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Keyword: mars

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  • US Heavy Lift Mars Rocket Passes Key Review and NASA Sets 2018 Maiden Launch Date

    08/28/2014 8:17:24 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 16 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | August 28, 2014 | Ken Kremer on
    After a thorough review of cost and engineering issues, NASA managers formally approved the development of the agency’s mammoth heavy lift rocket – the Space Launch System or SLS – which will be the world’s most powerful rocket ever built and is intended to take astronauts farther beyond Earth into deep space than ever before possible – to Asteroids and Mars. The maiden test launch of the SLS is targeted for November 2018 and will be configured in its initial 70-metric-ton (77-ton) version, top NASA officials announced at a briefing for reporters on Aug. 27. On its first flight known...
  • NASA Says A Thigh Bone Was Not Found on Mars

    08/25/2014 4:24:46 PM PDT · by CivilWarBrewing · 52 replies
    Weather.com ^ | August 24, 2014 | Laura Dattaro
    An image from the Curiosity rover that some people thought showed a “thigh bone” on Mars is just a photo of a weathered rock, according to NASA. The photo shows the dirt-covered surface of Mars littered with bits of rock, one of which is elongated in a shape similar to a leg bone. The image was first picked up on a UFO blog, Space.com reports, purporting to show evidence of past alien life on the planet. The claim got so much attention that NASA released the photo with an official explanation — saying the object did look like a thigh...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Collapse in Hebes Chasma on Mars

    08/11/2014 11:20:40 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    NASA ^ | August 12, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What's happened in Hebes Chasma on Mars? Hebes Chasma is a depression just north of the enormous Valles Marineris canyon. Since the depression is unconnected to other surface features, it is unclear where the internal material went. Inside Hebes Chasma is Hebes Mensa, a 5 kilometer high mesa that appears to have undergone an unusual partial collapse -- a collapse that might be providing clues. The above image, taken by the robotic Mars Express spacecraft currently orbiting Mars, shows great details of the chasm and the unusual horseshoe shaped indentation in the central mesa. Material from the mesa appears...
  • Rockets: So Old School? ("Space Elevator" coming?)

    08/04/2014 12:12:44 AM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 23 replies
    The Huffington Post ^ | November 8, 2012 | Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer, SETI Institute
    Could rocket scientists be an endangered species? You're probably betting "no," given the contemporary efforts to hurl hardware to the moon, to Mars, and to a passel of other unearthly locales. The rocket biz is busy, and it's diversifying. An enthusiastic troupe of private companies is also getting into the act, hoping to cash in by lifting off. It seems that "rocket scientist" is a job category that's here for the long haul, like "mortician." But all this activity masks an important point: rockets are not a terribly efficient way to lift things into space. For every pound of payload,...
  • NASA Announces Science Instruments for Mars 2020 Rover Expedition to the Red Planet

    07/31/2014 5:44:33 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | July 31, 2014 | Ken Kremer
    The 2020 rover’s instruments goals are to search for signs of organic molecules and past life and help pave the way for future human explorers. Seven carefully-selected payloads were chosen from a total of 58 proposals received in January 2014 from science teams worldwide, which is twice the usual number for instrument competitions and demonstrates the extraordinary interest in Mars by the science community. The 2020 rover architecture is based on NASA’s hugely successful Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover which safely touched down a one ton mass on Mars on Aug. 5, 2012 using the nail-biting and never before...
  • Apollo 11 patch flown on 1st moon landing to launch with astronauts to Mars

    07/21/2014 4:45:59 PM PDT · by workerbee · 42 replies
    Fox ^ | 7/21/14 | Robert Z. Pearlman
    When American astronauts make the next "giant leap" by launching to Mars, they will bring with them a memento from the first moon landing 45 years ago. NASA on Monday will present the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with a mission patch that Apollo 11 crew mates Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins carried to the moon in 1969, collectSPACE has learned. The patch will be held at the spaceport until the first crew is ready to lift off for the Red Planet on a mission NASA plans for the 2030s.
  • Next stop - Mars: China aims to send rover to Red Planet within six years

    06/29/2014 11:24:24 AM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 8 replies
    South China Morning Post ^ | 06/29/2014 | Wu Nan
    China has ambitious plans to touch down on Mars by 2020, likely with a rover, and to collect its own samples from the red planet 10 years after that, a top aerospace scientist has revealed. China already sent a probe, the Jade Rabbit (or Yutu) to the moon last year. It is expanding its horizons this time. Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of the country’s lunar project, said the new Mars programme aimed to create space probes – an orbiter and rover – for Mars, according to the Beijing Times. They will help answer questions including if there is extraterrestrial activity...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Martian Anniversary Selfie

    06/28/2014 5:37:37 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | June 27, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: June 24th marked the first full Martian year of the Curiosity Rover's exploration of the surface of the Red Planet. That's 687 Earth days or 669 sols since its landing on August 5, 2012. To celebrate, consider this self-portrait of the car-sized robot posing next to a rocky outcrop dubbed Windjana, its recent drilling and sampling site. The mosaicked selfie was constructed with frames taken this April and May using the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), intended for close-up work and mounted at the end of the rover's robotic arm. The MAHLI frames used exclude sections that show...
  • NRC human spaceflight report says NASA strategy can’t get humans to Mars

    06/04/2014 10:21:16 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 11 replies
    washingtonpost.com ^ | Wednesday, June 4 | Joel Achenbach,
    The key argument against the Constellation program was that it didn’t pencil out — that there wasn’t nearly enough money dedicated to the program to achieve the lunar landing it envisioned. But now the NRC committee has delivered essentially the same assessment of the Obama Administration’s current NASA program of record. If the goal is Mars, the committee said, the current strategy isn’t going to work. “Absent a very fundamental change in the nation’s way of doing business, it is not realistic to believe that we can achieve the consensus goal of reaching Mars,” committee co-chair and former Indiana Gov....
  • Titan Balloon Among Far-Out Concepts NASA Selects For Funding

    06/09/2014 1:23:18 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | June 6, 2014 | by Elizabeth Howell on
    Comet Hitchhiker: This would be a “tethered” spacecraft that swings from comet to comet to explore icy bodies in the solar system. “First, the spacecraft harpoons a target as it makes a close flyby in order to attach a tether to the target. Then, as the target moves away, it reels out the tether while applying regenerative brake to give itself a moderate (<5g) acceleration as well as to harvest energy,” the description stated. ... The Aragoscope: A telescope that would look through an opaque disk at a distant object, which is different from the usual mirror arrangement.”Rather than block...
  • Mars' minerals could be microbe made

    06/19/2014 4:35:53 PM PDT · by JimSEA · 14 replies
    ABC Science ^ | 5/23/2014 | Stuart Gary
    Friday, 23 May 2014 Stuart Gary ABC New Australian research suggests Martian minerals may have formed from biological rather than geological origins. The findings, reported in the journal Geology, indicate the mineral stevensite, which is found on both Earth and Mars, can be created either in hot, highly alkaline volcanic lakes, or by mineralisation in living microbes. Stevensite is a magnesium-silicate mineral, used a Nubian beauty treatment for several centuries.
  • NASA: Humans on Mars by 2035 is 'primary focus'

    06/01/2014 1:02:02 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 23 replies
    chron.com ^ | May 29, 2014 | Carol Christian |
    NASA has been talking about sending people to Mars by 2035. That goal is still on the books, despite recent upheaval in the space program, according to two of the agency's top scientists. "In the near term, Mars remains our primary focus," Ellen Stofan, NASA's chief scientist said May 15 in a talk at the Royal Institution in London ... ....scientists [also] decided to "redirect" an asteroid into an orbit of the moon and are searching for an asteroid that's an appropriate candidate. "Once we find the right one, we'll use all the technology we've got," he said. "We'll snag...
  • Mars hopefuls ponder life without families, favorite foods

    05/16/2014 3:21:32 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 38 replies
    whas11.com ^ | May 16, 2014 at 5:38 PM | Elizabeth Landau
    All of the remaining candidates will be interviewed by the Mars One selection committee. Eventually, only four will be picked for the first trip. Apparently, none of them is scared off by the idea that, because of technological and financial limitations, Mars One astronauts would probably never come home. She could be on a one-way trip to Mars A one-way ticket to Mars ... A reality TV concept is one way Mars One may make good on its $6 billion budget for getting the first four humans to Mars. Lansdorp hopes the unprecedented video opportunities will attract sponsors, partners and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Opportunity's Mars Analemma

    05/15/2014 9:34:33 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | May 16, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Staring up into the martian sky, the Opportunity rover captured an image at 11:02 AM local mean time nearly every 3rd sol, or martian day, for 1 martian year. Of course, the result is this martian analemma, a curve tracing the Sun's motion through the sky in the course of a year (668 sols) on the Red Planet. Spanning Earth dates from July, 16, 2006 to June 2, 2008 the images are shown composited in this zenith-centered, fisheye projection. North is at the top surrounded by a panoramic sky and landscape made in late 2007 from inside Victoria crater....
  • Pope Francis Says He Would Definitely Baptize Aliens If They Asked Him To

    05/13/2014 9:35:11 AM PDT · by marthemaria · 220 replies
    Pope Francis would absolutely baptize an alien from Mars, if one showed up at the Vatican and asked for it. During his weekly homily on Monday, Franics said that aliens — which he imagines could be "Green, with that long nose and big ears, just like children paint them" — should be baptized just like anyone else who asks for it, because it's not up to any human to decide who should receive the Holy Spirit. In other words: if God prompts some Martians to come to Earth, find the Pope, and say "we want in on this Catholicism thing."...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Valles Marineris: The Grand Canyon of Mars

    05/12/2014 8:54:54 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | May 11, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The largest canyon in the Solar System cuts a wide swath across the face of Mars. Named Valles Marineris, the grand valley extends over 3,000 kilometers long, spans as much as 600 kilometers across, and delves as much as 8 kilometers deep. By comparison, the Earth's Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA is 800 kilometers long, 30 kilometers across, and 1.8 kilometers deep. The origin of the Valles Marineris remains unknown, although a leading hypothesis holds that it started as a crack billions of years ago as the planet cooled. Several geologic processes have been identified in the canyon. The...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Curiosity Inspects Mt. Remarkable on Mars

    05/07/2014 4:40:09 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 41 replies
    NASA ^ | May 07, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What has the Curiosity rover come across on Mars? Dubbed Mount Remarkable, the rolling robot has chanced upon this notable 5-meter tall mound during its continuing journey around and, eventually, up 5.5-kilometer high Mt. Sharp. Unsure of the density of the surrounding layered sandstone, the human team on Earth has instructed the car-sized rover on Mars to drill into a rock on the side of Mt. Remarkable to investigate. Quite possibly, water involved in creating the dense sandstone could have helped to support ancient life on the red planet. Mt. Sharp, the unusual central peak of Gale Crater, has...
  • Nasa releases images of prototype Mars space suit

    05/02/2014 10:41:06 AM PDT · by bkopto · 58 replies
    Telegraph UK ^ | May 1, 2014 | Maria McEvoy
    Nasa has released pictures of a prototype space suit, parts of which American astronauts could one day wear on the first manned mission to Mars. The public voted on three different designs for the Z-2 and the "Technology" design won by a landslide with 63 per cent of the vote. The design uses luminescent wire to form a light on the front of the suit that can be personalised to help astronauts identify other individuals on their team. The Z-2 is a prototype so will not be making any future trip to Mars itself as it does not have the...
  • How We're Finding Asteroids Before They Find Us

    04/16/2014 3:20:57 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    Popular Science ^ | April 11, 2014 | James Vlahos
    Chelyabinsk, a large city in western Russia, was best known for producing tractors and professional hockey players until the morning of February 15, 2013, when a 19-meter-wide meteor screamed through the sky and exploded with the force of 500 kilotons of TNT. The meteor generated a fireball many times brighter than the sun, so powerful it even caused sunburns. The shock wave blew out windows and knocked residents off of their feet, injuring more than 1,200. The object was the largest to strike Earth in more than a century... Asteroids that come within 28 million miles of our planet are...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Spica, Mars, and Eclipsed Moon

    04/15/2014 10:01:21 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | April 16, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A beautiful, reddened Moon slid through dark skies on April 15, completely immersed in Earth's shadow for well over an hour. It was the year's first total lunar eclipse and was widely enjoyed over the planet's Western Hemisphere. Seen from the Caribbean island of Barbados, the dimmed lunar disk is captured during totality in this colorful skyview. The dark Moon's red color contrasts nicely with bright bluish star Spica, alpha star of the constellation Virgo, posing only about two degrees away. Brighter than Spica and about 10 degrees from the Moon on the right, Mars is near opposition and...
  • Moon Has Iron Core, Lunar-Rock Study Says

    12/06/2008 8:51:38 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 31 replies · 2,063+ views
    National Geographic News ^ | January 11, 2007 | Brian Handwerk
    Deep down, the moon may be more like Earth than scientists ever thought. A new moon-rock study suggests the satellite has an iron core... The moon's core could be a clue to its ancient origins, which have long puzzled astronomers. "Our moon is too big to be a moon," Taylor said. "It's huge compared to the moons we see around other planets, so it has always been suspected that there was something strange in its origin." ...Rock samples from NASA's Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 moon missions of the early 1970s have now shed more light on the moon's origins,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Clouds and Crosses over Haleakala

    04/12/2014 3:18:00 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | April 12, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Aloha and welcome to a breathtaking skyscape. The dreamlike panoramic view from March 27 looks out over the 10,000 foot summit of Haleakala on Maui, Hawai'i. A cloud layer seeps over the volcanic caldera's edge with the Milky Way and starry night sky above. Head of the Northern Cross asterism, supergiant star Deneb lurks within the Milky Way's dust clouds and nebulae at the left. From there you can follow the arc of the Milky Way all the way to the stars of the more compact Southern Cross, just above the horizon at the far right. A yellowish Mars...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mars near Opposition

    04/11/2014 9:44:30 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    NASA ^ | April 11, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Tonight Mars is between opposition (April 8) and closest approach (April 14) looping through the constellation Virgo opposite the Sun in the night sky. That makes it prime season for telescopic views of the the Red Planet, like this one from April 3rd. The clear, sharp image was captured with a high-speed digital camera and 16-inch diameter telescope from Assis, Brazil, Planet Earth. Mars' north polar cap is at the top left. Also visible are whitish orographic clouds - water vapor clouds condensing in the cold atmosphere above the peaks of Mars' towering volcanos. The exact dates of closest...
  • NASA's WISE Colors in Unknowns on Jupiter Asteroids

    10/16/2012 9:32:49 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    "We're NASA and we know it!" ^ | October 15, 2012 | Whitney Clavin
    Scientists using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, have uncovered new clues in the ongoing mystery of the Jovian Trojans -- asteroids that orbit the sun on the same path as Jupiter. Like racehorses, the asteroids travel in packs, with one group leading the way in front of the gas giant, and a second group trailing behind. The observations are the first to get a detailed look at the Trojans' colors: both the leading and trailing packs are made up of predominantly dark, reddish rocks with a matte, non-reflecting surface. What's more, the data verify the previous...
  • Robbing the Cradle of Civilization [Page 6; bin Laden and the Face on Mars]

    08/03/2007 6:06:51 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies · 341+ views
    Anomaly Hunters ^ | last updated on 1/24/2003 | The Hero Twins
    By 1997, with the word out that NASA planned to land on Mars, bin Laden called for all Americans and Jews, including children, to be killed. That summer three of his operatives living in Yemen launched a little known threat against NASA, via the judicial system. They warn both NASA and the USA that the Yemeni people (of which bin Laden is a member and believes he can trace his blood line back to the time of Queen Sheba) own Mars and they have 3,000-year-old (Sumerian?) tablets to prove it. On July 24th of 1997 the Al-Thawn weekly newspaper reported...
  • An Unknown Planet Orbits in the Outer Solar System

    08/05/2007 6:22:36 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 58 replies · 1,200+ views
    A theory is hereby proposed that an unknown mega-massive planet has, for billions of years, been orbiting at 77.2 AU from the sun -- within a 44 AU-wide, virtually empty Great Void that surrounds the Kuiper Belt (One AU = 93 million miles, the mean Earth-Sun distance). The Void is postulated to have been formed by strong gravitational attraction of the unknown planet having removed all CKBOs (Classical Kuiper Belt Objects) that had existed previously in the vicinity of the massive planet's huge orbit... The 77.2 AU distance from the sun of the proposed unknown planet is derived from a...
  • Wake Up, Rosetta!

    01/18/2014 4:18:15 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 3 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | January 18, 2014 | Jason Major on
    Monday, January 20, at 10:00 GMT (which is 5:00 a.m. for U.S. East Coasters like me) the wake-up call will ring on ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft, bringing it out of hibernation after over two and a half years in preparation of its upcoming and highly-anticipated rendezvous with a comet. The wake-up will incite the warming of Rosetta’s star trackers, which allow it to determine its orientation in space. Six hours later its thrusters will fire to stop its slow rotation and ensure that its solar arrays are receiving the right amount of sunlight. ... After nearly a decade of soaring through...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mars, Ceres, Vesta

    04/10/2014 5:55:43 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    NASA ^ | April 10, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: That bright, ruddy star you've recently noticed rising just after sunset isn't a star at all. That's Mars, the Red Planet. Mars is now near its 2014 opposition (April 8) and closest approach (April 14), looping through the constellation Virgo opposite the Sun in planet Earth's sky. Clearly outshining bluish Spica, alpha star of Virgo, Mars is centered in this labeled skyview from early April, that includes two other solar system worlds approaching their opposition. On the left, small and faint asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres are seen near star Tau Virginis. But you'll just have to imagine...
  • Weird 'UFO' Light on Mars May Just Be a Shiny Rock, NASA Says

    04/09/2014 4:59:38 AM PDT · by 12th_Monkey · 31 replies
    Space.com ^ | April 08, 2014 | Mike Wall
    Scientists are throwing cold water on yet another purported "alien" sighting by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. Though UFO enthusiasts may beg to differ, mission team members say bright flashes of light visible in Mars photos taken by the Curiosity rover on April 2 and April 3 almost certainly have a perfectly ordinary explanation. "One possibility is that the light is the glint from a rock surface reflecting the sun. When these images were taken each day, the sun was in the same direction as the bright spot, west-northwest from the rover, and relatively low in the sky," Justin Maki, the...
  • NASA photo captures strange bright light coming out of Mars

    A NASA camera on Mars has captured what appears to be artificial light emanating outward from the planet's surface. The photo, beamed millions of miles from Mars to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., was taken last week, apparently by one of two NASA rovers on the red planet.
  • UFO Spotters Are Very Excited About This Suspicious NASA Photo from Mars

    04/08/2014 11:07:51 AM PDT · by bgill · 55 replies
    The Wire ^ | April 8, 2014 | Abby Ohlheiser
    An image transmitted from Mars to Earth by NASA's Curiosity rover has some alien enthusiasts seeing the (artificial) light about the possibility of life on Mars... The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Justin Maki explained what NASA thinks is behind the mysterious light. "We think it's either a vent-hole light leak or a glinty rock,"
  • Triumph of His Will (Elon Musk / SpaceX bio)

    04/07/2014 7:46:11 AM PDT · by Jack Hydrazine · 19 replies
    Esquire Magazine ^ | 15NOV2012 | Tom Junod
    He is sitting at his desk, at the headquarters of his company — of one of his companies — SpaceX. He is eating. He is eating a plate of food that his personal assistant gave him. It is late, and he is eating to stay on schedule. He is a man of scrupulously developed politesse, and he worries that eating his scheduled dinner while completing his scheduled interview might give offense. It does not, because although he eats hungrily, he never succeeds in making his food look appetizing. On his white plate is a turkey leg, a sad bouquet of...
  • Should NASA Send Astronauts On Voluntary One-Way Missions?

    04/06/2014 3:18:26 PM PDT · by Usagi_yo · 54 replies
    slashdot ^ | 4/6/2014 | slashdot
    Title is the subject, link is to the results. Go to slashdot.org if you want to take the poll, it changes every day, but the results should hang around alot longer than the poll.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mars Red and Spica Blue

    04/02/2014 8:14:52 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    NASA ^ | April 02, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A bright pair of sky objects will be visible together during the next few months. Mars will shine brightly in its familiar rusty hue as it reaches its brightest of 2014 next week. The reason that Mars appears so bright is that Earth and Mars are close to each other in their long orbits around the Sun. Spica, on the other hand, shines constantly as one of the brightest blue stars in the night sky. Pronounced "spy-kah", the blue-hued star has been visible throughout human history and the sounds that identify it today date back to ancient times. Pictured...
  • ZUBRIN: The folly of blocking natural-gas exports

    04/01/2014 10:39:49 AM PDT · by thackney · 9 replies
    The Washington Times ^ | 3/31/2014 | Robert Zubrin
    The boom in American natural-gas production during the past several years, and the consequent crash of domestic natural-gas prices, has caused many to call for the liberation of U.S. natural-gas exports. The ongoing Russian invasion of the Crimea and threat to the rest of Ukraine has added still greater urgency to these calls, as the need take action to weaken Russian President Vladimir Putin’s natural-gas stranglehold over Europe has become vital. Despite these economic and national security imperatives, there are still those who maintain that allowing American natural-gas producers to export their product would damage the national interest. According to...
  • NASA Asks: Which Spacesuit Prototype Do You Prefer? Vote On Your Favorite

    03/25/2014 2:47:13 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 56 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | March 25, 2014 | Elizabeth Howell on
    If you ever wanted to participate in spacesuit design, even in a small way, here’s your big chance. NASA is asking the public to choose which design of the futuristic Z-2 “planetary mobility” suit prototype will be used by astronauts while evaluating how well the spacesuit works. There are three options (which you can see above), and NASA promises the winning design will be used in pool training at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, the Johnson Space Center “rockyard” to simulate Mars exploration, and in vacuum tests. Outer space is not an option because of “micrometeorite, thermal and radiation protection” considerations,...
  • Curiosity Pulls into Kimberly and Spies Curvy Terrain For Drilling Action

    03/23/2014 9:37:20 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 7 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | March 22, 2014 | Ken Kremer on
    The six wheeled Martian dune buggy drove into the dazzling Kimberly waypoint this week after traversing a swath of otherworldly dune fields since passing through a gateway known as the ‘Dingo Gap’ sand dune some six weeks ago. The robot’s arm has been deployed to investigate the most scientifically productive spots to touch Kimberly’s textured outcrops for detailed scrutiny. The science team has been hunting for tasty rock outcrops suitable for the first drilling campaign since she departed the dried out lakebed at Yellowknife Bay in July 2013 and began her epic trek across the floor of Gale Crater towards...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Martian Chiaroscuro

    03/22/2014 5:29:09 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 21 replies
    NASA ^ | March 22, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Deep shadows create dramatic contrasts between light and dark in this high-resolution close-up of the martian surface. Recorded on January 24 by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the scene spans about 1.5 kilometers across a sand dune field in a southern highlands crater. Captured when the Sun was just 5 degrees above the local horizon, only the dune crests are caught in full sunlight. With the long, cold winter approaching the red planet's southern hemisphere, bright ridges of seasonal frost line the martian dunes.
  • NASA Discovers New Gully on Mars

    03/21/2014 6:30:15 AM PDT · by 12th_Monkey · 34 replies
    Space.com ^ | March 20, 2014 | Mike Wall
    A NASA spacecraft has spotted a big gully on Mars, a feature that appears to have formed only within the last three years. The powerful HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) imaged the channel, which is found on the slope of a crater wall in the Red Planet's mid-southern latitudes, on May 25, 2013. The feature was not present in HiRISE photos of the area taken on Nov. 5, 2010. NASA unveiled the image on Wednesday (March 19). While the Mars gully looks a lot like river channels here on Earth, it likely was not carved out by...
  • Asteroid Belt Loaded with Former Comets

    07/16/2009 7:32:16 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies · 1,536+ views
    Discovery ^ | Thursday, July 16, 2009 | AFP
    Many of the primitive bodies wandering the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter are former comets, tossed out of orbit by a brutal ballet between the giant outer planets, said a team of astrophysicists. A commonly accepted theory is that the asteroid belt is the rubble left over from a "proto-planetary disk," the dense ring of gas that surrounds a new-born star. But the orbiting rocks have long been a source of deep curiosity. They are remarkably varied, ranging from mixtures of ice and rock to igneous rocks, which implies they have jumbled origins. The answer to the mystery, according...
  • Death Spiral: Why Theorists Can't Make Solar Systems

    03/29/2006 10:21:37 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 22 replies · 464+ views
    SPACE.com ^ | Tue March 28, 2006 | Ker Than
    For scientists who spend time thinking about how planets form, life would be simpler if gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn didn’t exist. According to the standard model of planet formation, called "core accretion," planets form over millions of years as enormous blocks of rock and ice smash together to form planetary embryos, called "protoplanets," and eventually full-fledged planets. Most scientists agree that core accretion is how terrestrial planets such as Earth and Mars were created, but the model can’t convincingly explain how gas giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn came to be. One major problem is that developing gas...
  • Rocks On Mars

    03/12/2014 4:11:08 PM PDT · by onedoug · 14 replies
    Geology.com ^ | 6 MAR 2014 | From various Mars missions
    Interesting discussions and photos of varying rock types encountered on Mars to date.
  • A Hole in Mars

    07/22/2012 1:04:19 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 38 replies
    NASA ^ | 2012 July 18
    What created this unusual hole in Mars? The hole was discovered by chance on images of the dusty slopes of Mars' Pavonis Mons volcano taken by the HiRISE instrument aboard the robotic Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter currently circling Mars. The hole appears to be an opening to an underground cavern, partly illuminated on the image right. Analysis of this and follow-up images revealed the opening to be about 35 meters across, while the interior shadow angle indicates that the underlying cavern is roughly 20 meters deep. Why there is a circular crater surrounding this hole remains a topic of speculation, as...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Hole in Mars

    03/09/2014 12:57:07 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 39 replies
    NASA ^ | March 09, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What created this unusual hole in Mars? The hole was discovered by chance in 2011 on images of the dusty slopes of Mars' Pavonis Mons volcano taken by the HiRISE instrument aboard the robotic Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter currently circling Mars. The hole appears to be an opening to an underground cavern, partly illuminated on the image right. Analysis of this and follow-up images revealed the opening to be about 35 meters across, while the interior shadow angle indicates that the underlying cavern is roughly 20 meters deep. Why there is a circular crater surrounding this hole remains a topic...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Mount Sharp on the Horizon

    03/07/2014 9:10:19 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 1 replies
    NASA ^ | March 08, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Get out your red/blue glasses (red for the left eye) and look out over this expansive martian landscape. The panoramic stereo view is composed of images from the roving Curiosity's Navcam taken at a rest stop during a 100 meter drive on Sol 548 (February 19). The 5.5 kilometer high peak of Mount Sharp, also known as Aeolis Mons, is on the horizon, its base a destination for Curiosity. In the foreground are rows of striated rocks along the Junda outcrop. Centered toward the south-southeast the scene spans 160 degrees. (Another Navcam image here looks back along Curiosity's route...
  • Daring Mars Fly-By in Limbo After US Congress Hearing (A Crewed Fly-By)

    03/05/2014 3:10:00 PM PST · by lbryce · 22 replies
    New Scientist ^ | March 4, 2014 | Lisa Grossman
    Congress has Mars in its eyes. In the wake of a hearing last week, the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology has asked NASA to consider a crewed fly-by of the Red Planet in 2021. The venture's funding and feasibility remain vague, however, and NASA's 2015 budget plan, released today, maintains that an asteroid will be the first destination for astronauts riding the agency's next-generation space capsule. The Mars fly-by proposal is built on plans for a privately funded mission laid out by Inspiration MarsMovie Camera, a non-profit endeavour formed by multimillionaire Dennis Tito. Barely a year after...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Martian Sunset

    03/01/2014 10:15:47 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | March 02, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What would it be like to see a sunset on Mars? To help find out, the robotic rover Spirit was deployed in 2005 to park and watch the Sun dip serenely below the distant lip of Gusev crater. Colors in the above image have been slightly exaggerated but would likely be apparent to a human explorer's eye. Fine martian dust particles suspended in the thin atmosphere lend the sky a reddish color, but the dust also scatters blue light in the forward direction, creating a bluish sky glow near the setting Sun. Because Mars is farther away, the Sun...
  • Were Mercury and Mars separated at birth?

    01/19/2009 3:32:30 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies · 542+ views
    New Scientist ^ | Monday, January 19, 2009 | unattributed
    Line up Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars according to their distance from the sun and you'll see their size distribution is close to symmetrical, with the two largest planets between the two smallest. That would be no coincidence -- if the pattern emerged from a debris ring around the sun. Brad Hansen of the University of California, Los Angeles, built a numerical simulation to explore how a ring of rocky material in the early solar system could have evolved into the planets. He found that two larger planets typically form near the inner and outer edges of the ring, corresponding...
  • Crystal is 'oldest scrap of Earth crust'

    02/24/2014 7:56:24 AM PST · by JoeProBono · 50 replies
    bbc ^ | 24 February 2014
    A tiny 4.4-billion-year-old crystal has been confirmed as the oldest fragment of Earth's crust. The zircon was found in sandstone in the Jack Hills region of Western Australia. Scientists dated the crystal by studying its uranium and lead atoms. The former decays into the latter very slowly over time and can be used like a clock. The finding has been reported in the journal Nature Geoscience. Its implication is that Earth had formed a solid crust much sooner after its formation 4.6 billion years ago than was previously thought, and very quickly following the great collision with a Mars-sized body...
  • Watch the Moon Meet Venus in the Dawn this Wednesday

    02/24/2014 5:37:34 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 11 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | February 24, 2014 | David Dickinson on
    Are you ready for some lunar versus planetary occultation action? One of the best events for 2014 occurs early this Wednesday morning on February 26th, when the waning crescent Moon — sometimes referred to as a decrescent Moon — meets up with a brilliant Venus in the dawn sky. This will be a showcase event for the ongoing 2014 dawn apparition of Venus that we wrote about recently. This is one of 16 occultations of a planet by our Moon for 2014, which will hide every naked eye classical planet except Jupiter and only one of two involving Venus this...