Dismiss Notice
You are browsing this site as a guest. It takes 2 minutes to CREATE AN ACCOUNT and less than 1 minute to LOGIN

Curiosity Steps Up Search for Alien Life on Mars

Discussion in 'Tech, Gadgets & Science Forum' started by BAK, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    #1
    Aug 4, 2012
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
    Messages: 49,860
    Likes Received: 9,408
    Trophy Points: 280
    Curiosity Steps Up Search for Alien Life on Mars

    NASA's Mars Science Laboratory ratchets up the quest to the next ingredient in the recipe for life -- organic carbon.


    [​IMG] By Irene Klotz
    Sat Aug 4, 2012 02:56 AM ET


    THE GIST
    • Mars rover Curiosity will look for environments where life could have taken hold -- and been preserved.
    • The wheeled robot will explore a three-mile high mound of what appears to be layers of sediment.
    • Touchdown is slated for 1:31 a.m. EDT on Monday.

      Artist's impression of Curiosity using its ChemCam instrument to analyze rock minerals. Click to enlarge this image.
      NASA/JPL-Caltech


      With the arrival of NASA's Mars Science Lab on Monday, a new chapter begins in the age-old quest to determine if there is life beyond Earth.
      The rover, nicknamed Curiosity, is not a life-detection mission per se. NASA tried that direct approach in the 1970s with the twin Viking landers. Considering what scientists later learned about the Martian environment, it was no surprise those experiments didn't lead to a rush of follow-on missions.

      NEWS: Mars Viking Robots 'Found Life'
      The quest of life on Mars bloomed anew in the 1990s in the wake of a stunning report that a Martian meteorite recovered on Earth had what appeared to be fossilized Martian bacteria. Later analysis refuted that conclusion, but it stimulated new ideas about how and where Martian life might have evolved.

      Meanwhile, scientists were making new discoveries of life in extreme environments on Earth, opening up a range of potential habitats for life beyond the planet as well.
    "At least in the past, Mars looks like it could have supported life," said NASA's lead Mars Program scientist Michael Meyer.
    NASA's revamped quest for Martian life began with a simple premise: Find signs of past water, since water is believed to be a key ingredient for life.

    Wide Angle: Rover Curiosity Ready for Mars Landing
    Over the past decade, an increasingly more sophisticated armada of robotic probes returned strong evidence that Earth's little sibling dramatically changed at some point in its past, transitioning from a warm, wet world to the cold, dry and acidic desert that exists today.

    Curiosity ratchets up the quest to the next ingredient in the recipe for life -- organic carbon, which provides structure for living entities. The key to finding it on Mars, if it exists, is to find places where it could have been preserved, a challenging proposition since the same processes that make rock tend to destroy carbon.

    "The challenge for Mars exploration is first to try to identify environments that might have been habitable and then to ask, 'Is this the kind of place where organic carbon could have been preserved?'" lead mission scientist John Grotzinger, with California Institute of Technology, told Discovery News.

    On Earth, the earliest record of microbial life dates back 3.5 billion years, the same time scientists believe Mars was wet and warm. Single-celled micro-organisms were discovered in 1958 inside a glass-type rock known as chert.

    "That was the key to the castle," said Grotzinger, a geologist.
    "Everybody went out looking at Precambrian chert," he said, referring to a period of time between the origin of Earth 4.6 billion years ago and about 570 million years ago.

    VIDEO: Seven Minutes of Terror for Mars Rover Curiosity
    Chert is not life's only preservative, and Curiosity's landing site, though apparently chert-free, is rich with other materials, such as clays, that could do the job.

    The rover is designed to spend at least two years exploring an ancient crater and an unusual, three-mile high mountain rising from its floor.
    Scientists believe the mound, known as Mount Sharp, is the remains of sediment that once filled the basin.
    "The layers provide an opportunity to rove up the surface of Mount Sharp and come through time to see how the environments have changed," Meyer said.

    It would be the first comprehensive record of what may be billions of years of time, a record which on Earth has been disrupted and erased by tectonic plate movements, weathering and other natural events that regularly rewrite the planet's surface.

    "We're not just looking for water anymore," Grotzinger said. "With this mission, expectations go up. The scientific challenge is much greater. It's going to be harder to address this question of habitability."
    Curiosity is due to touch down on Mars at 1:31 a.m. EDT Monday.
     
  2. Ndebile

    Ndebile JF-Expert Member

    #2
    Aug 5, 2012
    Joined: Sep 14, 2011
    Messages: 2,662
    Likes Received: 610
    Trophy Points: 280
    Kama mbingu ya saba kwa malaika Gibril ipo kweli na sio day dream za misahafu basi hawa jamaa siku moja watafika!
     
  3. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    #3
    Aug 5, 2012
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
    Messages: 49,860
    Likes Received: 9,408
    Trophy Points: 280
    [h=1]Nasa's Curiosity rover edges closer to Mars[/h][​IMG] By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News, Pasadena [​IMG]
    Communications from the rover during descent will come to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    [h=2]The Curiosity rover remains perfectly on course to make its Monday (GMT) landing on the Red Planet.[/h]
    The Nasa robot's flight trajectory is so good engineers cancelled the latest course correction they had planned.
    To be sure of touching down in the right place on the surface, the vehicle must hit a box at the top of the atmosphere that is just 3km by 12km.
    "Our inbound trajectory is right down the pipe," said Arthur Amador, Curiosity's mission manager.
    "The team is confident and thrilled to finally be arriving at Mars, and we're reminding ourselves to breathe every so often. We're ready to go."
    The rover's power and communications systems are in excellent shape.
    The one major task left for the mission team is to prime the back-up computer that will take command if the main unit fails during the entry, descent and landing (EDL) manoeuvres.
    [h=2]Curiosity - Mars Science Laboratory[/h][​IMG]

    • Mission goal is to determine whether Mars has ever had the conditions to support life
    • Project costed at $2.5bn; will see initial surface operations lasting two Earth years
    • Onboard plutonium generators will deliver heat and electricity for at least 14 years
    • 75kg science payload more than 10 times as massive as those of earlier US Mars rovers
    • Equipped with tools to brush and drill into rocks, to scoop up, sort and sieve samples
    • Variety of analytical techniques to discern chemistry in rocks, soil and atmosphere
    • Will try to make first definitive identification of organic (carbon-rich) compounds
    • Even carries a laser to zap rocks; beam will identify atomic elements in rocks


    Curiosity - also known as the Mars Science Laboratory - has spent the past eight months travelling from Earth to Mars, covering more than 560 million km.
    The robot was approaching Mars at about 13,000km/h on Saturday. By the time the spacecraft hits the top of Mars' atmosphere, about seven minutes before touch-down, gravity will have accelerated it to about 21,000km/h.
    The vehicle is being aimed at Gale Crater, a deep depression just south of the planet's equator.
    It is equipped with the most sophisticated science payload ever sent to another world.
    Its mission, when it gets on the ground, is to characterise the geology in Gale and examine its rocks for signs that ancient environments on Mars could have supported microbial life.
    Touch-down is expected at 05:31 GMT (06:31 BST) Monday 6 August; 22:31 PDT, Sunday 5 August.
    It is a fully automated procedure. Nasa will be following the descent here at mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
    The rover will broadcast X-band and UHF signals on its way down to the surface.
    These will be picked up by a mix of satellites at Mars and radio antennas on Earth.
    The key communication route will be through the Odyssey orbiter. It alone will see the rover all the way to the ground and have the ability to relay UHF telemetry straight to Earth.
    And mission team members remain hopeful that this data will also include some images that Curiosity plans to take of itself just minutes after touching the ground.


    These would be low-resolution, wide-angle, black and white images of the rear wheels.
    They may not be great to look at, but the pictures will give engineers important information about the exact nature of the terrain under the rover.
    A lot has been made of the difficulty of getting to Mars, and historically there have been far more failures than successes (24 versus 15), but the Americans' recent record at the Red Planet is actually very good - six successful landings versus two failures.
    Even so, Nasa continues to downplay expectations.
    "If we're not successful, we're going to learn," said Doug McCuistion, the head of the US space agency's Mars programme.
    "We've learned in the past, we've recovered from it. We'll pick ourselves up, we'll dust ourselves off, we'll do something again; this will not be the end.
    "The human spirit gets driven by these kinds of challenges, and these are challenges that drive us to explore our surroundings and understand what's out there."
    [​IMG]
    Curiosity is heading for Gale Crater

    The mission team warned reporters on Saturday not to jump to conclusions if there was no immediate confirmation of landing through Odyssey.
    There were "credible reasons", engineers said, why the UHF signal to Odyssey could be lost during the descent, such as a failure on the satellite or a failure of the transmitter on the rover.
    Continued efforts would be made to contact Curiosity in subsequent hours as satellites passed overhead and when Gale Crater came into view of radio antennas on Earth.
    "There are situations that might come up where we will not get communications all the way through [to the surface], and it doesn't necessarily mean that something bad has happened; it just means we'll have to wait and hear from the vehicle later," explained Richard Cook, the deputy project manager.
    This was emphasised by Allen Chen, the EDL operations lead. His is the voice from mission control that will be broadcast to the world during the descent. He will call out specific milestones on the way down. He told BBC News there would be no rush to judgement if the Odyssey link was interrupted or contained information that was "off nominal".
    "I think we proceed under any situation as though the spacecraft is there, and there for us to recover - to find out what happened," he said.
    "That's the most sensible thing to do. There are only a few instances I think where you could know pretty quickly that we'd be in trouble."
    [h=2]Step by step: How the Curiosity rover will land on Mars[/h][​IMG] As the rover, tucked inside its protective capsule, heads to Mars, it dumps the disc-shaped cruise stage that has shepherded it from Earth.
     
  4. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    #4
    Aug 6, 2012
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
    Messages: 49,860
    Likes Received: 9,408
    Trophy Points: 280
    (CNN) -- NASA's rover Curiosity successfully carried out a highly challenging landing on Mars early Monday, transmitting images back to Earth after traveling hundreds of millions of miles through space in order to explore the Red Planet.

    The $2.6 billion Curiosity made its dramatic arrival on Martian terrain in a spectacle popularly known as the "seven minutes of terror."
    This jaw-dropping landing process, involving a sky crane and the world's largest supersonic parachute, allowed the spacecraft carrying Curiosity to target the landing area that scientists had meticulously chosen.

    The mission control in NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California burst into cheers as the rover touched down. Team members hugged and high-fived one another as Curiosity beamed back the first pictures from the planet, some shed tears.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]
    Curiosity sends out first Mars photo

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]
    NASA rover 'Curiosity' lands on Mars

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]
    NASA administrator: 'We're on Mars'

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]
    Mars, NASA's most ambitious mission

    "The successful landing of Curiosity -- the most sophisticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet -- marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future," President Barack Obama said in a statement congratulating the NASA employees who had worked on the project.

    The scientific community reacted to the achievement with a mixture of elation and relief.
    "Rationally I know it was supposed to work all along, but emotionally it always seemed completely crazy," said James Wray, assistant professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, who is affiliated with the science team of Curiosity. "So to see all those steps being ticked off and actually working, it's a huge relief."

    The initial images the SUV-sized rover sent back to Earth were black and white and grainy, but one showed its wheel resting on the stony ground and the vehicle's shadow appeared in another. Larger color images are expected later in the week, NASA said.

    The spacecraft had been traveling away from Earth since November 26 on a journey of approximately 352 million miles (567 million kilometers), according to NASA.
    Curiosity, which will be controlled from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has a full suite of sophisticated tools for exploring Mars. They include 17 cameras, a laser that can survey the composition of rocks from a distance and instruments that can analyze samples from soil or rocks.
    The aim of its work is "to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms," NASA says.

    Meet a rover driver: His car is on Mars
    Curiosity's first stop is Gale Crater, which may have once contained a lake. After at least a year, the rover will arrive at Mount Sharp, in the center of the crater. The rover will drive up the mountain examining layers of sediment. This process is like looking at a historical record because each layer represents an era of the planet's history, scientists say.

    The phenomenon of sedimentary layers is remarkably similar to what is seen on Earth, in California's Death Valley or in Montana's Glacier National Park, says John Grotzinger, chief scientist of the Mars Science Laboratory mission.

    Rocks and minerals found on Earth are different than on Mars, but the idea of a mountain made of layers is familiar to scientists. Unlike on Earth, however, Mars has no plate tectonics, so the Martian layers are flat and not disrupted as they would be on Earth. That also means that Mount Sharp was formed in a different way than how mountains are created on Earth -- no one knows how.

    Images: Exploring Mars
    In these layers, scientists are looking for organic molecules, which are necessary to create life. But even if Curiosity finds them, that's not proof that life existed -- after all, these molecules are found in bus exhaust and meteorites, too, says Steve Squyres, part of the Mars Science Laboratory science team.

    If there aren't any organics, that may suggest there's something on the planet destroying these molecules, said Wray, of Georgia Tech. But if Curiosity detects them, Wray said, that might help scientists move from asking, "Was Mars ever habitable?" to "Did Mars actually host life?"
    Curiosity's mission is also significant in an era when NASA's budgets are shrinking and China is becoming more ambitious in its space exploration program.

    "I feel like it's a signal that we have the capability to do big and exciting things in the future." said Carol Paty, assistant professor at Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. "You can't not be excited."

    Liquid water is not something scientists expect to be apparent on Mars because the planet is so cold and dry, Squyres said. If the planet does harbor liquid water today, it would have to be deep below the surface, perhaps peeking out in a few special places, but not likely to be seen by Curiosity, Squyres said.

    Rover to search for clues to life on Mars
    It's hard to know how long ago liquid water would have been there because there's no mechanism to date the rocks that rovers find on Mars, Squyres said.
    Evidence from the spacecraft NASA has sent to Mars so far suggests that the "warm and wet" period on Mars lasted for the first billion years of the planet's history.

    "In order to create life, you need both the right environmental conditions -- which includes liquid water -- and you need the building blocks from which life is built, which includes organics," Squyres said. The Mars Science Laboratory is a precursor mission to sharper technology that could do life detection, Grotzinger said.

    There aren't specific molecules that scientists are looking for with Curiosity. The attitude is: "Let's go to an interesting place with good tools and find out what's there," Squyres said.

    Curiosity is supposed to last for two years on Mars, but it may operate longer -- after all, Spirit and Opportunity, which arrived on Mars in 2004, were each only supposed to last 90 Martian days. Spirit stopped communicating with NASA in 2010 after getting stuck in sand, and Opportunity is still going.

    "You take what Mars gives you," said Squyres, also the lead scientist on the Mars Exploration Rover Mission, which includes Spirit and Opportunity. "If we knew what we were going to find, it wouldn't be this much fun."
     
  5. Azimio Jipya

    Azimio Jipya JF-Expert Member

    #5
    Aug 6, 2012
    Joined: Nov 27, 2007
    Messages: 3,369
    Likes Received: 8
    Trophy Points: 135
    What a great achievement!!
     
  6. Azimio Jipya

    Azimio Jipya JF-Expert Member

    #6
    Aug 6, 2012
    Joined: Nov 27, 2007
    Messages: 3,369
    Likes Received: 8
    Trophy Points: 135
    BAK,

    Naona Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Pasadena ... Palikuwa hapatoshi! Shangwe na hoi hoi!!

    Jamaa hawakuamini Rover Curiosity itatua salama ...!

    Ilikuwa kazi ngumu ....!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2016
  7. Azimio Jipya

    Azimio Jipya JF-Expert Member

    #7
    Aug 6, 2012
    Joined: Nov 27, 2007
    Messages: 3,369
    Likes Received: 8
    Trophy Points: 135
    .. You might think a rover driver would control the vehicle using a joystick and virtual reality interface, much like a video game. That's not how it works. The reason for that: Signals take at least four minutes to travel from Earth to Mars (it could take up to 20 minutes, depending on where the planets are in their orbits), and then the same amount of time for confirmation data to come back.

    So rover drivers don't tell the vehicle to move forward and then wait several minutes for confirmation that it happened before sending the next command. Instead, drivers spend their days writing directions for what the rover will do the next day, sometimes even a few days if it's a holiday weekend.

    Maxwell and colleagues spend the Martian night generating a single batch of commands, which they send to the rover after the vehicle sees sunrise. Drivers work in overlapping 8- to 10-hour shifts preparing the rover for the day ahead. "It's as if we're e-mailing the rover its to-do list for the entire day," Maxwell explains. And at the end of its day, the rover sends information back saying what it did. During the Martian night, the rover goes to sleep.

    That might sound risky, letting a vehicle roam around on a planet for several hours without someone guiding its every move in real time. But safety checks are built in. Curiosity will know how far its wheels are moving up and down, so it will stop if it heads into something deeper or higher than the drivers had planned. In that sense, the rover is more like a boat than a plane -- stopping is a fine course of action if additional direction is needed, Maxwell explains.

    Curiosity can travel up to about 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) per minute, says rover driver John Wright, but in practice it will go a lot slower because the science team will want it to stop and examine its surroundings.

    Source.His other car is on Mars - CNN.com
     
  8. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    #8
    Aug 6, 2012
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
    Messages: 49,860
    Likes Received: 9,408
    Trophy Points: 280


    Uthibitisho huu hapa Mkuu Azimio Jipya

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2016
  9. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    #9
    Aug 6, 2012
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
    Messages: 49,860
    Likes Received: 9,408
    Trophy Points: 280
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2016
  10. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    #10
    Aug 6, 2012
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
    Messages: 49,860
    Likes Received: 9,408
    Trophy Points: 280

    Please be patient....within days we will get better quality pictures from NASA.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2016
  11. mathematics

    mathematics JF-Expert Member

    #11
    Aug 6, 2012
    Joined: Feb 21, 2012
    Messages: 3,248
    Likes Received: 14
    Trophy Points: 135
    wakuu , hebu nisaidien, faida ya miradi ya kwenda mars, moon ni ipi?

    manake ni gharama sana!
     
  12. simplemind

    simplemind JF-Expert Member

    #12
    Aug 6, 2012
    Joined: Apr 10, 2009
    Messages: 9,749
    Likes Received: 1,191
    Trophy Points: 280
    space technology baada ya muda inatumika hapa hapa. Mfano "battery" ya curiosity inayouwezo wa kuzalisha umeme miaka 14! (Battery specs kilo 45 output 150 watts)
     
  13. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    #13
    Aug 7, 2012
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
    Messages: 49,860
    Likes Received: 9,408
    Trophy Points: 280
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2016
  14. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    #14
    Aug 11, 2012
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
    Messages: 49,860
    Likes Received: 9,408
    Trophy Points: 280
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2016
  15. Kijakazi

    Kijakazi JF-Expert Member

    #15
    Aug 11, 2012
    Joined: Jun 26, 2007
    Messages: 3,546
    Likes Received: 11
    Trophy Points: 135
    moja ya sababu kubwa ni kutengeneza silaha tu, hamna kingine kikubwa sana! Kama LHC experiment ya kutafuta Higgs particle tu!
     
  16. J

    Jimmor New Member

    #16
    Aug 12, 2012
    Joined: Aug 11, 2012
    Messages: 1
    Likes Received: 0
    Trophy Points: 0
    What an accomplishment! This beats the dollar value that the US has spent on it's military programs. Only a few billion. What could be better done with the billions spent on bombs and drones?



    Bamboo Sheets
     
Loading...