August 21st, 2014

New Mineral Hints at Livable Mars LiveScience

A tiny, clay-filled bubble found in a Martian meteorite boosts the chances that Mars was habitable for life, according to a new study.
While scientists have not yet found proof that life exists on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover has found evidence that the planet could have supported life in the past. Clay minerals discovered by the rover suggest liquid water, in rivers, lakes and streams, once flowed on Mars’ surface.
The new study also discovered evidence for clay minerals on Mars, but the clues come from a Martian meteorite that fell in Egypt in 1911.

October 10th, 2008

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory: Blastoff in 2009…or Slip City? LiveScience

A NASA decision may be forthcoming on the cost-overrun and highly complex Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. Will a decision be made to stay the course to Mars with a liftoff next year…or move it to 2011?…or decide its fate at a later time? But time is running out. The call itself is expected to come from NASA chief, Mike Griffin.
MSL is being tagged as “the first real astrobiology mission to Mars” – with a price tag sailing past $2 billion. The project has already exceeded the 15 percent “overguide”, (that’s an “overrun” in taxpayer parlance) set by Congress in the fiscal year 2008 NASA authorization law.
The next overguide benchmark is 30 percent. MSL’s total cost overrun is expected to be between 33 and 40 percent.
Why not delay the launch to 2011? Doing so will cost NASA an additional $300 million – $400 million.

September 18th, 2008

Phoenix Mars Microphone – Turning on the Robot’s Ear! LiveScience

Listen up…to Mars!
Word from the trenches is that the Phoenix lander team is going forward with turning on the spacecraft’s microphone. Phoenix, like the lost-to-Mars 1999 Polar Lander, carried a tiny microphone to hear the sounds of the descent to the red planet.
The microphone is part of the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) system built by Malin Space Science Systems, but for Phoenix was turned off due to the small risk that it could trip up a critical landing system.
But the go-ahead has been given to turn the microphone on, right there on-the-spot at the Phoenix Martian polar north landing spot. Other good news is that NASA has given the lander an extended lease on life for an additional two months – into November.

May 13th, 2005

Personal Nuclear Power: New Battery Lasts 12 Years LiveScience

A new type of battery based on the radioactive decay of nuclear material is 10 times more powerful than similar prototypes and should last a decade or more without a charge, scientists announced this week. The longevity would make the battery ideal for use in pacemakers or other surgically implanted devices, developers say, or it might power spacecraft or deep-sea probes. You might also find these nuclear batteries running sensors and other small devices in your home in a few years. Such devices “don’t consume much power,” said University of Rochester electrical engineer Philippe Fauchet.

March 4th, 2005

Bubbles Get Hotter than the Sun LiveScience

Just as blowing up a bubble leads to a pop, so can shrinking it. Rapidly collapsing bubbles have long been known to reach astonishing temperatures. Now scientists have measured just how hot. And they’re surprised. “When bubbles in a liquid get compressed, the insides get hot

February 7th, 2005

Wild Things: The Most Extreme Creatures LiveScience

Extremophilic microbes are a wild bunch. They can be found thriving in some of the most hostile environments imaginable

November 15th, 2004

New Solar Power Technology Harnesses the Heat LiveScience

Applying the most efficient solar technology available, researchers are building a new power plant that utilizes the heat from sunlight to generate electric power. The solar dish, as it

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