Curiosity To Drill On Mars In Hopes Of Finding Life

Posted by Bob Muir on Apr 17, 2014 in Science


It seems that Curiosity has a new, exciting mission. The Mars rover has arrived at the Kimberly and will be drilling below the surface. Why? Because of the harsh climate of Mars, any signs of organic life are difficult to find. Researchers are hoping that by going beyond the crust, they’ll be able to find other signs of organic life. Even if they don’t find anything, the researchers hope to discover more about what conditions were like in the past, in a time period when scientists believe life did exist. This isn’t the first time that Curiosity has drilled, but it’s the first time that it’s going below the surface, so hopefully the rover can discover something useful! Read more…

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Now You Can Own Your Own Mars Curiosity Rover

Posted by Ben Huber on Jan 5, 2014 in Hobbies and Collections


Not the real thing, mind you, that’d be a bit expensive. Instead, you can own the NASA Mars Curiosity Rover… in LEGO form! For $30! That’s a bit more affordable, eh? It features the 6-wheeled suspension system and poseable robotic arms for gather data. The coolest part? It was designed by LEGO fan and Curiosity engineer Stephen Pakbaz. So this dude made both the real rover and the LEGO version — if only I could be half as cool as he is! You can buy the set online here (or in stores) but of this writing it’s currently out of stock and will be back January 17th. Read more…

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Could Humans Have Come From Mars?

Posted by Bob Muir on Aug 29, 2013 in Science


We know that there might have been life on Mars, but could Mars have been responsible for the beginning of life on Earth, if new evidence is to be believed. Professor Steven Benner, a geochemist at the Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology, has posited that Martian meteorites thrown by volcanoes or impacts may have landed on Earth and acted as “seeds.” He argues that the oxidized mineral form of molybdenum, a building block necessary for life to grow, wasn’t present on Earth due to low oxygen levels three billion years ago. However, it was found on Mars, which had oxygen at one point. Meteorites carrying the element could have crashed on Earth, bringing the ingredient that may have helped tar form, which led to the first organisms. It’s an interesting thought, because if so, we could technically be part-Martian! Read more…



Is This What Post-Apocalyptic Mars Will Look Like?

Posted by Bob Muir on Aug 18, 2012 in Science

Mars-Inspired Art, Commissioned by NASA

With the success of the Curiosity rover, Mars is hot right now. NASA wanted to create a series of artwork about life on the red planet, and artists Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick delivered. Their collection of photographs, titled Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea, depicts two women exploring the Martian landscape and ruins, empty from the apocalypse of a human colony or possibly some earlier civilization. Read more…

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Can We Build Mars Settlements by 2060?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 13, 2010 in Science

Can we settle Mars by 2060?

The video clip below doesn’t show just anybody predicting settlements on Mars, but Pete Worden, Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center. Now I’ll grant you that gives us a good fifty years to get there — but what kills me is that we have the technology today to do this, or to at least get started trying. In fact part of the problem I think is that NASA is just spread too thin; I’d love to see the agency with a single focus on manned space exploration with a realistic budget to match. But alas that could be fifty years off in the current political climate… Read more…

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Why We Need to Go to Mars: A Planetary Scientist Makes the Case

Posted by Michael Pinto on Apr 30, 2010 in Science

In this video planetary scientist Joel Levine states his case why we need to explore Mars. Levine feels that the geography of Mars makes the case for exploration — if we really want to understand our Earth and the idea of extraterrestrial life exploring the red planet is the best place to start. I think that given the state of NASA as geeks we really need to get our voices heard to accelerate this as a priority for our space program.

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Dear Congress: If You’re Serious About NASA Going to Mars That Requires a Serious Budget

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 25, 2010 in Science

Charles Broden speaking to Congress

Not so long ago congress was picking apart NASA chief Charles Bolden for not having a solid plan for space exploration: This is putting the blame in the wrong place which belongs with congress. Frankly a trip to Mars or even just the Moon requires a huge financial investment. Unlike the 60s NASA is highly invested in an ancient space shuttle fleet that’s due to expire and a huge stake in a space station which is in mid-life, not to mention dozens of other side projects which involve everything to investigating climate change to send probes to the furthest reaches of the solar system. Read more…

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A Six Year Road Trip on Mars

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jan 24, 2010 in Science

This is a nice video that sums up the work of the Opportunity rover on Mars which was expected to be a 90 day mission, but that has been going string for six years. Of course my frustration watching this video is that one wishes that humans had made the trip instead of a robot — but the images are still impressive.

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Six Years on Mars: The Case for Manned Mission to Mars

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jan 2, 2010 in Science

It’s impressive to see NASA send these cute toys to explore Mars to wander about — but the damn things always seem to break down. It’s frustrating to watch knowing that humans wandering about in spacesuits could be much more productive. I’ll grant you that the cost is much great, but it’s sad to me that the United States doesn’t seem to be serious yet about going to Mars. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that Obama gives NASA a budget boost, but NASA needs more than a gentle increase: It’s time to aim high again…

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Buzz Aldrin: Aviation Family Values

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jun 26, 2009 in Science

This interview with Buzz Aldrin is from my favorite local news source NY1 (they have the best coverage of everything from the state of the subway to local political issues). Shelley Goldberg usually does their kids coverage so while this isn’t on her beat she does an A+ job of talking with an Apollo astronaut about some heavy topics in a very short amount of time.

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Buzz Aldrin: Let’s Aim for Mars

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jun 24, 2009 in Science

I just finished reading an amazing essay by Buzz Aldrin — Buzz of course is the second human to have walked on the surface of the moon during the Summer of 1969. Aldrin is currently pushing his book new book Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon, but what has warmed my heart is that instead of reliving the past he’s pushing for the idea that NASA needs to aim higher and not just land on Mars, but build a space colony there: Read more…

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NASA Scientist Predicts We’ll Meet E.T. by 2019

Posted by Michael Pinto on Apr 27, 2009 in Science

Phoenix Mars Mission: Photograph from July 14, 2008

The good news is that Peter Smith who led NASA’s Phoenix Mars Mission predicts that within ten years we’ll find life on other planets — but the bad news for us fanboys with hopes of hanging out with Vulcans and Klingons is that E.T. may be a clump of lowly microbes sitting underneath a rock on Mars. Smith made this prediction during his recent “Journey of the Phoenix” presentation at the University of Delaware which included images from the Phoenix which touched down on the Martian arctic last year. Read more…

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Five Years on Mars: Rovers Surviving the Martian Winters

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 23, 2008 in Science

In January the Mars rover program will turn five years old — it’s quite amazing to think how much we’ve learned about the red planet in such a short amount of time. To me this program is yet another argument why we should focus on a manned trip to Mars rather than returning to the moon.

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Ten Reasons NASA Should Go to Mars Instead of the Moon

Posted by Michael Pinto on Dec 9, 2008 in Science

Martian Colony

As a new administration comes in I’m starting to see NASA push hard for the idea of returning to the moon. My own feeling is that this is going backwards, and people should speak up about it now. Frankly my larger worry is that in view of a major economic downturn that NASA will have their budget chopped yet again — and what sad is that there hasn’t been any serious investment in the program for almost forty years now. So here are my ten reasons why we should try to land on Mars by 2018 instead of going back to 1969: Read more…

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The Buried Glaciers of Mars

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 21, 2008 in Science

Artist concept of glacier on Mars. Image credit: NASA/JPL

It turns out that NASA has discovered that under soil of Mars there are huge glaciers — what cool about this is that it means that a future manned visit to the red planet would be much easier to pull off. Scientists are now trying to figure out just how the ice got there in the first place, but to me that’s yet another argument why NASA should be focusing on a Mars mission instead of returning back to the moon (which China and India are already doing as we speak). Read more…

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The Little Lander That Could…

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 11, 2008 in Science

The Phoenix Mars Lander’s solar panel and robotic arm in an image taken June 10, 2008.

Everyone is mourning the loss of the Phoenix lander due to the harsh Martian winter, however I’m quite impressed with how this mission lasted much longer than anyone could have predicted:

Read more…

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