Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Science From Mars And Mercury

Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS
This is a view of two of the trenches made by the 1.6-inch-wide (4-centimeter-wide) scoop on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity in October 2012 at a site called Rocknest.

NASA made its much anticipated announcement of results from the first months of exploration of Mars by the Curiosity rover on Monday. The results are intriguing, if not yet so "earthshaking" as some recent speculation had indicated. There is still some question as to where the interesting compounds detected originated from. The performance of the rover and its science instruments are not in question, and NASA today announced plans to send a similar design of rover to Mars in 2020 to continue exploration of that planet.

Meanwhile, new discoveries on the planet Mercury were announced last week. The findings include deposits of water ice and traces of organic compounds at the planet's polar regions.

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