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Mars Rover Opportunity Finds Life-Friendly Niche 55

astroengine writes "Gale Crater, the region being explored by NASA's Curiosity rover, isn't the only place on Mars where ancient microbes may have thrived. New evidence from NASA's senior robotic Mars scout, Opportunity, shows life-friendly water once mixed with telltale, clay-bearing rocks that now lie on the broken rim of Endeavour Crater, an ancient 14-mile wide basin on the other side of the planet from Gale. 'If I were to go Mars early in time and wanted to do a well, I'd do it there,' planetary scientist Ray Arvidson, with Washington University in St. Louis, told Discovery News. 'It's like drinking water. This would have been a niche for whatever life at the time existed.'"
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Mars Rover Opportunity Finds Life-Friendly Niche

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  • Re:Disappointed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @09:02PM (#46052595) Homepage Journal

    "We must have the humility to understand the limits of our intellect"

    Um... no. We must have the blind ambition to push beyond some perceived limits of our intellect. Humility for our achievements -- but aggressive in our progress. I for one would like to see my great^x grand children living on another rock circling another fireball one day.

  • Impressive. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 23, 2014 @09:10PM (#46052663)

    You used an awful lot of words to say not very much.

    Understanding the limits of our intellect is exactly the reason for pushing our boundaries to explore. Intellect can be extended and the only way to do so is through exercise. The alternative you (seem) to be proposing is the equivalent of sitting around picking at one's belly fluff in the hope of divine inspiration. In case it's not immediately obvious: that isn't what got us where we are today.

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:00PM (#46053247) Journal
    We're looking at real time pictures from fscking Mars!

    Each time a fail of any magnitude occurs, it is incessantly toasted by ambitiously administering the brogans to the deceased equine.

    Yet two rovers designed to last 90 days on another freaking planet operate 24x and 40x+ design specifications without overtaking the Bieber arrest in internet interest.

    We need a new PR guy.

  • by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:44PM (#46053527)
    Wish my mod points hadn't expired.

    I don't think it is so much bad PR from JPL - they do pretty well with their limited PR budget, but more that these explorations rapidly exhaust the short attention spans of most of the public. Sojourner landed in 1997, Spirit & Opportunity in 2004 (with Opportunity still operational today) and Curiosity in 2012. Kids have grown up for over 10 years with pictures from rovers on Mars. There are teenagers and young adults today who can't remember a time when we didn't have a rover on Mars. It's old news.

    And the missions themselves - launch day (big fiery fast moving things!) is pretty cool, but then you have a long, quiet coast phase. Then maybe you have a complicated and dramatic re-entry / touchdown that gets attention up (Pathfinder, the MER rovers, and the Curiosity skycrane ftw). But after that, it's a long slow roll across something that looks like the Arizona desert. The science is immensely interesting, but there isn't much gee whiz factor for the average person. And some of those average people are the ones that decide what gets aired on the news, so if they don't care to see it, few others will.

    I actually don't think that many people give a damn about Bieber's shenanigans, but somebody in the media thinks that is the noise that will attract the eyeballs to their ads.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson