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.
Another year, another tonne of TV announcements at CES 2017 - but what were the best screens out there in Vegas? I found out and wrote a feature for BBC's Science Focus Magazine!
Everybody hates Blue Monday - the gloomiest day of the year according to research. Well, let's cheer things up with the chance to win a Monster Superstar Hotshot: one of the best bluetooth speakers I've ever tested. To enter, just subscribe to New Rising Media's mailing list.
We all love to take pictures of the starry skies at night. But to achieve the same incredible astronomy photography seen on desktop wallpapers and magazines, it takes some incredibly expensive and cumbersome equipment. That is until now, as the Tiny1 reproduces incredible space pictures with the form factor of a smartphone.
Ever wished you could just shut out the times when your friends decide to watch terrible shows on the TV? Well, with Holosonics Audio Spotlight speakers, now you can - built to project sounds like a beam of light to the person sitting right in front of it.
Way back in October, I wrote a somewhat controversial piece about why the Nintendo Switch is set up for failure - highlighting some key problems the company should avoid if they want to stand a chance against Sony and Microsoft. Did they listen? Let's take a look at what they announced in Tokyo.
When you think of in-store posters, chances are you imagine a simple poster hanging in the window. But Kino-mo are looking to innovate with their brand new Hypervsn technology - bringing 3D holograms to stores.
As the next Snapchat Spectacles location was revealed just outside the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, Snap Inc. quickly became one of the most influential companies at CES without actually being on the show floor.
Named ‘Project Alloy,’ Intel’s Virtual Reality hardware is set to up the game by mapping your room and adapting it as part of the video game you’re playing.
Meet Olly - a CES Innovation Award-Winning robot by Emotech which they claim has both “feelings,” and a “personality.” As someone who was equally amazed and terrified when watching Her, I’m going to give this device the benefit of the doubt.
Keeping the CES TV battles alive, Samsung has announced their brand new 75-inch 4K QLED TV - the “Q” meaning a ‘Quantum Dot Technology’ to produce near-true-to-life colour.
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.