Mars

water Astronomy Mars science funny - 8135152896
Via CNN
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The presence of water on Mars is often talked about in the past tense -- as in, billions of years in the past. But researchers have found clues that water could be flowing in the present, at least during warm seasons.

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology are looking at dark features on Martian slopes that are finger-shaped. They appear and disappear seasonally.

These flows represent the best suggestion we know of that Mars has water right now, scientists say. The study is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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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.
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.



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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.

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nasa Mars science curiosity rover - 6977721600
Via Nasa
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The tool is a motorized, wire-bristle brush designed to prepare selected rock surfaces for enhanced inspection by the rover's science instruments. It is built into the turret at the end of the rover's arm. In particular, the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer and the Mars Hand Lens Imager, which share the turret with the brush and the rover's hammering drill, can gain information after dust removal that would not be accessible from a dust-blanketed rock.