NASA: Ice, mineral-rich soil could support human outpost on Mars

Robots would build infrastructure, extract usable water from ice before astronauts arrive

He added that NASA already has robots that are sophisticated enough to erect buildings and extract water and gases. The issue now is making them strong enough to survive the trip there.

"The problem is that going from the laboratory to flight is a very difficult undertaking," he noted. "The systems have to survive the launch. They're pulling Gs and vibrating. They have to survive transit through space for six months and then a landing. And then they have to survive on Mars for a year. We have to make sure they don't vibrate apart and can work under very cold conditions and work in the presence of dust and low pressures. Those are very harsh conditions. Going from lab to flight requires a whole lot more development."

And that development, he noted, is being slowed by the fact that NASA's robotics budget has been hit in recent budget cuts.

This weekend, the Mars team is waiting for results to come down from one of the Lander's eight ovens, which heats the soil to about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit so the gases that are emitted from it can be analyzed. The oven is testing soil from the same area that the Lander's robotic arm dug up soil to be tested in the wet chemistry set and the microscopic imager earlier this week.

And they're also waiting for further analysis from the wet chemistry laboratory about the presence of sulfate in the Martian soil.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?