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This is the Mars Society Netherlands' newsletter for July 2020. While we write this, the summer is well underway. And a hot summer it is! When it concerns Mars at least, lets not talk about earthly weather. In the last week two rockets were launched carrying vehicles that will travel to Mars. With the help of a Japanese rocket, the United Arab Emirates Space Agency launched it's probe 'Amal' ('Hope') to the red planet. In February 2021 'Hope' will arrive at an orbit around Mars, from where it will perform daily measurments of its atmosphere. With this data, scientists from the UAE hope to be able to study changing climate and weather patterns. When 'Hope' arrives at Mars, the UAE's space agency will be the fifth to get there, after the USA's, the former Soviet Union's, the EU's and India's.
They will be followed shortly by a sixth space agency. Last week China launched their mission Tianwen-I ('Asking the Heavens') to Mars. Their first spaceship to the planet will bring them to the planet's surface. Apart from a planet orbiting probe it carries a Mars lander and a rover. The mission's goal is to find out if there has ever been life on Mars or that it's even still there.
As if two missions to Mars in the same year aren't enough, NASA will send it's rover 'Perseverance' this summer. They are aiming at July 31st for launch. It's mission is largely the same as the Chinese rover's, searching for clues of habital conditions on Mars and for signs of microbial life itself in the ancient past. Where earlier missions stayed on the ground, this mission will have the possibllity to go into the air. 'Perseverance' will carry a small helicopter, called 'Ingenuity'.
Where the big space agencies have been quite busy, the Mars Society hasn't been sitting still either. You have probably read in our newsletters earlier this year about the writing contest the Mars Society Netherlands organized. More on that in the next paragraph.
Activities: writing contest
Last month was the deadline for the writing contest the Mars Society Netherlands organized and what we informed you about in the last newsletter. We received a range of nice and inspiring stories from authors around the globe. Out of these we chose three winners. They have already been notified and their prizes have been send. You can read the winning stories on our website.
Recommended: The Sirens of Mars
Early July Sarah Stewart Johnson published her book The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World. In this book she writes about her personal journey as a planetary scientist and interweaves this with the history of the exploration of Mars.
||Rising Together - 2020 Mars Society International Teleconvention
The Mars Society is pleased to announce that the 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention will be convened Thursday-Sunday, October 15-18, 2020, all over the world via the Internet!
||NASA's Mars Rover Drivers Need Your Help
You may be able to help NASA's Curiosity rover drivers better navigate Mars. Using the online tool AI4Mars to label terrain features in pictures downloaded from the Red Planet, you can train an artificial intelligence algorithm to automatically read the landscape.
||From Earth to Mars: Rosalind Franklin’s centenary of science
If Rosalind Franklin had had a birthday wish, she probably never would have dreamed of having her name roving on Mars. As the world celebrates the 100th anniversary of the prominent scientist behind the discovery of the structure of DNA tomorrow, the ExoMars rover named after her prepares to leave her symbolic footprint on the Red Planet.
||What will astronauts need to survive the dangerous journey to Mars?
On movie missions to Mars, getting there is the easy part. The Martian’s Mark Watney was fine until a dust storm left him fending for himself. Douglas Quaid’s jaunt to the Red Planet in Total Recall was smooth sailing until he came under fire at Martian customs and immigration.
But in real life, just getting to Mars and back will be rife with dangers that have nothing to do with extreme weather or armed gunmen.
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