On a lighter note: Has Mars got the “bear necessities”?

by | Nov 9, 2015 | exploration, NASA, On a Lighter Note | 0 comments

Ever since when Voskhod 1 landed off course into the wilderness, subsequent Russian manned missions now carry a pistol on board their Soyuz spacecraft lest they also land off course and have to fight off bears and wolves.  This column previously noted that the 9mm Makarov automatic pistol currently carried is somewhat underpowered compared to its shotgun/rifle carbine now-retired predecessor, and that this should have been replaced a .357 Magnum revolver at the very least as this is really the minimum firearm needed to fight off a large Brown Bear.  Anything less powerful will just annoy it.

Actually this piece of advice might now be especially relevant for those space travellers intent on heading to Mars. This is because historical NASA Mars Rover imagery has been recently found to show what appears to be a young bear on the surface of the planet – or so some think.  Actually, it is more likely to be a trick of the light on a rock formation.  For while there may be some salty water on the planet, apologies to Baloo the Bear character in Disney’s version of Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’,  but Mars really does lack those “bear necessities” of life – a good food supply, a breathable atmosphere in which to sing in, and a tree to scratch a back on.


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