Archive for October, 2015

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NASA released today the agency’s master plan for Mars titled: NASA’s Journey to Mars: Pioneering Next Steps in Space Exploration.

The journey to Mars passes through three thresholds, each with increasing challenges as humans move farther from Earth. NASA and our partners are managing these challenges by developing and demonstrating capabilities in incremental steps.

nasas-journey-to-mars-vertical

 

Earth Reliant exploration: Focused on research aboard the ISS.

Proving Ground: NASA will learn to conduct complex operations in a deep space environment that allows crews to return to Earth in a matter of days.

Earth Independent: Activities build on what we learn on ISS and in cislunar space to enable human missions to the Mars vicinity, including the Martian moons, and eventually the Martian surface.

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For a detailed look at this new NASA document, go to:

http://go.nasa.gov/1VHDXxg

Credit: NASA artwork

Credit: NASA artwork

 

A paper to be published tomorrow, Oct. 9 in the journal Science by members of the Mars Science Laboratory team for the Curiosity rover, describes ancient water flows and lakes on Mars, and what this might mean about the planet’s ancient climate.

“We have tended to think of Mars as being simple,” says John Grotzinger, the California Institute of Technology’s (Caltech) Fletcher Jones Professor of Geology, chair of the Division of Planetary and Geological Sciences, and lead author of the paper.

A view from the Kimberley formation looking south. The strata in the foreground dip towards the base of Mount Sharp, indicating the ancient depression that existed before the larger bulk of the mountain formed. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A view from the Kimberley formation looking south. The strata in the foreground dip towards the base of Mount Sharp, indicating the ancient depression that existed before the larger bulk of the mountain formed.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“We once thought of the Earth as being simple, too. But the more you look into it, questions come up because you’re beginning to fathom the real complexity of what we see on Mars. This is a good time to go back to reevaluate all our assumptions. Something is missing somewhere,” Grotzinger adds.

Gale crater

Since August 2012, NASA’s Curiosity robot has been wheeling its way through Gale Crater territory. That site is estimated to be between 3.8 billion and 3.6 billion years old.

According to a Caltech press statement released today:

“As Curiosity has trekked across Gale Crater, it has stopped to examine numerous areas of interest. All targets are imaged, and soil samples have been scooped from some; the rocks in a select few places have been drilled for samples. These samples are deposited into the rover’s onboard laboratories. Using data from these instruments, as well as visual imaging from the onboard cameras and spectroscopic analyses, [Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)] scientists have pieced together an increasingly coherent and compelling story about the evolution of this region of Mars.”

A Curiosity rover image taken at the Hidden Valley site, en-route to Mount Sharp. A variety of mudstone strata in the area indicate a lakebed deposit, with river- and stream- related deposits nearby. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A Curiosity rover image taken at the Hidden Valley site, en-route to Mount Sharp. A variety of mudstone strata in the area indicate a lakebed deposit, with river- and stream- related deposits nearby.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Wetter scenario

In mid-September 2014, the rover reached the foothills of Aeolis Mons, a three-mile-high layered mountain nicknamed “Mount Sharp” in honor of the late Caltech geologist Robert Sharp. Curiosity has been exploring the base of the mountain since then.

The latest results from Curiosity indicate that wetter scenarios about the area are correct for the lower portions of Mount Sharp. Based on the new analysis, the filling of at least the bottom layers of the mountain occurred mostly by ancient rivers and lakes.

Given the rover’s arrival at that locale, scientists are seeing finely laminated mudstones in abundance. These silty layers in the strata are interpreted as ancient lake deposits.

For an informative and rich-with-detail account of the new findings and research, go to:

http://www.caltech.edu/news/wet-paleoclimate-mars-revealed-ancient-lakes-gale-crater-48249

Curiosity Front Hazcam Right image taken on October 8, 2015, Sol 1127. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Front Hazcam Right image taken on October 8, 2015, Sol 1127.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is wrapping up Sol 1127 operations.

On the prior Sol, images show that the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) was well centered over the pre-sieve dump pile of Martian material.

The APXS measures the abundance of chemical elements in rocks and soils.

This 2012 image shows the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) in center onboard NASA’s Curiosity rover, with the Martian landscape in the background. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This 2012 image shows the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) in center onboard NASA’s Curiosity rover, with the Martian landscape in the background.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

APXS is placed in contact with rock and soil samples on Mars and exposes the material to alpha particles and X-rays emitted during the radioactive decay of the element curium.

The Sol 1127 activities of Curiosity also saw use of the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to inspect the wheels of the rover and to monitor damage caused by trekking over rough terrain.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm on October 8, 2015, Sol 1127. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm on October 8, 2015, Sol 1127.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

“After the wheel imaging, there’s just enough time for a short drive to another potential drill target and post-drive imaging,” explains Ken Herkenhoff of the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Dates of planned rover activities are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.

Mars Ice House by Team Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office.

Mars Ice House by Team Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office.

NASA has awarded the top three design finalists in the 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge.

A total of $40,000 was awarded to teams during the New York Maker Faire on Sunday, September 27th.

The competition is part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges program and is managed by America Makes, a partnership of organizations focused on accelerating capabilities and adoption of additive manufacturing technology.

Judging factors

The first-place award of $25,000 went to Team Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office in New York, New York for their design, Mars Ice House.

Second place awarded to Team Gamma.

Second place awarded to Team Gamma.

Second place and $15,000 was awarded to Team Gamma of Foster + Partners.

Third place was awarded to Team LavaHive of Vienna, Austria.

Teams were judged on many factors, including architectural concept, design approach, habitability, innovation, functionality, Mars site selection and 3-D print constructability.

First milestone

The design competition is the first milestone of the 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge, which seeks to foster the development of new technologies necessary to additively manufacture a habitat using local indigenous materials with, or without, recyclable materials, in space and on Earth.

Team LavaHive

Team LavaHive

NASA’s Centennial Challenges Program is part of the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. The program is managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Additional information

More than 165 submissions were received, and the 30 highest-scoring entries were judged, displayed at the Maker Faire event in New York.

For more information about the winning team and Mars Ice House, go to:

www.marsicehouse.com

3d_habitat_2015_winner_0

Additional information on the competition can be found here:

www.nasa.gov/3DPHab

https://americamakes.us/challenge

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A unique panel of experts will tackle Thursday, October 8 just how are private companies and technology changing the way we get to and operate in space.

Tune in October 8 from 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM Eastern Standard Time.

New space economy        

Where is the commercial space sector headed?

What challenges remain that must be overcome?

 The 3D Printer during testing in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) Engineering Unit at Marshall Space Flight Center.  Credit: NASA


The 3D Printer during testing in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) Engineering Unit at Marshall Space Flight Center.
Credit: NASA

In an era in which NASA is manufacturing new parts mid-flight via 3-D printer, how are innovations creating a new space economy, and how will manufacturing and digitalization take shape in the last frontier?

The Atlantic | AtlanticLIVE | TheAtlantic.com stage the event: “Bold Bets: Commercializing the Cosmos.”

Shrinking government budgets

The Atlantic will survey a shifting landscape in which public and private partnerships are filling a void left by shrinking government budgets, new technologies are being developed to usher in the era of in-space manufacturing and the world is looking to the future of commercial spaceflight.

In an era in which NASA is manufacturing new parts in space via 3-D printer, how are innovations like additive manufacturing and digitalization shaping and creating a new space economy?

Being held at The Biltmore in Atlanta, Georgia, panel discussions are:

The Commercialization and Personalization of Space

— The Future of Space Exploration

journey_to_mars

 

Experts on tap

Taking part in the program: Salvatore T. “Tory” Bruno, President and Chief Executive Officer, United Launch Alliance (ULA); George Nield, Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, John Roth, Vice President Business Development, SNC Space Systems and Frank Slazer, Vice President of Space Systems, Aerospace Industries Association.

Also onboard, Steve Justice, Director, Georgia Center of Innovation for Aerospace; Michael Paul, Mission Director and Space Systems Engineer, Penn State Lunar Lion Program and Applied Research Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University; Eric Spiegel​, President and CEO, Siemens USA; and Jilda Garton, Vice President, Research and General Manager, Georgia Institute of Technology Applied Research Corporation.

The program concludes with a “Headline Interview” with NASA’s Ellen Stofan, Chief Scientist.

Live stream details

Tune in October 8, 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM Eastern Standard Time.

Annie Bruce of TheAtlantic.com told Inside Outer Space that individuals can view the conference via live stream at a special website here:

http://www.theatlantic.com/live/events/bold-bets5/2015/

There will also be videos posted online afterwards, if participants are not able to tune in live, Bruce added.

Underwriter of this event is Siemens.

In the series of Past Bold Bets, the topics involved: Future of Manufacturing; Tomorrow’s Industrial Entrepreneurship (And How Everything Will Change); Fast Forward to the Connected City; and California on the Move?

Credit: World Space Week/2015

Credit: World Space Week/2015

 

 

In honor of World Space Week, astronaut Buzz Aldrin shared his dream for the future of space travel with AOL.com.

“For my part, I have been blueprinting a vision for the Red Planet: Establishing Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars,” explains Aldrin.

 

Onward to Mars! Generational space explorers! Credit: Christina Korp

Onward to Mars! Generational space explorers!
Credit: Christina Korp

 

 

 

 

 

“When I look into the coming years, I envision a sequential buildup of a cycling spaceship network. The Earth, the Moon, and Mars become interlaced and will be a busy nucleus of people, cargo and commerce that navigate throughout the inner Solar System,” Aldrin says.

 

 

 

 

For the entire story and Aldrin’s unique perspective, go to:

Buzz Aldrin: “Earth isn’t the only world for us anymore”

http://www.aol.com/article/2015/10/06/buzz-aldrin-earth-isn-t-the-only-world-for-us-anymore/21245132/

Carol Armstrong, ship sponsor for the Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research (AGOR) research vessel (R/V) Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27), breaks a bottle across ship's bow during a March 2014 christening ceremony at Dakota Creek Industries, Inc. shipyard in Anacortes, Washington. Joining Armstrong on the platform are Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, left, chief of naval research, Mr. Dick Nelson, president, Dakota Creek Industries, Inc., and Kali Armstrong, granddaughter of the late astronaut.  Credit: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

Carol Armstrong, ship sponsor for the Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research (AGOR) research vessel (R/V) Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27), breaks a bottle across ship’s bow during a March 2014 christening ceremony at Dakota Creek Industries, Inc. shipyard in Anacortes, Washington. Joining Armstrong on the platform are Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, left, chief of naval research, Mr. Dick Nelson, president, Dakota Creek Industries, Inc., and Kali Armstrong, granddaughter of the late astronaut.
Credit: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has delivered a state-of-the-art research vessel – the R/V Neil Armstrong — to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

The ship is outfitted to carry out scientific studies of the marine environment.

Last month, the Dakota Creek Industries shipyard in Anacortes, Washington delivered R/V Neil Armstrong to the oceanographic institute – a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to marine research.

The research vessel successfully completed acceptance trials last August, the Navy reported.

According to the ONR, the R/V Neil Armstrong will replace the Navy-owned R/V Knorr, which Woods Holehas operated since 1970. The Knorr served as the command ship during the discovery of the deep ocean thermal vents (nicknamed “black smokers”) in 1977 and the wreck of the RMS Titanic in 1985.

Tam O'Shaughnessy, ship's sponsor for the auxiliary general oceanographic research (AGOR) vessel R/V Sally Ride (AGOR 28), breaks a bottle across the bow during a christening ceremony in August 2014 at the Dakota Creek Industries, Inc., shipyard in Anacortes, Washington.  Joining O'Shaughnessy on the platform are Dick Nelson, president, Dakota Creek Industries, Inc., Matron of Honor, the reverend Dr. Bear Ride, Matron of Honor, Kathleen Ritzman, assistant director, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, Kathryn Sullivan, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research.  Credit: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

Tam O’Shaughnessy, ship’s sponsor for the auxiliary general oceanographic research (AGOR) vessel R/V Sally Ride (AGOR 28), breaks a bottle across the bow during a christening ceremony in August 2014 at the Dakota Creek Industries, Inc., shipyard in Anacortes, Washington.
Joining O’Shaughnessy on the platform are Dick Nelson, president, Dakota Creek Industries, Inc., Matron of Honor, the reverend Dr. Bear Ride, Matron of Honor, Kathleen Ritzman, assistant director, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, Kathryn Sullivan, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research.
Credit: U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

Neil Armstrong and its sister ship, R/V Sally Ride (AGOR-28), will conduct coastal and deep ocean research with oceanographic research organizations under charter agreements, according to Megan Eckstein at U.S. Naval Institute News.

Range of scientific studies

A deep-ocean, general-purpose research vessel used for a wide range of scientific studies, the R/V Neil Armstrong will study ocean chemistry and geology, underwater acoustics, marine biology and ecosystem management, and marine technology development.

The 238-foot vessel can sail on cruises as long as 40 days and accommodate both a 20-person crew and up to 24 scientists.

R/V Neil Armstrong has multi-beam bottom-mapping sonar, advanced meteorological sensors and satellite data transmission systems. It also features the latest navigation and ship-positioning systems and a specially designed hull that improves sonar acoustic sensing.

The R/V Neil Armstrong “will provide a continuum of exploration for the next 50 years,” said Carol Armstrong, the astronaut’s widow and sponsor of the ship,” during March 29, 2014 christening ceremonies of the Navy’s newest research ship.

According to the Woods Hole’s Oceanographic Institution website, they will contribute $350,000 annually toward the operation and maintenance of R/V Neil Armstrong. In exchange, its scientists will receive preferential access to the ship schedule for about ten days a year.

Shake-down cruises

Now at Woods Hole, the ship is in for a month of being outfitted with equipment, spare parts, food and other supplies needed for research cruises.

It will then embark on “shake-down” cruises: a transit through the Panama Canal and maintenance on the East Coast; the ship’s science equipment will be installed, such as a high-tech sonar system and other ocean sensors.

Early in 2016, the R/V Neil Armstrong will undergo a series of science verification cruises to test its installed mission systems and ensure its readiness for conducting research missions.

The ship’s first science mission is planned for May 2016 in the North Atlantic.

Sister ship

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon in 1969, also served as a naval aviator flying nearly 80 combat missions during the Korean War.

The late Sally Ride was America’s first woman space traveler in 1983.

The R/V Sally Ride will collaborate with scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego – where Ride worked as a professor and scientist during her career.

 

 

 

 

 

“The Martian” – Mark Watney Credit: 2015 Twentieth Century Fox

“The Martian” – Mark Watney
Credit: 2015 Twentieth Century Fox

Every step you take!

Thanks to Scientists from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) you can view the steps of NASA astronaut Mark Watney in the new movie blockbuster: “The Martian.”

DLR experts typically use their talents producing highly accurate topographical maps of Mars.

The route that Mark Watney in “The Martian” had to take to have a chance of being rescued is thousands of miles long. He had to abandon his Mars station in Chryse Planitia and go through Mawrth Vallis (right of centre) in the Martian highlands. By the way, Mawrth Vallis is one of the potential choices for the landing module of the ESA ExoMars mission. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin – CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The route that Mark Watney in “The Martian” had to take to have a chance of being rescued is thousands of miles long. He had to abandon his Mars station in Chryse Planitia and go through Mawrth Vallis (right of centre) in the Martian highlands.
By the way, Mawrth Vallis is one of the potential choices for the landing module of the ESA ExoMars mission.
Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin – CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Spectacular Mars terrain

But this time they reconstructed Watney’s route using stereo image data acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft.

They then compiled this data into a 3D film that shows the spectacular landscape that the protagonist would see “in the future.”

Maps of this kind are the foundation of all scientific work relating to Mars.

The route of 'The Martian' - from Chryse Planitia over Arabia Terra in the Martian highlands to Ares 4.  Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin – CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The route of ‘The Martian’ – from Chryse Planitia over Arabia Terra in the Martian highlands to Ares 4.
Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin – CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

 

Schiaparelli Crater

For almost 12 years, the DLR Institute of Planetary Research has been using image data acquired by HRSC to produce digital terrain models of the surface of Mars. The Berlin-based DLR Institute is a world leader in the field of planetary surveying and mapping.

In the movie, astronaut Watney endeavors to reach the Ares 4 rocket that NASA had “parked” in Schiaparelli Crater and to use it to leave Mars.

DLR scientists recently presented a broad swath of this terrain – roughly two-and-a-half million square kilometers of precisely mapped landscape that covers the areas described.

This data was released as part of a project to map the entire surface of Mars.

 

The last hurdle for Mark Watney in the hit movie, “The Martian” - the edge of Schiaparelli crater. Schiaparelli crater is located in the eastern Terra Meridiani region of the equator of Mars. This topographical map shows that the terrain is steep in places and therefore, dangerous for ‘The Martian’ Mark Watney and his fragile vehicle. Based on topographical data, he had to find the least steep route possible.  Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The last hurdle for Mark Watney in the hit movie, “The Martian” – the edge of Schiaparelli crater. Schiaparelli crater is located in the eastern Terra Meridiani region of the equator of Mars. This topographical map shows that the terrain is steep in places and therefore, dangerous for ‘The Martian’ Mark Watney and his fragile vehicle. Based on topographical data, he had to find the least steep route possible.
Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

 Travel map

“Thanks to this animation, we have even noticed a few new details that we had not seen in a larger spatial context,” explains Ralf Jaumann from the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, Principal Investigator for the High Resolution Stereo Camera.

“That is why we made the film – it helps everyone see what it would be like for Watney to travel through these areas… the clouds were the only creative touches we added, because, fortunately, they do not appear in the HRSC data.”

Take a video view of this unique product at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Opg6x4IKE3Y

Credit: 2015 Twentieth Century Fox

Credit: 2015 Twentieth Century Fox

Update:

Stranded astronaut Mark Watney spends most of his time at the “Ares 3” site in southern Acidalia Planitia. The book describes Acidalia as flat and easy to drive over; he even drives to the Pathfinder landing site and back.

This region of Mars is actually far more diverse, interesting, and hazardous to drive over than depicted in the novel.

Views of several sites, and other locations pertinent to the fictional story, are in the latest weekly release of images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

They are available online at http://uahirise.org/martian

Or go to:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2015-309

This composite image looks toward the higher regions of Mount Sharp within Gale Crater, Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This composite image looks toward the higher regions of Mount Sharp within Gale Crater,
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This composite image looking toward the higher regions of Mount Sharp within Gale Crater was taken on September 9, 2015 by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover and released by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) last week.

In the foreground — about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the rover — is a long ridge teeming with hematite, an iron oxide. Just beyond is an undulating plain rich in clay minerals. And just beyond in this photo re a multitude of rounded buttes – all high in sulfate minerals.

Further back in the image are striking, light-toned cliffs in rock that may have formed in drier times and now is heavily eroded by winds.

“The changing mineralogy in these layers of Mount Sharp suggests a changing environment in early Mars, though all involve exposure to water billions of years ago,” explains the JPL Curiosity website.

Grey Mars

It may not be 50 shades of grey.

Grey Mars as imaged by Curiosity’s Mastcam Right, snapped on September 30, 2015, Sol 1120. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Grey Mars as imaged by Curiosity’s Mastcam Right, snapped on September 30, 2015, Sol 1120.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

But I asked noted Marsologist, Chris McKay at the NASA Ames Research Center in California about “the greying of Mars” – what’s going on?

“I list the ‘grey Mars’ as one of the four major results of Curiosity – nitrates, fluoride, meteroritic-like organics are the other three,” McKay told Inside Outer Space.

McKay said that virtually all other Mars missions have only accessed the surface of “red Mars.”

Mars stinks!

“The non-porous mudstone at Gale Crater has provided a way to easily reach ‘grey Mars’…even with the rather wimpy drill on Curiosity,” McKay said.

As expected, McKay points out, grey Mars releases Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) when heated and it smells like rotten eggs.

“Unexpectedly it is low in organics — although some are found in Cumberland   and has perchlorate,” McKay notes. “I think this is due to cosmic radiation and implies that we need to drill deeper to find pristine grey Mars – probably 16 feet (5 meters) deep at the Yellowknife Bay site.”

Methane measurement

In related news about the new drill hole and tailings: The weekend plan called for an after dusk use of the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). That instrument will make use of its LEDs to look inside of the drill hole and image the drill tailings.

This image was taken by ChemCam: Remote Micro-Imager onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on October 4, 2015, Sol 1123. ChemCam fires a laser and analyzes the elemental composition of vaporized materials from areas smaller than 1 millimeter on the surface of Martian rocks and soils. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

This image was taken by ChemCam: Remote Micro-Imager onboard NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on October 4, 2015, Sol 1123.
ChemCam fires a laser and analyzes the elemental composition of vaporized materials from areas smaller than 1 millimeter on the surface of Martian rocks and soils.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

That operation is to be followed by use of the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and placing that device over the tailings for an overnight measurement.

MAHLI is also slated to image the pre-sieve dump pile and APXS will be placed over it for another overnight integration.

The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite is to be used for an atmospheric methane measurement. SAM is being put to use because Mars recently went through the path of comet Damocles.

“Dust ejected from comets is often carbon-rich, and therefore is a possible source of the elevated methane concentration that has occasionally been observed by SAM,” explains Ken Herkenhoff of the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Credit: Space Telescope Science Institute

Credit: Space Telescope Science Institute

 

Survey information by YouGov research reveals that majorities of the public in Britain, Germany and the U.S. believe that living creatures who have the ability to communicate and do not come from Earth do exist.

“You are not alone: most people believe that aliens exist” is the title of the YouGov data set posted last month by the group’s Will Dahlgreen.

POLL 1

 

 

Fermi Paradox: Where are they?

YouGov notes that Stephen Hawking has described the search for extra-terrestrial life as “the most exciting quest in 21st-century science” and backed a new project, the Breakthrough Initiative. It is the largest effort yet to search for alien intelligence.

A particularly interesting aspect of the research focuses on the Fermi Paradox.

The Fermi Paradox explores the idea that the lack of evidence for intelligent life contradicts the incredibly low chance that ours is the only planet where it exists in the 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planet universe.

Among Americans who believe in extra-terrestrial life, backwards human technology (42%) is the reason why we have not contacted other intelligent life forms, YouGov finds.

 

POLL 2

Concealing contact

As noted in the research, one conspiratorial possibility is that we have contacted intelligent life but the government has covered it up.

Nearly a third of Americans (30%) believe that the government has deliberately concealed contact with aliens from us.

The research also looks into the recently announced project by the Breakthrough Initiative that aims to send a digital message describing life on Earth to other intelligent civilizations distant from our planet.

“Scientists are now unsure on whether they should contact extra-terrestrial intelligent life,” observes YouGov.

Digital message

“The question still remains of whether it’s a good idea to even try to contact alien life – Hollywood at least would suggest it probably is not,” the YouGov research explains.

Green Bank Telescope (GBT) will join in the search, receiving roughly $2 million per year for 5 years. The 100-meter GBT is the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope, located in West Virginia. Credit: NSF

Green Bank Telescope (GBT) will join in the search, receiving roughly $2 million per year for 5 years. The 100-meter GBT is the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope, located in West Virginia.
Credit: NSF

The YouGov question asked: On balance, do you think the digital message should be sent?

Their finding: Americans tend to say we should send a digital message describing life on Earth to other civilizations.

However, (43% say we should, 31% say we should not) and men (48%) are more supportive on the idea than women (39%).

Resources

YouGov is a leading online market research company based in the UK.

“Our mission is to supply a live stream of continuous and accurate data and insight into what people are thinking and doing all over the world, all of the time, so that companies, governments and institutions can better serve the people that sustain them.”

The new research on ET contact involved a sample of 1,000 adult interviews carried out September 14 – 16, 2015.

For full details on this intriguing YouGov ET survey, go to:

https://today.yougov.com/news/2015/09/28/you-are-not-alone-most-people-believe-aliens-exist/

Also go to:

Breakthrough Search for ET: A “Major Escalation” in Looking for Other Starfolk

http://www.leonarddavid.com/breakthrough-search-for-et-a-major-escalation-in-looking-for-other-starfolk/

Griffith Observatory Event