Mars Rover Curiosity’s Rock-Blasting Laser Reaches Milestone – eWeek

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Mars Rover Curiosity’s Rock-Blasting Laser Reaches Milestone
Since landing on Mars Aug. 6, 2012, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has been exploring the planet’s surface and conducting science experiments on soil and rocks.

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Meteorite from Mars found in Africa –

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AFRICA – Scientists believe a meteorite that was discovered in northern Africa is from mars.

It apparently is nearly four and a half billion years old. Scientists have nicknamed the stone “Black Beauty.”

It has 10 to 30 times more water in it than any other martian meteorite ever found, according to scientists.

Researchers also believe it formed during Mars’ first 100 million years of existence.

One scientist says it’s a good place to start looking for evidence of past life on the red Planet.

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How Mars could have been warm and wet enough to form ancient valleys – Sci/Tech – dna.

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Researchers have said that much like the Grand Canyon, Nanedi Valles snakes across the Martian surface suggesting that liquid water once crossed the landscape.

The researchers said that the presence of molecular hydrogen, in addition to carbon dioxide and water, could have created a greenhouse effect on Mars 3.8 billion years ago that pushed temperatures high enough to allow for liquid water.

The team includes Ramses M. Ramirez, a doctoral student working with James Kasting, Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences, Penn State used a model to show that an atmosphere with sufficient carbon dioxide, water and hydrogen could have made the surface temperatures of Mars warm to above freezing.

Those above-freezing temperatures would allow liquid water to flow across the Martian surface over 3.8 billion years ago and form the ancient valley networks, such as Nanedi Valles, much the way sections of the Grand Canyon snake across the western United States today.

Ramirez said that the findings are exciting because explaining how early Mars could have been warm and wet enough to form the ancient valleys had scientists scratching their heads for the past 30 years.

Ramirez and post-doctoral researcher Ravi Kopparapu co-developed a one-dimensional climate model to demonstrate the possibility that the gas levels from volcanic activity could have created enough hydrogen and carbon dioxide to form a greenhouse and raise temperatures sufficiently to allow for liquid water.

Once they developed the model, Ramirez ran the model using new hydrogen absorption data and used it to recreate the conditions on early Mars, a time when the sun was about 30% less bright than it is today.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

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Corundum Mineral | Uses and Properties – GEOLOGY.COM

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Corundum is frequently used as an abrasive and is world famous as the mineral of rubies and sapphires

Made Famous by Rubies and Sapphires 

Most people are familiar with corundum; however, very few people know it by its mineral name. A gemstone-quality specimen of corundum with a deep red color is known as a “ruby”. A gemstone-quality corundum of with a blue color is called a “sapphire”. 

Rubies and sapphires are famous throughout the world, but most people do not know that they are color varieties of the same mineral, corundum. 

Properties and Occurrence of Corundum 

Corundum is an exceptionally hard and tough form of aluminum oxide (Al2O3). As a primary mineral it is found in igneous rocks such as syenite, nepheline syenite and pegmatite. It is also found inmetamorphic rocks in locations where aluminous shales or bauxites have been exposed to contact metamorphism. Schist, gneiss andmarble produced by regional metamorphism will sometimes contain corundum. 

Corundum’s toughness, high hardness and chemical resistance enable it to persist in sediments long after other minerals have been destroyed. It thereby becomes concentrated in alluvial deposits. These deposits are sources of rubies and sapphires in several parts of the world. Notable deposits of alluvial rubies and sapphires occur in: Burma, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, India, Afghanistan, Montana and other areas. 

Hardness and Use as an Abrasive 

Corundum is very hard. It serves as the index mineral with a hardness of nine on the Mohs Hardness Scale. It is the third hardest mineral known, with diamond and moissanite being the only minerals with a greater hardness. 

This high hardness makes corundum especially useful as an abrasive. Crushed corundum is screened to produce uniformly-sized grits and powders. These are used as grinding media and used to manufacture polishing compounds, sand papers, grinding wheels and cutting tools. 

The costs of manufacturing abrasives have been declining through innovation. Synthetic corundum is increasingly being used as an abrasive instead of natural corundum. Some of it is manufactured from calcined bauxite which yields Al2O3 with the same Mohs Scale 9 hardness as natural corundum. 


Emery stone is a granular metamorphic or igneous rock that is rich in corundum. It is a mixture of oxide minerals, typically corundum,magnetite, spinel and/or hematite. It is the most common form of natural corundum used to manufacture abrasives. 

The use of corundum as an abrasive has declined in the last few decades. It is being replaced by manufactured abrasives such assilicon carbide. Silicon carbide has a Mohs hardness of 9 to 9.5. It is inexpensive and often performs better than natural abrasives made from corundum or emery. 

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NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Update – November 13-21, 2013 | SpaceRef – Your Space Reference.

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OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  Winter Means Less Power for Solar Panels – sols 3486-3494, Nov. 13, 2013-Nov. 21, 2013:

Opportunity is ascending ‘Solander Point’ at the rim of ‘Endeavour Crater.’ The rover is maintaining favorable northerly tilts for improved energy production.

Opportunity is experiencing the power constraints of the winter season. On Sol 3489 (Nov. 16, 2013), the planned drive had to be shortened considerably owing to the constraint of the expected state of charge of the rover battery. As such, the rover only turned to face the future destination and bumped 4 inches (10 centimeters). Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam) images were taken of the near destination. On Sol 3492 (Nov. 19, 2013), the rover bumped forward about 11 feet (3.5 meters) to approach the target outcrop, called ‘Moreton Island.’

As of Sol 3494 (Nov. 21, 2013), the solar array energy production was 302 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.668 and a solar array dust factor of 0.498.

Total odometry is 24.01 miles (38.65 kilometers).



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#Mars One Fans Forum.

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Mars One Project Forum Community for Enthusiasts


In the selection procedure, the groups of astronauts will be tested for short duration tests, for example 2-7 days. This will probably take place in the recording studio.
The ten groups that are finally selected to train to go to Mars will be trained and tested once per two years, for a period of about three months. With ten groups that are training, Mars One will need two of these analog outposts which will be manned permanently. This will probably take place in a place that is easy to reach, for example in Iceland.
Final preparations of the group that was selected to go to Mars and the first and second backup crew will probably take place in a place that is as much as possible like Mars, like the dry regions of Antarctica.
Mars One will make sure that legal issues for the astronauts are taken care of.

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