Tag Archives | Solar System

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds Unexplained Shiny Object On Mars

A mineral deposit? Crystal formation? Abandoned alien ray gun? Universe Today writes:

The Curiosity Mars rover has imaged a small metallic-looking protuberance which projects a shadow on the rock below. The image was taken with the right Mastcam on Curiosity on Sol 173 — January 30, 2013 here on Earth — and was pointed out to us by Elisabetta Bonora, an image editing enthusiast from Italy.

The protuberance seems different than the rock on which it sits – it could be composed of material more resistant to erosion than the rest and similar material could be within the rock, or it could be something that is “grown” on the rock. It looks fairly smooth, and is not covered by dust as is the case for metal surfaces that tend to clean easily.

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Did NASA Delete Possible UFO Evidence From Its Archives?

Is NASA covering its tracks in regards to images that could reveal what is truly out there? Or simply reorganizing its archives of photos of space trash? io9 writes:

UFOlogists are freaking out today over the removal of several photos from a NASA archive. These photos [see right] have been used by various UFO groups to support their belief that aliens have been visiting Earth and governments are covering it up. NASA identifies these as images of “space debris.”

Believers say the removal of the photos is tantamount to admitting that NASA is trying to cover up extraterrestrial visitors. More likely is that they were removed after the space agency realized that they were fueling alien conspiracy theories.

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First ‘Alien Earth’ Likely To Be Spotted In 2013, Scientists Say

Finally, we’ll have a spot for humanity to open a second franchise? Live Science writes:

The first truly Earth-like alien planet is likely to be spotted next year, an epic discovery that would cause humanity to reassess its place in the universe. “I’m very positive that the first Earth twin will be discovered next year,” said Abel Mendez, who runs the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo.

Astronomers discovered the first exoplanet orbiting a sunlike star in 1995. Since they, they’ve spotted more than 800 worlds beyond our own solar system, and many more candidates await confirmation by follow-up observations. A number of exoplanets found over the last few years share one or two key traits with our own world — such as size or inferred surface temperature — but they have yet to bag a bona fide “alien Earth.”

NASA’s prolific Kepler Space Telescope, for example, has flagged more than 2,300 potential planets since its March 2009 launch.

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New Photos Suggest That Planet Mercury Is Hollow

The hollows appear to have formed relatively recently. The next question is, what lies inside? Phys.org writes:

A recent image acquired by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft shows the interior of Eminescu, a youngish 80-mile wide crater just north of Mercury’s equator. Eminescu made science headlines last year with MESSENGER’s discovery of curious eroded blotches called “hollows” scattered across its interior and surrounding its central peak, and now it looks like the spacecraft may have spotted some of these strange features in their earliest stages of formation along the inner edge of the crater’s rim.

First announced in September 2011, hollows have now been identified in many areas across Mercury. The lack of craters within hollows indicates that they are relatively young. It was suggested that they may be the result of an ongoing process on Mercury.

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Mars One Project Has More Than 1,000 Volunteers For A One-Way Trip To Mars

The previously discussed Mars One project may not be the favorite in the race to devise a feasible plan for colonization of the Red Planet. But even assuming that most would not follow through, it’s astounding that so many people are so eager to get off of Earth. Via Yahoo! News UK:

The Mars One organisation has revealed details of its plans to land four astronauts on the Red Planet in 2023, with four additional ‘crew’ arriving every two years. The organisation said that it had had more than 1,000 volunteers for the mission, who emailed in via the foundation’s website.

Selection of the astronauts will begin next year, the Dutch organisation says. The trip to the planned ‘colony’ would be one-way – and the astronaut volunteers will live and die on Mars.

Mars One aims to finance a mission to Mars via donations from corporations, people – and by creating a reality show-style ‘media event’ around the training and selection of its astronauts.

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Space Satellites As Humanity’s Final Monuments

The spacecraft EchoStar XVI will beam trillions of images into the darkness and then enter an eternal "graveyard orbit". Artist in residence at MIT Trevor Paglen on satellites as the new pyramids:
Currently, more than 800 spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit form a man-made ring of satellites around Earth. The dead spacecraft in orbit have become a permanent fixture around Earth, not unlike the rings of Saturn. They will be the longest-lasting artifacts of human civilization, quietly floating through space long after every trace of humanity has disappeared from the planet’s surface. Presented by public art organization Creative Time, The Last Pictures is a project to acknowledge these spacecraft as the monuments of our historical era. They are our Pyramids, our Stonehenge, and our Nazca lines.
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Scientists: We May Find Alien Life On Saturn’s Tiny Moon Enceladus

The grueling process will involve of a decade of preparation, sending a probe on a journey which takes seven years in each direction, with several years of sample collecting in the middle. But after all of that, we may have proof of non-Earthly life from a place where all signs point to its existence. Via the Guardian:

Saturn’s tiny moon has suddenly become a major attraction for scientists. Many now believe it offers the best hope we have of discovering life on another world inside our solar system…and argue that Enceladus should be rated a top priority for future space missions.

The cause of this unexpected interest in Enceladus – first observed by William Herschel in 1789 and named after one of the children of the Earth goddess Gaia – stems from a discovery made by the robot spacecraft Cassini, which has been in orbit of Saturn for the past eight years.

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NASA Spacecraft Discovers Mickey Mouse Icon On Mercury

Ah, humanity — we travel to the far reaches of our solar system, only to find our own corporate logos. Space.com reports:

A NASA spacecraft has captured a spectacular photo of Mercury craters arranged in a shape that looks just like Disney’s iconic cartoon mouse. The photo comes from the Messenger spacecraft in orbit around Mercury and shows a giant crater topped with two smaller impact basins to create the recognizable shape.

The Mickey Mouse on Mercury is formed by a huge crater about 65 miles (105 kilometers) wide that was later peppered by other impacts to create the “ears.

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Astronauts On Mars Would Risk DNA Damage

DeMonchaux30Sad news for hopes of future visits to the red planet — anyone who journeys to Mars could come back with their DNA adversely altered, Russian scientists warn. Mars Daily explains:

Future astronauts working on the Red Planet’s surface risk general changes in health at the DNA level because of increased radiation exposure, a prominent Russian academic said on Monday.

“According to our estimates, researchers on the surface of Mars can expect a number of adverse factors, such as cardiac arrhythmia, sensory impairments, changes at the DNA level, and demineralization of bone tissue,” Anatoly Grigoryev, the deputy head of Russia’s Academy of Sciences, told at a presentation at the International Symposium on the results of ground-based experiment Mars-500.

The unique Moscow-based Mars-500 experiment was completed on November 4. It attempted to recreate at least some of the conditions of a flight to the Red Planet by locking six men away in a mock spacecraft.

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