Curiosity Finds Conditions Once Suited For Ancient Life On Mars: An analysis of a rock sample collected by Curiosity shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes. The data indicate the Yellowknife Bay area the rover is exploring was the end of an ancient river system or an intermittently wet lake bed that could have provided chemical energy and other favorable conditions for microbes. The rock is made up of a fine-grained mudstone containing clay minerals, sulfate minerals and other chemicals. This ancient wet environment, unlike some others on Mars, was not harshly oxidizing, acidic or extremely salty.
Curiosity Views Striated Ground: Curiosity has reached an area where orbital images had piqued researchers' interest in patches of ground with striations all oriented in a similar direction. A location still ahead, called "Kimberley," where researchers plan to suspend driving for a period of science investigations, also features ground with striations.
Curiosity Adds Reverse Driving for Wheel Protection: Curiosity has undertaken the mission's first long trek that used reverse driving, making its farthest one-day advance of any kind in more than three months. The reverse drive validated feasibility of a technique developed with testing on Earth to lessen damage to Curiosity's wheels when driving over terrain studded with sharp rocks.
Curiosity Drives On After Crossing Martian Dune: Curiosity is continuing its traverse toward enticing science destinations after climbing over a dune spanning a gap in a ridge.
Curiosity Crosses Dune: Curiosity has crossed a dune that stands across a gateway to a southwestward route favored by the rover team for driving to future science destinations.
Curiosity Views Possible Westerly Route: Curiosity has reached the edge of a dune at Dingo Gap and photographed the valley on the other side, to aid assessment of whether to cross the dune.
Curiosity Checking Possible Smoother Route: The team operating Curiosity is considering a path across a small sand dune to reach a favorable route to science destinations, skirting some terrain with sharp rocks considered more likely to poke holes in the rover's aluminum wheels.
Mars Orbiter Images Curiosity and Tracks in Gale Crater: An observation made last month by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows the Curiosity rover and its tracks on the Martian surface. The tracks show where the rover has zigzagged around obstacles on its route toward the lower slopes of Mount Sharp, its next major destination.
Curiosity Team Upgrades Software, Checks Wheel Wear: The team operating Mars rover Curiosity has completed its latest software upgrade and is next planning a check of wear and tear on the rover's wheels. Flight software Version 11 allows continued advances in the rover's capabilities, such as expanded capability for using the Curiosity's robotic arm while the vehicle is on slopes.
First Age Measurement and Human Exploration Help: In a little more than a year on the Red Planet, Curiosity has determined the age of a Martian rock, found evidence the planet could have sustained microbial life, taken the first readings of radiation on the surface, and shown how natural erosion could reveal the building blocks of life.
Laser Instrument on Curiosity Tops 100,000 Zaps: Since landing on Mars in August 2012, theCuriosity Mars rover has fired the laser on its Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument more than 100,000 times at rock and soil targets up to about 23 feet away.
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Powerful new twin NASA Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have successfully landed and deployed on different regions of the Red Planet. With far greater mobility than the 1997 Pathfinder rover, these robotic explorers may trek as much as 40 meters across the surface in a day. Each rover carries a sophisticated set of instruments search for evidence about whether past environments at selected sites were wet enough to be hospitable to life. Rocks and soils will be analyzed with a set of five geology instruments on each rover, and a special tool called the rock abrasion tool, or "RAT", will be used to expose fresh rock surfaces for study.
Ex-Boy Scout Leaders Charged With Felonies: It just took a little push to topple the delicately perched boulder - millions of years in the making - in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park. Then the man who did it laughed, high-fived his son, and flexed his muscles while being cheered on by a fellow Boy Scout leader. He is not likely celebrating now, nor is his friend who videotaped then publicized the episode, after both were charged with third-degree felonies.
Boy Scouts Toss 2 Leaders Who Knocked Over Goblin: A northern Utah Boy Scouts council has announced that former Boy Scout leaders Glenn Taylor and Dave Hall will no longer be allowed to lead scouting troops as a result of their vandalism of Goblin Valley State Park.
Boy Scout Leaders Destroy Ancient Formation In Utah's Goblin Valley: Boy Scout and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints youth leaders Dave Hall, Glenn Taylor and Dylan Taylor are potentially facing felony charges for destroying a rock formation nearly 200 million years old. The trio of vandals was adventuring in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park when they decided to film themselves knocking over one of the formations, known as "Goblins."
Mars Rocks Wear Manganese Coats: Several rocks on the surface of Mars are coated with distinctive dark-colored surface layers enriched in manganese. Given proposed links between microbial activity and terrestrial manganese coatings, the evidence for high surface concentrations of manganese is an intriguing twist for researchers looking for signs of life on Mars.
Saturn-Like Rings Spotted Around Asteroid: The ring system around the icy asteroid Chariklo is the first found encircling anything in our solar system other than a gas giant.
Icy Planetoid Found Lurking At Edge Of Solar System: Newly found 2012 VP113 joins the dwarf planet Sedna as the only two worlds known to orbit beyond the Kuiper belt, where Pluto resides along with hordes of ice boulders left over from the formation of the solar system.
Tiny, Ancient Crustacean Preserved In Fool’s Gold, Legs, Eggs And All: Inside her cozy little fortress, she lived together with her children. There were nearly a dozen, some hatched, some not. Together, they lived in the deep center of a quiet, soft-bottomed marine basin, near some nice trilobites called Triarthrus. Their days were all numbered.
Diamond Reveals The Oceans That Lie Beneath: The first direct evidence of the vast quantities of water deep in the Earth's mantle has been uncovered by scientists studying a tiny diamond. The water was found in ringwoodite included in the diamond taken from Juina, Brazil.
Great Oxidation Event 'A Misnomer': Oxygen levels in Earth's atmosphere varied much more over the history of the planet than previously thought.
How Snails, Clams Survived The Great Dying: The most catastrophic mass extinction in the history of Earth had little effect on the lowliest of beasts living in the bottom-dwelling muck on the sea floor.
Earth's Oldest Crystals Found: Ancient zircon crystals discovered in Western Australia have been positively dated to 4.374 billion years, confirming their place as the oldest piece of Earth ever found.
Stuck In Slime For A Billion Years: Researchers have revealed ancient conditions that almost ended life on Earth, using a new technique they developed to hunt for mineral deposits.
Warring Trolls Explanation For Mysterious Basalt Pillars Revised: Peculiar basalt pillars found in Iceland - attributed in local lore to a pair of angry trolls hurling projectiles at each other - are having their origin story updated.
Water Detected On A Planet Outside Our Solar System: Water has been detected in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting the nearby star tau Boötes with a new technique that could help researchers to learn how many planets with water, like Earth, exist throughout the universe.
Volcanoes Contribute To Recent Global Warming 'Hiatus': Volcanic eruptions in the early part of the 21st century have cooled the planet, according to a study led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This cooling partly offset the warming produced by greenhouse gases.
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