Curiosity: Mars Science Laboratory

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Curiosity Finds Biologically Useful Nitrogen on Mars

Post by bystander » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:40 pm

Curiosity Rover Finds Biologically Useful Nitrogen on Mars
NASA | GSFC | JPL-Caltech | MSL Curiosity | 2015 Mar 24
A team using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite aboard NASA's Curiosity rover has made the first detection of nitrogen on the surface of Mars from release during heating of Martian sediments.

The nitrogen was detected in the form of nitric oxide, and could be released from the breakdown of nitrates during heating. Nitrates are a class of molecules that contain nitrogen in a form that can be used by living organisms. The discovery adds to the evidence that ancient Mars was habitable for life.

Nitrogen is essential for all known forms of life, since it is used in the building blocks of larger molecules like DNA and RNA, which encode the genetic instructions for life, and proteins, which are used to build structures like hair and nails, and to speed up or regulate chemical reactions. ...

There is no evidence to suggest that the fixed nitrogen molecules found by the team were created by life. The surface of Mars is inhospitable for known forms of life. Instead, the team thinks the nitrates are ancient, and likely came from non-biological processes like meteorite impacts and lightning in Mars' distant past. ...
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Re: Curiosity: Mars Science Laboratory

Post by BMAONE23 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 1:41 am

The Curious Selfie

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MSL: Looking Up at Curiosity in 'Buckskin' Selfie

Post by bystander » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:58 pm

Looking Up at Curiosity in 'Buckskin' Selfie
NASA | JPL-Caltech | MSL Curiosity | 2015 Aug 19

This low-angle self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the site from which it reached down to drill into a rock target called "Buckskin" on lower Mount Sharp.

The selfie combines several component images taken by Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on Aug. 5, 2015, during the 1,065th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars. For scale, the rover's wheels are 20 inches (50 centimeters) in diameter and about 16 inches (40 centimeters) wide. ...

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Know the quiet place within your heart and touch the rainbow of possibility; be
alive to the gentle breeze of communication, and please stop being such a jerk.
— Garrison Keillor