Reaching for the Red Planet #77

Deepnews Digest #77

Reaching for the Red Planet

Editor: Christopher Brennan
While summer heat continues on parts of this planet, this past week saw major moves towards somewhere much colder: Mars. The United Arab Emirates made a historic launch on Monday and China followed by sending up a probe that could make it the second country to ever successfully land a rover on rocky red soil. This week’s Digest, gathered from around the world with the Deepnews Scoring Model, takes a look at what went into the missions and what they mean for the future.
Editor’s note
This newsletter of course plays off of our offering on space exploration, Over the Moon, which comes out every Monday. However, part of what makes this week interesting is that progress is being made outside of the traditional space powerhouses in the U.S. and Europe. While many news outlets have drastically cut back on foreign coverage, it is more important than ever for an interconnected world and there are excellent outlets doing work around the globe. To that end, Deepnews is launching five new newsletters on regions that are traditionally undercovered by the biggest newspapers, Africa, East Asia, Latin America, The Middle East, and South Asia. They are available now as part of our free trial or, for subscribers, through the My Newsletters page of your account.
Published every Friday


Your Guide to NASA’s Life-Hunting Mars Rover, Perseverance

NASA is set to launch its next rover to Mars on July 30, in what is certain to be an exciting new phase in humanity’s exploration of the Red Planet. Here’s what you’ll want to know about the Perseverance rover and why it’s our best bet yet for finding evidence of life on Mars.

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Scientific American

How a Small Arab Nation Built a Mars Mission from Scratch in Six Years

The United Arab Emirates’ Hope orbiter is the Arab world’s first interplanetary spacecraft — and has jump-started science in the country. Will the momentum last?

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MIT Technology Review

Why Japan is emerging as NASA’s most important space partner

Japan provides a few major advantages in helping the US get back to the moon. In return, it will get its own chance to set foot on the lunar surface.

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Editor’s Note:

An interesting characteristic about the UAE launch was that it took place in Japan. Here Neel V Patel looks at the role of the country as regards to cooperation with the US and how its capabilities have grown in recent years. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

The Diplomat

Why Is China Going to Mars?

China’s upcoming Mars mission is part of an integrated space strategy.

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Nikkei Asian Review

China takes bold step into space with rover mission to Mars

BEIJING — China launched its first homegrown mission to Mars on Thursday, seeking to solidify its status as a leading player in space by becoming only the second country, after the U.S., to successfully land an exploration craft there.

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As UAE spacecraft heads for Mars, the Arab world eyes a rebound in scientific prowess

The launch this week of the first Arab spacecraft to Mars was an achievement by any measure.

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The UAE wants to rewrite what we know about weather on Mars

A nagging problem with planets is that they are just so large: Send a spacecraft to one patch of a planet and inevitably, some of the things you learn will apply only right there.

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Editor’s Note:

Many of the headlines are about the launch itself, but for the scientists involved that is just the beginning. Here Meghan Bartels looks at the actual mission of Hope spacecraft, examining Mars’s atmosphere. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

The Times (UK) ($)

China’s first home-grown mission to Mars one of three global launches

China hailed the launch of its first home-grown Mars mission yesterday, the start of an attempt to match America by landing a rover on the red planet. Tianwen-1, or Heavenly Quest, began a seven-month journey after a Long March-5 rocket lifted it clear of Wenchang Space Launch Centre on Hainan island, China’s southernmost point. Hundreds of spectators cheered as they watched from a beach.

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Caixin Global

In Depth: China’s ambitious plans to land a rover on Mars next year

The easiest way to send a spacecraft to Mars is to fling it into space at just the right angle. If done right, the probe will hurtle along a crazy-looking elliptical route for about nine months until it reaches the red planet’s field of gravity and begins circling its target.

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Giant waves of sand are moving on Mars

Researchers have spotted large waves of martian sand migrating for the first time. The discovery dispels the long-held belief that these “megaripples” haven’t moved since they formed hundreds of thousands of years ago. They’re also evidence of stronger-than-expected winds on the Red Planet.

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UC Berkeley

Emirates launches first Mars probe with help from UC Berkeley

The Hope Probe will circle Mars on a 55-day orbit, analyzing its atmosphere.

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The Planetary Society

Perseverance microphones fulfill long Planetary Society campaign to hear sounds from Mars

If you could stand on the surface of Mars, what would you hear? While eight missions have returned stunning views from the surface of the Red Planet, none have returned any sound.

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Editor’s Note:

You’ve seen pictures of Mars, but what you’ve been missing is the audio. Here The Planetary Society explains the history of getting a microphone to work on the Red Planet, a dream of the society’s co-founder Carl Sagan. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Space News

China raises the stakes with second Mars attempt

China’s first attempt to reach Mars never left Earth orbit. It’s finally ready to try again, this time with bigger goals.

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DNA India

Unfavourable laws, policies hinder private participation in India’s space journey

While the Indian government is working towards allowing end-to-end private participation in the country’s space sector, experts point out that India’s legal and policy hurdles pose a serious hindrance.

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Gulf News

What the UAE’s Mars Hope Probe Mission means for the region, the world

Dr Farouk El Baz, who worked on Apollo missions, looks forward to data on Red Planet.

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Yellowhammer News

Alabama celebrates Artemis Day as final piece of hardware departs Marshall Space Flight Center for historic mission

Governor Kay Ivey has proclaimed Friday, July 17, as Artemis Day in the state of Alabama, honoring the Yellowhammer State’s incredible contributions to the historic space program that will return Americans to the surface of the moon and eventually take the first humans to Mars.

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China’s successful launch of Mars mission seals global era in deep-space exploration

China’s successful launch of Mars mission seals global era in deep-space exploration Tianwen-1 is the second of three spacecraft to take off this month for the red planet.

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The Conversation

As if space wasn’t dangerous enough, bacteria become more deadly in microgravity

For many nations and their people, space is becoming the ultimate frontier. But although we’re gaining the ability to travel smarter and faster into space, much remains unknown about its effects on biological substances, including us.

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Editor’s Note:

Back on Earth, much of the discussion of the world still focuses on microbes. Here Vikrant Minhas takes the launch of the Chinese and Emirati missions as a starting point for looking into bacteria and space. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

New York Times

China Will Answer ‘Heavenly Question’: Can It Land on Mars?

A goal of the Tianwen-1 launch is to catch up with decades of American success on the red planet, all in one mission.

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China Focus: China’s fastest rocket carries deep space dream

A Long March-5 rocket blasted off Thursday at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site (WSLS) in south China’s Hainan Province, carrying the country’s Mars probe, Tianwen-1.

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