After examining fine-grained soil particles extracted by the Curiosity rover from beneath the surface of Mars, scientists have concluded that roughly 2 percent of the Martian surface soil is made up of water. While showing no indication of organic material besides Earth-transported microbes, the results bode well for future manned missions to Mars, wherein astronauts could mine the soil for water, and advance scientists' understanding of Mars' history.
The findings, published Thursday in the journal Science, are part of one article in a five-paper special section on the Curiosity mission that began in August 2012. "One of the most … Read more
When a disaster strikes, there's a very short window of time in which to locate and free survivors trapped under rubble. The Finder portable radar system, developed through a collaboration between NASA and the US Department of Homeland Security, could make it much easier for emergency responders to find victims.
"Finder" is short for "Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response." The device works by sending a low-power microwave radar signal through the rubble. The signals that bounce back are analyzed for patterns that indicate a person's breathing or heartbeat.… Read more
The European Space Agency and gravity are about to make it rain... pieces of a sporty-looking spacecraft all over the atmosphere and perhaps even on the surface of the Earth.
The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer, or GOCE, has been orbiting our planet since March 2009 at a relatively low altitude to map variations in Earth's gravity in great detail. But the satellite, nicknamed the "Ferrari of Space" for its sleek, atmospheric drag-reducing structure, is about to run out of fuel and make a 130-mile descent towards Earth.… Read more
Hopes of alien life on Mars were dashed Thursday when a paper published in the journal Science concluded that the Curiosity rover has yet to find any methane gas, a strong indicator of microbial life. But Robert Zubrin, cofounder and president of the Mars Society, says that the search for alien life on Mars is only just beginning.
In fact, the persistence of the methane mystery -- first sparked by a 2003 discovery of methane plumes that has yet to reemerge -- has reinforced his claim that we need humans on Mars alongside a reinvigorated space program to make real … Read more
If you just can't get out of bed, NASA might have a mission for you.
A NASA study is recruiting volunteers to to lie in a bed that's tilted downward at a 6-degree angle for 70 days. Subjects who complete the entire bed rest project can earn up to $18,000.
The study is meant to test the conditions astronauts might experience while traveling in space. NASA hopes to find out what physical changes occur to scientists on these missions and how much body function is required for a person to complete a specific task. The information will be used to develop methods that make it easier for astronauts to physically acclimate to daily life following space exploration. … Read more
NASA's Curiosity rover has been trucking around the surface of Mars for more than a year and no evidence of little green men, or even little microbes, has surfaced.
Many people had been hopeful the rover might turn up some sort of evidence of life, whether current or historical.
Curiosity has been busy "sniffing" the atmosphere in search of methane, an indication of microbial presence. A new study of the rover's findings shows a distinct lack of methane, dealing a significant blow to hopes of finding life on the Red Planet.… Read more
Why does the moon always looks the same from our perspective? It goes through phases, but the face it shows us changes very little because it's tidally locked to Earth.
The moon does indeed rotate. Since its own rotation is synchronized with its orbital period around our planet, all we see is one of its hemispheres.
Next time you're flying around the universe, don't forget your map of the mammoth Vesta asteroid that saunters around the solar system. On Friday, NASA released a set of Vesta mosaics compiled from 10,000 images that the Dawn spacecraft captured during its temporary orbit of the giant space rock, also known as a protoplanet.
The atlas and accompanying pictures provide stellar detail due to Dawn's vantage point, which was 130 miles above Vesta's surface. Vesta, located in our solar system's asteroid belt, contains a very dynamic landscape filled with countless canyons, craters, valleys, and a mountain that stands about three times the size of Mount Everest.… Read more
Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have lost a jet fuel perk, according to a new report.
Google and the Pentagon inked a deal, which started in 2007, that let Google purchase fuel for its entire fleet -- seven jets and two helicopters -- at a discounted price from the US government, according to the Wall Street Journal. The deal ended on August 31 and was not renewed by NASA, which sponsored the agreement. According to the Journal, the deal ended after the Pentagon discovered Google may have been using the fuel for non-government flights, potentially violating its contract … Read more