“The rover discovered evidence for low temperature liquid water and environments that would be conducive for life,” said Scott M. McLennan, Professor of Geochemistry at Stony Brook University and a member of the team that published the paper (Steven Squyres of Cornell University headed the team and is the principal investigator for the science instruments carried by the rover). Dr. McLennan noted that this was the third area on Mars visited by the Mars rovers that has produced evidence of “habitable” ancient geological environments.
Opportunity was one of two exploration rovers that landed on Mars eight years ago for what was planned as a three-month mission. According to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Opportunity reached Endeavour Crater last August after driving for three years from another Martian crater, Victoria.
Dr. McLennan said Opportunity found highly elevated levels of zinc in some of the rocks at the rim of the crater, suggesting that there was a hydrothermal system – warm water – running through the rocks at one time. In addition, veins of gypsum discovered at the crater were strong evidence that low temperature waters had at one time passed through those rocks.
“If we found this on Earth there would be no question that you could find evidence of life,” said Dr. McLennan, noting that the Rover sent back some “spectacular” photos of the gypsum veins.
The Mars Rover Opportunity has given Stony Brook faculty and graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to collaborate for eight years on scientific study of Mars as part of the Stony Brook Mars rover group, Dr. McLennan said. While Opportunity and its sister Rover Spirit were scheduled to operate for three months, “Everyone felt they had the capability of lasting quite a bit longer, but nobody thought Opportunity would last this long.” NASA selected Dr. McLennan to participate in the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission.
The mission consisted of two rovers that arrived on opposite sides of Mars in 2004. Dr. McLennan has investigated data on Martian rock and surface deposits to gain insight into the ancient climates of that planet and contribute to NASA's overarching strategy of Mars Exploration: "Follow the Water", the search for past life on Mars, understanding past climates and why the climate changed so drastically, and evaluating the planet for human exploration. Opportunity landed in Eagle Crater on Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, three weeks after its rover twin, Spirit, landed halfway around the planet. Spirit stopped communicating in March 2010.
Powered by solar panels, Opportunity went into “hibernation” on a sun facing slope at the crater’s rim during the Martian winter due to reduced sunlight. It is scheduled to come out of that hibernation by mid-2012 or earlier if wind cleans dust off its solar panels. According to NASA, researchers plan to drive Opportunity in search of clay minerals that a Mars orbiter's observations indicate lie on Endeavour's rim.
Scott M. McLennan | Newswise Science News
Studying fundamental particles in materials
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie
Seeing the quantum future... literally
16.01.2017 | University of Sydney
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction