New analysis of 36-year-old data, resuscitated from printouts, shows NASA found life on Mars, an international team of mathematicians and scientists conclude in a paper published this week. Further, NASA doesn't need a human expedition to Mars to nail down the claim, neuropharmacologist and biologist Joseph Miller, with the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, told Discovery News. "The ultimate proof is to take a video of a Martian bacteria. They should send a microscope — watch the bacteria move," Miller said. "On the basis of what we've done so far, I'd say I'm 99 percent sure there's life there," he added. Miller's confidence stems in part from a new study that re-analyzed results from a life-detection experiment conducted by NASA's Viking Mars robots in 1976.
Tag Archives | Space Exploration
Or so he claims—there’s no proof of veracity, but a gripping read nonetheless. Morgan Kochel’s conversation with a A Man Who Went to Mars:
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Training lasted twelve months, very intense, including psychiatric tests. It took us about 230 days to get there, and slightly less back. We used rocket technology regularly available now. Just bigger tanks and more thrust. Nothing unusual in equipment to get there, but better radiation protection, as you can imagine, due to journey time.
We landed near Ares Vallis. Our employers got some data about the Sojourner landing, and this was the place they wanted to explore. We took the same type of collecting devices used by geologists, which is why this had to be a manned mission, as no robot could do this. There were plenty of minerals that we analyzed on the way home: metals, particularly gold(?), and some other substance that was a form of composite like carbon fiber, but already in a usable form.
Lawrence M. Krauss writes in the LA Times:
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The illusion of purpose and design is perhaps the most pervasive illusion about nature that science has to confront on a daily basis. Everywhere we look, it appears that the world was designed so that we could flourish.
The position of the Earth around the sun, the presence of organic materials and water and a warm climate — all make life on our planet possible. Yet, with perhaps 100 billion solar systems in our galaxy alone, with ubiquitous water, carbon and hydrogen, it isn’t surprising that these conditions would arise somewhere. And as to the diversity of life on Earth — as Darwin described more than 150 years ago and experiments ever since have validated — natural selection in evolving life forms can establish both diversity and order without any governing plan.
As a cosmologist, a scientist who studies the origin and evolution of the universe, I am painfully aware that our illusions nonetheless reflect a deep human need to assume that the existence of the Earth, of life and of the universe and the laws that govern it require something more profound.
Back in the summer of 1962, the U.S. blew up a hydrogen bomb in outer space, some 250 miles above the Pacific Ocean. It was a weapons test, but one that created a man-made light show that has never been equaled — and hopefully never will:
Space always seems so far away and much of it actually is. But space is actually quite close to where we are all sitting right now. The Kármán line, the commonly accepted boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and space, is only 62 miles above sea level. A distance of 62 miles can covered by a car on the interstate in less than an hour. Stable Earth orbits are achievable at only 100 miles above the Earth, with the ISS and Space Shuttles usually orbiting at a height of ~200 miles.
Space travel changes you, and not in a good way. If this is the effect of only a couple weeks, it definitely puts a damper on the idea of attempting a ten-year voyage to another galaxy. The Irish Times reports:
Brain scans of Nasa astronauts who have returned to Earth after more than a month in space have revealed potentially serious abnormalities that could jeopardise long-term space missions.
Doctors examined 27 astronauts who had flown long-duration missions and found a pattern of deformities in their eyeballs, optic nerves and pituitary glands that remain unexplained.
Astronauts who had flown on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station reported changes to eyesight, with some seeing worse and others better. Brain scans revealed that seven of the 27 astronauts had a flattening of the back of one or both eyes.
A NASA spacecraft has detected oxygen around one of Saturn's icy moons, Dione. The discovery supports a theory that suggests all of the moons near Saturn and Jupiter might have oxygen around them. Researchers say that their finding increases the likelihood of finding the ingredients for life on one of the moons orbiting gas giants. The study has been published in Geophysical Research Letters. According to co-author Andrew Coates of University College London, Dione has no liquid water and so does not have the conditions to support life. But it is possible that other moons of Jupiter and Saturn do ...
As someone who knows the feeling (without the space travel: Godspeed Jon Glenn!) I am amazed that astronauts develop temporary anosmia in space: wow, never heard that before. Joe Palca writes on NPR’s Food Blog:
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If you think astronauts just want dehydrated dinners and freeze-dried ice cream, think again. After a few days in space, they start reaching for the hot sauce. In fact, they may start craving foods they didn’t necessarily like on Earth.
“They crave [spicy] peppers, they crave sour and sweet things,” says Jean Hunter, a food engineer at Cornell University. That means Tabasco sauce was definitely on the menu for space shuttle astronauts. Why this sudden interest in hot peppers? Part of the reason may be that after arriving in space, astronauts lose their sense of smell, which largely governs the pleasurable taste of food. An example of this is coffee. “If you hold your nose and sip your coffee, you’re getting just a bitter liquid,” says Hunter.