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Shark Week returns Aug 10
Shark Week: #KingOfSummer since 1987!
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After traveling 354 million miles and surviving a nail-biting descent, the Curiosity rover finds earthly similarities on Mars mission
Curiosity’s exploration of Mars’ barren landscape is revealing signs that water once flowed freely and that life could have existed on the planet.
“Our findings are showing that Mars is a planet that was once a whole lot like Earth,” said UC Davis geology professor Dawn Sumner, co-investigator for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory team, which is exploring whether the planet ever had an environment capable of supporting microbial life.
Liquid water disappeared from Mars’ surface millions of years ago, leaving behind tantalizing clues about the planet’s ancient past — clues that Sumner has been deciphering since the rover landed in August 2012.
Sumner is working from Curiosity mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena while on sabbatical from UC Davis.
She helped choose which parts of the planet Curiosity should investigate. And she helps lead the team that analyzes the rocks and other geologic elements that the rover encounters.
“All the rocks we’ve seen on this mission are sediments that have been deposited by water,” Sumner said. “We’ve found almost no sandstone deposited by wind.”
The Power of Public: Paving the way for manned missions →
Red dwarf stars — the most common stars in the galaxy — bathe planets in their habitable zones with potentially deadly stellar winds, a finding that could have significant impacts on the prevalence of life beyond Earth, new research shows. Read more
Researchers have worked out how to make matter from pure light and are drawing up plans to demonstrate the feat within the next 12 months.
The theory underpinning the idea was first described 80 years ago by two physicists who later worked on the first atomic bomb. At the time they considered the conversion of light into matter impossible in a laboratory.
But physicists at Imperial College London claim to have cracked the problem using high-powered lasers and other equipment now available to scientists. Full story »
Photograph: Lawrence Manning/Corbis