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SpaceX uses the NASA satellite orbiting Mars to take new photos of landing pads on the spaceship



SpaceX has affirmed its prioritization of Arcadia Planitia – a lowland on Mars – and adjacent areas as some of the most promising locations for early spacecraft landing, and commissioned a NASA satellite to gather updated photos from six potential landing sites.

SpaceX was discovered and analyzed by author Robert Zimmerman on August 28, and asked the landing site to locate images from the University of Arizona commissioned to operate the JPL-built NASA spacecraft HiRISE. Already prior to Red Dragon's cancellation in 2017, SpaceX began analyzing the landing pad, an investigation that ultimately referred to four possible locations that considered Arcadia Planitia to be the most promising.

After at least 2.5 years of research, SpaceX began to confidently settle on a particular Mars region to land a spaceship on the Red Planet for the first time. Arcadia Planitia is located in the middle northern latitudes of Mars and is ̵

1; as the Latin namesake suggests – a region with plains, in particular low levels according to the standards of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). It has been described by NASA as "one of the few regions [of Mars] where there is abundant shallow ice in relatively narrow latitudes", which is desirable for a number of reasons.

  Olympus Mons - Mars Express

Arcadia Planitia occupies much of the left side of this spectacular 2017 panorama, composed of Mars Express images by Justin Cowart. On the scale of the Martian spectacle Arcadia could be perceived as boring . In fact, this is one of the main reasons why SpaceX is interested in it – just as Arcadia looks curious from orbit, it is relatively free of the boulder fields common in many other regions of Mars, resulting in much less avoidance of obstacles during the time Landing leads. In addition, Arcadia Planitia is indeed a low-level region – one of the lowest regions (in terms of mean surface level) on Mars. This results in a much higher atmospheric pressure (i.e., a thicker atmosphere) isolating the region from some extremes of Martian weather, as well as its relative proximity to the planet's equator. At the same time, this wealth of atmosphere enables more efficient spacecraft landings. Following an update from September 2018, Starship will rely heavily on a series of atmospheric maneuvers to reduce speed. This strategy reduces the amount of propellant the spacecraft must use to land gently on Mars (and the Earth!) Overview of a potential Mars base built around the MARSHA Habitat design. (AI SpaceFactory & PLOMP)

To sum up: Arcadia Planitia offers (slightly) warmer summers and winters due to its latitude, complemented by a low relative altitude that isolates the region from weather extremes and enables more efficient spacecraft landings. [19659002] Perhaps more important than all the above features, however, is the fact that Arcadia Planitia hosts a multitude of water ice resources ranging from frozen aquifers to glaciers in the adjacent mountains of Erebus Montes. Central to SpaceX's strategy to cost-effectively colonize and explore Mars is the decision to create a propellant for the return of spacecraft to Earth on Mars (19459006) as In Situ Resource Use (ISRU). The use of methane and oxygen by starship is almost exclusively a consequence – methane is much easier to process than hydrogen and, like oxygen, can easily be made from water.

The cleaner and more accessible Mars' water ice is, the easier it is for SpaceX robots or astronauts to set up a marine propulsion system on Mars. In addition, clean water is extremely expensive for transportation in space, and an almost unlimited supply of ice water would be extremely useful for all kinds of human outpost needs.

A mosaic of six future spacecraft landing sites taken in the summer of 2019 by the NASA spacecraft HiRISE for SpaceX. (NASA / HiRISE / Teslarati)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk believes the company could be ready for Starship's first unmanned launch in 2020 or 2022. Hohmann transfer options enable a uniquely efficient journey from Earth to Mars. [19659013] Teslarati Newsletters provide up-to-date information, on-site perspectives, and unique insights into SpaceX's rocket launch and recovery processes .


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