The images that Curiosity is sending back from Gale Crateris showing soil profiles similar to the ancient soil found in the dry valleys of Antarctica and in the alto-Plano of the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile. The soil images and data indicate chemical weathering and accumulations of clay just as one would find them here on Earth. Phosphorus depletion, associated with microbial activity here on Earth, is evident from the information Curiosity has gathered.
Nikolai Kardashev, a Soviet astrophysicist born in 1932, devised a method of rating advanced civilizations. Technological advances, according to Kardashev, could theoretically create conditions where a society could maximize use of energy. He categorized each of these stages as Type 1 through Type 4. Based on Kardashev's speculations where does our civilization sit today?
When my wife and I downsized we left our satellite dish and satellite TV behind and went back to cable because that's what was available in the building where we have our apartment. We are not alone in abandoning this technology. Homes that were early adopters of satellite TV can have enormous dishes sitting in backyards or rigged on to poles projected above the roof line of their homes.
Without the ocean Earth would be a pretty inhospitable place even though we lie within our Sun's Goldilocks Zone. Those of you who live by the ocean can probably figure out why that is the case. You see the ocean is a temperature moderator and a heat transport mechanism that evens out the climate across the planet.
Some of you who know me personally know that in my formative years I started studying geophysics in university before a physical accident laid me up for more than a year and I in an epiphany changed my major to Islamic Studies and Medieval History. So I was both a science and history nerd all at the same time. Well nothing has changed.
NASA in the news the last few days is getting prepared for Pluto and beyond while some of its scientists further speculate on finding alien life on a New Earth within the next two decades. Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago when the SETI folks said something similar? In any event, here are the stories that made middle-page headlines in the last week.
When existing in outer space becomes second nature to humanity it will be accompanied by gardens and robotic helpers to ensure their survival. By gardens I'm not referring to the planting of rose bushes. I'm talking about food gardens.
When Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, two private initiatives hoping to mine asteroids, finally arrive at their first celestial destination they will have an act of the U.S
At the end of June, the Mars One team announced it was seeking proposal from academics and researchers as well as commercial businesses to populate the payload that will be on board the unmanned Mars Lander scheduled for launch in 2018. This spacecraft and lander will be the first in a series of robotic unmanned devices that Mars One will place on the Red Planet before the proposed first colonists fly there in 2024.
Over the weekend NASA test flew its Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) near the Hawaiian Islands. It is NASA's solution for landing heavier payloads on the surface of Mars and the test produced "nominal" results. Nominal is NASA jargon for "as expected." The LDSD plucked from the Pacific appears in the image below.