Quantcast
pork barrel
Latest Stories
Home » Mars You are browsing entries tagged with “Mars”

[VIDEO] NASA chief outlines plan for human mission to Mars

mars-mission-nasa

Posted: April 23rd, 2014 in Latest News Stories,World | Read More »

Tycoon wants to send married couple on Mars flyby

By
A drawing provided by Inspiration Mars shows an artist’s conception of a spacecraft envisioned by the private group, which wants to send a married couple on a mission to fly by the red planet and zip back home, beginning in 2018. The nonprofit “Inspiration Mars” will get initial money from multimillionaire Dennis Tito, the first space tourist. Outsiders put the price tag at more than $1 billion. The mission, announced Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, would last more than 16 months. (AP Photo/Inspiration Mars)

It is a road trip that could test the best of marriages: Mars.

Posted: February 28th, 2013 in Latest News Stories,World | Read More »

‘Black Beauty’ could yield Martian secrets

This photograph obtained January 3, 2013 courtesy of NASA shows a fist-sized meteorite nicknamed "Black Beauty", which could unlock vital clues to the evolution of Mars from the warm and wet place it once was to its current cold and dry state, NASA said January 3, 2013.   Discovered in Morocco's Sahara Desert in 2011, the 11-ounce (320-gram) space rock contains 10 times more water than other Martian meteorites and could be the first ever to have originated on the planet's surface or crust.     AFP PHOTO / NASA

WASHINGTON — A fist-sized meteorite nicknamed “Black Beauty” could unlock vital clues to the evolution of Mars from the warm and wet place it once was to its current cold and dry state, NASA said Thursday.
Discovered in Morocco’s Sahara Desert in 2011, the 11-ounce (320-gram) space rock contains 10 times more water than other Martian meteorites and could be the first ever to have originated on the planet’s surface or crust.
After more than a year of intensive study, a team of US scientists determined the meteorite formed 2.1 billion years ago during the beginning of the most recent geologic period on Mars, known as the Amazonian, NASA said.
The abundance of water molecules in the meteorite — about 6,000 parts per million, 10 times more than other known rocks — suggests water activity persisted on the Martian surface when it was formed.
It is generally accepted that Mars had abundant water early in its existence — scientists ponder if life might once have existed there — but the nature of its evolution to a cold and dry place remains a mystery.
“Many scientists think that Mars was warm and wet in its early history, but the planet’s climate changed over time,” lead scientist Carl Agee, whose study was published in “Science Express,” told Space.com.
Known technically as NWA (Northwest Africa) 7034, “Black Beauty” is made of cemented fragments of basalt, a rock that forms from rapidly cooled lava.
“Perhaps most exciting is that the high water content could mean there was an interaction of the rocks with surface water either from volcanic magma, or from fluids from impacting comets during that time,” co-author Andrew Steele said.
“It is the richest Martian meteorite geochemically and further analyses are bound to unleash more surprises.”
Unlike most Martian meteorites, it is thought to be from the planet’s surface, not deeper inside, as its chemistry matched surface rocks NASA has studied remotely via Mars rovers and orbiting satellites.
“Researchers theorize the large amount of water contained in NWA 7034 may have originated from interaction of the rocks with water present in Mars’ crust,” NASA said.
“The meteorite also has a different mixture of oxygen isotopes than has been found in other Martian meteorites, which could have resulted from interaction with the Martian atmosphere.”
More than 100 Martian meteorites have been discovered on Earth to date but most come from three meteorites: Shergotty, Nakhla, and Chassigny.
NWA 7034 has unique characteristics and it took scientists several months to ascertain that it did indeed come from Mars and not another planet, or from an asteroid belt.
“The age of NWA 7034 is important because it is significantly older than most other Martian meteorites,” said Mitch Schulte, program scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA headquarters in Washington.
“We now have insight into a piece of Mars’ history at a critical time in its evolution.”
Agee echoed those comments.
“This Martian meteorite has everything in its composition that you’d want in order to further our understanding of the Red Planet,” he said, noting that it “tells us what volcanism was like on Mars two billion years ago”.
“It also gives us a glimpse of ancient surface and environmental conditions on Mars that no other meteorite has ever offered,” Agee added.
It was not until the 1980s that scientists were able to determine the origin of meteorites by analyzing small pockets of atmospheric gas trapped inside.
Gases are released by heating the rock in a laboratory and then analyzed and compared, in this case, to the information gathered by probes orbiting Mars or on its surface.
The latest probe, the Curiosity rover — the most sophisticated ever sent to another planet — has since August been searching for signs the planet was ever suitable for microbial life.
“The contents of this meteorite may challenge many long held notions about Martian geology,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
“These findings also present an important reference frame for the Curiosity rover as it searches for reduced organics in the minerals exposed in the bedrock of Gale Crater.”

Posted: January 4th, 2013 in Latest News Stories,World | Read More »

Mars rover detects hint of possible life in soil analysis

This picture provided by NASA on December 3, 2012 shows a view of the third (L) and fourth (R) trenches made by the 1.6-inch-wide (4cm) scoop on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity in October 2012. The image was acquired by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on October 31, 2012 and shows some of the details regarding the properties of the "Rocknest" wind drift sand. The upper surface of the drift is covered by coarse sand grains approximately 0.02 to 0.06 inches (0.5 to 1.5 millimeters) in size. These coarse grains are mantled with fine dust, giving the drift surface a light brownish red color. The coarse sand is somewhat cemented to form a thin crust about 0.2 inches (0.5 centimeters) thick. Evidence for the crusting is seen by the presence of angular clods in and around the troughs and in the sharp, jagged indentations and overhangs on one wall of each trench (the walls closest to the top of this figure). Beneath the crust surface, as revealed in the scoop troughs and the piles of sediment on the right side of each, is finer sand, which is darker brown as compared with the dust on the surface. The left end of each trough wall shows alternating light and dark bands, indicating that the sand inside the drift is not completely uniform. This banding might result from different amounts of infiltrated dust, chemical alteration or deposition of sands of slightly different color.     AFP PHOTO/NASA/HO

The Mars rover Curiosity has offered a tantalizing taste of evidence that there was once life on the Red Planet, but scientists said Monday it is too soon to make much of the first soil analyses.

Posted: December 4th, 2012 in Latest News Stories,World | Read More »

Mars rover to launch first rock study

Engineers work on a model of the Mars rover Curiosity at the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. After traveling 8 1/2 months and 352 million miles, Curiosity will attempt a landing on Mars the night of Aug. 5, 2012. AP PHOTO/DAMIAN DOVARGANES

NASA’s Curiosity Rover will study its first martial rock Friday, more than a month after landing on the Red Planet, mission officials said.

Posted: September 20th, 2012 in Latest News Stories,Photos & Videos,World | Read More »

Advertisement
Advertisement
Marketplace
Advertisement