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Keyword: mars

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  • Red-faced Pluto Full of Surprises

    07/04/2015 6:56:24 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 11 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on July 4, 2015 | Bob King
    On Mars, iron oxide or rust colors the planet’s soil, while Pluto’s coloration is likely caused by hydrocarbon molecules called tholins that are formed when cosmic rays and solar ultraviolet light interact with methane in Pluto’s atmosphere and on its surface. Airborne tholins fall out of the atmosphere and coat the surface with a reddish gunk ... “Pluto’s reddish color has been known for decades, but New Horizons is now allowing us to correlate the color of different places on the surface with their geology and soon, with their compositions,” said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest...
  • China claims to have the world’s first material for light-propelled spaceflight (Graphene)

    06/30/2015 8:50:21 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 18 replies
    China Daily Mail ^ | June 30, 2015
    The following is based on a translation of a report in Chinese media: According to xinhuanet.com’s report on June 19, through 3 years of research, Prof. Chen Yongsheng of the College of Chemistry and Prof. Tian Jianguo of the Institute of Physics, Nankai University have obtained a special graphene material for light-driven flight. Due to the special electronic characteristic of graphene and the macrostructure and form of the material, the material is able to get driving force from light 1,000 times greater than ordinary light pressure. The website’s reporter claimed to have seen with his own eyes a graphene sponge...
  • DARPA Wants to Create Synthetic Organisms to Terraform and Change the Atmosphere of Mars

    06/27/2015 8:25:48 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 56 replies
    Hacked ^ | 6/25/15 | Giulio Prisco
    DARPA Wants to Create Synthetic Organisms to Terraform and Change the Atmosphere of Mars Biotech, Space, Synthetic Biology June 25, 2015 by Giulio Prisco 435SHARES TwitterLinkedinFacebook The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) believes that it's on the way to creating synthetic organisms capable of terraforming Mars into a planet that looks more like Earth, Motherboard reports.Speaking at a recent biotech conference hosted by DARPA, Alicia Jackson, deputy director of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office (BTO) said: For the first time, we have the technological toolkit to transform not just hostile places here on Earth, but to go into space not...
  • Would sending people to Mars bring Americans together?

    06/24/2015 9:14:32 PM PDT · by Marcus · 31 replies
    Houston Space Examiner ^ | June 24, 2015 | Mark R. Whittington
    n an op-ed published in Florida Today on Wednesday, Jeff Kottkamp, a former lieutenant governor of Florida, and Rich Ramos, a Florida businessman, proposed a new justification for sending humans to Mars. A Mars program would serve, in their view, as a means to foster national unity of the sort that is rarely achieved outside times of war. Some recent polling data suggests that they may be on to something.
  • NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds a Pyramid on Mars

    06/23/2015 6:50:03 AM PDT · by lbryce · 50 replies
    Ancient Code ^ | June 20, 2015 | Staff
    Is this the ultimate evidence that ancient civilizations inhabited the red planet in the distant past? NASA’s curiosity rover has photographed on of the most interesting images of the surface of Mars ever since it touched down on the red planet in 2012. Curiosity was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011, at 10:02 EST aboard the MSL spacecraft and landed on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars on August 6, 2012 You can check out the RAW image of the pyramid here. Ufologists and researchers have already started speculating what this artifact is and according to many...
  • Alien rights-When we meet, it won’t be a friendly encounter nor a conquest: it'll be a gold rush

    06/16/2015 12:54:55 AM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 24 replies
    Aeon Blog ^ | June 11, 2015 | Lizzie Wade, Latin America correspondent for Science
    It wasn’t the Martians’ fault their planet died. If they existed – once – Martians were likely microbes, living in a world much like our own, warmed by an atmosphere and crisscrossed by waterways. But Mars began to lose that atmosphere, perhaps because its gravity wasn’t strong enough to hold onto it after an asteroid impact, or perhaps it was gradually blown away by solar winds. The cause is still mysterious, but the ending is clear: Mars’s liquid water dried up or froze into ice caps, leaving life without its most precious resource. Any Martians would have been victims of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- 1000 Sols

    06/15/2015 4:18:08 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | June 13, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Shortly before Mars' June 2015 conjunction, the Curiosity Rover celebrated 1000 sols on the red planet. After its August 5, 2012 landing, Curiosity's 1000th sol or martian day on the surface corresponded to planet Earth's calendar date May 31, 2015. Because the line-of-sight to Mars is close to the Sun near the conjunction, radio communications are affected and the six-wheeled, car-sized robotic rover cautiously remains parked at this spot for now. The view looks back toward the stomping grounds for Curiosity's nearly 10.6 kilometer trek so far, with the hazy rim of Gale Crater in the distance. The mosaicked...
  • Mars project scientists emerge from dome after 8 months

    06/15/2015 12:30:15 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 21 replies
    Six scientists who were living under a dome on the slopes of a dormant Hawaii volcano for eight months to simulate life on Mars have emerged from isolation. The crew stepped outside the dome that's 8,000 feet (2,400 metres) up the slopes of Mauna Loa to feel fresh air on their skin on Saturday. It was the first time they left without donning a space suit. The scientists are part of a human performance study funded by Nasa that tracked how they worked together as a team. They have been monitored by surveillance cameras, body movement trackers and electronic surveys....
  • Texas Senator Ted Cruz Says Exploring Space Without Help From Russia Is 'Imperative' [Truncated]

    06/15/2015 9:49:42 AM PDT · by SoConPubbie · 47 replies
    LatinPost.com ^ | Feb 25, 2015 | Claudia Balthazar
    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz supports NASA's human space exploration program as a national priority that deserves congressional support. USA Today reports if NASA's program goes as planned, astronauts could travel to Mars by the 2030s. Cruz, a Tea Party Republican, said developing a rocket and capsule that could cost tens of billions of dollars is "critical" to ensuring American's leadership in space. "It is imperative that America has the capability to get to the space station without the assistance of the Russians," Cruz said Tuesday while chairing a hearing before the Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Science, Space and Competitiveness. "The Commercial...
  • First Ever Glass Deposits Found On Martian Surface

    06/13/2015 9:17:43 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 28 replies
    Popular Science ^ | June 8th, 2015 | Mary Beth Griggs
    It seems like Mars has just about everything: auroras, water, and now... glass? In a paper published recently in Geology researchers announced that NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) found deposits of glass in craters on the Martian surface. These are the first deposits ever found on Mars, and they could help us figure out if there was ever life on the red planet. On Mars, the glass was created when meteorites slammed into the Martian surface with enough force to melt some of the rocks, which then cooled quickly enough in the atmosphere, turning them into a type of glass...
  • Dazzling Gallery From India’s MOM Mars Orbiter Camera

    06/05/2015 9:45:40 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    universe today ^ | ken kremer
    India’s first ever robotic explorer to the Red Planet, the Mars Orbiter Mission, more affectionately known as MOM, has captured an absolutely dazzling array of images of the fourth rock from the Sun. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), India’s space agency, has recently published a beautiful gallery of images featuring a variety of picturesque Martian canyons, volcanoes, craters, moons and more. We’ve gathered a collection here of MOM’s newest imagery snapped by the probes Mars Color Camera (MCC) for the enjoyment of Martian fans worldwide. The spectacular 3D view of the Arsia Mons volcano, shown above, was “created by...
  • A glimpse at the future of commercial space mining, as the SPACE Act passes House of Representatives

    05/28/2015 7:15:33 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 25 replies
    The Next Web News ^ | May 21, 2015 | Bryan Clark
    In a move that shows commercial space exploration is not just possible, but probable, the United States House of Representatives just passed the SPACE Act in order to lay down some general guidelines in case you want to, you know, start a mining operation in space. While private charters like Virgin Galactic, and colonization missions to Mars by the likes of SpaceX are all the rage these days, the bill would suggest that enough private organizations have an interest in mining valuable resources from space that the need for legislation is necessary. Bear in mind, not a single private company...
  • Mystery Methane on Mars: The Saga Continues

    05/26/2015 12:13:04 PM PDT · by EveningStar · 30 replies
    Astrobiology Magazine ^ | May 14, 2015 | Johnny Bontemps
    A scientist has raised questions about the latest detection of methane on Mars, suggesting that NASA’s rover could be responsible for the mysterious burp. Highly unlikely, but not impossible, says the Curiosity team.
  • Photos of Earth from Mars and Mars from Earth

    05/25/2015 4:24:26 PM PDT · by rickmichaels · 25 replies
    ebaumsworld.com ^ | March 18, 2015
    Just saw these cool pics of opposite views of the same thing...sort of:
  • We Need Three Planets to Keep the Human Race Alive, NASA Scientist Says

    05/17/2015 5:16:42 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 97 replies
    Motherboard ^ | March 20, 2014 | Jason Koebler
    It’s no secret that uncurbed climate change and population growth are going to (and already have) put stress on the planet. But the situation is getting so bad that one prominent NASA scientist says we have to start thinking about terraforming Mars and that, in order for the human race to survive at current levels, we will eventually “need at least three planets.” “The entire ecosystem is crashing,” Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist of NASA’s Langley Research Center said Thursday. “Essentially, there’s too many of us. We’ve been far too successful as the human animal. People allege we’re short 40-50 percent...
  • NASA-funded company to produce oxygen on Mars using bacteria

    05/14/2015 6:01:33 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 14 replies
    The Indiana-based company has developed a "Mars room," which plays host to a test chamber capable of emulating the inhospitable conditions prevailing on the red planet. In the Mars room, Chief scientist Eugene Boland at Techshot Inc is exploring the potential of using ecosystem-building pioneer organisms such as bacteria or algae as oxygen factories. The organisms would use Mars' ample supply of regolith as fuel, and may even serve a dual purpose in removing nitrogen from the M ..
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Ares 3 Landing Site: The Martian Revisited

    05/16/2015 5:45:12 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | May 16, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This close-up from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera shows weathered craters and windblown deposits in southern Acidalia Planitia. A striking shade of blue in standard HiRISE image colors, to the human eye the area would probably look grey or a little reddish. But human eyes have not gazed across this terrain, unless you count the eyes of NASA astronauts in the scifi novel The Martian by Andy Weir. The novel chronicles the adventures of Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded at the fictional Mars mission Ares 3 landing site corresponding to the coordinates of this cropped HiRISE frame. For...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Two Worlds, One Sun

    05/12/2015 3:51:10 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies
    NASA ^ | May 12, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How different does sunset appear from Mars than from Earth? For comparison, two images of our common star were taken at sunset, one from Earth and one from Mars. These images were scaled to have same angular width and featured here side-by-side. A quick inspection will reveal that the Sun appears slightly smaller from Mars than from Earth. This makes sense since Mars is 50% further from the Sun than Earth. More striking, perhaps, is that the Martian sunset is noticeably bluer near the Sun than the typically orange colors near the setting Sun from Earth. The reason for...
  • NASA Contest Wants Your Ideas to Keep Astronauts Safe on Mars

    05/10/2015 6:37:58 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 48 replies
    Space.com ^ | Elizabeth Howell
    The "Journey to Mars Challenge" will give a $5,000 award to each of the three winning participants who describe an original idea that could assist the human exploration of Mars. The proposal must be "technically achievable, economically sustainable, and minimize reliance on support from Earth," NASA wrote in a statement about the challenge. "This could include shelter, food, water, breathable air, communication, exercise, social interactions and medicine, but participants are encouraged to consider innovative and creative elements beyond these examples," NASA added.Because launch costs are considered one of the key barriers to space exploration generally — and Mars exploration, especially...
  • Black Scientist: Push to Colonize Mars is Racist

    04/17/2015 7:45:59 AM PDT · by rightistight · 106 replies
    Pundit Press ^ | 4/17/15 | Aurelius
    Dr. Danielle N. Lee, who writes for the Scientific American blog network and calls herself "the Urban Scientist," believes that the push to visit Mars and eventually inhabit it is "white colonialism." Dr. Lee expressed her concerns in both the Scientific American blog and on Twitter. Writing in Scientific American in an article titled, "When discussing Humanity’s next move to space, the language we use matters," Dr. Lee discusses Elon Musk's push to inhabit Mars some day. She is very critical of Musk, saying that his language is not inclusive enough to either women and minorities. "Diversity, Inclusion, Access and...
  • In the shadow of the Moon

    08/31/2004 8:42:25 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 45 replies · 1,487+ views
    New Scientist ^ | 30 January 1999 | editors
    At 8.45 on the morning of 15 April 136 BC, Babylon was plunged into darkness when the Moon passed in front of the Sun. An astrologer, who recorded the details in cuneiform characters on a clay tablet, wrote: "At 24 degrees after sunrise-a solar eclipse. When it began on the southwest side, Venus, Mercury and the normal stars were visible. Jupiter and Mars, which were in their period of disappearance, became visible. The Sun threw off the shadow from southwest to northeast." If present-day astronomers use a computer to run the movements of the Earth, Moon and Sun backwards...
  • Scientists are trying to brew oxygen on Mars

    04/27/2015 7:25:17 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 23 replies
    ScienceNordic ^ | April 26, 2015 | Lise Brix
    Six years from now a machine that makes oxygen will be in operation on Mars. The small oxygen device will be sent to the Red Planet with the NASA Mars 2020 mission. "We're going to build a small instrument that will generate oxygen on Mars. It will be the prototype of a much larger 'factory' that will provide astronauts with oxygen at some point in the future," says Morten Bo Madsen, the head of the Mars group at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen. The project is known at NASA as MOXIE (Mars OXygen In Situ resource...
  • Musk blames SpaceX rocket landing FAIL on lazy 'throttle valve response'

    04/19/2015 2:52:20 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 47 replies
    theregister.co.uk ^ | Kelly Fiveash
    Billionaire biz baron Elon Musk has revealed a few more details about why SpaceX's latest attempt to land a rocket in one piece at sea had failed. The Register reported on the drama as it unfolded on Tuesday. Once again, Falcon 9 successfully launched the capsule payload to 'nauts on the International Space Station, only for the rocket to hit the "just read the instructions" deck hard on its shaky return to Earth.
  • This Mountain on Mars Is Leaking

    04/11/2015 4:22:45 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 38 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | Jason Major
    As the midsummer Sun beats down on the southern mountains of Mars, bringing daytime temperatures soaring up to a balmy 25ºC (77ºF), some of their slopes become darkened with long, rusty stains that may be the result of water seeping out from just below the surface. The image above, captured by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Feb. 20, shows mountain peaks within the 150-km (93-mile) -wide Hale Crater. Made from data acquired in visible and near infrared wavelengths the long stains are very evident, running down steep slopes below the rocky cliffs. These dark lines, called...
  • Ice on Mars: Mars has belts of glaciers consisting of frozen water

    04/09/2015 1:40:09 AM PDT · by samtheman · 25 replies
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/ ^ | April 8, 2015 | University of Copenhagen - Niels Bohr Institute
    Mars has distinct polar ice caps, but Mars also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers, so they appear as surface of the ground, but radar measurements show that underneath the dust there are glaciers composed of frozen water. New studies have now calculated the size of the glaciers and thus the amount of water in the glaciers.
  • SpaceX will attempt a potentially historic rocket launch and landing next week (13APR2015/1633 EDT)

    04/08/2015 3:00:10 PM PDT · by Jack Hydrazine · 12 replies
    Business Insider ^ | 8APR2015 | Jessica Orwig
    Get ready for another historic SpaceX rocket landing attempt scheduled for Monday, April 13. This will be the second time that SpaceX will try to land a massive, 140-foot-tall first stage Falcon 9 rocket onto a platform that's floating offshore in the Atlantic ocean. (The first landing attempt took place last January and ended with a fiery explosion.)
  • Buried Mars Glaciers are Brimming With Water

    04/08/2015 2:47:52 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 42 replies
    discovery.com ^ | Irene Klotz
    Radar images previously revealed thousands of buried glacier-like formations in the planet’s northern and southern hemispheres. That data has now been incorporated into computer models of ice flow to determine the glaciers’ size and hence how much water they contain. “We have looked at radar measurements spanning 10 years back in time to see how thick the ice is and how it behaves. A glacier is, after all, a big chunk of ice and it flows and gets a form that tells us something about how soft it is. We then compared this with how glaciers on Earth behave and...
  • Quietly, NASA is reconsidering the moon as a destination

    04/04/2015 12:59:51 AM PDT · by Cincinatus' Wife · 77 replies
    Houston Chronicle ^ | April 3, 2015 | Eric Berger
    Despite a declaration from President Barack Obama that the moon is not a planned destination for American astronauts, senior NASA engineers have quietly begun reconsidering using it as a staging point for an eventual mission to Mars.William Gerstenmaier, the chief of human exploration for NASA, does not see the president's plan of a direct, 900-day mission to the red planet as achievable. Instead, Gerstenmaier believes large amounts of ice at the lunar poles may provide an important reservoir of oxygen and hydrogen fuel to propel rockets and spaceships across the 40 million miles of space to Mars."If propellant was available...
  • Plasma lightning pulses could reduce space mining infrastructure by 100 times for moon, Mars, etc.

    04/02/2015 7:47:58 PM PDT · by 2ndDivisionVet · 5 replies
    Next Big Future ^ | March 19, 2015 | Brian Wang
    Shackleton Energy Company (SEC) and Zaptec sign a Memorandum of Understanding to explore how technologies developed by Zaptec for the oil and gas industry can be utilised in lunar mining. SEC is focusing on building a supply chain for extraction of water ice and minerals from the surface of the Moon, to convert the resources into fuel. Shackleton Energy believes that the electronic transformer technology developed by Zaptec for the oil and gas industry can be applied to SEC’s lunar mining plans as it reduces size and mass of equipment, which is a primary goal of SECs strategy. The cost...
  • Curiosity Has Hit a Martian Mineral Jackpot

    04/02/2015 12:08:37 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 33 replies
    discovery.com ^ | Ian O'Neill
    Currently studying the “Pahrump Hills” region at the base of Mount Sharp in the center of Gale Crater, this new view snapped by Curiosity on March 18 shows a work site Curiosity’s mission scientists call “Garden City.” This area is interesting as it shows two-tone mineral veins protruding from the surrounding rock. The tough mineral veins were formed in Mars’ ancient wet past and they are sticking out of the rock up to 6 centimeters (2.5 inches) high. This means that the veins formed within the rock and the softer surrounding bedrock has since eroded away. When comparing the geology...
  • Could we get to Mars in 39 DAYS? Nasa selects companies to develop super fast deep-space engine

    04/01/2015 1:36:52 PM PDT · by C19fan · 22 replies
    UK Daily Mail ^ | April 1, 2015 | Jonathan O'Callaghan
    Nasa has selected a variety of companies to work on projects to create advanced space technologies, including faster methods of propulsion. Other projects to be worked on include improved habitats for humans, and small satellites to explore deep space. And one of the companies in the 12 Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextStep) says they have an engine that could get humans to Mars in just 39 days.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Shadow of a Martian Robot

    03/28/2015 10:05:00 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | March 29, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What if you saw your shadow on Mars and it wasn't human? Then you might be the Opportunity rover currently exploring Mars. Opportunity has been exploring the red planet since early 2004, finding evidence of ancient water, and sending breathtaking images across the inner Solar System. Pictured above in 2004, Opportunity looks opposite the Sun into Endurance Crater and sees its own shadow. Two wheels are visible on the lower left and right, while the floor and walls of the unusual crater are visible in the background. Opportunity is continuing on its long trek exploring unusual terrain in Meridiani...
  • MAVEN uncovers Two Mysteries in Martian Atmosphere

    03/21/2015 10:30:37 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 11 replies
    Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission (MAVEN) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has uncovered two new mysteries in the atmosphere of Mars. The probe, which has been orbiting the Red Planet since last year has noticed a weird high-altitude dust cloud and an aurora show in the atmosphere of the planet. According to reports, the dazzling aurora light show was much lower in the Martian atmosphere than scientists anticipated. In addition, scientists do not know about the origin of the dust cloud. According to the space agency, the dust cloud had extended from about 150 kilometers to...
  • Nasa finds evidence of a vast ancient ocean on Mars

    03/06/2015 1:55:37 AM PST · by 2ndDivisionVet · 21 replies
    The Guardian & Observer ^ | March 5, 2015 | Ian Sample
    An artist’s impression of the ancient ocean on Mars, which lasted for billions of years more than was previously thought. A massive ancient ocean once covered nearly half of the northern hemisphere of Mars making the planet a more promising place for alien life to have gained a foothold, Nasa scientists say. The huge body of water spread over a fifth of the planet’s surface, as great a portion as the Atlantic covers the Earth, and was a mile deep in places. In total, the ocean held 20 million cubic kilometres of water, or more than is found in the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- A Dust Devil on Mars

    03/03/2015 3:39:47 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | March 03, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It was late in the northern martian spring when the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spied this local denizen. Tracking across the flat, dust-covered Amazonis Planitia in 2012, the core of this whirling dust devil is about 140 meters in diameter. Lofting dust into the thin martian atmosphere, its plume reaches about 20 kilometers above the surface. Common to this region of Mars, dust devils occur as the surface is heated by the Sun, generating warm, rising air currents that begin to rotate. Tangential wind speeds of up to 110 kilometers per hour are reported for dust...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Lenticular Cloud, Moon, Mars, Venus

    03/02/2015 4:39:52 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 21 replies
    NASA ^ | March 02, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: It is not every day that such an interesting cloud photobombs your image. The original plan was to photograph a rare angular conjunction of Mars and Venus that occurred a week and a half ago, with the added bonus of a crescent Moon and the International Space Station (ISS) both passing nearby. Unfortunately, on Madeira Island, Portugal, this event was clouded out. During the next day, however, a spectacular lenticular cloud appeared before sunset, so the industrious astrophotographer quickly formulated a new plan. A close look at the resulting image reveals the Moon visible toward the left of the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Love and War by Moonlight

    02/26/2015 6:11:35 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | February 26, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Venus, named for the Roman goddess of love, and Mars, the war god's namesake, came together by moonlight in this lovely skyview, recorded on February 20 from Charleston, South Carolina, USA, planet Earth. Made in twilight with a digital camera, the three second time exposure also records earthshine illuminating the otherwise dark surface of the young crescent Moon. Of course, the Moon has moved on from this much anticipated triple conjunction. Venus still shines in the west though as the evening star, third brightest object in Earth's sky, after the Sun and the Moon itself. Seen here within almost...
  • What is Mars Made Of?

    02/25/2015 3:19:43 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 79 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | February 25, 2015 | Matt Williams on
    Like Earth, the interior of Mars has undergone a process known as differentiation. This is where a planet, due to its physical or chemical compositions, forms into layers, with denser materials concentrated at the center and less dense materials closer to the surface. In Mars’ case, this translates to a core that is between 1700 and 1850 km (1050 – 1150 mi) in radius and composed primarily of iron, nickel and sulfur. This core is surrounded by a silicate mantle that clearly experienced tectonic and volcanic activity in the past, but which now appears to be dormant. Besides silicon and...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Unusual Plumes Above Mars

    02/24/2015 2:18:41 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 21 replies
    NASA ^ | February 24, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What is creating unusual plumes on Mars? No one is sure. Noted and confirmed by a global contingent of amateur astronomers on photos of the red planet in March 2012, possibly similar plumes have now been found on archived images as far back as 1997. Since the plumes reach 200 kilometers up, they seem too high to be related to wind-blown surface dust. Since one plume lasted for eleven days, it seemed too long lasting to be related to aurora. Amateur astronomers will surely continue to monitor the terminator and edge regions of Mars for new high plumes, and...
  • Mystery Mars haze baffles scientists

    02/16/2015 5:24:45 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 34 replies
    bbc ^ | Rebecca Morelle
    A mysterious haze high above Mars has left scientists scratching their heads. The vast plume was initially spotted by amateur astronomers in 2012, and appeared twice before vanishing. Scientists have now analysed the images and say that say the formation, stretching for more than 1,000km, is larger than any seen before. Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers believe the plume could be a large cloud or an exceptionally bright aurora. However, they are unsure how these could have formed in the thin upper reaches of the Martian atmosphere. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote To begin with,...
  • 'Cloud' over Mars leaves scientists baffled

    02/16/2015 5:29:57 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 63 replies
    Phys dot Org ^ | February 16, 2015 | unattributed
    Plumes seen reaching high above the surface of Mars are causing a stir among scientists studying the atmosphere on the Red Planet. On two separate occasions in March and April 2012, amateur astronomers reported definite plume-like features developing on the planet. The plumes were seen rising to altitudes of over 250 km above the same region of Mars on both occasions. By comparison, similar features seen in the past have not exceeded 100 km. "At about 250 km, the division between the atmosphere and outer space is very thin, so the reported plumes are extremely unexpected," says Agustin Sanchez-Lavega of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Solar System Portrait

    02/14/2015 5:10:04 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | February 14, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: On another Valentine's Day 25 years ago, cruising four billion miles from the Sun, the Voyager 1 spacecraft looked back one last time to make this first ever Solar System family portrait. The complete portrait is a 60 frame mosaic made from a vantage point 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane. In it, Voyager's wide angle camera frames sweep through the inner Solar System at the left, linking up with gas giant Neptune, the Solar System's outermost planet, at the far right. Positions for Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are indicated by letters, while the Sun is...
  • Probe images 'smiley face' crater (Mars Express Probe photo)

    04/12/2006 4:57:46 PM PDT · by Cagey · 25 replies · 1,212+ views
    BBC ^ | 4-12-06
    Images taken by Europe's Mars Express spacecraft show a crater on the Red Planet that looks like a "happy face". Crater Galle contains parallel gullies on its southern rim, a possible sign of liquid water running on Mars' surface. Its interior has also been shaped by the action of wind and shows signs of "dust devil" tracks, which have removed the bright surface coating of dust. A US space agency (Nasa) orbiter has also sent back its first colour image after arriving at Mars on 11 March. The "face" in the European images was first pointed out in photos taken...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Layered Rocks near Mount Sharp on Mars

    02/09/2015 6:31:47 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    NASA ^ | February 09, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What caused these Martian rocks to be layered? The leading hypothesis is an ancient Martian lake that kept evaporating and refilling over 10 million years -- but has now remained dry and empty of water for billions of years. The featured image, taken last November by the robotic Curiosity rover, shows one-meter wide Whale Rock which is part of the Pahrump Hills outcrop at the base of Mount Sharp. Also evident in the image is cross-bedding -- rock with angled layers -- which were likely facilitated by waves of sand. Curiosity continues to find many layered rocks like this...
  • Curiosity spitting odd findings after Mars dust feast

    02/07/2015 7:18:53 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 12 replies
    slashgear.com ^ | Chris Davies
    NASA's Curiosity rover has been busy with its drill again, and analysis of the second sample of Martian rock is already turning up some unexpected conditions back when the red planet supported liquid water. Curiosity put its low-percussion-level drill into play for the first time last week, carving a chunk out of a site known as "Mojave 2" at the base of Mount Sharp, and feeding it in powder form into its Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument. Turns out, even though the analysis isn't finished yet, there are already signs of a surprising amount of jarosite, to a degree that...
  • Tiny drones could soon be swarming Mars, NASA says

    01/25/2015 9:31:35 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 22 replies
    Science Recorder ^ | January 25, 2015 | Delila James
    One of the main challenges NASA engineers face is the very low density of the Martian atmosphere. To be able to lift off in such a thin atmosphere, the blades of the Mars Helicopter have to spin much faster than here on Earth, a report by Discovery News explains. Even operating only a few minutes a day, NASA says the solar-powered helicopter could enormously accelerate the pace of scientific discovery on the planet. Some envision swarms of these inexpensively built, automated drones zipping daily over the Martian landscape, collecting geological and atmospheric data over a large area. Given the fast...
  • Mars ice could flood planet

    05/28/2002 1:34:11 PM PDT · by Fedupwithit · 26 replies · 185+ views
    BBC News ^ | Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK | Dr David Whitehouse
    Scientists have revealed the full technical details of their discovery of vast reservoirs of ice beneath the Martian surface. So much ice has been found in the polar regions that if it were to melt it would deluge the planet. The ice may stretch far underground to regions where it is warm, raising the possibility of warm caverns of meltwater in which scientists hesitantly speculate conditions could be suitable for life. But they caution that we may never know until we have rock and ice samples returned to Earth by an unmanned probe for analysis. Third time lucky William Boynton,...
  • Beagle 2 found on surface of Mars after vanishing for 12 years [UK Spacecraft]

    01/16/2015 6:13:59 AM PST · by Red Badger · 21 replies
    Telegraph UK ^ | 10:00AM GMT 16 Jan 2015 | By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor
    Britain's Beagle 2 lander has finally been spotted, 12 years after it went missing while trying to land on the surface of Mars History books will need to be rewritten after scientists announced today that Beagle 2 has been finally been found on Mars, 12 years after it vanished without trace. The beleaguered spacecraft, which has become a byword for mission failure, was spotted by scientists operating the HiRise camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). It was discovered just 5km from its original touchdown site in the Isidis Planitia basin. And it appears that just one faulty motor was...
  • Time to move to Mars! Temps on the red planet were warmer on Thursday than 14 states...

    01/10/2015 4:24:31 AM PST · by SoFloFreeper · 15 replies
    Daily Mail ^ | 1/9/15
    Time to stop remarking about how unearthly cold it is outside because on Thursday, Mars was actually warmer than many parts of the U.S. The daytime high in the red planet's Gale Crater, as recorded by NASA's curiosity Rover, was 17.6 degrees F - a whopping 11 degrees warmer than the 6-degree high in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Temperatures in fourteen states from Washington to Maine reported temperatures colder than Mars, as a brutal blast of Arctic air sweeps the country.
  • Here’s a Fresh, Never Before Seen Impact Crater on Mars

    01/09/2015 5:04:08 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 27 replies
    universetoday.com ^ | on January 9, 2015 | Fraser Cain
    This isn’t the first time spacecraft have detected new craters on Mars. In fact, the largest new crater discovered was half the length of a football field. And so far, researchers have turned up more than 400 new craters on the surface of Mars. The Mars Context Camera has completely imaged the entire surface of Mars at least once during its 7-year mission. And with multiple passes, planetary scientists are starting to build up a picture of how the dynamic the surface of Mars can really be.