Complex Made Simple

Mars is a slingshot away: No need for Musk, SpaceX or Tesla to get you there

Elon Musk and his team of scientists are actually using slingshot principles to get the billionaire’s space flying Tesla Roadster towards Mars, and it looks like he will get his $90 million dollar wish.

He could have saved himself an expensive trip with an $90 cab ride.

Mars is here in more ways than one.

Earthly Martians

ABC news reported that Mars simulation tests are taking place in a remote desert in Oman.

Scientists in spacesuits, armed with radar gear, walk back and forth to their ATVs, under a scorching sun, practicing for similar conditions on the Red Planet.

“The desolate desert in southern Oman, near the borders of Yemen and Saudi Arabia, resembles Mars so much that more than 200 scientists from 25 nations chose it as their location for the next four weeks, to field-test technology for a manned mission to Mars,” said ABC news.

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Analog astronaut Kartik Kumar told ABC that the next step to Mars is to tackle non-engineering problems like medical emergency responses and isolation.

The Dhofar Desert is a flat, brown expanse, where animals or plants are scarce as temperatures can top 125 degrees Fahrenheits, but it now houses the Oman Mars Base: a giant 2.4-ton inflated habitat surrounded by shipping containers turned into labs and crew quarters.

“The types of geomorphology, all the structures, the salt domes, the riverbeds, the wadis, it parallels a lot of what we see on Mars,” said Kumar.

Emirates Mars Mission 

Former President Barack Obama and SpaceX founder Elon Musk declared humans would walk on the red planet in a few decades.

China is joining the US and Russia with an ambitious Mars program of their own.

Don’t count the UAE out.

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The final designs of the Hope Probe, the Arab World’s first interplanetary mission were unveiled yesterday at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

The Mars 2117 plan, which aims to create the first human settlement on Mars, and UAE’s astronaut programme, which will train Emiratis in space exploration are beginning to take shape with ‘KhalifaSat’ its third and UAE’s first completely indigenously built-satellite.

“We are proud to see the UAE among the top nine countries worldwide for space science investments,” said Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, Director General of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center said.

The Hope Mars mission aims to provide a holistic study of the Martian atmosphere with the soon launch of a  three-meter tall probe armed with 600 KW solar panels on a a 55-million-kilometer journey to the Red Planet.

“The Emirates Mars Mission will give us the first truly global picture of the Martian atmosphere and reflect the country’s vision for science and technology fields development,” said Omran Sharaf, Project Manager of Emirates Mars Mission.

The UAE Astronaut Programme has already received over 3,000 applications with candidates aged on average between 20 to 40 with the youngest being 17 and oldest being 58.

In preparation for the Mars mission, the country is funding Mars Science City, a $136 million endeavour that will replicate human colonisation of the planet.

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Tesla’s space course update

Musk’s Tesla Roadster is on course to meet the Red Planet, if it doesn’t melt or disintegrates before it gets there.

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy successfully lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida last week but the Roadster might be trvelling faster than expected and could exceed the Mars orbit and continue on to the Asteroid Belt.

Revised orbital data provided by SpaceX and shared with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s system showed the car actually won’t make it as far as the asteroid belt, as originally thought.

“It will take the Tesla about 18.8 months to complete one trip around the sun. This means that the car will reach its farthest distance from Earth in about half that time. The Tesla will cross the orbit of Mars twice per orbit, so Musk is still fulfilling his wish to send his Tesla ‘to’ Mars — it’ll just take a little longer between visits,” said the Atlantic magazine.