Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 20
  1.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #1
    Retired Staff Frank LeRenard's Avatar
    Weasyl
    MLR
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Land of the Finns
    Posts
    439

    Mars rover totally nails it immediately

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/ms...l20130312.html

    So the new Mars rover Curiosity (or MSL, if you prefer) just found out that yes, it's an absolute certainty that at some point in the past, some places on Mars could totally have harbored life. The long and short of it is, they found spots where there was clearly water, where the water was more or less neutral (not acidic, little salt), and where there was an energy gradient that bacteria would have loved.
    Now, they didn't find life itself (Curiosity isn't actually equipped to do that), but this is basically one rung below that, and is totally astonishing in its own right. What this means is that, if you were to go back in time and take a trip to Mars, you would have found more or less pristine lakes and rivers. This is confirmed now. Isn't that just super cool? They found this in the first 7 months of the mission. It's, like, exactly what they were looking for.

    Something tells me it won't be too long before we send a biology lab out there to actually check for microbes. At this point it wouldn't be surprising at all if they found some.

  2. #2
    Wow. And people claim that NASA is a waste of money.

  3. #3
    Senior Rilvor's Avatar
    Weasyl
    Clove Darkwave
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Alteir
    Posts
    1,199
    Oh how fascinating!

    I still maintain hope they're going to find minerals the likes of which have never been seen.

  4.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #4
    Sophomore Matt's Avatar

    Weasyl
    Matt
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Ypsilanti
    Posts
    409
    I just wanted to come in here and observe that this is cool as hell.

    I can't help but wonder the logistics of putting a full on biology lab up there though. To be honest, I'm kind of more interested in how they're going to pull that off than what they might discover with it.

    Is that wrong? It feels a bit wrong somehow.
    Look at all the fun we're having.

  5.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #5
    pixel-pusher Aden's Avatar
    Weasyl
    Aden
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    212
    Hells yes. Hopefully awesome breakthroughs like this will encourage people to be more aware about how important science (and the funding thereof) is

  6. #6
    This is an amazing discovery by all means. I've got a question though. What happened to it all?

    Surely a planet with an ecosystem of any sort would run without any real hassle unless it's interfered with, and if anything were to happen to it then surely there'd be more to show for whatever destroyed it? So many things we'll probably never know the answer to.

  7.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #7
    Retired Staff Tiger's Avatar
    Weasyl
    Tiger
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Michigan
    Gender
    grrl
    Posts
    1,287
    I actually just finished writing a speech about the existence of alien microbes today. This is an incredible find, and even if there are no microbe remains found, this is still a huge leap forward for science.
    Last edited by Tiger; 03-18-2013 at 08:11 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Kanagrooboy's Avatar
    Weasyl
    Kanagrooboy
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    244
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    I just wanted to come in here and observe that this is cool as hell.

    I can't help but wonder the logistics of putting a full on biology lab up there though. To be honest, I'm kind of more interested in how they're going to pull that off than what they might discover with it.

    Is that wrong? It feels a bit wrong somehow.
    I don't think so. Don't forget that the logistics of getting Curiosity there was a big subject in itself. Skycrane could not be tested here on Earth because of the vast atmospheric and gravitational differences between here and Mars. It was an amazing feat all in itself getting a 6-wheeled remote controlled car loaded with high-end scientific equipment to safely land automatically by means of equipment that we didn't know would work for sure. It was an absolute feat of engineering.

    I remember when I heard about Curiosity's discovery on my way to work. I almost wanted to stop the car right there on the freeway just to take it in. The fact that Mars has the soil conditions at one time to be able to fucking harbor life on it. Yes, we do need to send a biology lab out there. As well, we need to find a way to bring back a return sample. That's the holy grail right there.
    Also, we need to engineer a boat/submarine version to go to Europa. If we don't find any life on Mars, I'm pretty sure we'll find it in Europa's primordial seas.

  9.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #9
    Retired Staff Frank LeRenard's Avatar
    Weasyl
    MLR
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Land of the Finns
    Posts
    439
    Quote Originally Posted by Nightpaws View Post
    This is an amazing discovery by all means. I've got a question though. What happened to it all?

    Surely a planet with an ecosystem of any sort would run without any real hassle unless it's interfered with, and if anything were to happen to it then surely there'd be more to show for whatever destroyed it? So many things we'll probably never know the answer to.
    That's an interesting question. I don't think anyone quite knows the answer, but I could hazard a guess. Basically, Mars has about 1/3 the Earth's mass and something like 3/5 the Earth's radius, so the surface gravity is quite a bit weaker. Weaker gravity means the atmosphere will be a lot more tenuous; all the lighter elements will float away pretty quick, and over time even the heavy ones like CO2 will dissipate off into space. Mars also doesn't appear to have any tectonic plates (all its old volcanoes, which are no longer erupting, are shield volcanoes, i.e. they're caused by upwellings of magma and not plates ramming into each other), so there's not a whole lot of activity coming from underneath to renew any of those gases.
    Right now, the atmospheric pressure on Mars is equivalent to something like a halfway decent laboratory vacuum, in other words, it's really really low. If there's no pressure, there's nothing holding something like water molecules in a liquid form, so the water just ends up boiling away and then dissociating due to UV rays from the sun or whatever.

    You'll notice most of the smaller bodies in the solar system have no atmospheres at all (the moon, Mercury, Ceres, and so on), while the heavier ones tend to (the Earth, Venus, the gas giants). Same sort of thing is going on there, but more extreme. So it's a decent hypothesis... Earth's atmosphere is actually slowly floating away, too, but it's real slow and there's enough extra crap being pumped into it all the time from plants and animals and volcanoes and other sources (all of which Mars is lacking).


    There's another theory that's more extreme, which is that at some point a huge fucking object slammed into Mars and knocked the whole atmosphere into space, but the only evidence for that is what's called the Tharsis Bulge (where all the big volcanoes reside), and the fact that one half of the planet is lower in elevation than the other half. I don't think people take it too terribly seriously right now, though.

  10. #10
    That theory sounds like one of those ones where it's declared ludicrous at the time, but some evidence will crop up at a later date leading to it being more believable than the current ones.

    So basically, the theory is that Mars used to be like a smaller, less active earth that slowly died of it's own accord?

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •