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.
There are no two ways to say this - smartphones are boring and Mobile World Congress has exposed this. If the biggest news story coming out of Barcelona is the return of Nokia's feature phone, then we have a problem...
The Misfit Ray is a sleek and inconspicuous fitness tracker, which sacrifices accurate data for a fashionable design - perfect for the fashion conscious.
Google tried with balloons. Facebook has drones. Now, British mobile provider EE has joined the fight to provide rural communities with phone signal - using both high-flying balloons and drones.
A group of seven exoplanets have been found orbiting the star, known as Trappist-1, by NASA. This amazing discovery has raised hopes in the hunt for alien life and other planets for the human race to colonise.
It’s a common story - you access Facebook’s privacy settings and lock down your account, to prevent your data falling into the wrong hands. But how much of your activity, in spite of changing those settings, is still public? Well, a Belgian white hat hacker made the site ‘Stalkscan’ to find out.
Now that Snapchat Spectacles are available online, the sheen of vending machine-related exclusivity is now off. That makes this the perfect time to post a long term review of my own pair.
Global Gene Corp and GA4GH (Global Alliance for Genomics and Health) are delighted to announce the launch of ggINDIA, the first ever beacon for Indian genomics data. This Beacon joins those already on the Wellcome Genome Campus supplied by EMBL-EBI and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. I will get the obvious question out the way - what on Earth is genomics data? Let's find out...
Struggling to sleep? You’re not alone, as 22% of Britons feel the same way. Luckily, research has found a cure - spending time outdoors away from artificial light sources, such as your smartphone or laptop. Doing this can reset your biological clock and help you sleep longer.
With the tenth anniversary of iPhone being this year, many of us are expecting a big redesign with new features - that is exactly what the “best Apple analyst on the planet” has said. Finally, late to the party, wireless charging will be coming to Apple’s smartphone this year.
When photography was invented in the early 1800s, it wasn’t long before people realised that you could develop a 3D image if you overlaid the same image at a slightly different angle. This gave birth to Victorian Stereoscopes, which was the first step the human race took towards 3D pictures, movies and Virtual Reality.
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.