Mars

MAVEN Astronomy Mars science funny - 8347628288
Via Space
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Via Space.com:

In MAVEN's first few weeks of instrument testing at the Red Planet, scientists have already created some of the most complete maps of atomic hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and ozone in the Martian atmosphere ever made. One of MAVEN's instruments even collected data as energetic particles blasted out by a massive solar eruption made it to Mars.

science-win-nasa-mars-sunset-rover
Via NASA
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In case you were curious, here is what an alien sees before he/she/it goes to sleep.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover captured the above image on April 15, and it’s being described as the first sunset observed in color by the spacecraft.

The photos were taken last month, but they were just sent back to Earth last week.

While Mars may appear red, the sunset is actually blue, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains why this is possible:

Dust in the Martian atmosphere has fine particles that permit blue light to penetrate the atmosphere more efficiently than longer-wavelength colors. That causes the blue colors in the mixed light coming from the sun to stay closer to sun’s part of the sky, compared to the wider scattering of yellow and red colors. The effect is most pronounced near sunset, when light from the sun passes through a longer path in the atmosphere than it does at mid-day.

Curiosity first landed on Mars’s Gale Crater in August 2012 with a mission of determining whether or not Mars is or ever was habitable by life forms.

Here’s an animated GIF of the sunset, which uses a series of photos takes over a period of about 6 minutes, 51 seconds. The sight apprently inspired the rover to recite some lines from T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” on its Twitter account.



By Unknown
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Holy schnikes -- Mark Rober's story could well qualify as a heartwarming tearjerker.

An engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, Rober has spent the past seven years of his life working on the Curiosity Rover.

Watch as his whole world comes down to seven heart-pounding minutes.

[devour]

climate change Astronomy Mars science - 8396989440
Via NY Times
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Via NY Times:

Today Mars is an arid, frigid desert, suggesting that the mother of all climate changes happened there, about four billion years ago or so. The question that haunts planetary scientists is why? And could it happen here?

"I think the short story is the atmosphere went away and the oceans froze but are still there, locked up in subsurface ice," said Chris McKay, an astrobiologist and Mars expert at NASA's Ames Research Center.

In September a new spacecraft known as Maven, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission, swung into orbit around the planet. Its job is to get a longer answer to one part of the mysterious Martian climate change, namely where the planet's atmosphere went.

Astronomy awesome science space Mars water - 8330128384
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Via Ian O'Neill

According to MSL scientists based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., the ball isn't as big as it looks — it's approximately one centimeter wide. Their explanation is that it is most likely something known as a "concretion." Other examples of concretions have been found on the Martian surface before — take, for example, the tiny haematite concretions, or "blueberries", observed by Mars rover Opportunity in 2004 — and they were created during sedimentary rock formation when Mars was abundant in liquid water many millions of years ago.
robots Mars science funny space - 7788174336
By Unknown
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The Mars Colonisation project by ZA Architects suggests that humans could colonise the red planet by living in underground dwellings dug out of the planet's bedrock by an advance party of solar-powered machines. "Curiosity sooner or later will bring human to Mars and wouldn't it be nice to have permanent station to explore it?" said Arina Ageeva of ZA Architects.