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:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


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