Daily Archives: May 26, 2011

  • The Countdown: 5/27/2010

    3… ESA approved moving forward with a joint ESA/NASA Mars exploration program. This takes us one step closer to the 2016 ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter… and to a 2018 Mars Sample Return caching mission.

    2… Two words: olivine rain.

    1… Today, Science published the final version of the Wolfe-Simon et al. “Arsenic-using bacteria paper,” as well as the eight technical comments on the paper, and the reply to those comments by Wolfe-Simon et al. Needless to say, we’ll be covering this. This will be the subject of our first “journal club” conversation, next week. Join us then to discuss the debate in

  • Bringing the Cosmos Down to Earth

    Humanity has been reaching out to the cosmos for decades. We now sit at the dawn of a new era when we will bring the cosmos home.

    Yesterday, NASA selected Osiris-Rex for its next New Frontiers mission. Scheduled for a 2016 lanuch, this mission will travel for four years before entering orbit around the carbonaceous asteroid “1999 RQ36.” (I know… but the naming convention wasn’t designed with casual conversation in mind.) At that point, it will analyze the asteroid’s surface remotely for 6 months, in part to select a sampling site. “Rex” will then descend down towards the surface, where the