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The rover is currently keeping its "eyes" on a dust event that had gone global by June 20. Flickr

Researchers have used non-science engineering data from NASA’s Curiosity rover to find Mars rocks less compacted and more porous than expected, according to researchers.

A team of researchers from the Arizona State University (ASU), including a graduate student, measured the density of rock layers in the 154-km-wide Gale Crater on Mars, Xinhua news agency reported.


The discovery gives scientists a novel technique to use in the future as the rover continues its trek across the crater and up Mount Sharp, a 4.8-km-high mountain in its centre, according to the researchers.

“What we were able to do is measure the bulk density of the material in Gale Crater,” said Travis Gabriel, the graduate student at the ASU.

He worked on computing what the grain density should be for the rocks and ancient lake bed sediments the rover has been driving over.


Google collaborated with NASA to produce Access Mars that lets users wander the actual dunes and valleys explored by NASA’s Curiosity rover. Wikimedia Commons

“Working from the rocks’ mineral abundances as determined by the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument, we estimated a grain density of 2,810 kg per cubic metre,” he said.

“However, the bulk density that came out of our study is a lot less, 1,680 kg per cubic metre.”

The much lower figure shows that the rocks have a reduced density most likely resulting from the rocks being more porous, according to the research published in the journal Science.

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Planetary scientists have long debated the origin of Mount Sharp. The new findings suggest Mount Sharp’s lower layers have been compacted by only one to two km of material, much less than if the crater had been completely filled.

Curiosity landed near Mount Sharp in the Gale Crater on Mars in August 2012, and reached the base of the mountain in 2014. (IANS)


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The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

four children standing on dirt during daytime 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


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Clean and maintained hands boost confidence in daily life activities.

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