Mars rover Curiosity finds signs of ancient stream
By Alicia Chang | AssociatedPress
The NASA rover Curiosity has beamed back pictures of bedrock that suggest a fast-moving stream, possibly waist-deep, once flowed on Mars ó a find that the missionís chief scientist called exciting.
There have been previous signs that water existed on the red planet long ago, but the images released Thursday showing pebbles rounded off, likely by water, offered the most convincing evidence so far of an ancient streambed.
There was "a vigorous flow on the surface of Mars," said chief scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology. "Weíre really excited about this."
The discovery did not come as a complete surprise. NASA decided to plunk Curiosity down inside Gale Crater near the Martian equator because photos from space hinted that the spot possessed a watery past. The six-wheeled rover safely landed Aug. 5 after a nail-biting plunge through the Martian atmosphere. Itís on a two-year, $2.5 billion mission to study whether the Martian environment could have been favorable for microbial life.
Present day Mars is a frozen desert with no hint of water on its radiation-scarred surface, but geological studies of rocks by previous missions suggest the planet was warmer and wetter once upon a time.
The latest evidence came from photos that Curiosity took revealing rounded pebbles and gravel ó a sign that the rocks were transported long distances by water and smoothed out.
The size of the rocks ó ranging from a sand grain to a golf ball ó indicates that they could not have been carried by wind, said mission scientist Rebecca Williams of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Ariz.
Though Curiosity did not use its high-tech instruments to drill into the rocks or analyze their chemical makeup, Grotzinger said scientists were sure that water played a role based on just studying the pictures.
Itís unclear how long the water persisted on the surface, but it easily could have lasted "thousands to millions of years," said mission scientist Bill Dietrich of the University of California, Berkeley.
Curiosity chanced upon the dried-up streambed while driving to Glenelg, an intriguing spot where three types of terrain meet. Its ultimate destination is Mount Sharp, a mountain rising from the center of crater floor, but it was not expected to travel there until the end of the year.
Finding past water is a first step toward learning whether the environment could have supported microbes. Scientists generally agree that besides water and an energy source such as the sun, organic carbon is a necessary prerequisite for life.
While an ancient streambed holds promise as a potentially habitable environment, scientists donít think itís a good place to preserve the carbon building blocks of life. Thatís why the rover will continue its trek to the foothills of Mount Sharp where thereís a better chance of finding organics.
Article from: news.yahoo.com
What Would It Mean If There Used To Be Life on Mars?
Curiosity Finds Pyramid Rocks on Mars
Mystery Spheres on Mars Baffle Scientists
Latest News from our Front Page
Confederate History - Dispelling the Myths
History books, the media, the school systems, etc abound in falsehoods and inaccuracies of Confederate and Southern history. This fact sheet will help to clarify and dispell some of these rampant inaccuracies.
MYTH - The War of 1861 - 1865 was fought over slavery.
FACT - Terribly untrue. The North fought the war over money. Plain ...
Gays Rights May Open Door for Pedophile Rights
Democrats have attempted to normalize pedophilia as a sexual orientation.
A recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage may soon allow pedophiles to argue they are suffering discrimination.
‚ÄúUsing the same tactics used by ‚Äėgay‚Äô rights activists, pedophiles have begun to seek similar status arguing their desire for children is a sexual orientation no different than heterosexual or homosexuals,‚ÄĚ writes Jack Minor ...
Government Trolls Are Using ‚ÄėPsychology-Based Influence Techniques‚Äô On YouTube, Facebook And Twitter
Have you ever come across someone on the Internet that you suspected was a paid government troll? Well, there is a very good chance that you were not imagining things. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now have solid proof that paid government trolls are using ‚Äúpsychology-based influence techniques‚ÄĚ on social media websites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. ...
Artificial Intelligence Takes the Battlefield: Who Is Really Running Jade Helm 15?
Who is really going to be running Jade Helm 15?
There is more to the story than just training for martial law in states designated as ‚Äúhostile states‚ÄĚ ‚Äď already a chilling pretext with overtones of greater federal power that could spiral out of control.
But it seems that it is actually A.I. ‚Äď artificial intelligence ‚Äď that is at the helm ...
Robot kills man at Volkswagen plant in Germany
A 22-year-old worker was grabbed by the robot and crushed against a metal plate
A robot has killed a man at a Volkswagen car factory in Germany.
The 22-year-old worker died from injuries he sustained when he was trapped by a robotic arm and crushed against a metal plate.
The man, who has not been named, was part of a team that ...
|More News » |