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Martian Craters May Once Have Harbored Primordial Life

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MarsThe possibility of finding life on other planets has been a fascinating prospect pretty much from the moment our species could understand the concept. It’s natural to think that we are not alone in this giant universe, so looking to our closest neighbors seems like the best way to begin the search. While the Red Planet shows no signs of harboring any little green men these days, scientists now theorize that ancient meteorite craters on Mars may once have been home for primordial life forms.

Some scientists believe that hot springs were the spawning ground for the earliest life here on Earth. What if the same could once have been true for the ancient Red Planet, only with conditions created by an outside influence: large asteroids and meteorites? Their violent impacts could have melted Mars’ surface rock and heated its water. These super-heated craters apparently could have taken quite a while to cool…perhaps even a million years in some cases. In the meantime, you’d have heat, and you’d have water, and it’s possible that this span of time could have been sufficient to give rise to primordial life.

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First Female In Space Volunteers For One-Way Mars Mission

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valJune 16, 2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Russian Vostok 6 mission, which was the first time a female cosmonaut had been sent into space. That cosmonaut’s name is Valentina Tereshkova, and even at 76 years of age, her desire for adventure has yet to die down.

While speaking at a pre-celebration for the anniversary, Tereshkova made it clear that she was ready to go to Mars, even if it meant never coming back. You guys migth recall the overwhelming response to the one-way ticket to Mars volunteer program. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure Tereshkova pulls rank over anyone else in this situation.

“Of course, it’s a dream to go to Mars and find out whether there was life there or not,” she said. “If there was, then why did it die out? What sort of catastrophe happened?”

Seemingly without a sense of irony, Tereshkova decried space travel as a luxury instead of a privilege, saying that “only specialists should be making space flights because, while there have been a lot of flights and more than 50 astronauts, there is still a lot that hasn’t been studied.” But of course, if they can “bring some use working aboard a spaceship,” then she’s all for it. I guess the last 30 years of reverence diluted her memory of being a civilian parachutist before being chosen for the three-day orbit.

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Mars Wearing An Ice Hat

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Martian Ice CapIn this picture Mars appears to be wearing a hat, only a cold hat, one that will do nothing to keep your head warm. This is not hat at all, rather a photograph of the polar ice cap that covers the northern most reaches of the Red Planet.

The image is a mosaic compiled from 57 individual stills taken by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express Orbiter. Captured by a high-resolution stereo camera, the pieces of this puzzle were selected from those taken throughout the craft’s mission, soaring over the poles at an altitude of between 300 and 500 km. And it just so happens that we’re celebrating the tenth anniversary of the launch this year, so, party.

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Three Stunning Martian Panoramas Courtesy Of Curiosity

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Curiosity Rover PanoramaThe Mars Curiosity Rover has already achieved the primary goals of its mission. Because of its exploration and analysis of soil samples, as well as those taken from deep beneath the surface of various locations, scientists have been able to determine that the Red Planet would indeed have been a suitable host for life. Granted that would have been billions of years ago, but still, that’s big news for science.

So now, having completed its job, this has become something of a working vacation for Curiosity. The adorable little guy has been travelling around, and, like any good tourist, has been taking copious amounts of photographs to show the folks back home. Only instead of scrapbook after scrapbook full of shots of the Grand Canyon, the view from the Empire State Building, or sunburned Midwesterners on a tropical beach, the photos just happen to be more stunning panoramas of the Martian landscape. That’s a vacation most of us probably won’t be able to afford anytime in the near future.

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Space Entrepreneur Predicts A Permanent Mars Colony Within Sixty Years

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There have been some exciting landmarks in space exploration in the past year or so. Private corporations like SpaceX have proven that they’re dead serious about their commitment to pushing space exploration forward in a way many of the major governments haven’t tried in a long time. We’ve had headlines that a few years ago would have read like outright science fiction, from a reality show that wants to give people a one-way trip to Mars, to a plan to mine freakin’ asteroids that includes James Cameron among its supporters. That latter jaw-dropper is under the auspices of the company Planetary Resources, and The Atlantic interviewed PR co-founder Eric Anderson a while back about the coming age of space exploration, expansion, and even colonization.

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NASA Wants To Send Your Name And Haiku To Mars

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If aliens come
Have them know that I’m watching
Big ole telescope
 

For those of you out there with something to say in the written form, particularly the three-line haiku written form, then your 17-syllable masterpiece could end up on Mars. No, not that Mars. The planet Mars.

As part of their upcoming Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft launching in November, NASA is encouraging anybody who is interested to submit their name and a haiku poem to be put on a DVD that will make the flight to Mars as a part of the MAVEN mission. This will be the first time anyone will attempt to explore Mars’ upper atmosphere.

“This new campaign is a great opportunity to reach the next generation of explorers and excite them about science, technology, engineering and math,” said MAVEN’s principal investigator, Bruce Jakosky. “I look forward to sharing our science with the worldwide community as MAVEN begins to piece together what happened to the Red Planet’s atmosphere.”