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Mars NASA

NASA's "Opportunity" Rover Finds New Evidence For Once-Habitable Mars 40

Posted by samzenpus
from the feeling-a-bit-damp dept.
nedko.m writes "NASA's Mars rover 'Opportunity' found clay minerals in an ancient rock on the rim of the Endeavour Crater on Mars. The discovery suggests that neutral-pH water — slightly salty, and neither too acidic nor too alkaline for life — once flowed through the area, probably during the first billion years of Martian history. Opportunity's latest discovery fits well with one made recently on the other side of the planet by the rover's bigger, younger cousin Curiosity, which found strong evidence that its landing site could have supported microbial life in the ancient past. Such observations could help scientists map out Mars' transition from a relatively warm and wet world long ago to the cold and dry planet we know today"
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NASA's "Opportunity" Rover Finds New Evidence For Once-Habitable Mars

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  • Doh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by c0lo (1497653) on Sunday June 09, 2013 @09:48AM (#43952139)
    NASA, those innocently naive guys... they should have asked NSA before sending in the rovers.

    (ducks)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      NASA, those innocently naive guys... they should have asked NSA before sending in the rovers.

      (ducks)

      NASA is part of the NSA. Who do you think puts their spy satellites up?

      And it's obvious that the NSA needs to keep on eye on Mars, too. There have been credible [imdb.com] threats [imdb.com] to Earth from that planet and I think the NSA's budget should be increased to *bahDaDa* ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS!

  • by excelsior_gr (969383) on Sunday June 09, 2013 @10:09AM (#43952215)

    This is nice and all, but I think the real news here is that Opportunity is, although aged, still alive and kicking.

  • by k6mfw (1182893) on Sunday June 09, 2013 @01:22PM (#43953631)

    like a trilobite of sorts. however, our rovers don't have a big enough shovel. It seems many people are getting bored with Mars, it has been said (and I agree) don't send another rover unless you bring something back. It would be nice to have another rover that can explore regions where geologists really want to go (but difficult to do the engineering to get it there), but with NASA has a flat budget and it will become more difficult to simply sustain the budgets as they are.

    OTOH with so many spacecraft that are operating beyond their planned lifetime, these operating costs drain funding from developmental programs (should we let them die, i.e. Spirit and Opportunity, so we can get on with new stuff?). What about spacecraft to Europa (there's lots more water there, and is there little fishies under the ice?) unless the radiation is so intense don't bother to plan a mission which survivability is zilch?

    Regarding Curiosity, it is providing extensive data per sampling, mapping, photos, etc. and provides much excitement for researchers studying the planet. I think issue is such excitement is seen as pretty dry stuff among the general public. Perhaps Mars has a identity problem. We have this huge fascination that seems fueled by science fiction and we get caught up in a human mission to Mars, and one person on another forum called such a mission a myth (it ain't gonna happen with current budgets and only chemical propulsion). Excluding Dennis Tito's flyby which seems to be feasible but not easy.

    • by tragedy (27079)

      It seems many people are getting bored with Mars, it has been said (and I agree) don't send another rover unless you bring something back.

      Yes, you're right, many people are boring idiots.

  • Mars supported life when it was 'alive': its core was still active, shielding the planet from gamma rays and other radiations. Now it is a useless piece of red dust and rocks, no seismic activity, no earthquakes, no magnetic activity. Its a dead end... We'll find some other proofs of early life on the surface, might find some late fossils hidden under the surface, raise a flag and move on to deal with our terrestrial challenges, as usual!
  • "Anything you can do, I can do better..."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfHBPusZg6E [youtube.com]

  • It was just less than two weeks ago that NASA announced [slashdot.org] the 100th discovery of water on Mars. Being the true trend setters that they are, NASA continues to discover water where it is previously been discovered before.

  • neither too acidic nor too alkaline for life

    Wouldn't it be lovely to know what the limits of acidity (or alkalinity) are for life in general. We don't even know, for sure, what the limits are for life on Earth, because we don't have a full catalogue of life forms on earth. We don't have any representatives of life on other planets, and we don't know if there are other possible chemistries on which life can work.

    Even within a DNA-and-protein chemistry, we don't know the real limits ; we don't know of any ex

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