NASA’s Curiosity Rover Captures Fantastic Sand Dunes Of Mars

Space exploration is a fascinating subject which encompasses a wide selection of avenues which include the search for other life forms to new discoveries both concerning known and also unknown distant plants. NASA has recently released images from the Curiosity Mars rover which show a fantastic selection of images of Sand Dunes from the red planet.

Below is a selection of images of Sand Dunes which have been both snapped and also transmitted back by Curiosity, it conveys an extremely steep surface where “cascading sand has sculpted very different textures”  Researchers are implementing the rover with the aim of examining examples of the Bagnold Dunes, “this is a band of dark sand dunes lining the northwestern flank of Mt. Sharp”. 

The Curiosity rover “conveys the downwind side of a dune at around about 13 feet high within the Bagnold Dunes field on Mars”. Below is an image which really does capture both the steepness and also the varying textures, The mission’s dune-investigation campaign is designed to increase understanding about how “wind moves and sorts grains of sand in an environment with less gravity and much less atmosphere than well-studied dune fields on Earth”

Below is another incredible image, the Curiosity rover has been stationed on Mars since August 2012 and had managed to reach the base of Mount Sharp in 2014. This image was also taken from the “telephoto-lens camera of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, this reveals fine details of the downwind face of Namib Dune. Sand on this face of the dark dune has cascaded down a slope of about 26 to 28 degrees”.

 

It’s certainly impressive and what space discoveries are all about, it also makes you wonder what else will be found within the near future, perhaps there really is life on Mars, if not, the advancement within this area of tech will make it a possibility of deeper and more detailed space exploration.

NASA Patches Curiosity Rover’s Chem Cam from 235 Million Miles Away

As if the people at NASA haven’t been doing enough awesome stuff lately they just did one insanely long distance software upgrade. The Curiosity rover just got the auto-focus of its “Chem Cam” improved with an update while it is wandering around Mars.

In case you forgot Mars is currently 2.53au (astronomical units) away, which translates into 235.1 million miles away. The scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory previously took nine pictures of each sample at a different focus in attempt to get one usable photo. All of those nine pictures of the soil and rocks would be transmitted back to NASA. Now after the update the rover actually still takes the same amount of photos, but now it will self-analyze those nine photos for the one with the best focus. This update that brings about a very useful new feature, as it only comes in at 40 kilobytes. Engadget points out that that is lighter than the last Android Gmail update.

It is great to see NASA continuing to amaze us with the Curiosity rover’s journey across the surface of Mars. The mission to find out if Mars can support life has been very interesting to watch, but they still have so much more work to do.

Thank you Engadget.com for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

The Man Who Opened Peter Molyneux’s Curiosity Cube Still Awaiting His Reward

When 18-year-old Scot Bryan Henderson opened Peter Molyneux’s Curiosity cube, he was promised that the reward would be “life-changing”. That was on 26th May 2013, and Henderson is still waiting.

Curiosity, a mobile game developed by Molyneux – the famed auteur and creator of the Fable games – through his new indie production house 22Cans, was billed as a “social experiment”. It required players to tap on the tiny cubes that made up a larger cube, stripping it away, layer-upon-layer, until someone uncovered the secret in the centre. Molyneux was cryptic about the contents of the Curiosity cube, but promised that it would change the life of whoever discovered it.

Henderson uncovered the secret, and won the accompanying reward. That reward, it turned out, entitled Henderson to a cut of the profits of Molyneux’s next game.

That game? Godus.

Kickstarted back in 2012, Godus was meant to be Molyneux’s magnum opus, which he described as the spiritual successor to his 1989 game Populous. Despite raising $750,000 from investors and releasing for Windows and OS X in early acccess form, iOS, and Android over a year ago, the game has failed to hit its targets – including the still-uncompleted multiplayer option – and is yet to raise a penny, with rumours that Molyneux has handed the game off to a skeleton crew while he develops his new folly.

Henderson, of Edinburgh, Scotland, now 21 years-old, is more disappointed by the lack of professionalism at 22Cans than the absence of his prize. He told Eurogamer, “Since I won and a year after, I would email them as a ritual thing, every month, just to get some kind of update. Eventually I was like, they’re not being professional at all. Communication is non-existent, so I’m not even going to try any more.”

Before communications with 22Cans ceased, though, Henderson was granted access to an early version of Godus, but he wasn’t exactly impressed. Though he says, “It was interesting. And it was pretty fun,” he later admits, “I did get bored of it, like after an hour-and-a half, two hours.”

The full interview with Henderson is available on Eurogamer.

Source: Eurogamer

Another Win For Technology As Curiosity Finds Water On Mars!

The red planet is ever full of surprises recently, now Curiosity has found that the planet actually contains 2% water by weight, which I’ll have you know is a lot! So much so that you could extract roughly 2 pints (1 liter) of water out of every cubic foot of Martian dirt.

This is effectively a huge moment in Mars exploration, it’s one of the big questions answered and it will now leave many more questions to be answered, it may even be the thing that opens up the door to sending people to mars for exploration and beyond.

Curiosity was sent to find if mars was ever habitable enough for microbial life, something it proved was possible last March, albeit it was habitable billions of years ago.

Laurie Leshin, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. said “SAM [one of the sensors on the rover] also determined that the soil water is rich in deuterium, a “heavy” isotope of hydrogen that contains one neutron and one proton (as opposed to “normal” hydrogen atoms, which have no neutrons). The water in Mars’ thin air sports a similar deuterium ratio. That tells us that the dirt is acting like a bit of a sponge and absorbing water from the atmosphere.”

Unfortunately the soil also contains a lot of Perchlorate, which isn’t exactly good for humans but it’s just one of many obstacles we could face on the planet should we ever explore there. At least we’ve got a head start on water supplies.

Thank you Space for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Space.