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Space Science

Rover Accidentally Uncovers Mars Hydrothermal Vent 53

The rover Spirit has been dragging one wheel around the surface of Mars for some time. One of the resulting gouges revealed a mineral deposit which was probably caused by a hydrothermal vent. This implies a large amount of water was present when the vent was active.
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Rover Accidentally Uncovers Mars Hydrothermal Vent

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  • Very Cool. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DiSKiLLeR ( 17651 ) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @04:13AM (#23525928) Homepage Journal
    Very Cool Indeed.

    Lets hope the Phoenix Lander [] finds something too :) Countdown is currently at 1day, 15 hrs...
  • Kudos! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by captn ecks ( 525113 ) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @04:16AM (#23525940) Homepage
    Even it's broken dragging wheel makes informative discoveries on the Martian surface. The Mars rovers are surely one of our most successful robotic missions ever. Kudos to JPL and NASA and the American Congress for keeping to fund these missions. Let's all keep our fingers crossed for the Phoenix lander this Sunday - landing is at approximately 5PM EST this Sunday on NASA TV.
  • by FurtiveGlancer ( 1274746 ) <{moc.loa} {ta} {yuGhceTcoHdA}> on Saturday May 24, 2008 @06:12AM (#23526340) Journal
    I call it metamoderated democracy in blog format; you call it slashdot. People their express opinions in mostly civil discourse. What an awesome, liberating concept!
  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @06:30AM (#23526428) Journal
    While these rovers are pretty cool, they really do not contain that much equipment. In addition, once landed, they really do not travel that far. Instead, we would be better served with either a unique airplane or a balloon model. While they are testing the airplane idea, I would think that unless the wings can fold up, that when the infamous mars storms hit, that it will be all over. The balloon idea has the advantage of being able to fold up tight, but it can not be as easily controlled. One idea that I saw out there was to release 5-10 balloons with cameras and no ability to land. Right now, MRO has a camera that sees .3M, but an inexpensive camera on the balloon, should be able to take that much smaller due to height and far less atmosphere.

    Quite honestly, the rovers are simple extensions of pathfinder, but we now need a combination of large jumps for spot checks and the ability to do a lot more science. The balloon approach would give us the ability to jump with small tests, while the MSL will be the logical outcome of the rovers combined with polar express. The biggest item that will come from the polar express will simply be the landing under power.
  • Difficult? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jgoemat ( 565882 ) on Saturday May 24, 2008 @07:16AM (#23526602)
    Would they even work on Mars? The pressure is less than 1/1000th that of the Earth, or the same pressure as over 30 miles up on Earth. The U-2 spy plane only flew about 13 miles high and the SR-71 only reaches 15 miles. High-altitude weather balloons don't get much over 20 miles up I don't think. While the decreased gravity on Mars might help with the plane idea, would it help with the balloon? Just curious, but wouldn't the decreased gravity adversely affect the buoyancy as much as it would help by making the payload lighter?

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!