Historical Science and Perceptions of Age: Craters on Mars

A "young" crater on Mars.  This is a young crater about 30 feet (9 meters) in diameter. How young? The blocks of material ejected from the crater-digging impact sit on top of the sand ripples near the crater. This suggests, from the estimated age of the area's sand ripples, that the crater was formed within the past 100,000 years. The dark sand inside the crater attests to the mobility of fine sand in the recent era in this Meridiani Planum region of Mars.  Image credit NASA/JPL-Caltech

Our perceptions of the age of an object are frequently based on our common experience but I have found that for many people those common experiences are of little help when it comes to examining objects for which a person has no experience at all.   A couple of years ago this really hit me as […]

NH Notes: Curiosity Update – Amazing Views Inside A Crater

Curiosity rover wheels after rolling into a portion of a sand dune (sol 527).  Image: JPL/NASA/MSSS

When I last updated you on the excursion that the Curiosity rover has been making across the floor of Gale Crater on Mars I noted that the images it has been beaming back had been getting rather routine.  But the rover has slowly been moving downhill toward what seems more and more likely to have […]

Cosmogenic Dating Methods Allow Estimates of Erosion Rates on Mars

Layers of rock seen at yellowknife bay in Gale Crater of Mars by the Curiosity Rover.  Image: JPL/NASA-Caltech

Just how fast are some rocks on Mars eroding?  A few months ago I asked a Martian rock that question (see: My Interview with a Martian: A Story of Origins) and I was not given a very satisfying answer.  Well, that rock can be excused for being a bit confused about time given how boring […]

NH Notes: Curiosity Update – Scenes on the Way to Mt. Sharp

A view from under the Curiosity rover showing two of its six wheels. If you look closely you can see that they have many small pits in the aluminum showing the wear and tear they have received from driving on this rocky ground. Image: JPL/NASA-CalTech

Curiosity keeps chugging away across the floor of Gale Crater.  A few weeks ago we talked to a rock  (My Interview with a Martian: A Story of Origins) that it met as it is working its way to the base of Mt. Sharp.  I had mentioned that the trip has been a tad boring compared […]

NH Notes: The Exhumed Paleochannels of Utah and Mars

An oblique aerial photograph of a carbonate-cemented, sinuous inverted paleochannel segment located approximately 11 kilometers southwest of Green River, Utah.

Here is a puzzle:  Where can you stand on dry ground and look up to see a river channel above you? Ok, yes, New Orleans is a good answer.   But I’m talking about looking up 100 feet from a non man-made location.   Actually there are quit a few places on Earth and possibly […]

My Interview with a Martian: A Story of Origins

Our martian friend hanging out on the surface slowly eroding in the wind.  The Curiosity rover snapped this image while driving by. Image: JPL/NASA-CalTech

Everything has an origin.*  Some stories of origins are very simple (eg. the current island of Krakatoa from a volcanic blast recorded in history)  while others are much more complex (eg. the Grand Canyon).  The study of origins is the study and reconstruction of past events.  We have eyewitness accounts of some events from the […]

NH Notes: Did Wind and Dust Create a 15,000 Foot Mountain in Gale Crater?

mars-rover-landing-sequence

Large depressions, layers of rocks, precipitated minerals in rock cracks, erratic rocks strewn about, mountains inside of craters: these are just a few examples of the diversity of landscapes on Mars that the Curiosity rover has discovered and been investigating the past six months.   The mountain at the center of the crater that Curiosity […]

Curiouser and Curiouser: A Mars Curiosity Update

Many very fine layers are visible here in this closeup.   Image Credit: NASA/JPL-CalTech

After the Mars Science Laboratory, otherwise known as the Curiosity rover, dropped down the rabbit hole and safely landed on the surface of Mars there was much ado about the first images and hints at a watery past.   Since then the rover has left the public eye but the rover has been no slouch, […]

Non-Martian Rocks on Mars: Finding Small Meteorites on another Planet

Meteorite on Mars: Shelter Island Iron

Previously we explored some meteorites that have been found on Earth that are very likely from Mars (Finding Mars on Earth).   Only a small percentage of the meteorites found on Earth are from Mars with a few more (over 100) originating from the moon.   The remainder presumably come from the far reaches of the […]

Finding Mars on Earth: A Conversation about Martian Meteorites

Tissint-mars-meteorite-morocco

Maybe you missed it last week with all the excitement of  the pictures from Curiosity and its analysis of the rocks on Mars (See my last post: Curious Geology: Stunning Images Reveal a Complex Mars) but there was another pronouncement of further evidence that watery processes were once active on Mars.  Where did this evidence […]

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