Mars and beyond.

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September 25th, 2014 at 9:56:57 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 130
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Nothing big. I was marveling at this drill hole on Mars. It's so perfect, it looks like it could be inlaid pipe.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29361606
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September 26th, 2014 at 2:23:56 AM permalink
AZDuffman
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 108
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Lovely, 17 more and Mars has its first golf course.
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December 16th, 2014 at 6:40:46 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 130
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This is kind of news you really don't want to report. As in, easy to get burned. But hey, hate to completely ignore it.


Quote:
Intriguing 'burps' of methane have been recorded by the Curiosity Rover which may have been produced by bacteria. Most methane on Earth is produced as a waste gas by living organisms.

Curiosity has previously found water bound in the fine soil of the Red Planet, believed to be crucial to life. But if the existence of living, breathing microbes is confirmed, it will be the first evidence of life outside Earth.

"What is interesting is that these spikes of methane are coming and going. They are transient," said Dr Paul Mahaffy at Nasa. "At the moment we can't really tell anything, but these burps are intriguing. We have to keep an open mind.

"We don't want to eliminate anything, and potentially it could indicate life or evidence of ancient methane trapped which could show ancient life.

"But it's interesting to think about why it comes and goes. It seems to be suggestive of a localised source."

Nasa claims that with more readings it would be possible to test isotope levels which would prove if the emissions came from a biological source.


http://www.independent.ie/world-news/americas/evidence-of-life-on-mars-is-discovered-30843656.html
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December 17th, 2014 at 3:39:14 AM permalink
odiousgambit
Member since: Oct 28, 2012
Threads: 90
Posts: 2249
Quote: rxwine
This is kind of news you really don't want to report. As in, easy to get burned. But hey, hate to completely ignore it.




http://www.independent.ie/world-news/americas/evidence-of-life-on-mars-is-discovered-30843656.html


OK, say eventually it is shown there is life on Mars, or even that there *was* life on Mars.

I will be thrilled but not amazed.

If it is shown that this life, extinct or not, is DNA based, this would affect me pretty profoundly, even after pondering that this may just mean a transfer from one to the other.
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December 17th, 2014 at 7:10:21 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 345
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I think the Viking probes in the 70s caught something unusual as well. I don't really recall what.

Then there was the Mars meteorite microscopic formations in the 90s. I don't think they were ever proven to be fossilized bacteria.

And now this.

perhaps the next probe should carry out a more conclusive experiment. It's even rather simple: bring along a small container with a rich nutrient soup, then place a small sample of Martian dust in it. Measure for metabolic activity.

Of course, you'd probably want to send a few containers, not just one, and use samples from several locations. On Earth bacteria are everywhere. If you take a sample from virtually anything, you get bacteria along with it (soil, saliva, skin, dust, dirt, etc). But who knows whether that's so on Mars or not. Given the UV intensity of sunlight, and no ozone layer, it may be bacteria do not exist on or very close to the surface. Bacteria can adapt to almost anything. there is a species that can thrive in nuclear reactor cores. But UV light does seem to kill them all.
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December 20th, 2014 at 4:54:32 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 130
Posts: 6343
Astronauts have printed first 3d wrench in space.

That's revolutionary as an application. You need a 3d printer on the moon or mars and material, and you can be sent instructions for new products or parts.

Potentially, you could even print more 3d printers. Self replicating. More likely you would have to hand assemble it at the receiving end. But still, the potential is there.

Probably need some more improvements in material. But with some clever tech, you can probably get more strength from plastic, and bypass some of the intial problems with metal printing.

Imagine solving a critical problem with a new part from Earth based designers.

I've looked into getting a printer, but can't come up with a good enough reason to blow a grand on one. Lots of hobbyists already use them.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/19/tech/feat-3d-wrench-nasa/
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December 21st, 2014 at 6:34:30 PM permalink
DJTeddyBear
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 4
Posts: 228
Quote: rxwine
Potentially, you could even print more 3d printers. Self replicating. More likely you would have to hand assemble it at the receiving end. But still, the potential is there.

I think you'd have a problem with resolution. For example, you could probably print a circuit board, but not the micro-circuit chips that get plugged in.

Of course, that's just a matter of time...
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December 22nd, 2014 at 12:08:59 AM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 130
Posts: 6343
NASA is suggesting plans of a "cloud craft" above Venus.

Quote:
The High Altitude Venus Operational Concept -- HAVOC -- is a conceptual spacecraft designed by a team at the Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate at NASA Langley Research Center for the purposes of Venusian exploration. This lighter-than-air rocket would be designed to sit above the acidic clouds for a period of around 30 days, allowing a team of astronauts to collect data about the planet's atmosphere.

While the surface of Venus would destroy a human, hovering above its clouds at an altitude of around 50 kilometres (30 miles) is a set of conditions similar to Earth. Its atmospheric pressure is comparable, and gravity is only slightly lower -- which would allow longer-term stays, effectively eliminating the ailments that occur during long-term stays in zero G. Temperature is about 75 degrees Celsius, which is hotter than is strictly comfortable, but would still be manageable. Finally, the atmosphere at that altitude offers protection from solar radiation comparable to living in Canada.


You should be able to get a real vacation discount with these conditions. Sulphuric acid clouds is just icing on the cake.

Quote:
While probes have been sent to the planet's surface, they lasted, at most, just two hours before surface conditions on Venus destroyed them. These conditions include an atmospheric pressure up to 92 times greater than Earth's; a mean temperature of 462 degrees Celsius (863 degrees Fahrenheit); extreme volcanic activity; an extremely dense atmosphere consisting mostly of carbon dioxide, with a small amount of nitrogen; and a cloud layer made up of sulphuric acid.


http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/nasa-wants-to-build-a-floating-city-above-the-clouds-of-venus/
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December 22nd, 2014 at 6:45:07 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 345
Posts: 12534
Quote: rxwine
NASA is suggesting plans of a "cloud craft" above Venus.


Translation: NASA scientists really liked the Cloud City in Star Wars ;)

Actually it may be Venus has a greater potential for being terraformed than Mars does. It has a stronger gravitational field, pretty close to Earth's in fact, which makes it able to better retain an atmosphere (in fact it retains too much atmosphere). It's warmer, too.

The big problem is the rotations. Venus turns on her axis slooooooowly. days would be unbearably long, and hot, and nights correspondingly long, and cold. Not to mention retrograde, but that's not a big deal. We'd need to speed up its rotation. How? Well, gravitationally, of course. We could move a moon there and transfer angular momentum from it to the planet. The problem is things usually work the other way around. Our Moon has served to slow down the Earth's rotation, by "stealing" our angular momentum.

But unless you get Venus to rotate faster, it will remain largely useless for eons.
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December 31st, 2014 at 1:44:05 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 130
Posts: 6343
So, it turns out later to actually be a coffin. Ship space burial on mars. (just once, instead of a rock)

edit - guess burial is the wrong word here.

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