Skip to main content

Nothing. Turbo, the high speed snail CGA character in the recent Dreamworks release now gracing America's theater's would probably be faster than Curiosity even if the little mollusk wasn't supercharged. The Curiosity Rover carrying the Mars Science Laboratory to the prominence, Mount Sharp, in the center of Gale Crater, must travel about five miles to get to the location where, according to NASA, concentrated scientific investigation is expected to explore "how the ancient Martian environment changed and evolved". To place the new journey into perspective, between Bradbury Landing where the mission touched down, and Glenelg, where all of the science conducted so far has taken place, the distance is only about 500 yards.

The time allotted for the mission's science objectives is already 1/2 gone. Yet, the main science objective for the mission has already been achieved at Glenelg, less than 500 meters from touchdown. There, findings from the MSL have conclusively confirmed the sustained existence on ancient Mars of flowing streams and pools, with all of the conditions and ingredients to support the development and evolution of lifeforms. What we are talking about is conditions like those existing on Earth 4 billion years ago when life appeared on our planet.

When you think about those discoveries, don't visualize streams and pools in some kind of junglely Jurassic Park. By the time of the dinosaurs, Earth had an oxygen atmosphere and billions of years of experience living with an ever changing variety of microbes, plants, animals, etc. But when life first arose on Earth, and perhaps Mars as well, there was virtually no atmospheric oxygen. All life here was very tiny for billions of  years. It wasn't until plants evolved on Earth after aeons passed, and began to excrete oxygen as part of photosynthesis metabolism, that atmospheric oxygen became available on our planet.

If Martian lifeforms evolved billions of years ago, under conditions like those on Earth when life emerged from this planet's primordial, molecular stew, the organisms may, at least, have left chemical and radiological and other evidence behind of their existence. Whether or not that is so, the rocks themselves will contain evidence of the evolution of conditions in Gale Crater as the atmosphere and surface climate evolved from the wetter warmer past to the arid deep freeze that is Mars today.

With the main scientific objective accomplished, the journey to Mount Sharp and the ensuing investigation promise much excitement and many more discoveries. Stay tuned.

For the On Mar Series and all things Mars on Daily Kos, go to Kossacks on Mars.

Originally posted to Kossacks on Mars on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 05:40 PM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech.


Mars Curiosity Rover Mission?

3%2 votes
24%15 votes
29%18 votes
40%25 votes
1%1 votes

| 61 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site