be really nice to get samples back from Mars. There are certainly errors that have been made in identifying the geology of stellar bodies from afar and samples would help reduce those errors in future studies. Plus it would just be cool.

If the govt didn't install the non-functioning anti-ICBM system in Alaska that alone would pay for the mission. Warmongers suck.

2
1
Silver badge

Possible bio-hazard?

The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one.

1
0
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Possible bio-hazard?

Agreed, but it's that one that gets ya.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Possible bio-hazard?

As any fule kno, million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.

7
0

Re: Possible bio-hazard?

The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one.

But still, they come...

3
0

Dream bigger

Can we not aim for Venus or Jupiter with Curiosity v2.0?

Even if it's pushed back to 2030-2040 and costs 5 times as much, it at least would provide some genuine excitement. It would really capture the public's imagination like nothing on this world (or Mars :)) could.

I know scientifically there would be strong arguments for Mars (again) in 7 years, but we couldn't even begin to imagine the type of info/pictures that would be relayed from a Venus or Jupiter from this type of mission.

1
3
Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Dream bigger

Well, for Jupiter you need a balloon-based nuke-powered observation platform and a relay station in low Jupiter orbit. Feasible but tricky.

Speaking of nuke, has it been de-emphasized in the drawing shown?

1
1

Re: Dream bigger

And for venus you will need something rather different to Curiosity. The atmospheric pressure (90 times earth), temperature (460C) and it's corrosive sulphuric acid rain mean that even the few sucessful landers had expected lifetimes measured in minutes - there were many more unsucessful landers...

0
0

Juno is cruising to Jupiter NOW...

There won't be any 'contact' probes to Jupiter until Juno finishes its work with Jupiter. It gets there in 3 years!

0
0
Silver badge
Trollface

Re: Dream bigger

There's a project in the works for a craft called Bi-Curiosity. It's going to probe Uranus.

1
0
Coat

Dream Bugger, surely?

... my cloak, please, it's the one with a concealed pouch for the MKII titanium arseplate!

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Bronze badge
Alert

Wait....what?

Why does NASA keep dodging then deferring the subject? I thought that was what this current mission was all about.

I guess this is just another case of NASA moving the goal post again. The question now is why?

0
4

Deferring the search for life?

NASA has always hedged their expectations of MSL/Curiousity. Their language has been consistent. "Investigate whether conditions have been favorable for microbial life and for preserving clues in the rocks about possible past life"

They certainly put enough cameras and chromatograph equipment to detect if something walks-up-and-taps on MSL, though.

0
0
Gold badge
Unhappy

Not just weapons the DoD will never use.

NASA's development of the SLS is hard wired into the law that handed over their 2010 budget.

Effectively the Legislature had mandated the building of a monster rocket with (perhaps) one payload they might be able to afford (they've had to farm out the Support Module for the Orion MPCV to ESA, an unheard of approach in NASA history).

Everything else can (effectively) be thrown under the bus as long as ATK's SRB casting shop in Utah (you know, the guys who made the solids for Challenger and "advbised" the Senate committee on what size of rocket they needed) stays in business.

Sample return mission from Mars by 2020. Only if Skylon starts flying I think.

1
1

Re: Not just weapons the DoD will never use.

Falcon 9 Heavy.

0
0
Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: Not just weapons the DoD will never use.

"Falcon 9 Heavy."

I'm not sure NASA could afford even that cost, and it's still got to fly.

SLS really is the "Cuckoo" launch system.

It gets fatter and fatter and swallows up all the budget around it until there will probably nothing left (of NASA).

Not really feeling my usual cheery self.

1
1
Bronze badge

Many, many, years in the future

Will the search will be for signs, amongst all the debris, of the whereabouts, history or fate, of the life form responsible for conducting a search for signs of life with such quaint mechanical devices. And, or, a search for signs of life from the debris of previous searches for signs of life amongst the debris left behind from the searches for signs of life amongst the debris of previous searches. I dunno, but the search goes on.

1
1

Earth Meteorites on Mars

Given we've found meteorites from Mars here on Earth, by the same token (and mechanism) it is surely likely that it will be possible to find Earth meteorites on Mars. Hard to find of course, but it would mean that they would find (probably dead/fossilised) bacteria/micro-organisms on a rock on Mars. Wierd. Would they be able to tell it was an Earth rock, or would they say it's an amazing parallel development of dna/bacteria/life?

1
0
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Earth Meteorites on Mars

A better question would be are the meteorites found here really from Mars? Scientists really want them to be but there's more than a few scientists who doubt this is the case. Samples from Mars will be the only way to know for sure.

As far as Earth rocks, they might make a mistake about parallel development of life if anything was found, but such a discovery would lend a lot of credence to the Panspermia hypothesis, so it is a win either way.

1
1
Bronze badge

Re: Earth Meteorites on Mars

I'm speculating a bit here, but isn't the likelihood of Earth meteorites on Mars lower than the other way around, what with Mars being further out from the Sun? ie. It takes more energy to get there.

0
0
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Earth Meteorites on Mars

The chances of fragments from any particular body hitting another particular body are fantastically small to begin with. Calculating probabilities of outcomes of multiple random events interacting is basically an exercise in guessing so nobody really knows.

It would be really neat to find a fragment of Earth on another planet though.

0
0

What you REALLY need to do...

Is get the ESA to compete with NASA by building a manned capability that picks up all of these ideas! The EU is MUCH larger, economically, than the USA...

0
0
Silver badge

Re: What you REALLY need to do...

The economy as a whole is larger, yes, but the disparate income sources and lack of cohesive political agendas and plans is a major disadvantage with the EU. I'm not saying it is all bad, but it doesn't take much effort to see that getting the member states to agree to things and contribute in a 'team' spirit is nearly impossible.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: What you REALLY need to do...

China might send a manned mission to mars. that could wake the Americans up. europe just does practical shit mostly. North Korea is our only hope.

0
0

It is very unlikely for earth rocks to get to mars.

That already takes a huge amount of energy...

Falling down a gravity well is easy - falling out of one is particularly hard, so I would not expect any earth rocks to make it to mars.

Spores, on the other hand, are light enough to possibly make it by riding light waves.

0
0
Silver badge

There's a cheaper way of finding life on Mars....

Just land a money clip with a few hundred Dollars in it on the surface. If it's not there in the morning--life!!

(Bonus points if you hide a small rover behind a nearby rock, attach some fishin line to the clip and then have the rover reel it in if anything green and tentacly starts messing with the clip)

2
0
This topic is closed for new posts.