America's car on Mars is finally being allowed to do what it was designed to do--fire up its hammer drill and bore into the Red Planet. After 182 sols (Martian days) of work, the the first robot equipped to take a bite out of another world got its first taste. To be sure, the Mars rover Curiosity has done some amazing things already, but this has to be pretty satisfying for the engineers who built it. It's like having a coupe that can hit top speeds of 200 MPH, but you can't do that yet because it might not be safe--but then suddenly you can!
Curiosity ran some tests last week before making its first hole Friday, and beaming back data to Earth on Saturday. The fresh hole is 2.5 inches deep and about 0.63 inches (1.6 cm) wide. The target rock is called "John Klein," and it's a flat exposed piece of bedrock in the Yellowknife Bay region of Gale Crater on Mars.
This rock is interesting to scientists because they believe it holds evidence about extinct wet environments on Mars. Curiosity is uniquely equipped to study the rock's insides to find out about its past.
Along with boring through rock, the drill sucks up the dirt it produces. Rock dust travels up flutes in the drill bit and is stored in chambers until Curiosity is ready to use it. Like it did with its first scoop samples, Curiosity will swish dirt around in its sample mechanisms to make sure it rinses away any possible Earth contamination. Then its robotic arm will take the powder out of the drill assembly and put it into the scoop mechanism, which will sift it around to screen out any particles bigger than six-thousandths of an inch across. Then the very fine-grained powder sample will go into Curiosity's X-ray machine and oven to be tested.
Planetary scientists hope to find out what minerals are present within John Klein, which can tell them about how the rock formed--whether it was in a wet environment, a salty environment, and so on. The main goal is to find out whether Gale Crater could have ever been a hospitable place for life. Scientists were thrilled about the drilling operation, according to NASA.
"This is the biggest milestone accomplishment for the Curiosity team since the sky-crane landing last August, another proud day for America," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.
Scientists will be working on the drill powder analysis during the next few days.
So were not satisfied with destroying the Earth we have to export that habit too? Which is one reason why ET will never visit this planet as they are worried about picking up bad habits!
ET doesn't exist. Don't stay up all night waiting for him.
Let us know when they find resources on mars that will draw industry or allow sustainable habitation there.
Maybe I'm just old but I'm still blown away we are operating machinery on another planet remotely.
"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours"
- Stephen Roberts
For one drilling a small hole in a rock is not ruining a habitat, mars has no habitat or at least not that we can tell. To have a habitat you have to have inhabitants.. Also its not like other planets are hurting when we go to them, as technology gets better we will find cleaner, and more efficient energy and will be better to this environment and others we venture to. Also to the guy that says ET doesn't exist well if your talking about the one in the movie he does exists but is made of plastic. If your talking about the prospect of extraterrestrial life in the universe then chances are overwhelming. In our Galaxy alone we have at least 100 billion stars, correct? If 1 of 1% of those stars harbored life that would be 10 million worlds with some sort of life even if its just pond scum, and if 1 of 1% of that harbored intelligent life that would be 1000 worlds with intelligent life. Also mind you thats just our galaxy and we have found a 100 billion galaxies in the known universe. Soooo, yeah ET does exist we just haven't found him. Also if you care anything about the future of mankind aka your children's children, children and so on, then you should be for space exploration because this home is rapidly filling up with no signs of slowing, we have to explore space our future literally depends on it.
@theroo20: I agreed on the whole habitat thing. However, if we ever found anything sentient on a planet/asteroid/moon we should back off.
"Soooo, yeah ET does", how can you say this? It's like saying "yeah, my dog shines in the dark, I have never seen anyone's dog shine in the dark, but there are many florescent dogs around....I'm sure of it"
-I dont want to live on this planet anymore
"....the first robot to drill another planet."
When it was done, did it light up a smoke and ask "was it good for you?"
crude i know, but was compelled to say it....
While i admire theroo20's tenacity and share his belief, we do not have any firmly supported theories yet, let alone evidence.
I have faith that there is life out there in some form, and the general math seems to support the concept. However, it is just that, faith. Knowing the difference between fact and belief is what separates us from the religious zealots and pseudo-scientists.
Regan the fact that life exist here and the fact that we have already found basic organic compounds known to be associated with life I would say chances are heavily in favor of life. Yes we don't know but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it does exist. Oh and why would we back off when we find a new island did we back off because a new kind of pond scum was on that island, get real their is no stoping this.
"In our Galaxy alone we have at least 100 billion stars, correct? If 1 of 1% of those stars harbored life that would be 10 million worlds with some sort of life even if its just pond scum, and if 1 of 1% of that harbored intelligent life that would be 1000 worlds with intelligent life. "
Per the episode of 'How The Universe Works' that I saw yesterday, like the Goldilocks zone around the sun, there is a Goldilocks zone in the galaxy; I believe they said that "only" about 100M of the stars in our galaxy are within that Goldilocks zone.
So that said, you have to divide your number by about 1000, so down to one world with intelligent life in our galaxy, us. If there is only about one per galaxy, then we might as well be alone.
Universe. 100B galaxies then is about 100B worlds with intelligent life. But the universe is ~14B years old. We've only been around for a tiny, tiny fraction of that. And we're one big asteroid or nuclear war from not being around in the distant future.
If the odds are that there is only one civilization for galaxy on average, but remote chances of multiples-- the chances are then made further remote because who says two relatively nearby examples happen to occur around the same time?
I still believe life is not as rare as some make it out to be. Theres still a chance will find life on another planet in this solar system, Europa or possibly on one of the ice moons of Saturn. I may be wrong, and I may be naive to think this but who wins if Im wrong? Would you be happy to find out we are alone, I think that thought would be absolutely terrifying. Oh and I know what your going to say next " well it doesn't matter how you feel about it facts are facts" well the fact is my position is just as plausible as yours. I may be an optimist but I'm in good company Carl Sagan, Arther C. Clark were fellow believers that intelligent life could and most likely is out there and in our galaxy. I may be a fool but in the end who really cares if your a fool.
Rosen I do respect that you at least responded with an intelligent argument I'll have to look into that, hopefully they are wrong on the chances. Thats another thing the science today is not concrete everyday they have to rewrite laws of science due to knew findings. Hell not too long ago you would of been considered crazy to thing there was anything beyond our galaxy.
""Soooo, yeah ET does", how can you say this? It's like saying "yeah, my dog shines in the dark, I have never seen anyone's dog shine in the dark, but there are many florescent dogs around....I'm sure of it" "
Anyone is free to say whatever they choose, whether or not they can prove it. You are under absolutely no obligation to believe that there really was a girl from Nantucket...
ET doesn't exist. The number of possible planets out there does nothing to increase the chances because the chances for life to arise from non-life is 0. Last time I checked 0^n is 0 for all n>0.
Abiogenesis is not science, it is science fiction that has been propagated by the religious darwinists zealots.
nkfro: Of course, do I need to start every sentence with: "you are free to say what you want, but.."? I was merely asking how do you know that?
And the whole drake equation looks nice and all but that whole thing should be multiplied with "number of bodies except earth with life", and so far, that is 0.
As long as we haven't found any real life (not even viruses) it's absurd to start guessing how frequent life is.
We must suppose it is 0 and look for a reason to raise that number.
-I dont want to live on this planet anymore
theroo20: Oh, I said sentient life, not pond scum.
-I dont want to live on this planet anymore
Sorry to nitpick, but the *first* robot to drill into another world was Luna 16 probe on September 20, 1970.
It also brought the drilled samples back to Earth 4 days later.
I'm surprised that no one brought up Drake's Equation yet, for those of you who don't know it, it is a mathematical equation used to estimate the number of detectable extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy.
I'm not going to write out the equation but the results find there are between 1000 and 100,000,000 civilizations in the galaxy.
I think there is life out there and I think it is human. In our solar system we have a range of environments from intense heat to intense cold, acidic atmospheres and gas giants yet there is no life at all aside from that which we find on Earth. On Earth we have those same varieties of environments and the only thing that is ever found living there are single celled organisms. People say we have only been around for a short time in comparison to the rest of the Universe, well we're a lot more advanced than the single celled organisms living in scalding hot water.
Furthermore, I think that there are specific series of events that occur on a planet within the Goldilocks Zone. While a planet is young and the life it harbors is young it is at risk for meteor impacts because there is significantly more debris in space. This helps weed out evolutionarily weak animals like the Dinosaurs. As the solar system ages it becomes less dangerous and more hospitable for a living planet. However, the planet is still young and as it ages settles in the same way as the solar system, volatile at first and stable as it matures. As for the other life on Earth, there still is no species that is near our level of intelligence. They've had just as much time to evolve, but there are reasons they did not evolve and there are reasons why Humans were so successful.
In conclusion I believe that the statistical outcome of life in the Universe will inevitably result in Humans.
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