Its not quite straight out of Star Trek, but a Scottish engineer has plans to create a virtual reality simulator that will be able to recreate creations on Mars to an incredible degree of realism. The idea is to provide a test environment for scientists planning future Mars missions. The Scotsman has an idepth interview.
Universe Today is reporting on newly published research that is helping to shed fresh light on the origins of ice on Mars. It seems the planet may have tipped rapidly in the past toward the sun, allowing for the rapid buildup of ice and glaciers.
Orson Welles did it in 1938, panicking millions in the United States with his War Of The Worlds radio broadcast, and now from Sweden comes news that Terrorism has repeated the feat, though on a much smaller scale. As reported on Radio Sweden, "Children in a school in Värmdö were left in shock yesterday after listening to a fake radio broadcast that Stockholm had been attacked by terrorists." It just goes to prove that history could repeat itself. It is highly unlikely anyone is going to believe that Martians are invading, but one can imagine a well made radio or television show triggering a panic by pushing the new fear button of terrorism.
This looks great! An IMAX movie about the twin rovers Opportunity and Spirit is due for release this month. Its a combination of actual footage gathered on the red planet by the rovers and computer simulations (obvious given we can't send a cameraman) of their activities. The trailer (and official site) is here. Looks like the next best thing to going there!
The UK release of the Asylum version of The War Of The Worlds will be released in the UK this March on the 20th. It will go by the alternative name of Invasion for the UK release due to issues with rights on the name.
In what must rate as the single greatest achievement in the history of space exploration, the Opportunity rover celebrates 2 years of activity on the Martian surface today. The mission was expected to last no more than 90 days, but thanks to some fantastic engineering and a little luck (high winds are believed to have swept clear it's dust covered solar panels), the pluckly little rover just keeps on going. Over 7 miles have been traversed and 58,000 images returned so far, along with conclusive proof that Mars was once a very wet place. Opportunity's sister rover Spirit is due to pass it's own two year milestone in a few days. Undoubtedly both are on borrowed time, but the lure of the next rise always beckons, and those of us with Mars in our blood still cling to the hope that a lost Martian city may yet rise from the sands. Good luck Opportunity and Spirit, and congratulations to the teams responsible for this incredible mission. Long may they continue to rove the surface of Mars.