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Tag: Mars

‘Rosalind Franklin’ Mars rover assembly completed

‘Rosalind Franklin’ Mars rover assembly completed

Science
Assembly of the rover Europe and Russia plan to send to the Red Planet next year is complete.Engineers at Airbus in Stevenage, UK, will display the finished vehicle on Tuesday ahead of its shipment to France for testing.Called "Rosalind Franklin" after the British DNA pioneer, the six-wheeled robot will search for life on Mars.It has a drill to burrow 2m below ground to try to detect the presence of microbes, either living or fossilised.The project is a joint endeavour of the European and Russian space agencies, with input from the Americans. Although the rover's build took just nine months, development work at component and instrument ...
Mars missions and rockets: Cornwall in deep-space revolution

Mars missions and rockets: Cornwall in deep-space revolution

Technology
By Dan Whitehead, home news correspondent Scientists at a satellite earth station in Cornwall say they will be able to provide deep-space communication facilities for missions to Mars within the next five years. Goonhilly Earth Station - once the largest satellite station in the world - is investing nearly £10m in upgrading some of its biggest antenna to be able to communicate with deep-space missions. Ian Jones, chief executive of Goonhilly Earth Station, said: "There's a lot of changes in the space industry at the moment - a lot of excitement - a lot of exploration - and new missions to the moon and Mars and we're going to be the first private company to be providing the communications services for those missions."
Nasa’s Curiosity Mars rover senses methane spike

Nasa’s Curiosity Mars rover senses methane spike

Science
The American space agency's Mars rover Curiosity has recorded its largest measurement yet of methane.The robot frequently "sniffs" the Red Planet for the gas but has never before seen so high a concentration - of 21 parts per billion (ppb).The observations are fascinating because on Earth, methane is produced in large part by living things.That's not necessarily the case on Mars; geological processes are very capable of making it as well.Nonetheless, the latest data will heighten interest in the topic.Through the course of its mission, Curiosity has noticed a number of spikes in methane, and it senses a background level that appears to have a seasonal pattern to it.But although the robot's big onboard chemistry lab - the Sample A...
Meteors explain Mars’ cloud cover

Meteors explain Mars’ cloud cover

Science
June 17 (UPI) -- New research suggests the wispy clouds found 18 miles above the Marian surface are made of icy dust produced by meteors hitting the Red Planet's atmosphere. The findings -- published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience -- are a reminder of the connection between space and atmospheric dynamics. "We're used to thinking of Earth, Mars and other bodies as these really self-contained planets that determine their own climates," lead researcher Victoria Hartwick, a graduate student in the University of Colorado, Boulder, said in a news release. "But climate isn't independent of the surrounding solar system." For a cloud to form, water vapor must have something to condense onto. On Earth, water vapors condense onto tiny dust or sea salt particles. The same cloud-starting par...