Posts Tagged ‘Mars’
NASA scientists say tests on a Mars rock show the planet could have supported primitive life.
At a briefing at NASA’s Washington headquarters on Tuesday, NASA scientist said that an analysis of a Mars rock sample by the Curiosity rover had unveiled minerals, including hydrogen, carbon and oxygen, that are the building blocks of life…
“A fundamental question for this mission is whether Mars could have supported a habitable environment,” said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Programme. “From what we know now, the answer is yes…”
The rock sample was drilled from a sedimentary bedrock sample and found to contain clay minerals, sulfate minerals and other chemicals.
Based on the analysis of those chemicals, researchers were able to determine that the water that helped form the rocks were of a relatively neutral pH.
“We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and supportive of life, that probably if this water was around and you had been there, you would have been able to drink it,” said John Grotzinger, Curiosity project scientist from the California Institute of Technology.
Yes, that does give you a lot to think about. Could there have been a civilization on Mars that succeeded in destroying the ecology – and themselves? Worth reflecting on given the quality of politicians our own species is saddled with.
Beekeepers in northeastern France have been alarmed to find their bees producing honey in unnatural shades of green and blue.
The beekeepers believe the source of the problem is a biogas plant close to Ribeauville in Alsace.
It is thought the bees have been eating the sugary waste from M&Ms…
“We discovered the problem at the same time [the beekeepers] did. We quickly put in place a procedure to stop it,” Philippe Meinrad, a spokesman from Agrivalor, the company operating the biogas plant…
The company, which deals with waste from a Mars chocolate factory, said it would clean out the containers, store all incoming waste in airtight containers and process it promptly, according to a company statement published in Le Monde newspaper…
A spokeswoman for the British Beekeepers’ Association, Gill Maclean, said it was possible that the coloured sugar could have contaminated the honey…
“Bees are clever enough to know where the best sources of sugar are, if there are no others available,” she said.
The beekeepers say their blue honey is unsellable. Boy, are they wrong. Advertise it on the Web and crazy people like me would buy it. Use it for topping vanilla ice cream or some silly cupcake. Probably could sell the entire inventory to some breakfast chain.
The base of Mars’ Mount Sharp – the rover’s eventual science destination – is pictured in this August 27, 2012 photo taken by the Curiosity rover. The image is a portion of a larger image taken by Curiosity’s 100-millimeter Mast Camera on August 23. Scientists enhanced the color to show the Martian scene under the lighting conditions we have on Earth, which helps in analyzing the terrain.
Click on the photo to start through the series.
I’ve been waiting for NASA’s rover Curiosity to land safely so I can tell you that we now have Lincoln on Mars. Yes, Abraham Lincoln on the Red Planet.
The penny, a 1909 “VDB” penny, is used as a calibration target for the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) instrument, which is to be used to take extreme close-ups of rocks and soil. The penny, provided by MAHLI’s principal investigator Ken Edgettt, is a nod to geologists’ tradition to place a coin as a size reference in close-up photos of rocks.
Besides the penny, the MAHLI calibration target includes color chips, a metric bar graphic, and a stair-step pattern for depth calibration.
All of which you can see – with the penny mounted – over here.
If you seek a dazzling new image for a MacBook Pro’s Retina screen, look no further…This week NASA released an ultra-high-resolution view of the frigid Martian landscape captured by the only rover currently operating on the red planet.
“The view provides … a spectacularly detailed view of the largest impact crater that we’ve driven to yet,” said planetary scientist Jim Bell of Arizona State University…
The solar-powered, golf-cart-sized rover, called Opportunity, wrapped up exploration of the half-mile-wide Victoria Crater in August 2008. It then rolled for the next three years to reach the 14-mile-wide Endeavour Crater….From Dec. 21, 2011 through May 8, 2012, NASA instructed the robot to stay put and take 817 images.
The space agency stitched those photos together to craft a near-wraparound image of Opportunity’s overwintering spot, a rocky outcrop near the 4-billion-year-old Endeavour Crater that scientists named “Greeley Haven.”
Click here to get to the catalog page for the photojournal. There are versions of this photo available up to 23K pixels wide!
A new era in space exploration dawned Tuesday as a slender rocket shot into the dark Florida sky before sunrise, carrying the first private spacecraft bound for the International Space Station…
The unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 3:44 a.m., carrying 1,300 pounds of food, clothing and scientific experiments on a demonstration mission to gauge the company’s ability to safely and efficiently deliver supplies to astronauts staffing the orbiting station…
Tuesday’s launch marks the culmination of six years of preparation to bring commercial flights to the space station following the retirement of NASA’s space shuttle fleet last year. It’s backed by entrepreneur Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal…
The rocket launched without a hitch following a flawless countdown that came three days after a faulty valve on one of the rocket’s engines forced a last-second postponement.
At 180 feet tall and 12 feet around, the Falcon 9 rocket is tiny in comparison to the football-field-long Saturn V rockets that carried Apollo spacecraft into orbit. It carries the company’s Dragon cargo capsule capable of carrying 13,228 pounds of supplies into orbit…
The capsule is scheduled to perform a series of maneuvers that should bring it within reach of the space station’s robotic arm on Friday. If NASA gives the go-ahead, the crew will use the arm to attach the capsule to the station and begin unloading supplies, according to SpaceX.
It will remain attached to the station for two weeks before it plummets back into the atmosphere and splashes into the Pacific Ocean off the California coast.
A Martian dust devil roughly 20 kilometers high was captured winding its way along the Amazonis Planitia region of Northern Mars on March 14, 2012 by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Despite its height, the plume is little more than three-quarters of a football field wide – 70 meters.
Would I ever love to be along on a mission to Mars? You betcha!
Thanks, Science Daily
For the first time in almost a decade, sky-watchers this week will be able to see all five naked-eye planets over the course of one night for several nights in a row.
The classical naked-eye planets—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn—can be seen easily without optical aids and so have been known since ancient times. But the quintet hasn’t appeared together during a single night since 2004.
What’s more, this week’s parade of planets will be joined in the nighttime skies by the waxing crescent to waxing gibbous moon and the superbright stars Sirius and Canopus…
Although the moon and the seven bright objects will all be visible in one night, they won’t all appear at the same time or in the same region of the sky.
The best time to catch sight of the cosmic parade will be between February 28 and March 7. This is when the more elusive planets Mercury and Mars will be at their brightest in the evening sky for 2012, and when the moon will be above the horizon for many hours before setting…
“The moon, of course, is our closest cosmic neighbor and the only one we can really study as a world with the naked eye or even simple binoculars…However these other points of light are all really bright objects in the sky too, so to get the full experience, take your time and let your eyes adapt to the darkness and enjoy..” said Geza Gyuk, an astronomer with the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.
RTFA for suggestions in where to look and when. Enjoy. I hope you live somewhere with little light or no pollution.
Sorry, Northern Hemisphere only.
New author? Don’t want to compete with the bestselling might of Stephenie Meyer or Stieg Larsson? Then why not try Andrew Kessler’s approach, and set up a bookshop that stocks only one title: your own.
Kessler, who calls his project “monobookism”, opened his shop on Hudson Street in New York last month. It contains 3,000 copies of his book Martian Summer, displayed in “new and noteworthy” sections, under “new in non-fiction”, under “science” – and with a sign for the wary, “We have one book but we’re NOT scientologists”, sitting outside.
An “armchair astronaut’s” account of the 2008 NASA mission to Mars, Martian Summer was published by Pegasus in April. It sees Kessler, a writer and creative director at an advertising agency, charting the day-to-day dramas of the Phoenix mission that explored the planet’s north pole, after he won “the nerd lottery” to spend three months in mission control with 130 scientists.
Kessler said he decided to set the shop up because, given publishing’s current difficulties and his own position as “a new, non-famous, scandal-free author”, he was “a little worried about how anyone would ever see my book”…
With the shop’s run set to come to an end on 16 May, Kessler is gearing up to take an inventory of how many copies he’s sold. Reactions to the store, he says, have been varied. “Some people come in and hug whomever happens to be working in the store because they love it. And some people demand to know – aggressively – how we could be so foolish. That makes for a pretty unique work environment.”
It’s on sale at Amazon.
NASA officials have confirmed that studies are being conducted to assess whether astronauts can be sent on a one-way mission to the Red Planet. So far, the mission amounts to US$1.1 million in seed capital that NASA’s Ames Research Centre and the Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency hope to turn into the $11 billion the mission could cost.
Ames Director Simon Worden confirmed the studies at the Long Now Foundation’s “Long Conversation” conference in San Francisco last weekend…
Worden’s admission offered few details beyond a possible 2030 launch date, but its coincidence with a new paper published in the Journal of Cosmology suggests how such a mission might look.
In their paper “To Boldly Go: A One-Way Human Mission to Mars,” Washington State University geobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch and Arizona State University cosmologist Paul Davies suggest a one-way trip sidesteps the potentially prohibitive costs involved.
“Eliminating the need for returning early colonists would cut the costs several fold and at the same time ensure a continuous commitment to the exploration of Mars and space in general,” they write…
Davies and Schulze-Makuch argue that a series of successful missions to Mars could eventually lead to long-term colonization of Earth’s second-closest planetary neighbour…
In the meantime, those with a spirit for adventure can start dreaming of what to pack.
Attwood says ideal candidates would be “willing to take a chance to see what’s on the other side.”
I needn’t comment on those who can’t conceive of such an idea. Those willing to risk all on exploration have always been uncommon – though not lacking in the history of our species.
I imagine that many of those who set forth on each of the journeys that brought our species from Africa northwards were equally capable of climbing aboard a rocket without a return ticket guarantee.