Monday May 28, 2018

NASA’s Curiosity Rover discovers pyramid-like structure on Mars

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New York: Fuelling speculation that advanced civilization once thrived on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover has found a pyramid-like structure on the Red Planet, media reports said.

This image that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Great Pyramid in Egypt was captured by Mastcam: Right on-board NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on May 7.

Estimated to be the size of a small car, it could also be the capstone of a much larger pyramid buried beneath the Martian sand, Exopolitics reported.

This “pyramid” image has stargazers believing that intelligent life exists or once thrived on Mars, Starpulse.com said.

What stands out about the photograph is the straight-line geometry and symmetry of the structure.

A telltale sign that differentiates a natural formation from a man-made one is its angles and lines. In this case, the picture resembles smooth angular shapes that are equivalent in scope.

The pyramid is among the clearest photographic evidence collected so far that artificial structures exist on Mars built by an earlier civilization, the Exopolitics report said. (IANS)

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NASA Curiosity Rover Gets its Drilling Groove Back on Mars

It lets Curiosity drill using the force of its robotic arm, a little more like the way a human would drill into a wall at home

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NASA Curiosity Rover Gets its Drilling Groove Back on Mars
NASA Curiosity Rover Gets its Drilling Groove Back on Mars. Pixabay

After a mechanical problem took NASA Mars rover Curiosity’s drill offline in December 2016, it has now successfully tested a new drilling method on the Red Planet, making a 50-millimetre deep hole in a target called “Duluth”, NASA has said.

Engineers working with the Curiosity Mars rover have been hard at work testing a new way for the rover to drill rocks and extract powder from them.

On May 20, that effort produced the first drilled sample on Mars in more than a year, NASA said in a statement on Wednesday.

The new technique, called Feed Extended Drilling, keeps the drill’s bit extended out past two stabiliser posts that were originally used to steady the drill against Martian rocks.

It lets Curiosity drill using the force of its robotic arm, a little more like the way a human would drill into a wall at home.

“The team used tremendous ingenuity to devise a new drilling technique and implement it on another planet,” said Curiosity Deputy Project Manager Steve Lee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Those are two vital inches of innovation from 60 million miles away. We’re thrilled that the result was so successful,” Lee said.

Drilling is a vitally important part of Curiosity’s capabilities to study Mars.

Inside the rover are two laboratories that are able to conduct chemical and mineralogical analyses of rock and soil samples.

The samples are acquired from Gale Crater, which the rover has been exploring since 2012.

“We’ve been developing this new drilling technique for over a year, but our job isn’t done once a sample has been collected on Mars,” said JPL’s Tom Green, a systems engineer who helped develop and test Curiosity’s new drilling method.

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“With each new test, we closely examine the data to look for improvements we can make and then head back to our test bed to iterate on the process.”

There’s also the next step to work on — delivering the rock sample from the drill bit to the two laboratories inside the rover.

As soon as this Friday, the Curiosity team will test a new process for delivering samples into the rover’s laboratories, NASA said. (IANS)

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