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Posted on Sunday, February 10 - 2013

NASA"s Curiosity rover has used its drilling tool to bore in to a rock on Mars and collect samples.The drilling targeted a rock nicknamed "John Klein" which had already been used as part of earlier preparatory operations including the creation of a shallower bore hole for testing. The new, larger bore hole represents the first to be created in the collection of rock samples. It will likelytake some time for the samples to be tested using the rover"s on-board science instruments.Curiosity has now been on Mars for 182 Martian days and everything continues to run smoothly.

Due to its success the rover"s original two-year mission has been extended indefinitely and its nuclear-based power source could see it continue to operate on Mars for more than a decade. The drilling took place on Feb. 8, 2013, or Sol 182, Curiosity"s182nd Martian day of operations. Several preparatory activities with the drill preceded this operation.  

View: Full article |  Source: NASA  

Views : 13132

Posted on Friday, August 30 - 2013

India"s Chang"e-2 spacecraft.
Image Credit: Wikipedia

China is stepping up its space program with plans to launch a lunar probe before the year is out. The mission willrepresent the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another world and will be the second phase of their lunar program.

The probe, known as Chang"e-3, is scheduled to launch later this year from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China."Chang"e-3 has officially entered its launch stage, following its research and manufacture period," the space agency said in a statement. Tests of the carrierrocket and launch systems have already been successfully carried out."The Chang"e-3 mission makes best use of a plethora of innovative technology," said lunar program chief commander Ma Xingrui. "It is an extremely difficult mission, that carries great risk."

Source: Xinhua

Views : 4585

Posted on Thursday, August 29 - 2013

Could all life on Earth have originated on Mars ?
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

New evidence suggests that life on our planet may have arrived here after first developing on Mars. The revolutionary theory will be presented at the annual Goldschmidt conference today and is based on new evidence that backs up the notion that life didn"t originate on Earth at all but instead was carried here from Mars on meteorites.Professor Steven Benner is due to present the findings thatsuggest that an oxidized mineral form of the element molybdenum, thought to be a crucial component in the development of life, would have only been present on the surface of Mars."It"s only when molybdenum becomes highly oxidized that it is able to influence how early life formed," he said.

"This form of molybdenum couldn"t have been available on Earth at the time life first began, because three billion years ago the surface of the Earth had very little oxygen, but Mars did. It"s yet another piece of evidence which makes it more likely life came to Earth on a Martian meteorite, rather than starting on this planet."Furthermore, early Earth is likely to have had so much water coverage that this would haveimpeded life"s development. The evidence even points to the likelihood that the conditions favorable to the origins of life on Mars are actually still present there now."The evidence seems to be building that we are actually all Martians; that life started on Mars and came to Earth on a rock," said Benner. "It"s lucky that we ended up here nevertheless, as certainly Earth has been the better of the two planets for sustaining life. If our hypothetical Martian ancestors had remained on Mars, there might not have been a story to tell."

Source: Goldschmidt PressRelease

Views : 4638

Posted on Wednesday, August 28 - 2013

Water could prove invaulable for future manned missions.
Image Credit: NASA

Scientists have discovered signs of water on the moon"s surface that has come from deep underground. The discovery was made using data from NASA"s Moon Mineralogy Mapper aboard the IndianSpace Research Organization"s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.

This "magmatic" water is locked inside mineral grains and is believed to originate deep down below the surface.While evidence of magmatic water was also picked up on examination of samples returned during the Apollo landings, this discovery represents the first time such water has been found from orbit."Now that we have detected water that is likely from the interior of the moon, we can start to compare this water with other characteristics ofthe lunar surface," said planetary geologist Rachel Klima.Once thought to be an utterly dry world, the moon has been offering a constant stream of surprises over the last few years. Back in 2009 water was also discovered at the moon"s polar regions in the form of a thin layer of ice.

Source: NASA

Views : 573

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