NASA says they believe life could have once existed on Mars:
Mars rock sample picked up by the Curiosity rover has found minerals, including hydrogen, carbon and oxygen, that are the building blocks of life, Nasa said on Tuesday.
“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.” Read more »
Universe Today reports
The Curiosity Mars rover has found some strange-looking little things on Mars – you’ve likely heard of the Mars ‘flower,’ the piece of benign plastic from the rover itself, and other bright flecks of granules in the Martian soil.
Now the rover has imaged a small metallic-looking protuberance on a rock. Read more »
Nasa’s Mars rover Curiosity has turned its drill in rock for the first time.
The big rover had previously used just the hammer action on the tool, but it has now progressed to operating the device in a rotary mode as well.
New pictures sent back from the robot show a small, shallow, rounded hole that is surrounded by fine tailings. Read more »
NASA scientists sex up what would normally be a glaze inducing, mind numbing boring explanation of how difficult it is to get a lander onto Mars:
Could be a bit boring to start with, but at least no one would bug you. Though, I ahve to point out that if the muzak in the modules was like on the video then there would be potential for one of those space murder mysteries:
Step one: send a communications satellite to Mars in 2016. Step two: follow up with a Red Planet rover in 2018, which will trawl the dusty landscape, scoping out some of the best spots to found a colony. Step three, in 2020: send infrastructure for the colonists to live in, including solar panels and machines that will convert the Martian elements into water and oxygen.
Only then, on the surprisingly specific date of September 14, 2022, will Mars One launch its first four astronauts. Their journey to the new colony will take ten months, though they will have been preparing for a decade. Most of that prep time, we hope, will be spent figuring out how not to kill someone when you have to live in extremely close quarters for the better part of a year and none of you can take a shower.
Landsdorp plans to send another couple of adventurous astronauts to join the colony every two years, but the idea is that no one gets a return journey. This is a permanent base, a Plymouth Rock in an entirely new world that will begin the long, slow and painstaking process of terraforming it.
Earlier this morning I blogged about the Russian space junk coming down to earth.
I quoted a Herald article by Abby Gillies that stated:
After a decade of planning and an estimated cost of $205 billion (NZD), “Phobos-Grunt” was launched from Kazakstan in November.
One of my commenters questions the amount of the costs of the project so i looked it up. Here is what Wikipedia says about the costs of the Fobos-Grunt project. (I’ve left the footnote links in because they have the references)
The cost of the spacecraft was 1.5 billion rubles ($64.4 million). Project funding for the timeframe 2009–2012, including post-launch operations is about 2.4 billion rubles. Total cost of the mission is 5 billion rubles ($163 million). In comparison, the more ambitious NASA/ESA joint Mars sample return mission is expected to cost around $8.5 billion.
Ok so this looks like a simply typo after the churnalist looked up the details on Wikipedia. $163 million in USD is around $205 million according to an online currency calculator. Not a good look though.