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.
What happens in Vegas gets blogged about in January… Extremely thrilled to announce that New Rising Media is making the trip out to cover CES for the first time ever. But this isn’t just any CES, it’s the 50th anniversary of this legendary technology show.
Probably the most requested Netflix feature has now become a reality. In their new update, you can now download movies and TV shows for offline viewing.
People who signed that petition – you’re too late. The Investigatory Powers Act has just been given Royal Assent, meaning that UK Government is soon to become one of the most advanced surveillance states on the planet.
Thanks to a petition with over 120,000 signatures, the Investigatory Powers Bill – Britain’s new surveillance plans – could soon be repealed.
The Autumn Statement may have distracted you from this, but The Investigatory Powers Bill is now as good as passed, with the Digital Economy Bill shortly behind.
People across the globe are returning their Galaxy Note 7 mobiles to Samsung in exchange for apology rewards, to try to put out the fire on their reputation. But which country is getting the best deal? We took a look worldwide and ranked the company’s responses from best to worst.
As per the Autumn Statement, UK Government is set to invest billions into 5G, connecting more homes to fibre broadband and developing the infrastructure needed for driverless cars. But is all of this a smokescreen for the unprecedented surveillance powers they are about to get?
Someone is using former Lostprophets singer and convicted paedophile Ian Watkins’ Twitter account to promote new music - even though he is currently serving 35 years behind bars for his crimes.
While we can create computers that behave like brains, conventional circuitry means they will never perform as quickly as the sophisticated human neural network.
But Princeton researchers may have just solved this future and paved the future for this big area of research - creating the world’s first Light-based Neural Network.
The Next-generation of smartphones will be defined by 5G and Ordnance Survey have busily started work on creating new data-rich maps, to help mobile providers avoid signal drop-outs across the UK - starting with Bournemouth.
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.