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LeopoldS

Plant sciences: Plants drink mineral water : Nature : Nature Publishing Group - 1 views

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    Here we go: we might not need liquid water after all on mars to get some nice flowering plants there! ... and terraform ? :-)


    Thirsty plants can extract water from the crystalline structure of gypsum, a rock-forming mineral found in soil on Earth and Mars.

    Some plants grow on gypsum outcrops and remain active even during dry summer months, despite having shallow roots that cannot reach the water table. Sara Palacio of the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology in Jaca, Spain, and her colleagues compared the isotopic composition of sap from one such plant, called Helianthemum squamatum (pictured), with gypsum crystallization water and water found free in the soil. The team found that up to 90% of the plant's summer water supply came from gypsum.

    The study has implications for the search for life in extreme environments on this planet and others.

    Nature Commun 5, 4660 (2014)
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    Very interesting indeed. Attention is to be put on the form of calcium sulfate that is found on Mars. If it is hydrated (gypsum Ca(SO4)*2(H2O)) it works, but if it is dehydrated there is no water for the roots to take in.

    The Curiosity Rover tries to find out, but has uncertainty in recognising the hydrogen presence in the mineral:

    Copying :

    "(...)
    3.2 Hydration state of calcium sulfates
    Calcium sulfates occur as a non-hydrated phase (anhydrite, CaSO4) or as one of two
    hydrated phases (bassanite, CaSO4.1/2H2O, which can contain a somewhat variable water
    content, and gypsum, CaSO4.2H2O). ChemCam identifies the presence of hydrogen at 656 nm,
    as already found in soils and dust [Meslin et al., 2013] and within fluvial conglomerates
    [Williams et al., 2013]. However, the quantification of H is strongly affected by matrix effects
    [Schröder et al., 2013], i.e. effects including major or even minor element chemistry, optical and
    mechanical properties, that can result in variations of emission lines unrelated to actual
    quantitative variations of the element in question in the sample. Due to these effects,
    discriminating between bassanite and gypsum is difficult. (...)"
LeopoldS

Nature News Blog: Russia and Japan aim for the Moon : Nature News Blog - 0 views

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    Ambitious
LeopoldS

One or more bound planets per Milky Way star from microlensing observations : Nature : ... - 1 views

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    Plenty of other earths ....
LeopoldS

Evidence of Water Vapor in Excess of Saturation in the Atmosphere of Mars - 2 views

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    Cynthia, Marion - have a look at this: I assume that this also affects our model, correct?
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    And I suppose they will (or already have) modify their GCM to take this in account...
LeopoldS

Earth's first Trojan asteroid: 2010 TK7 - 1 views

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    a place to go?
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    yup, for me next summer...
Ma Ru

Hi-res photo of the moon taken by LROC WAC - 2 views

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    145m/pixel... in case you plan any follow-ups to curiosity cloning ;)
Juxi Leitner

Jumping beats moonwalking - for a virtual robot - space - 18 December 2010 - New Scientist - 1 views

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    "They found that while the robot can leap to a height of 1.5 metres, such leaps put stresses on the robot's legs that make it more likely to fall over. Leaping to 0.8 metres improved stability but reduced the robot's maximum running speed. Future simulations will determine the precise trade-off between speed and stability."
Juxi Leitner

NASA Team Has Plan to Send a Robot to the Moon - NYTimes.com - 1 views

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    background piece on Project M, it is being worked on at least it seems so ...
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    there should be more project like these - when you give a tough deadline and work your heart out to make things happen...
    look forward to see it walking on the Moon :)
Juxi Leitner

YouTube - ATHLETE Rover Busts a Move: A Dancing Robot - 1 views

Juxi Leitner

SPACE.com -- Next Mars Rover's Landing Site Narrowed to 4 Choices - 0 views

  • is expected to determine whether Mars is or was ever habitable to microbial lif
  • whittled down to four. They are regions of Mars known as Mawrth Vallis, Gale crater, Holden crater and Eberswalde crater.
Juxi Leitner

Japan Plans a Moon Base by 2020, Built by Robots for Robots | Popular Science - 1 views

  • Those initial surveyor bots will pave the way for the construction of the unmanned moon base near the lunar south pole, which the robots will construct for themselves.
  • Even if Japan falls short of its 2020 deadline, the advances in robotics technology that could fall out of this little project could be as exciting as the moon base itself.
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    More on these Japanese moon base plans...

    Those initial surveyor bots will pave the way for the construction of the unmanned moon base near the lunar south pole, which the robots will construct for themselves.
Juxi Leitner

A Cyborg Space Race - 1 views

  • There is more discussion in the space community on how to alter entire planets to suit humans - a process called "terraforming" - than there is on changing man to suit space.
  • making the machines our "avatars" for space exploration
  • Perhaps a brain implant linking us to our robots would be the next step in space exploration, greatly reducing communication time across the vast expanse of space
Juxi Leitner

Draper MIT Students Test Lunar Hopper with Eyes on Prize | SpaceNews.com - 0 views

  • The testing of the second-generation lunar hopper is being carried out under the supervision of engineers from the nearby Draper Laboratory with an eye toward competing for the Google Lunar X Prize in 2012.
  • Although planetary rovers are not new, the hopper concept could add a new dimension to robotic planetary exploration, one that Tuohy said could inspire a new generation of engineers, technologists and scientists.
andreiaries

Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Press Releases - 6 views

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    "has a new capability to make its own choices about whether to make additional observations of rocks that it spots on arrival at a new location"
Juxi Leitner

GetRobo Blog: Toyota's humanoid to explore moon by 2020? - 1 views

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    "slides which were presented by an executive at Toyota during some kind of task force meeting that discusses Japan's direction/strategy in space exploration"
LeopoldS

Future Outposts Beyond LEO Require R&D Now - 1 views

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    interesting "recommendations" ...
LeopoldS

European Commission - Culture - Archive - Echoes of 1957 - The Space race: Life on Mars - 0 views

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    nice article on Russian Mars exploration pioneers ...
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