Applied Technotopia

We scan the digital environment to examine the leading trends in emerging technology today to know more about future.

We have added a few indices around the site. Though we look to the future, we need to keep an eye on the present as well:

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Posts tagged "mars rover"
The Opportunity Rover on Mars.


Opportunity Rover tracks on Mars. 

this is so beautiful

The Opportunity Rover on Mars.



Opportunity Rover tracks on Mars. 

this is so beautiful

(via s-c-i-guy)

Happy mission birthday Curiosity!

As of Aug. 5, 2013, the Curiosity Mars rover has spent an whole year on the Red planet. (via Mars Curiosity Rover’s Year On Mars - Business Insider)

The Atacama Desert in Chile is the perfect testing ground for rovers destined for Mars.

A rover named Zoe recently traveled the Atacama Desert in Chile, the driest place on Earth and a landscape that has much in common with the harsh terrain of Mars. From the unrelenting UV radiation, to the thin, cold air at high altitudes, to the desiccated sand and lava flows, the Atacama is not especially “life-friendly,” but it is a great place to test instruments for future Mars missions. (via Autonomous Rover Drills Underground in the Atacama)

A look at NASAs next Mars Rover.

NASA’s Next Mars Rover Will Search for Signs of Life

NASA’s next Mars rover should hunt for signs of past Red Planet life and collect samples for eventual return to Earth, a team of mission planners has determined.

The new Mars rover — slated to launch in 2020 — should explore a site that once was habitable, make its own observations and snag material for scientists here on Earth to study in unprecedented detail at some point in the future, according to a new report compiled by the mission’s “science definition team” (SDT).


"The SDT-preferred mission concept employs new in situ scientific instrumentation in order to seek signs of past life (had it been there), select and store a compelling suite of samples in a returnable cache and demonstrate technology for future robotic and human exploration of Mars," states the report, which was released to the public today (July 9).

The 2020 Mars rover will be based heavily on NASA’s Curiosity rover, which touched down last August on a mission to determine if Mars could ever have supported microbial life.

For example, the new robot will use a similar chassis and “sky crane” landing system, NASA officials have said. But the 2020 rover will take the science to a whole new level.

"The 2020 rover as proposed by the Science Definition Team would carry a different and more advanced set of science instruments than Curiosity carries, its drill would extract cores rather than blended powder from rocks and it would collect and package samples for possible future return to Earth," NASA officials wrote today in an FAQ about the SDT’s report.

Just what those instruments will be is unclear at the moment; they will be selected through a competitive process. But the science gear will search for visual, mineralogical and chemical signs of past life if the SDT recommendations are adopted.

"The capability for examining the mineralogic composition of samples at microscopic scale would be unprecedented for a mission to Mars," NASA officials wrote in the FAQ. "The search for potential signs of past life could use assessments of textures, shapes, mineralogy, organic-matter content, and possibly elemental chemistry at the scale of individual grains within a sample."

The rover would also gather and store samples for potential return to Earth by a future mission (the timing and details of which are yet to be determined). Sample-return is viewed by most scientists as the best way to look for signs of Red Planet life.

The new rover’s landing site has not been selected yet, officials said, and its power source similarly has not been confirmed.

Curiosity is powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), which converts the heat generated by radioactive decay into electricity. The 2020 rover may follow suit, but it’s also possible that it could run on solar power, like NASA’s smaller Spirit and Opportunity rovers, which landed on Mars in 2004.

"No final decision on a power source for the 2020 rover would be made until the mission completes a review through the National Environmental Policy Act process, which considers the environmental impacts of launching and conducting the mission," NASA officials wrote in the FAQ.

Curiosity’s mission cost a total of $2.5 billion. The 2020 rover is expected to be significantly cheaper, with a total price tag estimated at around $1.5 billion.

The new 2020 rover mission was announced this past December, and the SDT was formed in January.


(via niceskynewworld)

So there are organic compounds on Mars - maybe. Curiosity keeps on finding that out.


NASA Announces Mars Curiosity’s First Round of Soil Analysis

The take-away message? There’s some very interesting “maybes” but no definite “wows”.

A week or so after the misunderstanding about how “groundbreaking” these findings would actually be, NASA’s Mars rover team announced the results of their first soil sample analysis today. Remember that this rover is primarily an interplanetary geology lab, outfitted with the most advanced mineral chemistry instruments ever plopped down on another planet. So any hints of Mars one day being able to support life are going to start with eating a whole bunch of dirt.

Here’s a quick summary of the recent findings (good summaries at MSNBC and LA Times, too):

  • These first few rounds of soil samples are useful, but one of their main purposes is to clean out the internal instruments and make sure the onboard, self-contained lab is working correctly. The laser-eye and other instruments are cool, but it’s the stuff inside that will most precisely determine the molecules and elements that exist in Martian soil.
  • Curiosity processed a few scoops of coarse sand so far, which NASA compared to the big salt grains on a pretzel, from a region of Gale Crater called Rocknest. The machinery is all working fine, and any contaminating substances from Earth have probably been washed out by now.
  • The rover has found hints of organic molecules (a huge family of carbon-based chemicals that are the precursors to anything that could later lead to life), as well as a chlorine chemical called “perchlorate” (also found by a previous rover in 2008). Normally perchlorate would be toxic, but super-tough microbes could eat it, mayyyyyyyybe … if they also found lots of carbon-based molecules. Which they only have hints of. Really just traces of organics. A “scoche”. Got it?
  • Otherwise the soil was a pretty unremarkable mix of volcanic crystals, which is not surprising on Mars, since it’s home to many volcanoes, including the Solar System’s biggest. They also found traces of water, which we knew Mars had, and isn’t sufficient for life by itself (even Mercury has water ice!).
  • The next step is to continue checking this data to make sure - absolutely sure - that the chlorine and carbon aren’t from Earth. Then they need to see if they are just random leftovers from old meteors or dust hitting the red planet. Then, and only then, will they be able to say whether these chlorine-carbon molecules are special.

In the end, this finding is a big “maybe”. But that should not disappoint anyone. Because these early days are about proving that the mission is ready to proceed and that everything is working correctly. And NASA gets an A+ on that. We have 2+ years of experiments, on all kinds of rocks, waiting for us!

So keep your “Curiosity” engaged …

(via starstuffblog)

Waiting and waiting to hear what Curiosity`s big discovery on Mars is.


Mars discovery could be “one for the history books”.

NASA’s Curiosity rover has made a discovery that, if verified, could be huge news… apparently. NASA remain tight lipped about exactly what it is, until further testing verifies the data.

“This data is gonna be one for the history books,” John Grotzinger, the rover mission’s principal investigator, told NPR last week for a the buzz-inciting segment that aired today. ”It’s looking really good.”

What we do know is that the data comes from a soil sample analyzed by the rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars instrument, an on-board lab known as SAM, so if the data holds up to further testing it appears possible, and perhaps likely, that it is a discovery of an element on Mars previously thought not to exist on the Red Planet.

(via starstuffblog)

Curiosity: The latest Mars Rover self-portrait. (Yes, we can`t get enough of this marvel!) ( 3TPNEY5RHQQC ) —- Don`t mind that. Technorati code).


High-Resolution Self-Portrait by Curiosity Rover Arm Camera

This incredible picture is a mosaic made up of 55 hi-res images taken by the MAHLI, the Mars Hand Lens Imager. That’s a camera designed to be able to take close-up shots of nearby rocks and other feature, but can also focus all the way out to infinity, allowing it to take pictures of distant geographical features as well.

This high-resolution mosaic is a more detailed version of the low-resolution version created with thumbnail images, at: . 

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

(via imagineatoms)