Tag Archives: curiosity

A New Tool in the Search for Extraterrestrial Life: A Tricked-Out Point-and-Shoot

UA engineers have turned an off-the-shelf digital camera into an imaging device that could be key in the search for life forms on other planets.

The next time a NASA rover blasts off to explore Mars or some other planet, it might be equipped with a new type of “do-it-all” camera developed by an engineering team at the University of Arizona.

The prototype of the “Astrobiological Imager” – described in a research paper featured on the cover of a recent issue of the journal Astrobiology – consists of an off-the-shelf digital point-and-shoot camera with some surprisingly simple modifications. A slightly more sophisticated version, mounted on a rover, could do what even NASA’s latest and greatest Mars rover, Curiosity, can’t: identify, photograph and even analyze patches of soil or rocks from afar and in extreme close-up, all with the same camera.  (more…)

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Curiosity Resumes Science after Analysis of Voltage Issue

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity resumed full science operations on Saturday, Nov. 23.

Activities over the weekend included use of Curiosity’s robotic arm to deliver portions of powdered rock to a laboratory inside the rover. The powder has been stored in the arm since the rover collected it by drilling into the target rock “Cumberland” six months ago. Several portions of the powder have already been analyzed. The laboratory has flexibility for examining duplicate samples in different ways. (more…)

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Questions for Jack Mustard: Helping to shape a new Mars rover

In 2020, a new-generation Mars rover will land on the Red Planet and gather much more detailed data than Curiosity, which is on Mars now. NASA revealed details about the new rover at a news conference Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Brown University’s Jack Mustard chaired the Mars 2020 Science Definition Team.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — NASA unveiled details about a new rover proposed to land on the surface of Mars in 2020. The details came in the form of a 154-page document prepared by the Mars 2020 Science Definition Team, which was tasked with recommending scientific objectives of the mission. (more…)

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NASA Mars Rover Preparing to Drill into First Martian Rock

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is driving toward a flat rock with pale veins that may hold clues to a wet history on the Red Planet. If the rock meets rover engineers’ approval when Curiosity rolls up to it in coming days, it will become the first to be drilled for a sample during the Mars Science Laboratory mission.

The size of a car, Curiosity is inside Mars’ Gale Crater investigating whether the planet ever offered an environment favorable for microbial life. Curiosity landed in the crater five months ago to begin its two-year prime mission. (more…)

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Curiosity Rover Explores ‘Yellowknife Bay’

Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

PASADENA, Calif. – After imaging during the holidays, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity resumed driving Jan. 3 and pulled within arm’s reach of a sinuous rock feature called “Snake River.”

Snake River is a thin curving line of darker rock cutting through flatter rocks and jutting above sand. Curiosity’s science team plans to get a closer look at it before proceeding to other nearby rocks. (more…)

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Curiosity Rover Nearing Yellowknife Bay

Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

PASADENA, Calif. –– The NASA Mars rover Curiosity drove 63 feet (19 meters) northeastward early Monday, Dec. 10, approaching a step down into a slightly lower area called “Yellowknife Bay,” where researchers intend to choose a rock to drill.

The drive was Curiosity’s fourth consecutive driving day since leaving a site near an outcrop called “Point Lake,” where it arrived last month. These drives totaled 260 feet (79 meters) and brought the mission’s total odometry to 0.37 mile (598 meters). (more…)

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Author Paul Tough Gives Talk on the Traits that Help Children Succeed

To Paul Tough, his recent visit to the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy was “a nice homecoming.”

During the two years of research for his new book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character, Tough spent time at UChicago and in its surrounding neighborhoods.

“The nerve center of my journalistic enterprise was a small dorm room in International House,” he joked Oct. 18 in a speech at Chicago Harris, saying that many of the ideas in the book drew from work in the Department of Economics, the Economics Research Center, the Crime Lab and from the Consortium on Chicago School Research. (more…)

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Back to the Future: A New Science for a Changing Planet

In a world that is changing on a global scale and faster than ever before, science should rediscover its roots of observing the natural world unimpeded by the strict protocols of experimental manipulations, UA ecologist Rafe Sagarin and co-author Aníbal Pauchard suggest in their book, “Observation and Ecology.”

Mars rover Curiosity is doing it. School children strolling through the woods with binoculars are doing it. Charles Darwin was doing it. Observing the natural world around them was how the early naturalists started what would later become known as ecology – the science of how living things interact, depend on each other and how their habitats and communities change over time.

In their book, “Observation and Ecology,” ecologists Rafe Sagarin and Aníbal Pauchard make the case that if scientists are to tackle the enormously complex problems the world is facing, researchers and funding agencies have to leave their comfort zone of well-controlled experimental manipulations. (more…)

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