Reblogged from jtotheizzoe March 12th, 2013 at 4:56 pm 3,412 notes #news #science #mars #curiosity #nasa
The number of places in our solar system that could have ever supported life now stands at 2!
The first, of course, is Earth, because … well, us. According to an awesomely exciting announcement today by NASA and JPL, we can add Gale Crater to that list!
What they found: Curiosity’s rock drill recently uncovered clay-like minerals below Gale Crater’s rusty red surface. These muddy minerals, pictured above, hint at a “Gray Mars” era, when Gale Crater and the ancient stream bed it holds could have been home to intermittent lakes. When the onboard instruments scanned the chemical makeup of the clay, it found carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorous and sulfur compounds, a group of elements known as “CHONPS” that have to exist in order to create life as we know it. Most importantly, the minerals were pretty neutral in pH and were found in forms that point to a possible chemical energy system (another key ingredient for life).
What remains unknown: This does NOT mean that anything ever actually lived there. But it is the first time that the ingredients for the evolution of microbial life, and the correct conditions to support it, have been directly observed beyond Earth. Mars still has water frozen at its poles, and once had quite a bit of water above and below the surface. The rover will poke around this site, called Yellowknife Bay, for a while longer before heading toward the mountainous center of Gale Crater. There, it will study the multiple layers of rock present on the hillside in order to piece together an even clearer picture of Gale Crater’s muddy, moist, maybe* microbial Martian past.
*Maybe. Just want to emphasize that part.
Reblogged from news.discovery.com November 20th, 2012 at 5:18 pm 140 notes #mars #rover #curiosity #space #msl
“This data is gonna be one for the history books. It’s looking really good,” — John Grotzinger, lead scientist of the MSL mission.
What’s Grotzinger referring to? Although it’s a guess, it’s an educated guess: Curiosity may have detected organic compounds in the Mars soil.
Today, NASA scientists presented findings that prove water once ran across the surface of Mars. Though the rocks have yet to be analyzed, scientists say the photographs clearly indicate that these rock formations were smoothed and shaped by water. The next step, says NASA, will be drilling into the rock for evidence of carbon deposits. — rachel
(via heathernicolezilla)Reblogged from npr September 27th, 2012 at 4:40 pm 2,731 notes #space #science #NASA #mars #water
Reblogged from mars.jpl.nasa.gov September 18th, 2012 at 5:59 pm 26 notes #nasa #mars #curiosity
Mount Sharp is a Martian mountain located in the center of Gale Crater. Curiosity’s year-long mission on Mars is to reach the base of Mount Sharp and climb halfway up, past the area noted here by white dots. Observation has determined significant differences in the soil composition below and above this line, suggesting that the two parts of this mountain were formed in very different ways. How? That’s what Curiosity hopes to investigate.
Above is Mount Sharp as photographed by Curiosity.
[Image via NASA/JPL]
Reblogged from spaceinperspective September 14th, 2012 at 6:29 pm 55 notes #mars #nasa #Curiosity
The Descent of Curiosity
Writer and entrepreneur Bard Canning spent four weeks putting together this video made of all of the still photographs taken by the Curiosity Rover during its descent to Mars on August 6, 2012. The result is stunning.