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Training for Mars on Earth

Mars on Earth: Canadian Arctic Serves as Red Planet Training Ground

Mars on Earth: Canadian Arctic Serves as Red Planet Training Ground
Canada’s Devon Island offers a training ground for future Mars expeditionary crews.

Credit: NASA/HMP/Pascal Lee

Would-be Mars explorers can get a taste of what Red Planet life would be like with a trip to the Canadian Arctic.

Devon Island, the largest uninhabited island on Earth, is home to the Haughton-Mars Project (HMP),  an international, multidisciplinary field-research venture that aims to help lay the foundation for crewed missions to the Red Planet.

HMP started in 1997 and has been hosting NASA-supported research each year since then. The rocky, barren terrain of Devon Island offers many challenges, from remoteness and isolation to extreme temperatures and lack of infrastructure. [The 9 Coolest Mock Space Missions Ever]

But that cold-shoulder inhospitality is key to Devon Island’s appeal as a Mars-analogue site.

“This upcoming season is our 20th consecutive field season,” said HMP’s mission director and principal investigator, Pascal Lee of the Mars Institute, the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

“HMP is now the longest NASA-funded research project at the surface of the Earth,” Lee told Space.com.

What makes Devon Island so Mars-like?

Foggy and surrealistic scenery of the Canadian Arctic's Devon Island, a Mars-like setting for science and exploration.
Foggy and surrealistic scenery of the Canadian Arctic’s Devon Island, a Mars-like setting for science and exploration.

Credit: NASA HMP

“The climate is cold — not quite as cold as Mars, but in the right direction,” Lee said. “The climate is dry — not quite as dry as Mars, but it’s in the right direction. And the terrain is unvegetated, not completely, but mostly. Not to mention the rocky, frozen ground and glaciers.”

And there’s another plus.

The island is scarred by Haughton Crater, roughly 12 miles (20 kilometers) in diameter and some 23 million years old.

The impact that created Haughton Crater “was so violent that it dug all the way down to a mile [1.6 km] into the rocks of Devon Island,” Lee said.

As a result, the once very compact rocks of Devon are now heavily shattered and colonized by microbes.

“The upshot of this,” Lee said, “is that impacts may be bad news for highly evolved creatures like dinosaurs or us … but they were a boon for microbes. Impacts brought in heat, and they created fractures and porosity in rocks to allow microbes to colonize. They were likely part of the vector for the early colonization of life on Earth.”

Lee said the initial motivation to go to Devon Island was strictly scientific, because of its Mars-like setting — an impact crater in a polar desert. Around the crater are also valley networks, canyons, gullies and ancient lake beds. In terms of their detailed morphology, those features have counterparts on Mars.

“That’s not to say that they were necessarily the same things that we were seeing on Mars. But there was a convergence of all these geologic features in one location,” Lee said. [Photos: The Search for Life on Mars]

The Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) research station will be home next year to the 20th HMP field campaign, consisting of a small international team of scientists.
The Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) research station will be home next year to the 20th HMP field campaign, consisting of a small international team of scientists.

Credit: NASA HMP

Lee said he believes that Devon Island holds important clues about early Mars. He said he’s skeptical of the classical view that the Red Planet had a warm and wet climate early in its history. Instead, Lee has proposed that while the ground was warm, early Mars had a cold climate.

“The idea of a warm ground under a cold-climate Mars is still gaining acceptance,” Lee said. “Impacts were dumping heat into the ground. Volcanism was also more active on a young Mars. Those two processes were injecting water vapor into a frigid atmosphere. The water vapor would then condense out onto the surface. There were transient ice covers here and there on Mars. Because the ground was warm, not the climate, these ice covers were melting from underneath, creating valley networks.”

Examination of Devon Island has raised the prospect for reinterpreting the Martian landscape in terms of a cold climate, ice caps, frozen lakes and other glacial features, Lee said. Mars of old was more likely quite chilly, enveloped in a cold, frigid, thin atmosphere, much as it is today, he added.

With so many Mars-like attributes, Devon Island offers the perfect backdrop to plan out a crewed trip to the Red Planet, Lee said.

Devon Island is rife with canyons, valley networks, gullies, ground ice, patterned ground, debris flows, cold-desert weathering crusts and paleo-lake deposits.

A spacesuited Devon Island explorer investigates the stark, Mars-like landscape.
A spacesuited Devon Island explorer investigates the stark, Mars-like landscape.

Credit: NASA HMP

HMP is a real field-exploration setting, Lee said. Valuable lessons learned at HMP are informing the planning and optimization of future human science and exploration activities on Mars, he said, including astrobiology and planetary-protection investigations.

“It’s a big team effort,” Lee said. The HMP Research Station, the project’s base camp, both satisfies scientific interests and serves as a pilot model for how a future Mars outpost might be designed and operated, he said.

“It’s an infrastructure that is dedicated to advancing the exploration of Mars by robotic and human means,” Lee said. “We’ve already had astronauts visit the place. We expect more will come as part of the actual training.”

HMP expeditionary teams have tested all manner of hardware: new robotic rovers, spacesuits, drills and aerial drones. There is other gear at the site, too, including the Mars-1and OkarianHumvee rovers — the HMP’s two simulated pressurized rovers for lengthy traverses into the wilderness — as well as personal all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for short treks.

“In terms of the science, I anticipate that there will be many more years of scientific work to be done on Devon Island,” Lee said. “We’re still making discoveries … we’re still learning about the site.”

Pascal Lee and his companion Ping Pong trek across Devon Island via an all-terrain vehicle.
Pascal Lee and his companion Ping Pong trek across Devon Island via an all-terrain vehicle.

Credit: NASA HMP

Lee and a small group of other scientists from around the world are now busy plotting out the 20th HMP field campaign, which is scheduled to occur in mid-2016.

And as future human-to-Mars activities gather steam, Lee said that the experiences gleaned from Devon Island will be invaluable.

“The way I envision it, Devon Island will eventually become a training site for astronauts bound for Mars,” he said. “It will become one of the imperative stops, if not the final stop, in your preparation for the Red Planet.”

Lee said, with a smile, that the first words pronounced on the surface of Mars might be: “Wow! This looks just like Devon.”

Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. He is former director of research for the National Commission on Space and is co-author of Buzz Aldrin’s 2013 book “Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration,” published by National Geographic with a new updated paperback version released in May 2015. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.


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50 Best Computer Schools in the World

Bob.Barboza@gmail.com thought that you’d be interested in this article from Business Insider:

The 50 best computer science schools in the world
A computer science degree from a top university…

To enjoy more great articles and get the latest from Business Insider, follow us on Facebook or Twitter and subscribe to our Newsletters.

You can also enjoy the Business Insider app on your mobile device. Download it now for iOS or Android.

Best regards,

Business Insider
www.businessinsider.com


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International Youth Mar’s Art Contest

Mars Society to Hold International Student Mars Art Contest
Keep Those Wonderful Submissions Coming  (May 31st Deadline)
The Mars Society is sponsoring a Student Mars Art (SMArt) Contest, inviting youth from around the world to depict the human future on the planet Mars. Young artists from grades 4 through 12 are invited to submit up to three works of art each, illustrating any part of the human future on the Red Planet, including the first landing, human field exploration, operations at an early Mars base, the building of the first Martian cities, terraforming the Red Planet and other related human settlement concepts.

The SMArt Contest will be divided into three categories: Upper Elementary (grades 4-6), Junior High (grades 7-9), and High School (Grades 10-12). Cash prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250, as well as trophies, will be given out to the first, second and third place winners of each section. There will also be certificates of honorable mention for those artists who don’t finish in the top three, but whose work is nevertheless judged to be particularly meritorious.

The winning works of art will be posted on the Mars Society web site and may also be published as part of a special book about Mars art. In addition, winners will be invited to come to the 20th Annual International Mars Society Convention at the University of California, Irvine September 7-10, 2017 to display and talk about their art.

Mars art will consist of still images, which may be composed by traditional methods, such as pencil, charcoal, watercolors or paint, or by computerized means. Works of art must be submitted via a special online form (http://nextgen.marssociety.org/mars-art) in either PDF or JPEG format with a 10 MB limit per image. The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2017, 5:00 pm MST. By submitting art to the contest, participating students grant the Mars Society non-exclusive rights to publish the images on its web site or in Kindle paper book form.

Speaking about the SMArt Contest, Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin said, “The imagination of youth looks to the future. By holding the SMArt Contest, we are inviting young people from all over the world to use art to make visible the things they can see with their minds that the rest of us have yet to see with our own eyes. Show us the future, kids. From imagination comes reality. If we can see it, we can make it.”

All questions about the Mars Society’s SMArt Contest can be submitted to: Marsart@marssociety.org.


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NASA Could Use Your Help

NASA asks science community for Europa Lander Instruments ideas
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) May 18, 2017


illustration only

NASA is asking scientists to consider what would be the best instruments to include on a mission to land on Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa.

NASA Wednesday informed the science community to prepare for a planned competition to select science instruments for a potential Europa lander.

While a Europa lander mission is not yet approved by NASA, the agency’s Planetary Science Division has funding in Fiscal Year 2017 to conduct the announcement of opportunity process.

“The possibility of placing a lander on the surface of this intriguing icy moon, touching and exploring a world that might harbor life is at the heart of the Europa lander mission,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “We want the community to be prepared for this announcement of opportunity, because NASA recognizes the immense amount of work involved in preparing proposals for this potential future exploration.”

The community announcement provides advance notice of NASA’s plan to hold a competition for instrument investigations for a potential Europa lander mission. Proposed investigations will be evaluated and selected through a two-step competitive process to fund development of a variety of relevant instruments and then to ensure the instruments are compatible with the mission concept.

Approximately 10 proposals may be selected to proceed into a competitive Phase A. The Phase A concept study will be limited to approximately 12 months with a $1.5 million budget per investigation. At the conclusion of these studies, NASA may select some of these concepts to complete Phase A and subsequent mission phases.

Investigations will be limited to those addressing the following science objectives, which are listed in order of decreasing priority:

+ Search for evidence of life on Europa

+ Assess the habitability of Europa via in situ techniques uniquely available to a lander mission

+ Characterize surface and subsurface properties at the scale of the lander

In early 2016, in response to a congressional directive, NASA’s Planetary Science Division began a study to assess the science and engineering design of a future Europa lander mission. NASA routinely conducts such studies – known as Science Definition Team (SDT) reports – long before the start of any mission to gain an understanding of the challenges, feasibility and science value of the potential mission. The 21-member team began work almost one year ago, submitting a report to NASA on Feb. 7.

The agency briefed the community on the Europa Lander SDT study at recent town halls at the 2017 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) at The Woodlands, Texas, and the Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon) in Mesa, Arizona.

The proposed Europa lander is separate from and would follow its predecessor – the Europa Clipper multiple flyby mission – which now is in preliminary design phase and planned for launch in the early 2020s. Arriving in the Jupiter system after a journey of several years, the spacecraft would orbit the planet about every two weeks, providing opportunities for 40 to 45 flybys in the prime mission. The Clipper spacecraft would image Europa’s icy surface at high resolution, and investigate its composition and structure of its interior and icy shell.

Wednesday’s community announcement in no way obligates NASA to solicit future proposals.


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International Art Contest: Mars Project

Mars Society to Hold Int’l Student Mars Art Contest
Two Weeks Remaining until Submission Deadline (May 31)
The Mars Society is sponsoring a Student Mars Art (SMArt) Contest, inviting youth from around the world to depict the human future on the planet Mars. Young artists from grades 4 through 12 are invited to submit up to three works of art each, illustrating any part of the human future on the Red Planet, including the first landing, human field exploration, operations at an early Mars base, the building of the first Martian cities, terraforming the Red Planet and other related human settlement concepts.

The SMArt Contest will be divided into three categories: Upper Elementary (grades 4-6), Junior High (grades 7-9), and High School (Grades 10-12). Cash prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250, as well as trophies, will be given out to the first, second and third place winners of each section. There will also be certificates of honorable mention for those artists who don’t finish in the top three, but whose work is nevertheless judged to be particularly meritorious.

The winning works of art will be posted on the Mars Society web site and may also be published as part of a special book about Mars art. In addition, winners will be invited to come to the 20th Annual International Mars Society Convention at the University of California, Irvine September 7-10, 2017 to display and talk about their art.

Mars art will consist of still images, which may be composed by traditional methods, such as pencil, charcoal, watercolors or paint, or by computerized means. Works of art must be submitted via a special online form (http://nextgen.marssociety.org/mars-art) in either PDF or JPEG format with a 10 MB limit per image. The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2017, 5:00 pm MST. By submitting art to the contest, participating students grant the Mars Society non-exclusive rights to publish the images on its web site or in Kindle paper book form.

Speaking about the SMArt Contest, Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin said, “The imagination of youth looks to the future. By holding the SMArt Contest, we are inviting young people from all over the world to use art to make visible the things they can see with their minds that the rest of us have yet to see with our own eyes. Show us the future, kids. From imagination comes reality. If we can see it, we can make it.”

All questions about the Mars Society’s SMArt Contest can be submitted to: Marsart@marssociety.org.


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2017 Barboza Space Center Fellowship Program: Occupy Mars Learning Adventures

2017 Barboza Space Center Fellowship Program

The Barboza Space Center was founded under the belief that students need hands on experience in the areas of STEAM++ (science, technology, engineering, visual and performing arts, mathematics, computer languages and foreign languages).  Today, The Barboza Space Center is actively developing the technologies to prototype satellites, robots and Martian habitats with the ultimate goal of enabling humans to occupy Mars.

 

The Barboza Space Center is currently seeking talented individuals for our Fellowship Program at the CAMS High School location on the campus of California State University Dominquez Hills. The Barboza Space Center engineering Student Fellows play a significant role in the design, development, testing and manufacturing of spaceflight hardware. Here at The Barboza Space Center, you will obtain invaluable hands-on technical experience that you can’t learn in a classroom. Our engineering and science teams will help you to roll up your sleeves and apply textbook theory and lab experience to creating solutions for real aerospace challenges. You will gain practical experience by participating in actual space hardware design, building and repair projects. The most successful candidates for the Barboza Space Center Fellowship Program have a history of significant contributions to hands-on extracurricular engineering projects in addition to a strong academic record.

 

FELLOWSHIP REQUIREMENTS:

  • Must be currently enrolled at an accredited public or private high school
  • Parent permission is required
  • Must submit a letter of intent
  • Must submit a current resume
  • Must be recommended by a school administrator
  • Attend a formal interview
  • Students must be able to participate for the duration of the program, June 12-15, 9:00 am-3:00 pm.
  • Students must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident of the U.S., or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State

PREFERRED SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE:

  • GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • Hands-on experience through science fair projects, lab research, project teams, prior internships or work experience
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively in a team environment, accomplishing tasks with limited resources at a regular pace
  • Intermediate skill level using Macintosh and/or Windows Operations Systems
  • Intermediate skill level using Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)

Resume and Letter of Intent due to Ms. Shipman by May 15th at 4:30 pm.  

 

2017 Barboza Space Center Fellowship Program Brochure


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Snake Bites: Jr. Medical School Training

Reason snakes bites are currently on the rise in these US states

Teacher Training Notice:  The Occupy Mars Learning Adventures Team will receive emergency training for dealing with snake bites.  “We have to be ready for all situations when working on our space geology teams.” Said team leader, Bob Barboza.   We are going to include this training in all of our Jr. medical space medicine programs.

1200px-Crotalus_cerastes_mesquite_springs_CA.JPG
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Taking a trip to the South? Well watch out for snakes. Snake bites in Georgia are up 40 percent this year according to the Georgia Poison Control Center.

South Carolina is also reporting a 30 percent increase this year.

While North Carolina saw a notable spike in bites – receiving 71 calls in April 2017 compared to only 19 calls the year before according to WRAL.

A doctor with the Georgia center told WSB-TV that the first call to come in this year was the first week of January – breaking previous records.

They are blaming the increase on a short and mild winter.

According to a study released late 2016 – when it comes to snakebites in people 18 and under – Florida and Texas have the highest rates of snakebites – with Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia, not far behind.

If bit by a snake – The Mayo Clinic suggests calling 9-1-1- immediately – removing jewelry and or tight clothing in case you start to swell and positioning yourself so the bite is below or level of your heart.

Guide to Snakes Part 1: Know Thine Enemy

You and your buddies are out on a camping trip reconnecting with nature and your masculinity. You’re taking a day hike to see some ancient Indian hieroglyphics, when all of sudden you feel the acute pain of two razor sharp fangs entering your flesh. You’ve just been bitten by a snake. Do you know what to do?

Just the sight of a slithering snake can send a shiver down even the manliest spine. And with good reason-with just one nibble, and in only a few hours, these feetless, cold-blooded serpents can snuff out your life. While only 9-15 people in the United States die every year from snake bites, if you don’t know how to treat them correctly, you or your loved one could become part of those statistics. Knowing how to deal with snakes and snakebites is essential man knowledge.

The best way to “treat” a snakebite is to avoid getting bitten in the first place. So in Part 1 of the Art of Manliness’ Guide to Snakes, we’ll give you a dossier on all the bad boys you need to look out for.

In Part 2, we’ll discuss ways to avoid becoming some snake’s snack and how to treat a bite if you do get bitten.

Know Your Enemy

If you were a Boy Scout, you were probably taught an old mnemonic to help you identify venomous snakes:

Red and black, friend of Jack. Red and yellow, kill a fellow.

Or in other words, if a snake has adjacent red and black colors on its skin, it’s not venomous. If red and yellow are adjacent, that snake is venomous.
But as a man, you’re past simple maxims. You want to know how to identify and name a snake. You want to know the habits of your nemeses. So, here’s a description of the various poisonous snakes found in North America and around the world.

Coral Snake

Know Thine Enemy: Coral snakes are easy to spot by their distinctive coloring. They have alternating, red, yellow, and black bands. Did you get that? Red and yellow are touching each other, meaning this bad boy is poisonous. Be on the look out. There are counterfeit corals that have alternating red, black, and yellow bands. These aren’t poisonous.
Coral snakes are shorter than other venomous snakes. They average about 40 inches and have smaller mouths and fangs.

Their hideout: Corals are found in the southern and eastern United States, and in other places around the world. They can usually be found slithering in dry areas with lots of shrubs. They frequently spend their time underground or buried under leaf litter, and don’t pop out to say hello very often. You’ll see them most frequently after it rains or during breeding season. There are also some aquatic species that loiter in your favorite swimming hole.

How mean are they? They’re not aggressive or prone to biting, but if they do bite-watch out. Their venom takes longer to deliver, so when they bite, they hold on and won’t let go.

Rattlesnakes

Rattlesnakes are easy to identify because, well, they have a rattle at the end of their tail. When threatened, the rattlesnake shakes its rattle as a warning to his would-be nemeses. Luckily for us, it’s a pretty damn loud warning; its peak frequency is equivalent to that of an ambulance siren. Did you ever wonder what a rattlesnake’s rattle was made of? Yeah? Me too. It’s basically composed of modified scales that slough off from the tail. Each time a rattlesnake sheds its skin, a new segment is added. When the snake shakes its tail in the air, the segments rattle against each other. Contrary to popular belief you can’t tell a rattlesnake’s age from counting the number of rattle segments; while they do add more segments on a regular basis, they also lose them during travels. Word of warning: if the rattle gets soaked from wet weather, it will no longer emit its noisy warning. So tread lightly in those conditions.

Several varieties of rattlesnakes exist and their habitats range from Canada to South America. The diamondback rattlesnake, the mojave rattlesnake, the sidewinder rattlesnake, and the timber rattlesnake are three species common to the United States

The Diamondback Rattlesnake

Know Thine Enemy: The different species of rattlesnakes have varied colorings, but all can be identified by their skin’s telltale diamond pattern. Most diamondbacks are about 3.5-5.5 feet long, although the Eastern diamondbacks, the biggest of the bunch, have been found in the 7 ft range.

Their hideout: Diamondbacks are generally found along the southern border of the United States, from Florida to Baja California and into Mexico. Rattlesnakes like to sun themselves and come out in the early morning or afternoon to bask in the sun’s rays. You therefore often find them sunning themselves on rocky ledges. While not typically adept climbers, species like the eastern diamond back have been found 32 ft off the ground. Some are excellent swimmers as well; eastern diamondbacks slither for miles in-between islands in the Florida Keys.

How mean are they? Some diamondbacks will retreat if given a chance. But often they will stand their ground and may strike repeatedly. They can strike from a distance up to 2/3 their body size and strike faster then the human eye can see, so stay as far away as possible. They have some of the fiercest venom of any snake; victims can die within hours of being bitten.

The Mojave Rattlesnake

Know Thine Enemy: Generally 3-4.5 ft long, it has grayish diamond shape markings on its back like the diamondback, but it’s overall coloration is more green than brown.

Their hideout: The mojave rattlesnake primarily lives in the desert of the southwestern United States, so be on the look out for it when you’re riding a burro down the Grand Canyon.They are common in wide expanses of desert and can often be found near scrub brush. They hibernate during the winter.

How mean are they? Although there isn’t scientific date to back it up, mojaves have a reputation for being quite aggressive, especially towards people.

The Sidewinder Rattlesnake

Know Thine Enemy: The sidewinder gets its name from its trademark sideways locomotion. The reason they do this is to reduce the amount of contact they have with the hot desert sands and to increase their movement’s efficiency. Just watching this thing move puts you on notice that it’s a killing machine. Smaller than its rattling cousins, the sidewinder usually is 1.5-2 feet long. The sidewinder is light in color with darker bands on its back. In addition to its trippy sideways movement, evolution has given the sidewinder another killer advantage: it can survive in the desert without a single drop of water. They get all the water they need from the prey they devour. That’s right. When a sidewinder sees you walking along, you’re not only lunch, but also a canteen. Watch out.

Their hideout: These snakes can be found in the desert of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. During the cooler months (about December to February) the sidewinder is nocturnal. They are diurnal the rest of the year.

How mean are they? Their venom is weaker than their cousins, but still can cause a serious health threat. Tread lightly.

Timber Rattlesnake

Know Thine Enemy: Timber rattlesnakes have a yellow, brown, and rust orange coloring and are typically 3-4 ft in length. The timber rattler was immortalized during the American Revolution where it served as the symbol in the “Don’t Tread on Me Flag.” It also serves as the First Navy Jack.

Their hideout: Unlike many of its rattlesnake cousins who live in the deserts of the West, the timber rattlesnake is found in the eastern United States; it’s the only rattlesnake to make its home in the Northeast.

How mean are they? Timber rattlers are a much mellower breed of rattlesnakes, so they don’t bite too often. And they tend to rattle a lot before striking, giving you time to hightail it out of there.

Cottonmouth Snakes

Know Thine Enemy: The Cottonmouth is one scary snake. No one wants to see it slithering toward them at their favorite watering hole. Cottonmouth snakes are usually around 2 ft in length, although some have grown to a size of nearly 6 ft. Their brown, gray, tan, yellowish olive or blackish coloring, is segmented by dark crossbands. When threatened, cottonmouths will throw their head back and open their mouth wide, displaying the white interior from whence it derives the name “cottonmouth.”

Their hideout: The cottonmouth is an aquatic snake found in the south and southeast part of the United States. Cottonmouths make creeks, streams, marshes, and lakes their home, although they can also be found on dry land. Because of their affinity to water, cottonmouths are also known as water moccasins. Cottonmouths can be active during the day and night. But when it’s hot, they are usually found coiled or stretched out in the shade.

How mean are they? Despite their vicious reputation, in many cases the cottonmouth’s hiss is worse than its bite. Cottonmouths often engage in a showy threat display without attacking. This routine includes shaking their tail and letting a musky secretion rip from their anal glands. The scent of this snake fart has been compared to that of a billy goat; so if you smell goat, flee in the other direction.

Copperhead Snakes

Know Thine Enemy: Copperhead snakes are identified by their coppery colored head and neck. Adults reach lengths of 2 to 4 feet.

Their hideout: Copperheads are mainly found in the eastern part of the U.S. They make forest and woodlands their home. However, they do prefer to live closer to water.

How mean are they? Copperheads will only bite if they feel directly threatened, i.e., if you try to pick up or touch them. But this contact can happen inadvertently. Unlike many venomous snakes that usually slither away when humans are around, copperheads will freeze in place, often resulting in humans stepping on them and getting bitten. A bite from a copperhead is extremely painful but is not fatal if treated properly.

Cobras

Cobras are probably the most famous of all the venomous snakes, thanks in part to Johnny and the gang at Cobra Kai Dojo in the Karate Kid. (I hate Johnny. What a prick.) Several species of cobras exist. What they all have in common is the distinct “hood” they make when they are threatened. In order to create this distinct cobra hood, cobras will flatten their body by spreading their ribs.

The King Cobra

Know Thine Enemy: The King Cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake, growing to a length of between 12 and 13 feet Wowza! Their olive green, tan, or black skin has pale yellow cross bands down the length of the body.

Their hideout: King Cobras are found in South and Southeast Asia. They can also be found in some parts of India. King Cobras typically live in dense highland forests near rivers and streams.

How mean are they? The King Cobra is one scary mother. The King Cobra doesn’t just feed on small rodents, this bad boy is cannibalistic- it eats other snakes. While the King Cobra is shy, it will attack if it is provoked. The venom from a King Cobra consists of extremely potent neurotoxins that attack the victim’s central nervous system. A single bite from a King Cobra can kill a full grown Asian Elephant. It can kill a man in half an hour.

The Red Spitting Cobra

Know Thine Enemy: Red Spitting Cobras vary in color from red to gray. They can grow to about 4 feet in length. What makes this cobra unique is its ability to “spit” or project their venom at their prey. Watch out!

Their hideout: Red Spitting Cobras are native to Africa are most common in that continent’s northeast region. They make their homes in brush and forests. The red spitting cobra is nocturnal, so make sure you zip up your tent!

How mean are they? Like the King Cobra, the Red Spitting Cobra is a timid and shy snake and will only attack when threatened. Unlike the King Cobra with its ultra toxic venom, the Red Spitting Cobra’s venom is much milder. While it may cause extreme sickness, a bite from a Red Spitting Cobra will probably not cause death. However, if the venom gets in your eyes and is not treated quickly, it can cause blindness so still take caution.

The Black Mamba Snake

Know Thine Enemy: The black mamba is the largest and most deadly snake in Africa. It also happens to be the fastest moving snake in the world. In short, this snake is a killing machine. The Black Mamba gets its name not from the fact that it has black skin, but because it is black on the inside of its mouth. The skin of a black mamba is actually gray to olive green. Black mambas can grow to a length of between 7 and 13 feet.

Their hideout: Black mambas make their home in the grasslands of Africa. You can find them primarily in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

How mean are they? Black Mambas are mean mothers. They will readily attack when threatened. They’ll make multiple attacks, aiming at the head and body. With each bite, they inject their super deadly venom. One bite from a black mamba has enough venom to kill 120-140 men. The venom paralyzes the muscles used for breathing and the victim consequently dies from suffocation.

An important note: While all this “enemy” language is in good fun, snakes actually play a vital role in our ecosystem. Without them, vermin and critters of many kinds would overrun us. These tips should help you avoid snakes, not seek them out for destruction. Unless it’s a do or die situation, leave the snake alone and move in the other direction.

Guide To Snakes Part 2: How To Avoid & Treat A Snakebite

man getting bit by snake in the face

Yesterday, in Part 1 of the Art of Manliness’ Guide to Snakes, we discussed how to identify various poisonous serpents. But knowing your enemy is only half the battle. You should also know how to avoid being bitten and what to do if you are. Therefore, today in Part 2 we present more necessary man vs. snake knowledge: how to avoid and treat a snakebite.

How to Avoid a Snake Bite

While the behavior of snakes is obviously not 100% predictable, you can minimize your chances of being bitten by taking several basic precautions. If you want to avoid being at the receiving end of a pair of venomous fangs, follow these simple guidelines while out romping in the wilderness:

Avoid tall grass. Many of the snakes mentioned in Part 1 of this post like to hang out in grassy areas and heavy underbrush. If you can, stick to the trails so you can clearly see what you’re stepping on. If you have to go off trail, be attentive lest you inadvertently step on a sleeping rattlesnake. If you must venture through tall grass, carry a stick and use it to probe the ground in front of you. And remember, there are always exceptions to the rule; a snake could very well be curled up in the middle of a well groomed trail. Always be aware of your surroundings.

Remember that snakes can climb. While they’re not squirrels, snakes can slither up trees and bushes. Most people never imagine they’ll see a snake at eye level, and are thus quite vulnerable to an aerial attack. The last thing you want is to feel that forked tongue on your face, so keep your wits about you.

Check before you stick your hand into a crevasse. Because snakes are pure evil, they like to hang out in the dark. Holes, a hollow log, or a crevasse in a rock are perfect places for a snake to hide. So before you go sticking your hand in any dark hole, check to make sure there isn’t a snake (or another critter) in there.

Zombie snake attack. Say you find a dead snake that you want to take and turn into a pair of snakeskin boots. Right on. But be careful when picking it up. Freshly dead snakes still have reflexes and can still bite you if you’re not careful. I’ve seen a dead snake slither around firsthand. It’s really creepy. Plus, many snakes are pretty sloth-like during the daytime. And they’re quite skillful at keeping completely still; it’s how they catch their prey. So a snake sunning himself may look good and dead, but may very well be sleeping with one beady eye open, its little reptilian brain thinking, “Just try it buddy.”

Don’t sleep in the enemy’s lair. Most snakes are nocturnal, so you don’t want to let down your guard come sunset. Don’t make your camp in snake territory. Avoid sleeping near a log or large branch, in tall grass, or next to rocky areas. And of course zip up your tent tight. Snakes may have those fierce fangs, but alas, they lack an opposable thumb. Keep your boots inside the tent (most tents come with shoe pockets) and make sure to zip the tent up again in the morning, lest a snake invite himself in while you’re on a hike.

Wear heavy boots and pants. If you’re going to be out exploring in the uncivilized wilderness, make sure your lower extremities are protected. Heavy boots and pants not only protect against fierce snakes but also your ankle’s other nemesis-ticks.

keenan thompson snakes on a plane

Bonus Tip: Always Check The Overhead Compartment For Snakes

The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Treat a Snake Bite

man getting bit by snake on the hand

No amount of precaution can prevent every bite. Sometimes accidents happen. And if it does happen, it’s important for you to immediately know what to do. Don’t be caught with a snakebite in the middle of the woods, scratching your head trying to remember this stuff; sear it into your brain. Getting bitten by a venomous snake is serious business. While the reactions vary from snake to snake, all venom is essentially designed to immobilize the victim and start the process of digestion. Venom is basically toxic snake saliva, ready to turn you into dinner. So if you’re bitten, seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think the snake is poisonous. Better to be safe than sorry.

Do:

1. Wash the bite with soap and water as soon as possible. You want to remove as much of the snake’s spit as you can.

2. Keep the bitten area below the heart. This is done to slow the flow of the venom.

3. Take off any rings or watches. The venom is going to make you swell, and jewelry might cut off your circulation.

4. Tightly wrap a bandage two to four inches above the bite. If you can’t reach medical care within 30 minutes, wrap a bandage around the bitten appendage. This is to assist in reducing the flow of venom. You want to make it tight, but not too tight as to completely cut off the appendage’s circulation. That will only cause tissue damage.

5. If you have a snake bite kit, place the suction device over the bite to help draw the venom out of the wound. Leave on for a maximum of ten minutes. If used properly, a suction device can remove up to 30% of the venom.

 

Interesting Fact: “Antivenin” is made by first milking a snake’s fangs for its venom and then injecting a non-lethal dose of that venin into a horse. The horse naturally builds up antibodies to the venom. Its blood is then collected and the antibodies are extracted and made into antivenin for humans. Cool.

 

 

Don’t:

1. Cut the wound. While watching an old Western, you might have seen a cowboy making an incision above the snakebite in order to “drain” the venom. This isn’t a smart move because you increase the chances of causing an infection in the area.

2. Suck the venom. Another remedy we all have seen in the movies is people sucking the venom out with their mouth. You don’t want the venom in your mouth where it can get back into your bloodstream.

3. Apply ice to the wound. Ice can cause tissue and skin damage and inhibits the removal of venom when using a suction device.

4. Panic. If you’ve been bitten, try to avoid freaking out. If you’re with someone who has been bitten, try to keep them calm. The more you move and the faster your heart beats, the quicker the venom is going to be circulated throughout your body. So do your best to stay calm and remain as still as humanely possible.