Newsletter, June 8, 2016

(Archival version of original email version)

Hello and good day everyone,

Welcome to the third edition of Two Planet Post, the new newsletter from Two Planet Steel.

It has been another very busy two weeks for big Mars and Earth happenings. The latest news from Elon Musk is quite influential on Two Planet Steel and I have decided to re-schedule my planned lead story (a special announcement from Two Planet Steel), so that, readers are given the benefit of the context Musk's news has for our announcement (now in the next TPP).

Here are the third edition's postings:

Musk Targets 2025 for Humans on Mars:

On June 2, 2016, Elon Musk gave a long interview in front of the 2016 Code Conference audience. This interview covered a wide array of attention catching subjects. The talking turned to Mars for a while. Elon Musk said that SpaceX would be providing a cargo service to Mars for all the next few Mars launch windows which come around every ~26 months (780 days more exactly), with a first test voyage in 2018. He did not specify who SpaceX would be carrying cargo for but likely customers include NASA and the ESA (European Space Agency). Unexpectedly, he said that he thought humans would land on Mars in 2025, which is much earlier than the current in-house NASA plan, which would get humans on Mars for a few days in 2043 with settlement 16+ years after that. You can see the interview through this link (to skip to the two minute Mars segment move the time cursor to around 0:21:00). The 2025 date and other details given by Elon Musk can have a big impact on the future of Two Planet Steel. I have written a blog about this impact for you to read.

Action-Packed Landing of a Falcon 9 Booster:

SpaceX made its fourth successful landing of a main booster stage of their Falcon 9 rocket, on Friday, May 27, 2016. This was the third successful landing onto a floating platform located out in the Atlantic ~300 miles from Cape Canaveral, and the first to have a camera mounted at the top of the booster pointing down its outside length. SpaceX released an action packed, x5 sped up version of this camera's view of the booster dropping from ~100 miles above the Earth's surface onto the target platform. Watch the 30 second video for the action, then watch it again to focus on those waffle iron things (technically called "Waffle Irons"). They are the main means to finely guide the rapidly falling booster onto the tiny target in the middle of the ocean!

Curiosity and the Mars Weatherman:

Last month Curiosity, the Mars rover, celebrated the first second birthday on Mars. That is, it landed 3.76 Earth years ago or 2 Mars years ago, and it's still roving. This is significant for our understanding of weather and climate on Mars. Curiosity has been recording climate and weather data for a full 8 Martian seasons close to the bottom of Gale Crater and close to the Martian equator. And, yes, Mars has four season's in its year, like Earth, and it is good to know this. On May 11, 2016, armed with Curiosity's weather and climate data, Ashwin Vasavada gave us the first TV-like weather report for Mars , and, so, he is anointed the first Mars weatherman by the TPP. We will be out looking for plenty more Mars firsts to show and tell our readers. Click on the video to see Ashwin and to get a dose of data to help you know what the first Mars settlers will face weatherwise.

The TPP will be coming back with more weather and seasonal climate stories to follow this one and the second edition's blog on a fascinating, extreme seasonal climate feature of Mars. This is all good stuff to know for Mars settlement enthusiasts.

If a friend of yours is interested in settling Mars then forward this edition to them. They can subscribe by emailing, its free and helps the Mars buzz grow.


Rif Miles Olsen, PhD,
Founder, Two Planet Steel

Mars buzz is growing.

More is coming in the next edition of Two Planet Post.

The Two Planet Post is published every other week to point you to notable Mars and Earth happenings. The Two Planet Post will give you news strictly about Two Planet Steel, also news from around the solar system that is either especially important to Two Planet Steel or important or entertaining and about Mars or the Earth's environment and energy. The Two Planet Post will sometimes branch out to bring your attention to beyond-Mars planetary exploration news as well as science and technology news, comments, anecdotes, cartoons, videos and jokes that you might enjoy.

Image credits: (with cropping and an overlay) Still video image featuring Elon Musk from a video at the 2016 Code Conference organized by Recode (This image is used under the fair use rule, it is also linked directly to the source video); (with cropping and an overlay) Still from SpaceX video of a Falcon main booster landing (To the extent possible under US law SpaceX has waived all its copyright and related rights to this material); (with cropping and an overlay) Still of Mars weather and climate video by NASA, the still features Ashwin Vasavada, he gave permission to use his image. Since NASA is a US federal government agency, NASA images, without recognizable humans within frame, do not have any copyright rights at all. Also, the Two Planet Post logo in the banner head uses two well known images of Earth and Mars from NASA's media archives.