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Mars, A Little Like Hawaii

Posted: November 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: NASA, National Aeronautics Space Administration, SPACE | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mars, A Little Like Hawaii

Cankler Science News - NASA - Mars Curiosity, Landscape Like HawaiiNASA’s superneat Mars rover Curiosity has found soil that bears a striking resemblance to volcanic sand in Hawaii. In the first study of the red planet’s soil, Curiosity determined the grains have crystals similar to basaltic soils found in volcanic regions on Earth.

The rover uses an X-ray imager to reveal the atomic structures of crystals in the Martian soil, the first time the technology – x-ray diffraction – has been used to analyse soil beyond our planet.

“The mineralogy of Mars’s soil has been a source of conjecture until now,” Curiosity scientist David Vaniman said, from the Planetary Science Institute.”This interest isn’t just academic,” he added. “Soils on planets’ surfaces are a reflection of surface exposure processes and history, with information on present and past climates.”

The minerals were identified in the first sample of Martian soil ingested recently by the rover. Curiosity used its Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument – CheMin – to obtain the results, which are filling gaps and adding confidence to earlier estimates of the mineralogical makeup of the dust and fine soil widespread on the Red Planet.

NASA plan to use the information about Mars’s minerals to figure out if the planet most like Earth in the solar system could have supported and preserved microbial life :: Read the full article »»»»


Our Backyard and Beyond, A Month of Astronomicaly Rich Discoveries

Posted: October 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Astronomy, Cankler Science News, Favorite New Thought, From The Web | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Our Backyard and Beyond, A Month of Astronomicaly Rich Discoveries

The Southern Milky Way Above ALMAWOW, isn’t really a word, it’s more like a thoughtfilled sound, in this case it’s the one I made looking back over this past month of astronomical discoveries. From a diamond encrusted jewel to a new earth sized planet a stones throw from our own blue planet.

News from skywatchers has boomed out through September and October this year, with clever astronomers and planetary scientists pushing the boundaries of computer climate modelling, forecasting weather, climatic change and glacial movements on Mars that just might have valid predictors for climate change on Earth.

A new planet, the closest yet outside our solar system and just an astronomical stone’s throw away at four light years,and according to scientists, seriously raising the chances of finding a habitable planet in Earth’s neighbourhood. Researchers say the new planet is too close to its sun to support any known forms of life, with a surface temperature estimated at 1,200 degrees Celsius.

Previous studies suggest that when one planet is discovered orbiting a sun, there are usually others in the same system. The new Earth-sized planet, announced in science journal Nature by Stephane Udry and Xavier Dumusque at the Geneva Observatory, orbits one of the suns in Alpha Centauri, only 40 trillion kilometres away, visible to the naked eye – though we’d suggest you wear clothes while backyard stargazing – The planet was discovered using the HARPS instrument on a telescope at the ESO’s – European Southern Observatory –  La Silla site in Chile. :: Read the full article »»»»