rock sample

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Fossilized, partially recrystallized coral.

Curiosity Rover: Five Years on Mars

The evening of August 5, 2012…five years ago…our Mars Curiosity rover landed on the Red Planet. 

Arriving at Mars at 10:32 p.m. PDT (morning of Aug 6 EDT), this rover would prove to be the most technologically advanced rover ever built.

Curiosity used a series of complicated landing maneuvers never before attempted. 

The specialized landing sequence, which employed a giant parachute, a jet-controlled descent vehicle and a daring “sky crane” maneuver similar to rappelling was devised because testing and landing techniques used during previous rover missions could not safely accommodate the much larger and heavier rover.

Curiosity’s mission: To determine whether the Red Planet ever was, or is, habitable to microbial life.

The car-size rover is equipped with 17 cameras, a robotic arm, specialized instruments and an on-board laboratory.

Let’s explore Curiosity’s top 5 discoveries since she landed on Mars five years ago…

1. Gale Crater had conditions suitable for life about 3.5 billion years ago

In 2013, Curiosity’s analysis of a rock sample showed that ancient Mars could have supported living microbes. Scientists identified sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon – some of the key chemical ingredients for life – in the powder Curiosity drilled out of a sedimentary rock near an ancient stream bed in Gale Crater.

Later, in 2014, Curiosity discovered that these conditions lasted for millions of years, perhaps much longer. This interpretation of Curiosity’s findings in Gale Crater suggests ancient Mars maintained a climate that could have produced long-lasting lakes at many locations on the Red Planet.

2. Organic molecules detected at several locations

In 2014, our Curiosity rover drilled into the Martian surface and detected different organic chemicals in the rock powder. This was the first definitive detection of organics in surface materials of Mars. These Martian organics could either have formed on Mars or been delivered to Mars by meteorites. 

Curiosity’s findings from analyzing samples of atmosphere and rock powder do not reveal whether Mars has ever harbored living microbes, but the findings do shed light on a chemically active modern Mars and on favorable conditions for life on ancient Mars.

3. Present and active methane in Mars’ atmosphere

Also in 2014, our Curiosity rover measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around the planet. This temporary increase in methane tells us there must be some relatively localized source.

Researchers used Curiosity’s onboard Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory a dozen times in a 20-month period to sniff methane in the atmosphere. During two of those months, in late 2013 and early 2014, four measurements averaged seven parts per billion.

4. Radiation could pose health risks for humans

Measurements taken by our Curiosity rover since launch have provided us with the information needed to design systems to protect human explorers from radiation exposure on deep-space expeditions in the future. Curiosity’s Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) was the first instrument to measure the radiation environment during a Mars cruise mission from inside a spacecraft that is similar to potential human exploration spacecraft.

The findings indicate radiation exposure for human explorers could exceed our career limit for astronauts if current propulsion systems are used. These measurements are being used to better understand how radiation travels through deep space and how it is affected and changed by the spacecraft structure itself. This, along with research on the International Space Station are helping us develop countermeasures to the impacts of radiation on the human body.

5. A thicker atmosphere and more water in Mars past

In 2015, Curiosity discovered evidence that has led scientists to conclude that ancient Mars was once a warmer, wetter place than it is today. 

To produce this more temperate climate, several researchers have suggested that the planet was once shrouded in a much thicker carbon dioxide atmosphere. You may be asking…Where did all the carbon go?

The solar wind stripped away much of Mars’ ancient atmosphere and is still removing tons of it every day. That said, 3.8 billion years ago, Mars might have had a moderately dense atmosphere, with a surface pressure equal to or less than that found on Earth.

Our Curiosity rover continues to explore the Red Planet today. On average, the rover travels about 30 meters per hour and is currently on the lower slope of Mount Sharp.

Get regular updates on the Curiosity mission by following @MarsCuriosity on Twitter.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

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Well this is lucky. Apparently for this FossilFriday I’m starting with ammonites in stuff.

This is a look at one of our favourite ammonites, prior to the outer matrix being polished. These ‘Cannon ball’ nodules (rocks) are thought to be exclusive to the Yorkshire Coast, found nowhere else in the world. They rarely contain fossils, but when they do, they typically contain an Eleganticeras sp. ammonite. This fossil here is featured as found. When prepared, the outer pyrite coating of the nodule will be polished, to achieve a golden mirror effect.

skymurdock  asked:

psst! thoughts on Lyra Erso, especially what you think might've happened if she had somehow survived? does she get to meet Beru and Breha, do they form a little club of middle-aged women in the Rebellion?

The crystal was…interesting. 

Breha had wandered over to the cluttered table out of vague interest—amid the looming structures and finicky-looking equipment, the table was the only thing she trusted herself not to damage. It was a chaotic mess, tools and rock samples and notes scrawled on flimsi all scattered, stacked haphazardly. But Breha’s gaze had been drawn to the innocuous white crystal immediately. She couldn’t help picking it up, turning it over in her hand. Someone had drilled a hole through one end, and threaded a cord through it, as though it was meant to be worn as a pendant.

It felt oddly warm against her skin, like something living.

Breha thought of Leia inexplicably, and for a moment she panicked—but Leia was fine, stuck in yet another strategy meeting. She would be there in the mess for dinner, probably arguing with Captain Solo, or trying to bite back a grin as Luke teased Lieutenant Antilles. Leia was fine. She was—

Breha startled at the sound of a loud grunt, too-close behind her. When she whirled around there was a helmeted sentient sticking out of what had previously been a gaping hole in the ground. The faint sound of hammering, voices, could still be heard drifting up from depths unknown.

“Oh!” the human woman—at least, Breha was reasonably sure; it was hard to tell under the layer of grime—said. She hauled herself up and out of the hole, stumbled to her feet. “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize anyone was here. Have you been waiting long?”

“Only a moment or so,” Breha demurred. Now that she could see all of her, the sentient was definitely a human woman, dressed in something that may have, at one time, been a Rebel uniform. (It was encrusted with entirely too much dirt to be called that anymore.) She had repurposed a blaster bandolier, and stuck it full of what looked like laserscopes and spectrographs. 

There was a pickax at her hip.

Breha cleared her throat, tried again. “I was told Lyra Erso—”

“You must be with Acquisitions! They said someone would be coming by for the wishlist.”

“It’s not a wishlist,” Breha said, but she couldn’t summon her usual fierceness, the accompanying lecture about the importance of resource planning. 

So this was Lyra Erso.

Your husband killed my husband, Breha thought dizzily. She’d forgotten how to breathe, what came after exhale.

“Yes, yes,” Lyra Erso said, waving a hand dismissively. She had come to stand beside Breha, and was sifting through the cluttered mess of the desk with purpose. “I swear on the Force, the Rebellion has become almost as bad as the Order was when it comes to paperwork…”

Breha blinked. “The Order?”

Lyra Erso froze, a sheaf of flimsi in her hand. Breha watched a complicated expression flicker across her face, and then slide away. “Oh. That’s—I mean the Jedi Order,” she finally said, stiltedly. “I was…a youngling. At the temple on Coruscant. In another life.”

Now that Breha was looking, she could see that the lines around Lyra Erso’s mouth, her eyes, were not cracks in the dirt—she had to be just older than Breha, and that was a strange thought, that Galen Erso’s widow was the same age as Bail Organa’s.

“AgriCorps?” Breha hazarded. She wasn’t sure if there was a politer way to say, so you never made it to padawan.

“Engineering division. Mining geology and geoengineering, mainly.” Lyra Erso straightened up, and looked Breha in the eye. “You?”

“I was not in the AgriCorps,” Breha retorted dryly. Lyra Erso pulled a face, and Breha found herself adding, “But I knew many Jedi.”

“Ah. From Coruscant, then?”

“Alderaan,” Breha said, and Lyra Erso jerked, stumbling a few steps back, away from Breha. All the blood had drained from her face, and Breha watched her throat work as she swallowed.

“Oh.”

“My husband was a senator on Coruscant for many years, though, and counted some of the High Councilors his friends.”

“I know,” Lyra said weakly. She looked as though she wasn’t breathing. “I—heard stories of Senator Organa. Though more from…My husband was a engineer. He worked on military contracts, so he—”

“I am aware,” Breha said, and she wasn’t able to keep the ice and fury out of her voice this time, not entirely. Lyra flinched.

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Pulling out samples during core drilling

Potential human habitat located on the moon

A study published in Geophysical Research Letters confirms the existence of a large open lava tube in the Marius Hills region of the moon, which could be used to protect astronauts from hazardous conditions on the surface.

No one has ever been on the moon longer than three days, largely because space suits alone can’t shield astronauts from its elements: extreme temperature variation, radiation, and meteorite impacts. Unlike Earth, the moon has no atmosphere or magnetic field to protects its inhabitants.

The safest place to seek shelter is the inside of an intact lava tube, according to the study.

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It almost seems like us Lobby rats get the short end of the stick when it comes to music.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the bands out in the zones, Comic Sans Samurai, Cold Dead Hands, The Mad gear and the Missile Kid, and even the few singles the Fab Four have pushed out of their asses a couple times. Seriously, Black Dragon Fighting Society is a fucking anthem. 

And the bands themselves are pretty fucking awesome too. They put on a show with lights and fire and the speakers turned to eleven. The Dracs come and they can get out in a second, no hesitation, the first sign of those Better Living assholes and they’re out. They’ve gotten good, now we know when BLi is coming half an hour before hand.

But holy fuck, you haven’t lived until you see a show in The Lobby.

These bands know how to cut it close, and they live for it.

One band, a girl group called The Top Gun Chicks, make the loudest, angriest music you can imagine, and they make a point to be heard. They’re not my style, but I make my own point to go to one show a year. To be more specific, the one show they play on the roof of the cleanest, whitest, and safest Better Living apartment complex they can find.

They manage to play at least four songs before the Exterminators catch on, and then the Chicks make the biggest exit they can manage, last year they zip-lined off the roof on a rope made of their own merchandise and landed on the building next to us. The entire audience (including myself) was detained for seven hours, but they had no evidence to keep us there.

The desert might get raw with their music, but The Lobby bands have a fucking reason to go hard. Getting caught gets you famous, more bands form in your image, and escaping gets you just as famous, more bands show up just to glorify you, and the noise gets louder and louder. Better Living gets stuck in a never-ending loop and it’s fucking hilarious to watch.

Bands like Strawberry Body, Odd Man In, My Dad’s Ass, and even hip hop groups like Kung-Fu and The Fat Man, The Slim Johns, and Oddity. They started it all and most of them are still going, still pumping out records and selling out venues. Making kids like me get angry, and get schooled, and fight the fuck back.

Desert bands can hit it raw, sure. But Lobby bands? Holy Shit.

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crystals_geodes_wholesale HUGE ORTHOCERAS 😍❤️ it is a genus of extinct nautiloid cephalopod!!

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Prompt: Congrats!! Can you do kirk one where your pavels twin and you come onto the enterprise to study a rock sample? Or something and kirk really takes a liking to you? Much pavel love, and bones sneaky comments? For Anon

Warnings: No……

Pairing: Kirk/Reader

A/N: I changed it to you beeing an older sister, just to make the age gap better. Also, I think this might get a part two!

Word Count: 2048

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Photographic tour of dozens of prepared trilobite specimens from the incredible trilobite hunting grounds in Morocco.

  • bagginshield modern au
  • geologist!Thorin and environmental activist!Bilbo
  • Thorin is hired by Erebor mining company to survey the land around Shiretown for precious minerals
  • Bilbo finds out about the bid to mine the local countryside - practically in my backyard?? absolutely not!!
  • Bilbo studying his adversary - dammit, why does the geologist have to be so attractive?? Tall, muscular, unshaven, long dark hair in a messy man-bun, the most amazing pair of blue eyes… No! Focus! Shiretown cannot be mined!
  • Bilbo sabotaging Thorin during the night - stealing his rock samples, throwing his rock hammer deep into the woods, hiding the keys to Thorin’s work truck, tearing up his maps
  • Thorin has had enough - he stays up the next night to catch the thief - he pretends to be asleep - quietly watches Bilbo when he is trying to sneak out with an armful of Thorin’s clothes - bolts out of bed and tackles Bilbo onto the floor
  • Aha! I’ve caught you thief! Oh no, he’s cute!!  Why is he so cute?? = O
  • Bilbo realizing that he is being pressed into the floor by a warm, muscular body - peeking his eyes open to meet the warm blue eyes he secretly melts for - biting back a moan at the thought of every fantasy he’s ever had about the man suddenly being within reach
  • Wait..!
  • How dare you!!
  • Excuse me?? You were stealing my clothes! How dare you!!
  • The accusations start flying - Bilbo gathers up his remaining dignity and marches out - openly hostile stares the next few days - shouted insults across the street 
  • Bilbo moaning into his pillow because of the unfairness of it all - why does he have to be so attractive?? Something has to be done!
  • Bilbo spots Thorin walking towards the local coffee shop the next morning - his decision is made in an instant
  • Thorin staggering into the coffee shop bleary eyed and half asleep - he spots the most aggravating, cutest-thief-ever holding out a cup of coffee with a tentative smile
  • Well there are worse ways to be woken up he supposes - he cannot help but return the smile allowing it to light up his entire face - perhaps this can be resolved amicably after all…