The Curiosity rover has been doing some drilling on Mars, and what is has discovered has NASA scratching their heads. A mineral known as tridymite has been uncovered beneath the surface of Mars. And its presence raises far more questions than it answers.
Tridymite is a silicon dioxide (silica) mineral that crystallizes at low pressure and high temperatures around 800 degrees Celsius (1,472 degrees Fahrenheit). These sorts of conditions can only occur in silicic volcanism: volcanoes with magma which contain a large amount of silica. This is commonplace on Earth due to plate tectonics and flowing water. But Mars lacks of both of those things, begging the question: where did all this tridymite come from?
To answer that, NASA has been looking at terrestrial processes that might provide an alternative way of creating the mineral. So far, they haven’t been able to find any alternative. The hunt for a lower temperature process that can produce tridymite is still on, but as time passes NASA is looking ever more at the alternative. That maybe Mars was a lot more active in the past than we realized.
For tridymite to be created in the only ways we understand to be possible, Mars would have had to have active volcanoes, and for that it would have needed a lot of running water. We know that Mars does in fact contain water, but it would need more than we’d ever expected for these processes to be possible.
But does that mean Mars was once far more Earth-like? Or could there have been another low pressure high temperature process going on with similar results? It’s likely Curiosity alone won’t be able to figure it out – we may need another rover with more specialized equipment to suss this one out.
The fake news problem goes all the way to the top (unsurprisingly), as Facebook casually admitted in a whitepaper that their social network is fertile ground for “subtle and insidious forms of misuse, including attempts to manipulate civic discourse and deceive people.”
Remember the classic Tomb Raider? Well, a group of hackers are working to help you relive your childhood with a version of the original that works in your browser!
I have bought and used a DJI Osmo for over a year as my main camera. How does it stack up? Find out in my full review...
The spectrum of titles out there lean somewhat towards the bad. For every good game, you get ten terrible ones – from Aquaman to Silver Surfer. Here are ten of the best...
One researcher has trained a neural network to create its own pick-up lines, uploading thousands of existing lines for it to identify patterns and generate new ones. Simple question – do these chat-up lines hold up?
Does everything really need stories? According to Facebook, yes they do and Redditors have been busy mocking them by photoshopping 20 more ridiculous places that will now have stories.
It’s the question we always ask ourselves, and one this blog’s sole purpose is to answer - what does the future look like? Well, Kaspersky has chosen to visualise our future with an interactive map called Earth 2050.
Whoever said you can’t manufacture love clearly doesn’t have experience in robotics… Meet 31-year-old artificial intelligence expert Zheng Jiajia, who built and married his own female humanoid.
Remember that Sega Mega Drive/Genesis you have in the attic? Time to go find it, as developer WaterMelon Corp is releasing a new game for the classic console. Named Paprium , this classic beat-em-up has been in the works for four years.
Uber has released a ‘Lost & Found Index,’ detailing some of the possessions people have reported lost. From the usual items like a missing cell phone to the weirder items like a “Meat packet” and some Valium, it’s clear the human race is still as gloriously strange as ever!
My name is Jamie O'Flinn. I am a 24-year-old writer living in the West Midlands. I received a degree in Professional Writing in 2012, and am pleased to report a total lifetime earnings of 50p so far. Earned when I was 8. Selling a story about yoghurt to my literacy teacher.
When not being NRM's star contributor, I'm either gaming, drawing, blogging or trying to shill my bad leprechaun novels to wary agents. There's also a webcomic I've been meaning to do. Maybe. One day.
I'm also delightfully autistic, which grants me special powers. Like tinnitus, and occasional sudden blindness.