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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Latest news from Curiosity



Low concentration of methane in the atmosphere
The data collected by Curiosity rover revealed a poor concentration of methane in Mars. This results are interesting because they are in contradiction with the data collected by other missions in Mars' orbit.
The methane is important to scientist because it came from geological phenomena and biological process.
This results minimized the probability of microbiological process in Mars, but there are many types of terrestrial microbes that do not generate methane.”
The Curiosity measured six times the concentration of methane in samples from the Martian atmosphere, in the period between October 2012 and June this year. In any cases, the robot has detected its presence. Due to the high sensitivity of the instrument used, the tunable laser spectrometer which follows the edge of the robot, scientists estimate that the concentration of atmospheric methane Mars should not exceed 1.3 parts per million. This value corresponds to roughly one-sixth of some previous estimates.
More info ScienceMag.



Water in the martian soil
After careful analysis, the fifth soil collection done by Curiosity rover in 'Rocknest' showed the presence of water, carbon dioxide, oxygen and sulfur. As a result of this analysis, it appears that the Martian soil is composed by 2% water, which leads scientists to project future missions to colonize the red planet.
"We know that there must be water on Mars so abundant and accessible," said Laurie Leshin, lead author of the study, concluding that "when we send people to Mars, they may collect soil from the Martian surface, heat it a little and draw water ". According to the study, we can extract about 0.47 liters of water from 0.03 cubic meter of soil.
More info in Space.com
Source: NASA
Images: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
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