recommended reading

Martian soil is a lot like Hawaiian soil

The Curiosity Rover uses it's robotic arm to scoop sand.

The Curiosity Rover uses it's robotic arm to scoop sand. // NASA

You know how smug tourists like to talk about how climbing volcanoes in Hawaii is out of this world? Turns out they're sort of right.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is finally starting to get some conclusive analysis from its very slow soil scooping mission, and the mineralogy looks strikingly similar to the worn, volcanic soil in Hawaii. The scientists in charge of this part of the mission are just beside themselves. "This was a 22-year journey and a magical moment for me," NASA's David Blake, head of the mineralogical instruments on the Curiosity, told reporters in announcing his team's findings. It seems like waiting 22 years only to discover that the soil on another planet is a lot like ours seems kind of anti-climactic. But Blake seems excited, so we won't rain on  his parade.

In truth, the fun is just getting started. As the rover makes its way to a three-mile-high pile of dirt known as Mount Sharp, they should get closer to answering the question of whether or not the Red Planet once supported life. "We're hopeful that once we get into the truly ancient materials on Mount Sharp, we will find minerals that suggest there was a habitable environment of some kind there," Blake explained. "We haven't had that happen yet, but we have a lot of time left."

Read more at The Atlantic Wire

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.