Archive for the ‘Mars Exploration Program’ Category

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Nasa’s $800m Mars Exploration Rovers have accidentally drawn a penis.

The twin exploration vehicles Spirit and Opportunity were launched nine years ago, in an effort to search the surface of Mars for signs of water erosion and possibly even life.

According to Nasa, since then the rovers have driven over more than 10km of Martian land, directed by teams back on Earth combined with autonomous cameras designed to avoid potential problems with the terrain.

It appears that part of the robots’ programming involves spinning in tight circles to test nearby terrain and find new routes.

Humorously, depending on your age perhaps, that has the unfortunate consequence of drawing a certain shape on the surface, which when discovered by Reddit essentially crashed Nasa’s website.

The image was posted on Nasa’s site and appears to be a genuine picture from the Martian surface – albeit one taken at an unfortunate angle.

It’s not clear which of the rovers drew the shape, or even when it was made.

Nasa lost communication with the Spirit rover in 2009 after it became stuck in some sand. Meanwhile the Opportunity is still traversing the surface on its way to the Endeavour crater.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/04/24/mars-rover-penis-nasa_n_3144656.html

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Curiosity has found discovered that Mars possesses conditions that could have supported ancient — and future — life, announced NASA scientists during a press conference today.

“A fundamental question for this mission is whether Mars could have supported a habitable environment,” said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. “From what we know now, the answer is yes.”

Reportedly, the sample taken from the sedimentary rock targeted by Curiosity contains sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and carbon, all key ingredients for life. One NASA scientist referred to the findings as “really something special,” as well as containing up to 20% clay — which is formed by the reaction of relatively fresh water with igneous materials.

Additonally, scientists discovered a mixture of oxidized, less-oxidized, and even non-oxidized chemicals capable of supporting an energy gradient of the sort many microbes on Earth require for survival.

“The range of chemical ingredients we have identified in the sample is impressive, and it suggests pairings such as sulfates and sulfides that indicate a possible chemical energy source for micro-organisms,” said Paul Mahaffy, a NASA official.

http://www.policymic.com/mobile/articles/29536/mars-rover-finds-all-the-prerequisites-for-life-a-habitable-environment