Mars Rover Hits Pay Dirt

NASA Scientists told reporters on Tuesday that their latest findings from the Mars rover Curiosity prove the planet once had what it takes to sustain life.

“We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and supportive of life that probably if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it,” said John P. Grotzinger, the California Institute of Technology geology professor who is the principal investigator for the NASA mission.

NASA Mars Science Laboratory __ This set of images shows the results from the rock abrasion tool from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity (left) and the drill from NASA’s Curiosity rover (right). Note how the rock grindings from Opportunity are brownish red, indicating the presence of hematite, a strongly oxidized iron-bearing mineral. Such minerals are less supportive of habitability and also may degrade organic compounds. The diameter of the abraded circle is 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters). The image was cropped from an image taken on Sol 35 (the 35th Martian day of Opportunity’s operations, or Feb. 28, 2004, on Earth) by Opportunity’s panoramic camera at a target called “Guadalupe” inside Eagle Crater.

On the right is the hole produced by Curiosity during the first drilling into a rock on Mars to collect a sample from inside the rock. In this case, the rock produced gray tailings — not red — suggesting the presence of iron that is less oxidized. One possibility is magnetite, which was determined to be present by Curiosity’s Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument. Magnetite has less oxygen than hematite and would be more compatible with habitability and the preservation of organics, all other factors being equal. These other factors would include the primary concentration of organics in the sedimentary environment, in addition to later exposure of rock to surface radiation.

New York Times: Mars Could Have Supported Life Long Ago Mars Could Once Have Supported Life: What You Need to Know

114 thoughts on “Mars Rover Hits Pay Dirt”

  1. renee’s sing-a-long for today

    fourteen days till the government shuts down…
    fourteen days till the wall…
    take one down and pass it around…
    and we won’t have nasa at all

  2. Yesterday I was telling my fellow turtles at the Swamp…”We couldn’t find a more interesting cast of characters, like we have on the Trail, if we looked forever. Every day it’s a new reality show. Some days are more fun and interesting than others.”

  3. And it’s all thanks to the Trail bossman, Craig. He attracts an interesting crew, even from far away places.

  4. patd… thanks for taking up the mantle!

    Maybe I’ll pay homage to Mars by eating a Mars bar… but only a mini one…

    Carol… I’m honored to be a turtle now…

  5. As far as Catholic bashing… or any other subject bashing… IMO, we are all free to give our opinions.
    If someone takes offense of my opinion, that’s their problem. If I take offense of someone else’s opinion… that’s my problem.

  6. When you go out in the public arena as the Catholic church does you need to be able to take the heat.
    As to ignex statement inferring that there is a Catholic bias, I disagree. Conservative fundies get hit a lot harder around here, the comments are often taken down to the individual level, But my original statement holds, because just like the Catholic church leadership the fundie groups as a whole have earned the ridicule.

    Now if both groups looked inward and were just presenting their views to their members and using the influence just on them it would be one thing but in reality they are trying to impose their views on me a nonmember and are trying to make them a force of law.
    At that point they enter the no holds barred arena of politics.
    And as they say, “Politics ain’t bean bag”


  7. Ah, Mars, a great place to eat, but no atmosphere!

    In my late night watching of H2 channel, I believe I read that the atmosphere of Mars ‘escaped’ over time from the solar winds…its magnetic field is very weak when compared to mother Earth.

    Magnetism is also being considered for moving objects in space, like asteroids. No more blowing-up of objects, but a gentle push in the right direction!

    I sure love Science coming back to town while the crowd in Rome hangs to old traditions. It is a great time to be human!

  8. Yes, there was once life on Mars BUT their government thought their top priotity ought ot be budget cuts and you can see the result.

  9. If you live in Florida, you may want to make a reservation for a trip to Mars.

    “Gallinippers! Monster mosquitoes poised to strike Florida”

    “One of the most ferocious insects you’ve ever heard of — it’s the size of a quarter and its painful bite has been compared to being knifed — is set to invade Florida this summer.”

  10. One more opine on religion. I am glad we have religion as it offers huge comfort, fellowship and guidance to many humans. ‘It’ being made-up of humans is flawed and can inflict pain and suffering on many at the same time it helps others. It is the reason I am glad our country is not a theocracy. The most that can happen to us in a secular society is a tax audit, intervention, etc., but in religious ruled times…inquisitions, torture, etc. in the name of a deity. Much better to allow all religions in a secular society. More civilized.

  11. jack, better bash baptists selectively. those of the roger williams and harvey cox ilk, known by various names like northern or american bapt. (as opposed to the un-american kind) are pretty good guys. here’s a clip from wiki

    ABCUSA churches recognize two ordinances: Believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is by immersion, and those being baptized must be of an age to understand its significance. Believing in the priesthood of all believers, the ABCUSA avoids using creeds, affirming the freedom of individual Christians and local churches to interpret scripture as the Holy Spirit leads them. The ABCUSA affirms the ordination of women

    thank that crowd for our church/state wall. may it continue to stand strong.

  12. oops, meant to also include this from wiki

    The Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut sent a letter, dated October 7, 1801, to the newly elected President Thomas Jefferson, expressing concern over the lack in their state constitution of explicit protection of religious liberty, and against a government establishment of religion.

    In their letter to the President, the Danbury Baptists affirmed that “Our Sentiments are uniformly on the side of Religious Liberty — That Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals — That no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious Opinions — That the legitimate Power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor…”

  13. I was born and raised Episcopalian. I joined the Lutheran church (ELCA) for no reason other than they had a great youth program when our kids were growing up. I can be and am comfortable in either setting.
    Both denominations have seen their membership drop as a result of their decisions regarding the calling of gay and lesbian clergy and embracing same sex marriage. In short they have paid the price for acknowledging that God’s love and the promise of redemption exists for everyone not just for some.
    Those people who have left have chosen their side in the ongoing debate over the wisdom and propriety of the ‘church’ being an advocate for social justice. Many not all, but many would applaud the church were it to advocate for the repeal of Obama care, or the putting down of Muslims, or the continued and unqualified support for Israel. When it comes however to advocating for equality of the sexes, human rights, child welfare, and a host of other issues they become strangely quiet, and inexplicably deaf to the tone of the gospels.
    The catholic church recognizes the potential cost and gut wrenching pain of abandoning some of it’s long held
    beliefs and doctrines. It remains to be seen if it can find the courage and spirit to do so.

  14. Craig, it seems videos are getting stuck in the spam filter or at least the one I attempted to post twice did.
    Please delete one of them when you release them.

  15. re things religious, book review from march 18 issue of new yorker

    Why Priests?

    by Garry Wills (Viking)

    Wills sets out to persuade his fellow-Catholics that the priesthood is both unnecessary and un-Christian. Jesus, he writes, was not a priest but a prophet, and he didn’t institute the divine priesthood.

  16. Pat
    That is the basis for all Baptist, even those I may find disagreeable. The Southern Baptist Convention lost several conservative churches because they tried to promote orthodoxy from above.
    The old joke get three Baptist together to discuss the bible and you have 4 opinions about it.
    My BIL, a conservative Baptist, basic opinion of most of these self appointed leaders from different Baptist organisations is they all will fade into the back ground losing influence because Baptists don’t want a Pope and deep down rebel against attempts to create one in the Baptist world.


  17. whsk, wedding has been lots of fun organizing. Size just what we wanted, about 70 of our fav friends and family — and even a few trail mixers. And our karaoke DJ is great, should be a lot of shakin going on, he has 30,000 songs in his database. any requests?

  18. It must have been all that gay love that was in it. Your spam gnomes must be religious fundamentalist.


  19. I’m a little hazy on this, but I believe the church-state barrier was erected 9 years before Jefferson got that letter. My uncle, whom I dearly love but disagree with regarding the role of religion in society, is a dyed in the wool southern baptist (was a lay minister for a while) and I can assure you he has never held the position that the baptist church and its members shouldn’t try to influence government to establish religion in public life. You’ll recall the ten commandment monument kerfuffle from the great state of AL? Roy Moore, CJ?

    “Moore, a Baptist layman who came into the national spotlight for fighting to display the Ten Commandments in a county courthouse, also said in his remarks to several dozen people, “When I ran for the office of chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, I made a pledge to restore the moral foundation of law. May this day mark the beginning of the restoration of the moral foundation of law to our people and a return to the knowledge of God in our land.”

    That’s from the Baptist Press.

  20. As one who grew up in the Presbyterian church, we distinguished the baptism rites of churches as dippers and drippers – baptists being the former and presbys being the latter.

  21. Pogo
    I didn’t know your among the frozen chosen

    The best karoke song is Born Free –especially if you can’t sing

  22. I wish I could be there…can you live stream the wedding 😀 😀 😀

  23. I think that the Pope will be selected at 4:59 PM PST
    (Papal Standard Time). Just in time for 5:00 cocktails.

  24. Honeymoon on Mars ?

    Relatives on my side : Lutherans (ELCA), Muslims (Sufi), Jews (Reform & Conservative), Catholics (Roman).

    Relatives on Sweetie’s side : Catholics (Roman), A Lutheran sect to the right of WELS, Calvinist (Dutch Reformed), United Methodist, Mammonist (Orthodox).

  25. XR,

    Invite them all over, it will be one Hell of a pot luck. :-)

    Don’t let the Lutherans say the grace, they go on forever.

  26. KC, Not sure I’m on the chosen side of the equation – that’s the fun of predestination, right?

  27. Lutherans on picking a Pope.

    “Vell alright den, have it your vay, but I still say that he could get those red shoes cheaper at Val-Mart”

  28. My gripes about the Catholic church has to do with the higher heirarchy and the heirophants.

    The big diff in mysogyny, gay-bashing, and child abuse between the RC Church and other religious orgs is that RCism is highly centralized, is infallible through the agency of self-appointment in the 19th century, the decision making body is restricted, secretive, the middle management is frequently found to lie on a variety of topics, and the prelates flaunt garments that are even more anarchronistic than the Chassids, Hutterites, and Amish.

    Most Protestant denominatins, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist Movements are not nearly as top-down, dictatorial, and isolated from the way the 99.9% live.

    Other than that, I see no problems in the RC Church.

  29. “Pogo
    I didn’t know your among the frozen chosen”


    I resemble that remark. :-)

  30. I certainly don’t ridicule the Mass, the Sacred Texts, the Saints, or the theology, even though I accept none of it.

    I like stained glass windows.

  31. we distinguished the baptism rites of churches as dippers and drippers –

    Where as I always heard the division as being between the dunkers and the sprinklers. The dunkers being good Baptist and the sprinklers were Methodists
    Which reminds me:
    Did you hear bout the drought that was so bad, the Baptist had to sprinkle and the Methodist were just slapping them with a damp cloth?


  32. 7 pm Rome standard time
    They missed happy hour but are still in time for a lite supper before retiring and resting up from all that work.

  33. There are protestants out there that believe the papacy is the Antichrist, with Dick Cheney they could be right for once.

  34. Looks like Jace wins the pot, all three dollars.
    Drinks are on The winner.


  35. As with anything else ideals, history, power and philosophy can work for good or ill. The trick is in the picking and choosing

  36. Re Wedding – If there is anyone who has not contacted me about the group gift from the Trailmixers and wants to join in as opposed to doing your own thing, please let me know. webthings at comcast dot net

    Thank you!!

  37. craig, how about this one in keeping with today’s grand announcement?

    Under Pope John XXII, wine from Châteauneuf was regularly supplied to the Papal residence. John XXII was beyond doubt the prelate who participated most in developing the reputation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines and his legacy, the first appellation in the history of Châteauneuf, was the prestigious appellation of “Vin du Pape” that was later to become “Châteauneuf-du-Pape “.[…]
    the characteristics and flavours of Châteauneuf wines were very varied and, like all Rhône Valley wines, generous.

    Grenache and Cinsault for “sweetness, Warmth and mellowness.
    Mourvèdre, Syrah, Muscardin and Camarèse for robustness, maturity, colour and a thirst-quenching taste.
    Counoise and Picpoul for vinosity, charm and a special bouquet.
    Clairette and Bourboulenc for finesse, fire and brilliance.

    sure beats mogen david

  38. We don’t say Peter I, because he was the only Peter. This man won’t be Francis I until there is a Francis II. He is just Pope Francis.

  39. Pat

    The Châteauneuf-du-Pape sounds wonderful. My local connection will help me find something great but I need a direction. So a Cabernet should do it. The only problem … getting it out of my hands since I truly love a great red.

  40. Mogen David : A superior blend of rich New York raisins and and premium North Dakota sugar beets.

  41. If the Catholic church wanted me back: they should let the Nuns run the organization.! They like the Nurses do all the work, and the Priest and the drs get all the credit.

    But, but …..just thought better about it: The Nuns should take a test showing that they at least like little kids, in other words……… Sister Mary Adriane’s (bet her real name was Sue)….she was one mean nun.!!! when that movie came out about some nice looking plant…..whenever you were close enough to it…it ate u alive….that was this nun, just plain evil. Other than that, I have no problem with them ….

    On Thanks giving and christmas, I used to be asked to offer a prayer up to the “lord”

    Not any more….they quickly pass right by me. I think it is b/c I used to say something like:

    Please dear Gods we give our thanks for this food….even tho some of your children will starve to death every hr on the hre, and may all the gods, each and every true god… bestow those in new Guiana and others like them food on their plate ….they are not to blame coss they never heard of the many true one and only gods that we have……Amensssss

    I have fun with this….I pretend like im going to say something….and then just let it go……you can hear the sigh of relief……helps me digest all the food so much better…

  42. I’ll take Mogen David over Manischevitz.

    A glass of it is a wonderful complement to 20 units of Novolog.

  43. News Flash:

    Argentinean Cardinal tapped as New Pope.

    Mark Sanford announces for open Cardinalship.

  44. I did not want to say it like C-bob did last night, b/c it is not (I found out in life) taken so well when we Indians, Mexicans, and others say it that way…..but he is right….the Catholic Church has been using them to build their kingdom for the past few hundred years or so….as I told my family “I don’t get it” what makes you celebrate the catholic churches atrocities in the americas by being blind and faithful??..

    Even tho I know that there is part of the mind that functions, light up, even glows when speaking, or think spiritually….i still don’t get it.!

    I get a great feeling when I hear spiritual songs..

    “U don’t have to sing it, just play it”


  45. Quick read of Argentina media on new pope’s past shows he fought govt policies favoring same sex marriage and allowing abortions but has a history of overlooking human rights violations. Still, he deserves a chance. World would be a better place if Vatican gets a clue

  46. Pat,

    It could be. There is that red shoes connection – if you are card carrying member of the james hagee school of conspiracy theory.

    The Popes and Dorothy both wear red shoes. Dorothy was played by Frances Gumm, aka Judy Garland. Co-incidence? I wonder . . . .

  47. I wonder if his work in the slums has given the new Pope any insight into the upside of birth control?

  48. The pope was 40 years old when the Argentine fascist began their kidnapping/murder campaign, called the Dirty War or Guerra Suchia. What was he up to when children were kidnapped and hidden ?

    The answer had better be good or it’ll be yet another Vaticatastrophe.

  49. St Francis was the Patron St of animals and the environment. Both kind of dear to my heart.

  50. Craig
    remember the last 2 popes purged anybody who didn’t toe a strict line So there where no candidates that look like change.
    The nice thing about being raised in a Baptist culture is I believe in redemption. So lets hope he will drag the leadership at least into the 20th century.

  51. You only have to look at this image used for the “Below The Line” poverty campaign to see what overpopulation and poverty can do

  52. Hey… at least the new Pope can speak Spanish…

    And yes… he did take the name of the saint that loved animals and took his vow of poverty seriously…. there may be a glimmer of hope there.

  53. Well now that we’ve got all that Pope business settled Let’s talk a little about the Antichrist.
    Seems there is a new documentary about Dick Cheney.

    “The World According to Dick Cheney”

    Coming soon to a cable network near you
    I can hardly wait. (insert eye roll)


  54. I really liked some of the Saints I came to know. I really loved singing the Prayer of St Francis and St Anthony helped me find a lot of my lost stuff.

  55. CC says

    World would be a better place if Vatican gets a clue

    How about: the priest did it with you know what and you know to whom or women are not a lessor species

  56. The best obituary ever and something you can do about daylights savings (if this turns out to be a spoof I’m going to be very sad)

    Harry Weathersby Stamps
    December 19, 1932 — March 9, 2013
    Long Beach
    Harry Weathersby Stamps, ladies’ man, foodie, natty dresser, and accomplished traveler, died on Saturday, March 9, 2013.
    Harry was locally sourcing his food years before chefs in California starting using cilantro and arugula (both of which he hated). For his signature bacon and tomato sandwich, he procured 100% all white Bunny Bread from Georgia, Blue Plate mayonnaise from New Orleans, Sauer’s black pepper from Virginia, home grown tomatoes from outside Oxford, and Tennessee’s Benton bacon from his bacon-of-the-month subscription. As a point of pride, he purported to remember every meal he had eaten in his 80 years of life.
    The women in his life were numerous. He particularly fancied smart women. He loved his mom Wilma Hartzog (deceased), who with the help of her sisters and cousins in New Hebron reared Harry after his father Walter’s death when Harry was 12. He worshipped his older sister Lynn Stamps Garner (deceased), a character in her own right, and her daughter Lynda Lightsey of Hattiesburg. He married his main squeeze Ann Moore, a home economics teacher, almost 50 years ago, with whom they had two girls Amanda Lewis of Dallas, and Alison of Starkville. He taught them to fish, to select a quality hammer, to love nature, and to just be thankful. He took great pride in stocking their tool boxes. One of his regrets was not seeing his girl, Hillary Clinton, elected President.
    He had a life-long love affair with deviled eggs, Lane cakes, boiled peanuts, Vienna [Vi-e-na] sausages on saltines, his homemade canned fig preserves, pork chops, turnip greens, and buttermilk served in martini glasses garnished with cornbread.
    He excelled at growing camellias, rebuilding houses after hurricanes, rocking, eradicating mole crickets from his front yard, composting pine needles, living within his means, outsmarting squirrels, never losing a game of competitive sickness, and reading any history book he could get his hands on. He loved to use his oversized “old man” remote control, which thankfully survived Hurricane Katrina, to flip between watching The Barefoot Contessa and anything on The History Channel. He took extreme pride in his two grandchildren Harper Lewis (8) and William Stamps Lewis (6) of Dallas for whom he would crow like a rooster on their phone calls. As a former government and sociology professor for Gulf Coast Community College, Harry was thoroughly interested in politics and religion and enjoyed watching politicians act like preachers and preachers act like politicians. He was fond of saying a phrase he coined “I am not running for political office or trying to get married” when he was “speaking the truth.” He also took pride in his service during the Korean conflict, serving the rank of corporal–just like Napolean, as he would say.
    Harry took fashion cues from no one. His signature every day look was all his: a plain pocketed T-shirt designed by the fashion house Fruit of the Loom, his black-label elastic waist shorts worn above the navel and sold exclusively at the Sam’s on Highway 49, and a pair of old school Wallabees (who can even remember where he got those?) that were always paired with a grass-stained MSU baseball cap.
    Harry traveled extensively. He only stayed in the finest quality AAA-rated campgrounds, his favorite being Indian Creek outside Cherokee, North Carolina. He always spent the extra money to upgrade to a creek view for his tent. Many years later he purchased a used pop-up camper for his family to travel in style, which spoiled his daughters for life.
    He despised phonies, his 1969 Volvo (which he also loved), know-it-all Yankees, Southerners who used the words “veranda” and “porte cochere” to put on airs, eating grape leaves, Law and Order (all franchises), cats, and Martha Stewart. In reverse order. He particularly hated Day Light Saving Time, which he referred to as The Devil’s Time. It is not lost on his family that he died the very day that he would have had to spring his clock forward. This can only be viewed as his final protest.
    Because of his irrational fear that his family would throw him a golf-themed funeral despite his hatred for the sport, his family will hold a private, family only service free of any type of “theme.” Visitation will be held at Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home, 15th Street, Gulfport on Monday, March 11, 2013 from 6-8 p.m.
    In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Jeff Davis Campus) for their library. Harry retired as Dean there and was very proud of his friends and the faculty. He taught thousands and thousands of Mississippians during his life. The family would also like to thank the Gulfport Railroad Center dialysis staff who took great care of him and his caretaker Jameka Stribling.
    Finally, the family asks that in honor of Harry that you write your Congressman and ask for the repeal of Day Light Saving Time. Harry wanted everyone to get back on the Lord’s Time.
    View & sign register book @
    Read more here:

  57. The split between rich and poor in Brazil is also racial, as it is in the rest of the New World.

    For marvelously artistic looks at the worlds of favelas I recommend the movies Black Orpheus, and Waste Land. The former is a mythological drama (Orpheus and Euridyce as a poor black youths) made in 1959, arguably the best movie of that year. It set in the days preceding Mardi Gras and has lots of music, samba,and ostumes. The latter is recent and upbeat documentary by Vik Muniz. The garbage pickers of the favelas speak about their lives and work. There is no condesending & no preaching. Both movies are in favelan Portuguese with English subtitles.

  58. OMG… I’m pissin’ my pants….
    I just went to huffpo to see what type of headline they put up about the new Pope… it reads:

    The Holy Si’!
    Argentine Pope

  59. In the naming after, did they say St Francis Xavier or Assisi and, are we positive it’s not St Frances?

  60. Tennessee’s Benton bacon-made right here in Madisonville, TN-better known as Knobite Corner.

  61. Thanks !Jack!

    Now I am going to write to my members of Congress –end daylight savings —

  62. Faire

    Is it good? I love bacon. I work for a farmers market and one of the many great things that have happened is that there has been growth in locally raised meat — and bacon
    is an artisan craft around here.

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