The number of places in our solar system that could have ever supported life now stands at 2!
The first, of course, is Earth, because … well, us. According to an awesomely exciting announcement today by NASA and JPL, we can add Gale Crater to that list!
What they found: Curiosity’s rock drill recently uncovered clay-like minerals below Gale Crater’s rusty red surface. These muddy minerals, pictured above, hint at a “Gray Mars” era, when Gale Crater and the ancient stream bed it holds could have been home to intermittent lakes. When the onboard instruments scanned the chemical makeup of the clay, it found carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorous and sulfur compounds, a group of elements known as “CHONPS” that have to exist in order to create life as we know it. Most importantly, the minerals were pretty neutral in pH and were found in forms that point to a possible chemical energy system (another key ingredient for life).
What remains unknown: This does NOT mean that anything ever actually lived there. But it is the first time that the ingredients for the evolution of microbial life, and the correct conditions to support it, have been directly observed beyond Earth. Mars still has water frozen at its poles, and once had quite a bit of water above and below the surface. The rover will poke around this site, called Yellowknife Bay, for a while longer before heading toward the mountainous center of Gale Crater. There, it will study the multiple layers of rock present on the hillside in order to piece together an even clearer picture of Gale Crater’s muddy, moist, maybe* microbial Martian past.
*Maybe. Just want to emphasize that part.
THE UNITED KINGDOM: Musically Gifted.
I’m all about maps lately. Here’s one of a selection of bands from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Solo artists: Where they were born/grew up.
Bands/Groups: Where they met/formed.
If you missed the last one AMERICA: The Home of Television (113 tv show locations)
Both of these are for sale in my shop! High quality prints, super classy.
(If there are any inaccuracies, let me know! That way I can update them before I print and ship ‘em)
For those music lovers looking to start the day off with some visual pizzazz.
This is the original Voyager “Blue Movie” (so named because it was built from Blue filter images). It records the approach of Voyager 1 during a period of over 60 Jupiter days. Notice the difference in speed and direction of the various zones of the atmosphere. The interaction of the atmospheric clouds and storms shows how dynamic the Jovian atmosphere is.
As Voyager 1 approached Jupiter in 1979, it took images of the planet at regular intervals. This sequence is made from 66 images taken once every Jupiter rotation period (about 10 hours). This time-lapse movie uses images taken every time Jupiter longitude 68W passed under the spacecraft. These images were acquired in the Blue filter from Jan. 6 to Feb. 3 1979. The spacecraft flew from 58 million kilometers to 31 million kilometers from Jupiter during that time.
This time-lapse movie was produced at JPL by the Image Processing Laboratory in 1979.
The Voyager Project is managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
(This is not real, people. Don’t flip out.)
UPDATE: I stand corrected. Clicking the poster will take you to another live-action Dora video. So, it’s not fake, it’s just not official.
A new exhibit at the National Archives highlights an interesting decade — one that gave rise to the environmental movement and some awkward fashion
Photo credit: National Archives
And here’s your time machine for the day.
For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And along the way, lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.
|—||Neil deGrasse Tyson, during his Reddit AMA (March 01, 2012)|
Life on Mars…Maybe
A sample pulled from Mars just last month has been thoroughly examined by the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, and earlier today scientists declared that they have finally found solid evidence that Mars could have once sustained life.
From mission lead scientist John Grotzinger of Caltech:
“We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and is so supportive of life that probably if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it.”
Read more via Science Now.
As big as a tennis court and as tall as a four-story building, a full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope model was on display from March 8-10 at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is the successor to Hubble and the largest space telescope to ever be built.