It may sound like something from a movie but it’s not – NASA is working on building its own version of a “flying saucer” for a future mission to Mars. The disk-shaped spacecraft would be used to transport heavy payloads and even people down to the surface, it was just reported in New Scientist.
Category Archives: Mars
Another beautiful postcard panorama from Damia Bouic, this time showing a dusky sky during sunset as seen by Curiosity in Gale crater. In this view, the Sun is setting behind the western mountainous rim of the huge crater. Scenes like this are amazingly reminiscent of Earth, even though Mars is a truly alien world in many ways.
This is an interesting rock slab just seen by the Curiosity rover on Mars. Kind of looks like Australia… It has very thin edges like other similar rock slabs seen before, but note the little pebbles stuck to the edges. How do they stay in place like that?
This is a nice “selfie” photo that the Rosetta spacecraft took of itself as it flew past Mars in 2007. Rosetta is still en route to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and will start approaching it in May of this year, then will enter orbit around the comet and later deploy a lander in November. Hopefully this will be the view that astronauts have in the not-too-distant future.
The debate over possible evidence for life on Mars is one of the most hotly debated subjects in space science, and some news released today, February 27, is sure to add fuel to the fire. Studies of a Martian meteorite, known as Yamato 000593 (Y000593), have revealed signs of past liquid water activity as well as possible evidence of actual biological processes.
This is another beautiful new panoramic image from Damia Bouic, showing Mount Sharp in the distance and thinly layered outcrops in the foreground on sol 548. Curiosity has just passed through Violet Valley and is making good progress toward the base of Mount Sharp, which is still about 5 kilometres (3 miles) away. The full-size version of the image is here.
The possibility of an ancient Martian ocean is an enticing one, and there has been growing evidence that it did indeed exist (dubbed Oceanus Borealis), covering most of the northern hemisphere, and about a third of the planet, billions of years ago. Now, some new observations of boulders in what likely used to be the ocean bottom have given scientists additional clues as to what this ocean was like, it was announced this past Saturday (February 15, 2014).
Curiosity has now moved well past Dingo Gap and into Moonlight Valley, but not before taking some close-up images of more of those interesting mineral veins. No word yet if any analysis was done, but similar veins seen before turned out to be gypsum. And like those, the minerals likely precipitated out of water filling in cracks in rocks and then long after, weathering eroded away softer rock around them, leaving them as veins standing up from the surface.