NASA’s Curiosity Rover Found Something Strange on Mars


Sample drill hole in the Gale crater

As it’s the foundation for all life on Earth, discovering carbon on other planets always gets scientists excited – and the Curiosity Rover on Mars has found an unusual mix of the chemical element that could hypothetically point to the existence of alien life.

That’s by no means certain, but it’s a possibility. It’s one of three different scenarios that experts think might have produced the carbon found in sediment in the Gale crater, collected across nine years from August 2012 to July 2021…

…The third explanation…is that either ultraviolet light or microbes once upon a time converted methane produced by biological processes – that we’re looking at carbon created as a result of life. As with the other two possibilities, we’re going to need more surrounding evidence to know for sure, but there are some parallels on Earth…

Curiosity has recently been joined by the Perseverance rover, which is planning to return Martian rocks to Earth rather than experimenting on them in situ. Expect much more to be revealed by these two robotic explorers over the coming years…

The research has been published in PNAS.

Way cool!

Trying to close “The Gates of Hell”

After fifty years of continuous burning, Turkmenistan officials are finally trying to close up a 230-feet wide fiery sinkhole in the Karakum Desert known hyperbolically — but only somewhat — as the “Gates of Hell.”

No one is entirely sure how the hellish pit, located about 150 miles north of the Central Asian country’s capital, started burning, according to Metro…

The rumor is that Soviet operatives went looking for natural gas deposits and found the sinkhole, which would have been filled with dangerous gas. As the theory goes, they set it on fire, thinking it would burn out pretty quickly — but couldn’t have been more wrong…

If Turkmenistan can actually figure out how to put out the half-century old fire, the US might actually be able to learn a thing or two. Turns out we have some long-term fires here, including the Centralia fire in Pennsylvania. According to History.com, Centralia was a booming coal town about a century ago. But it was mostly abandoned after the town accidentally set an underground coal seam on fire in 1962, and it’s been burning ever since…

Give a deeper meaning to the usual explosives warning… “Fire in the hole!”