Developing adequate supporting technology is a pre-existing requirement in NASA's plan to colonize Mars. Image Source: NASA via Daily Mail.
Interplanetary communications systems are being developed in plans to colonize Mars. I first covered Google's InterPlanetary Internet Protocols in 2011, here. Delay-tolerant network protocols must cope with huge distances between our planet and a future Martian settlement. On 9 October 2015, NASA released its plan for a manned journey to Mars, including a stated need for IPFS development:
This networking requirement for space exploration will potentially establish a permanent Internet, which I have discussed - coming from other sectors - here. On 18 March 2016, The Daily Mail reported that NASA plans to develop nuclear-powered rockets to travel to Mars, following a similar statement from the Russians in January 2016. With a nuclear rocket, spacecraft could reach the Red Planet in six weeks. The only problem is finding the money."Currently, Mars robotic rovers have data rates around two million bits per second, using a relay, such as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The ISS data rate is 300 million bits per second, two orders of magnitude faster. Future human Mars missions may need up to a billion bits per second at 1,000 times greater range than ISS, requiring laser communications to reduce weight and power. In addition, disruption and error-tolerant interplanetary networking and improved navigation capabilities are required to ensure accurate trajectories and precision landing."
Planet Mars, As Seen by the 100 Inch Telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory: "Before we sent any spacecraft to Mars, these were the best images we had of the Red Planet." Image Source: The Carnegie Institution for Science via Tech Insider.
NASA's Opportunity Rover
(25 January 2004-Present; see also my post on Spirit)
Opportunity has driven 25 miles on the Martian surface in almost 13 years. This is a composite photograph the rover took of Marathon Valley, located in the Margaritifer Sinus quadrangle, a focus because the area once had lakes and rivers. Image Source: NASA via Tech Insider. See more photos of Marathon Valley here.
"This view from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows part of 'Marathon Valley,' a destination on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, as seen from an overlook north of the valley. The scene spans from east, at left, to southeast. It combines four pointings of the rover's panoramic camera (Pancam) on March 13, 2015, during the 3,958th Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity's work on Mars." Image Source: NASA. Click to enlarge.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
(In orbit 10 March 2006-Present)
Terrain near the Marian the equator. Image Source: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona via Business Insider. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is studying the history of water on Mars using its huge HiRISE camera. In early August 2016, NASA publicly released 1,035 new photos taken by the orbiter's camera. For more photos, go here.
Cerberus Palus crater showing off layered sediments. Image Source: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona via Business Insider.
A steep slope in Eastern Noctis Labyrinthus. Image Source: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona via Business Insider.
A Wild Assortment of Jumbled Rocks (28 March 2012): "This [enhanced colour] image covers a region of Mars near Nili Fossae that contains some of the best exposures of ancient bedrock on Mars." Image Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona. Click to enlarge.
Crisp Crater in Sirenum Fossae (3 June 2015): "This impact crater appears relatively recent as it has a sharp rim and well-preserved ejecta, the material thrown out of the crater when a meteorite hit Mars." Image Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona. Click to enlarge.
Sedimentary Rock Layers on a Crater Floor (20 May 2015): "MRO took this image of the complex, layered sedimentary rocks on the floor of an impact crater north of Eberswalde Crater. There may have been a lake in this crater billions of years ago, and the area was once considered a landing spot for the Mars Science Laboratory. On Mars, sedimentary rocks can be created by wind or water. Places such as Eberswalde Crater, where sedimentary rocks may have been laid down by standing water, are ideal locations to search for evidence of past microbial life if it ever developed on Mars." Image Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona. Click to enlarge.
NASA's Curiosity (5 August 2012-Present)
Congrats fellow space explorer @MarsCuriosity on all you've accomplished since you landed! https://t.co/xJyGKL36a4 pic.twitter.com/kYw1RCRTJV— LRO_NASA (@LRO_NASA) August 5, 2016
NASA developed these outreach posters in 2009 for an exhibition at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex. Images Source: Post-Mac Blues (Hat Tip) / NASA.
See all my posts on Mars.
See all my posts on Space Exploration.