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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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Frontiers for Young Minds

What Rabbits and Martian Rovers Taught Me About Scale

Atacama Salar

Quite often when I am looking at photos, I just feel like something is missing. It is not a criticism of the light or the composition, but rather that something is, quite literally, missing: a scale. As someone who completed a PhD in geology, I am probably biased. I have more photos of my rock [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Tricksy Mars may be Obscuring Signs of Organic Matter

The view from Curiosity (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

[Correction: jarosite has indeed been detected on Mars, this post has been updated to reflect that fact.] Picture a hot volcanic spring. Mineral-laden acidic water flows through sulfur-rich rocks. A foul odor hangs in the air. For us it’s a nasty environment, best enjoyed through the lens of a tourist’s camera. But for tough thermophilic [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Lost And Found On Mars

Close up, showing a possible partial deployment of solar panels (ESA).

Lost, presumed crashed, the Beagle-2 lander is finally located on Mars. Back in December 2003 a bold and decidedly British robotic device was released from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express orbiter. The $120 million Beagle-2 lander was designed to plunge through the martian atmosphere and parachute down to the surface. Once there it [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Will We Find Extraterrestrial Life In 2015?

ESO

Probably not, but just possibly yes. One of the reasons that the search for life elsewhere in the universe is so exciting is that it would take only one chance discovery, one lucky break, for all the walls to come tumbling down. But where is that revolution going to come from? Perhaps the best news [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Mars, Ancient Water, Deep Hydrogen, and Life

mars-earth.001

Two billion year-old water pockets and a revised deep hydrogen content are good news for Earth’s vast subsurface biosphere, and could offer clues to life on Mars and much further beyond. Excitement over the Curiosity rover’s recently reported detection of a ‘spike’ in localized atmospheric methane – persisting over a couple of months – is [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Alien Yet Familiar: Following Curiosity Across Mars

(Mastcam image, Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

822 Martian days after landing, NASA’s Curiosity rover, carrying the Mars Science Laboratory, continues on its extraordinary journey across landscapes that are both utterly alien, and remarkably familiar. Here’s a small update. On November 18th 2014 the rover was in the center of this region (within the Pahrump Hills), continuing across the base area of [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Two New Arrivals Send Back Pictures Of Mars

Images of Mars in 3 ultraviolet bands(Courtesy Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics /University of Colorado and NASA)

The skies of Mars just got a little more crowded. On September 21st, 2014 NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) fired its engines for some 33 minutes in order to swing into a safe orbit. And a few days later, early on Sept 24th, India’s Space Research Organization (ISRO) made history by joining [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Great Alien Debate (Part 1)

Sheep.001 crop

This post is one in a series covering, and expanding on, topics in the book The Copernicus Complex (Scientific American/FSG).           The conversation usually goes like this: Do you think we’re alone in the universe? Answer A) : No, absolutely not. It’s a huge universe, we’re not at the center or [...]

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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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Observations

The Shifting Politics of NASA’s Astronaut Program

Senators Ted Cruz and Bill Nelson laugh during a subcommittee meeting

Ever since President George W. Bush’s decision to retire the space shuttles in the aftermath 2003’s Columbia disaster, NASA’s human spaceflight program has been adrift. Bush told NASA to go back to the Moon. Obama canceled most of those plans, directing the agency instead to a nearby asteroid—a proposal that has proved very controversial among [...]

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Observations

The Top 10 Space and Physics Stories of 2014

A spacecraft photographs itself approaching a comet in deep space

From humanity’s first, flawed foray to the surface of a comet to the celebrated discovery of (and less celebrated skepticism about) primordial gravitational waves, 2014 has brought some historic successes and failures in space science and physics. Here are my selections for the top ten stories from this year, with a look forward at what [...]

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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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Plugged In

Photo Friday: Nuclear Power Lands on Mars (2012)

8056997796_470b730679_c

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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SA Visual

Mars’s First Close-up

MarinerIV_Mars_Map

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of NASA’s Mariner IV spacecraft (November 28, 1964). In total, the mission gave us 21 complete images of Mars, including this, our first close view of the planet—courtesy of data transmitted by the interplanetary probe and earth-bound scientists wielding pastels (below). How did the image come 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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