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Mars NASA Space

NASA Looks To Volcanic Rocks As Target For Next Mars Rover 33

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "At a 3-day workshop, planetary scientists advocated for igneous rock–bearing landing sites as high-priority targets for NASA's next Mars rover mission, scheduled to launch in 2020. The $1.5 billion rover, a near-copy of the Curiosity rover, will collect about 30 samples of rock and soil for eventual return to Earth. Mineralized fracture zones at such sties may have been home at one time hydrothermal systems, with hot, fluid-filled fractures. Hydrothermal sites on Earth harbor ecosystems with extremophilic microbes."
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NASA Looks To Volcanic Rocks As Target For Next Mars Rover

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  • by Tuidjy ( 321055 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @01:14PM (#47039467)

    Well, your post does deserve a counter-argument, if not a down-vote, and not for the misused vocabulary, either.

    First of all, I can't really get very upset over 1.5 billions, because the US government is spending a lot more on things I like a lot less. But we do have a set of laws that govern how money is collected, allocated and spent, and if there's a country that does better by me on all three, I'm not aware of it.

    Second, I actually personally know two different groups of people who hope to hitch their projects on this horse. One of their projects has immediate applications to alleviating the frequency shortage that the US is experiencing, and the other may end up with some interesting applications for jet engines, which may eventually trickle down to civilian aviation. So just because the rover is a near copy, there's no reason to expect that there are not a number of significant improvements along for the ride (or on the ground)

    Third, space exploration has had unexpected benefits, and the thing about unexpected benefits is that you can't tell what they are before hand. This goes for all branches of research, and if we had anyone who does not like a specific 'useless' project stop it, you'd be probably arguing that urine is perfectly fine for tanning hides, thank you.

    And fourth, the people who are going to get those 1.5 billions are scientists/engineers/technicians in the existing facilities of entities which already have their claws deep inside the hide of the US government. This money will go on buying votes and influence, one way or another - best politicians money can buy, and all that. So it may as well go to Boeing/JPL for a flight to Mars, rather to be spent of 'clean' coal and pushing corn into everything you can think of.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.