On February 6th SpaceX successfully launched their Falcon Heavy rocket. It’s the most powerful rocket in the world right now and an important piece in the evolution of rockets leading to the BFR rocket that Space X will eventually use for its Mars missions.
At the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, Elon Musk presented for the first time his plans how mankind will be able to travel regularly to Mars. The first mission (witout people and solely to gather data) will fly in 2018 on a Red Dragon powered by a Falcon Heavy. Ultimately the goal is to launch the “Interplanetary Transport System” that can be relaunched in a matter of hours and carry a hundred people on each trip. By using this reusable system and being able to carry many people the ticket price could be reduced down to $200,000 per person.
This was the first time Space X managed to land the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket on a floating barge at sea. The rocket was launched from Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla and landed on the droneship “Of Course I Still Love You” situated in the Atlantic Ocean.
For just the landing start watching 27 minutes into the webcast.
In this TED talk Stephen Petranek touches on many interesting topics ranging from when he believes we will get there (in 20 years with SpaceX) and how we will survive once there. He mentions the essential things for humans on mars: food, water, shelter, clothing and oxygen.
After three previous failed a attempts SpaceX successfully launched its first ever rocket, the Falcon 1, to orbit. Elon Musk has since stated that this was the last try at launching a rocket as their funds were completely dry at this stage.
Viking 1 entered into a Mars orbit on June 19, 1976. In order to find a good landing location it began taking pictures of the surface and then made that landing the next day in location Chryse Planitia. It was the second ever landing of a manmade craft on the surface of Mars and the first lander to function over a long period of time.
The lander took weather readings and soil samples using a scoop.
Mars 4, 5 and 6 all mostly failed due to faulty micro chips but they did manage to collect data proving Mars has an ionosphere as well as measuring a 6.7 milbar surface atmospheric pressure (Earth has an average of 1 bar).