"Billions of years ago when the Red Planet was young, it appears to have had a thick atmosphere that was warm enough to support oceans of liquid water – a critical ingredient for life. The animation shows how the surface of Mars might have appeared during this ancient clement period, beginning with a flyover of a Martian lake. The artist's concept is based on evidence that Mars was once very different. Rapidly moving clouds suggest the passage of time, and the shift from a warm and wet to a cold and dry climate is shown as the animation progresses. The lakes dry up, while the atmosphere gradually transitions from [...]
Guess what people on the Internet have discovered? Life on Mars! But it is not, according to current theories, Martian. It's a … ground squirrel, or perhaps a regular Martian rock that looks a little like a ground squirrel from a certain angle and a certain light. The very large NASA image from the rover Curiosity is here, so you can spend the next hour or so looking for Waldo the Martian Ground Squirrel, or you can just accept the conclusion of this UFO blog:
A lot of people are emailing me saying that this squirrel was part of a NASA experiment to test how long it [...]
You know that Rubik's Pyramid you lost in 1983? The one that Chris Pack could solve in like 30 seconds but that you could never solve without taking all the little trianguler pieces apart and reassembling them with all the colors in the right places? You thought it got lost in the closet, right? In one of the plastic bins behind your D&D manuals and the full-size Millenium Falcon that you could never bring yourself to give to your younger cousin like your mom wanted you to, even though you hadn't played with it in like three years. Nope. Turns out, it was on Mars.
"If it moves like water, it may very well be water." —Oregon State planetary science professor Joe Levy discusses the "recurring slope linneae" visible on the surface of Mars in recent high-resolution photographs. Some people think the lines, which run downhill into ravines, offer proof that water exists in frozen form on the red planet's crust, and melts into flowing liquid during warmer months. Of course, with James Cameron fresh back from his trip seven miles deep into the Mariana Trench, other possibilities come to mind.
"We could send senior-citizen volunteers to the Red Planet, where they could spend their final months conducting experiments, laying the groundwork for future permanent settlements and digging their own graves." That's from this great piece at Scientific American in response to the op-ed Lawrence Krauss (a Scientific American columnist) wrote in Monday's Times about sending astronauts on one-way trips to Mars. Apparently, the greatest obstacle to man's visiting the red planet lies not in launch capabilities or guidance systems or the threat of Martian attack, but rather in the dangers posed by exposure to the sun's powerful radiation on the return flight. Building a strong enough shield is [...]
"Mars may have a really bad day next year on October 19th. That’s when there is a very slight chance a newly discovered comet may impact our neighboring planet, says NASA…. Based on observations to date the comet nucleus could be a real monster – as big as 9 miles (15 km) to 31 miles (50 km) wide. With it’s velocity clocked at 35 miles (56 km) per second, the energy force of the collision could be measured in the billions of megatons, resulting in a crater hundreds of miles wide. This could be an impact that rivals the one that [...]
Here is the kind of space math that is completely appropriate for 2012: SpaceX founder Elon Musk says he's preparing for a permanent Mars colony stocked with 80,000 wealthy humans in their 40s. Are you in your 40s right now? Too late! This won't happen for another decade, or more. Are you poor and 30? Well maybe you've got a shot, but probably not. Do you have a degree from a good school and maybe a new job at Facebook or Twitter or Google? You might get to be a "new pilgrim," on Mars! You'll even get to enjoy gardening, the latest craze for people who build APIs [...]
They did it! The Curiosity Mars Rover survived the "seven minutes of terror!" They are awesome dorks!
Mars needs women: "Women will be among the first teams to take part in pioneering trips to Mars, experts have said. Any future missions to one of Mars' two moons are only likely to happen by 2033. And despite it being Neil Armstrong and his two male colleagues who first set foot on the Moon, some of the world's leading space experts believe that women could be on the first explorations to the 'red planet.'"
If you're married and old enough to have endured whatever horrors requiring "work on the marriage," space tourist/rich person Dennis Tito has a great plan: He wants to send an adult married couple on a 501-day round-trip flight to Mars. This could be you, and also your spouse!
A tycoon announced plans Wednesday to send a middle-aged couple on a privately built spaceship to slingshot around the red planet and come back home, hopefully with their bodies and marriage in one piece after 501 days of no-escape togetherness in a cramped capsule half the size of an RV.
Young, inexperienced people have no idea what it's like to spend [...]
This image is simplicity itself, and yet I cannot look away.
NASA's Curiosity Rover is prepped to deliver color video from the surface of Mars. And equipment with science instruments designed to tell us "if Earth's neighbor is, or ever was, capable of supporting microbial life." So I sure hope it survives the "seven minutes of terror" that will be its landing on Sunday night. There are not enough exclamation points on this planet to express the drama of this video.