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Posts Tagged "Mars"

Compound Eye

A Martian landscape in four billion pixels

mars3

Stop whatever you are doing now and click on this: It’s a massive image composited from several days of captures by the Mars Curiosity rover. The level of detail is astounding. You could spend days zooming around in there looking at martian rocks. It’s accomplishments like this that make me proud of my species.  

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Expeditions

Step into the Twilight Zone: Day 36, Experiment Ends!

sunset on Mars

Tonight I will go to bed when I am tired, and tomorrow I will rise when I please: My Mars time experiment is over. For five weeks I’ve stayed put geographically, but my circadian rhythms have marched westward, advancing two-thirds of a time zone each morning to match the 24.65-hour day of our neighbor planet. [...]

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Expeditions

Stepping into the Twilight Zone: Day 33, or, Curiosity Killed by a Cosmic Ray

a recent Mars Curiosity rover self-portrait

Editor’s note: Researchers exploring Mars via rover and satellite have to adapt to the longer day on the Red Planet. Katie Worth, whose Can Earthlings Adapt to the Longer Day on Mars? for Scientific American last month describes the consequences of sleep-pattern changes, is trying it out herself. Follow her experiences in living on “Mars time” at [...]

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Expeditions

Step into the Twilight Zone: Day 29, or God in Outer Space

Spirit-safe sweeping

Editor’s note: Researchers exploring Mars via rover and satellite have to adapt to the longer day on the Red Planet. Katie Worth, whose Can Earthlings Adapt to the Longer Day on Mars? for Scientific American last month describes the consequences of sleep-pattern changes, is trying it out herself. Follow her experiences in living on “Mars [...]

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Expeditions

Step into the Twilight Zone: Day 25, or A Walk Through Santiago’s Witching Hour

“The witching hour, someone had once whispered to her, was a special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up was in a deep deep sleep, and all the dark things came out from hiding and had the world all to themselves.” Roald Dahl, “The BFG,” about five minutes before [...]

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Expeditions

Step into the Twilight Zone: Day 22 on Mars Time – Meteoric Changes to the Earth Day, as Told by a Thousand Tired Decisions

Editor’s note: Researchers exploring Mars via rover and satellite have to adapt to the longer day on the Red Planet. Katie Worth, whose Can Earthlings Adapt to the Longer Day on Mars? for Scientific American last month describes the consequences of sleep-pattern changes, is trying it out herself. Follow her experiences in living on “Mars time” [...]

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Expeditions

Step into the Twilight Zone: Day 18, Cuddle Cafes and the Dangers of Dozing

Editor’s note: Researchers exploring Mars via rover and satellite have to adapt to the longer day on the Red Planet. Katie Worth, whose Can Earthlings Adapt to the Longer Day on Mars? for Scientific Americanearlier this week describes the consequences of sleep-pattern changes, is trying it out herself. Follow her experiences in living on “Mars time” [...]

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Expeditions

Step into the Twilight Zone: Day 15 on Mars Time, or Adventures in Extraplanetary Day Drinking

beer cans at dawn

Editor’s note: Researchers exploring Mars via rover and satellite have to adapt to the longer day on the Red Planet. Katie Worth, whose Can Earthlings Adapt to the Longer Day on Mars? for Scientific American describes the consequences of sleep-pattern changes, is trying it out herself. Follow her experiences in living on “Mars time” at [...]

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Expeditions

Step into the Twilight Zone: Day 11 on Mars Time, in Which I Give Myself Cancer

Santiago metro station and train pulling into station

Editor’s note: Researchers exploring Mars via rover and satellite have to adapt to the longer day on the Red Planet. Katie Worth, whose Can Earthlings Adapt to the Longer Day on Mars? for Scientific American describes the consequences of sleep-pattern changes, is trying it out herself. Follow her experiences in living on “Mars time” at [...]

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Expeditions

Step into the Twilight Zone: Day 8 on Mars Time, aka Camping on Mars (Time)

hitchhiker

Editor’s note: Researchers exploring Mars via rover and satellite have to adapt to the longer day on the Red Planet. Katie Worth, whose Can Earthlings Adapt to the Longer Day on Mars? for Scientific American describes the consequences of sleep-pattern changes, is trying it out herself. Follow her experiences in living on “Mars time” at [...]

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Expeditions

Step into the Twilight Zone: Day 4 on Mars Time, aka Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

Katie

Editor’s note: Researchers exploring Mars via rover and satellite have to adapt to the longer day on the Red Planet. Katie Worth, whose Can Earthlings Adapt to the Longer Day on Mars? for Scientific American describes the consequences of sleep-pattern changes, is trying it out herself. Follow her experiences in living on “Mars time” at [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Summer Shorts: A Record 25 Miles On Mars

A recent traverse map of Opportunity's adventures so far (yellow line) (Credit: L. Crumpler, NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/NMMNHS)

It’s summer in the northern hemisphere of a small, damp, planet orbiting a middle-aged star in a spiral galaxy of matter enjoying a brief heyday before colliding with another galaxy in some 4 billion orbits of the same small, damp, planet. Time for some brief stories. In any other circumstances it would be hard to [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Space: A New Hope or an Old Dream?

(Credit: NASA)

The release of a long-awaited National Academy of Sciences report on the state and future of the US space program has triggered wide-reaching commentary on what it means to be space-faring. For hundreds of billions of dollars spent over the next 20 years, the report suggests, NASA could get humans (reasonably safely) to Mars. Along [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Rock-Eating Martian Microbes?

(Credit: White et al. 2014, NASA/JPL)

A recently published study of a 30-pound martian meteorite found in Antarctica suggests the presence of indigenous carbon-rich material, ancient water erosion, and a number of tiny structures that resemble the sort of features that we see rock-eating microbes leaving in basaltic glasses here on Earth. This rock, Yamato 000593, appears to have formed 1.3 [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Mystery of Mars ‘Doughnut’ Rock Solved

(Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ).

About a month ago an intriguing pair of images from NASA’s Opportunity rover on Mars showed a curious rock that had seemingly appeared our of nowhere during the course of 12 days. This small, brightly hued rock clearly had a fresh surface, suggesting that it was either broken off from somewhere or previously buried. So [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Jumping Rocks of Mars

Before...and after (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.)

Now you don’t see it, now you do. Ten years into a mission that was originally going to only last a few months, NASA’s Opportunity rover continues to turn up surprises on Mars. In this case quite literally. Take a look at the following pair of images from the rover’s location at ‘Solander Point’, up [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Something’s Cooking on Mars

Drilled out martian mudstone...(Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

What do you get when you cook buried martian mudstone in your oven? The answer appears to be the kind of gases you’d expect if you cooked organic material here on Earth. A couple of weeks ago the latest results from the Curiosity rover’s investigations at Yellowknife Bay in the Gale Crater structure on Mars [...]

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Life, Unbounded

4 Billion Years of Martian History in 2 Minutes

Mars rendering, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

In honor of a slew of new results coming from NASA’s Curiosity rover, here’s a two-minute simulation of our current best-bet for how the martian environment has evolved over the past 4 billion years. From temperate and wet to frigid desert. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab.

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Life, Unbounded

The Great Martian Storm of ’71

(NASA)

                          On November 14th 1971 NASA’s Mariner 9 became the first spacecraft to successfully orbit another planet. Its video-camera imaging system powered up, and American scientists eagerly awaited the first detailed pictures of Mars since the flyby of Mariners 6 and 7 just [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Astrobiology Roundup

mosaic.001

                      Lots of new scientific results in the past couple of weeks feed directly into the central questions of astrobiology – from the search for life, to the environment of interplanetary and interstellar space, and the grand cosmological terrain we find ourselves in. No Methane [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Maybe Mars Seeded Earth’s Life, Maybe It Didn’t

mars clip

This week a major geochemistry conference heard an argument for life on Earth having originated on Mars, but does this hold up to scrutiny? The idea that a young Mars, some four billion years ago, was a far more hospitable and temperate place is not particularly controversial – although it is certainly not understood in [...]

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Observations

Live Chat at Noon Today on Dreams of Other Worlds and NASA’s Next Mars Mission

Robotic exploration of space is fascinating, complex and quite important to our understanding of the universe. To learn more about how scientists and engineers overcome challenges of robotic space exploration for successful data collection, join us for a live chat today (Tuesday, October 29) at noon EDT with Chris Impey, astronomer and author of Dreams of [...]

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Observations

Next Mars Rover Will Seek Out Signs of Past Life

Artists concept of rover

NASA officials have revealed their vision for what comes after the wildly successful Curiosity rover on Mars. Think of it as Curiosity Plus. Using Curiosity’s design as a starting point, Mars 2020 (as it’s currently known) will be another rover digging around the surface of the red planet. But, this time, rather than just looking [...]

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Observations

Explore Mars for Yourself with this Billion-Pixel Image from the Curiosity Rover

Gigapan image of Mars from MSL rover

During Barack Obama’s first inauguration as president in 2009, photographer David Bergman snapped hundreds of photos to build a stunning mosaic of the event, comprising more than one billion pixels in total. Users of the clickable, zoomable Gigapan platform (where the inauguration mosaic has attracted more than 15 million views) dove into the image to [...]

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Observations

New Extremophile Breathes Rocket Fuel

curiosity-scoops

The energetic molecule perchlorate is rocket fuel and, it turns out, food for ancient microbes. Given that deposits of the stuff have been found wherever robots look on Mars, could the chlorine compound—poisonous to the development of humans—be serving as Martian life’s lunch? A team of Dutch researchers show in the April 5 edition of [...]

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Observations

Millionaire Plans Manned Mission to Mars in 2018

Mosaic of the Valles Marineris hemisphere of Mars

Yesterday, a mysterious group called the Inspiration Mars Foundation announced vague plans for a “historic journey to Mars and back in 501 days” scheduled for 2018. The group neglected to mention if the trip would be manned, instead directing the public to a press conference scheduled for February 27. But new information reveals that the [...]

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Observations

Can Hitchhiking Earth Microbes Thrive on Mars?

Curiosity rover cleanroom

LOS ANGELES—When the Curiosity rover lifted off toward Mars, the spacecraft carried a few stowaways—278,000 bacterial spores, by NASA’s best estimate. That is sparkling clean, by spacecraft standards—the mission’s components had been sterilized, wiped, baked and coddled in clean rooms to drastically reduce the bacterial burden. Mars missions such as Curiosity are subject to strict [...]

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Observations

The New Way to Look for Mars Life: Follow the Salt

Newton Crater on Mars

LOS ANGELES—There is probably water on Mars, but you wouldn’t want to drink it. It’s salty, viscous and quite possibly toxic. But astrobiologists are nonetheless excited about the possibility. Just in the past few years, orbiter cameras and Mars landers have gathered evidence that watery liquid does exist on the Red Planet, at least during [...]

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Observations

Curiosity Gears Up to Zap Rocks in Huge Crater at Red Planet

Mars, rover

Now that NASA’s “seven-minutes of terror” have passed safely, the Mars Curiosity rover’s exploratory mission is off and running. Over the next two years—probably more, if it’s anything like the Opportunity or Spirit rovers—the Jeep-sized rover will explore its new home using a variety of tools. One of the Curiosity’s most important objectives will be [...]

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Observations

Mars Attacked: Planetary Scientists Vent Frustrations over Proposed Budget Cuts

Mars rover tracks

THE WOODLANDS, Texas—Planetary scientists, usually an affable lot, are plenty riled up at the moment. The field is bristling at cutbacks, proposed last month by the Obama administration, to planetary science and especially to NASA’s program of robotic Mars explorers. Researchers gathered here for the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference have taken turns railing [...]

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Observations

Obama Administration Proposes Big Cuts to NASA’s Mars Programs

NASA just released its presidential budget request for 2013 and, as expected, the space agency’s planetary science program takes a big hit. The budget document (summary pdf) is merely the first volley in an often drawn-out exchange between the White House and Congress, but still sets the general direction for the space program. Although the [...]

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Plugged In

Photo Friday: Nuclear Power Lands on Mars (2012)

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NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars on August 6, 2012. Its primary goals were to gather geological and environmental data from the planet. This photo was taken by a navigation camera located toward the back-left of the rover. It is, one can see a part of Curisoty’s nuclear power supply. Beyond the rover itself, one can [...]

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PsiVid

NASA’s MAVEN Mission, as told by LeVar Burton

MAVEN-Logo

I am having quite the space-filled weekend! Today, we just had a hangout with astronaut Chris Hadfield and now I’m packing up to head to Cape Canaveral to watch an ATLAS V rocket send the next Mars Orbiter, MAVEN, to space! The launch is slated to happen Monday, November 18 at 1:28 pm EST. While [...]

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PsiVid

Curiosity Catches Sight of Mars’ Moon Passing the Other

This video depicts NASA’s Curiosity rover observing Mars’ two moons, then shows one moon passing in front of the other. Phobos and Deimos, the moons of Mars, are thought to be asteroids captured in Mars’ gravitational field. Some facts to help us interpret what we are seeing here: Phobos’ diameter is 22.2 km and Deimos’ [...]

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PsiVid

Twelve Months of Curiosity on Mars in Two Minutes

Curiosity's First Year On Mars

Mars Curiosity Rover has captured our attention from the time it launched in November 2011 to the time it landed on August 5, 2012 in a very dramatic landing to now. It has been on the red planet for almost 12 months. What has it done so far? Take a look: Even with Curiosity there, [...]

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PsiVid

Video: NASA Lands Car-Sized Rover Near Martian Mountain

Victory at JPL for MSL!

I stayed up last night to watch the incredible event of the successful landing of Mars Curiosity only a projected 262 meters from planned site at 10:14:39 PDT official touchdown time in order to tweet (and retweet from the space pros and those in attendance of the many NASA social events watching the event) to [...]

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Symbiartic

How a Martian Goddess Changed My Mind About Copyright

GMellow-MotherMars-mini

Creative Commons Habits Are Hard to Break Creative Commons Licences are Good Things, in my estimation. I’ve had one on my personal art blog The Flying Trilobite since almost the very beginning. There are different grades of Creative Commons Licences (CCL), and like many artists, I’ve stuck with the most restrictive one. Without giving you [...]

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Symbiartic

See Where Our Curiosity Gets Us?

12-020FEATURE

I’m so excited I might burst. The first images from Curiosity’s cameras rained down to Earth in the middle of last night, after a 14 minute journey from the red planet. Here they are, in all their glory. Larger, color images will be available next week. Let the imagination soar!! Other neat tidbits from Curiosity: [...]

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Symbiartic

Curiosity’s Storybook Wishes For Mars

Curiosity's storybook wishes for Mars

The Martian rovers Opportunity and Spirit have represented optimism, hope, and even cuteness to millions of people dreaming about discoveries on the red planet. How appropriate then, that the newest rover, Curiosity, should carry a sundial with sentiments and illustrations worthy of classic children’s literature. Curiosity blasted off aboard an Atlas 5 rocket on November [...]

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Symbiartic

Visual.ly Compelling Infographics

11-014Feature

There’s an interesting website that just launched recently that focuses on the infographic. It’s called Visual.ly, and one of its goals is to provide a platform for designers to upload their best infographics and get noticed. It’s an interesting concept that, among other things, makes for a great procrastination tool as you sift through their [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Sunday Photoblogging: Curious about Curiosity

Last weekend, NASA successfully launched the Mars Science Laboratory – called Curiosity, which is currently well on its way towards the red planet. Back in May, I went to an Open House at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. What a refreshing sight it was to see so many people – couples, families, grandparents and [...]

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