An artists’s conception shows SpaceX’s Starship craft on Mars. (SpaceX Illustration)
NASA is helping SpaceX get a fix on potential landing sites on Mars for its Starship super-spaceship, with an emphasis on Arcadia Planitia and Amazonia Planitia, regions where deposits of water ice may be found.
Images of candidate landing sites were captured from orbit by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in June and included in last month’s roundup of MRO imagery. Science writer Robert Zimmerman brought them to light last week on his Behind the Black blog, and dubbed them Site 1, Site 2, Site 3, Site 4 and Site 5. Sites 2 and 3 are a stereo pair of images. The other three sites have stereo pairs as well.
Zimmerman said that his contact at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory declined to discuss the images due to a non-disclosure agreement, and that SpaceX hasn’t responded to his request for comment. (Comment is scarce this weekend due to Labor Day, but we’ll add anything we hear from JPL or SpaceX to this report.)
Arcadia Planitia has been on SpaceX’s list of potential Mars landing areas for at least two years. SpaceX’s principal Mars development engineer, Paul Wooster, told NASA’s Mars Exploration ...