火星漫游者在这个红色行星的地表下探测到了原始生命的迹象

火星的漫游者好奇号已经在红色行星上发现了一个潜在的生命迹象——这个星球历史上对于甲烷气体的最高水平的测量结果。

地球上,甲烷主要来源于呼出甲烷的微生物。按照NASA的推测,隐藏在火星地壳下面的生物可能也是最近的测量结果的原因。但是现在请别过于兴奋,因为生命不是对于这个发现的唯一的可能解释。NASA指出,甲烷也能够由岩石和水之间的化学反应产生。

“从我们现在的测量结果来看,我们没有方法去判断甲烷的来源是生物还是地质。”位于绿地、马里兰州的NASA戈达德航天中心的主要研究者保罗马哈菲在一项声明中说道。

况且,这个破纪录的甲烷测量结果和地球上的甲烷含量的平均值相比较也显得更逊色。

好奇号测出的火星上的甲烷含量是10亿方分之21(ppb)。相比较而言,地球的甲烷含量接近1860ppb。

好奇号在过去曾经检测到过甲烷,虽然含量比这次要低很多。火星上甲烷含量的平均值接近于10的9次方分之7。可是根据NASA,甲烷含量确实随着季节的变化而升高或降低。这个模式提供了关于甲烷的来源的潜在的证据。在火星的冬季,甲烷含量减少。在夏天,它们的含量再次增多。科学家们知道,在红色行星的地壳底下躺着一层冰。也许在夏季,冰融化了,向火星的大气层释放出原来被困在冰层中的甲烷其气泡(与地球北极地区的冰冻土层在自己融化的同时向大气层释放出甲烷气体相似)。按照NASA的推测,这些甲烷气泡有可能是生命的遗迹。

甲烷不是火星曾经拥有古代生命适宜的环境的唯一证据。在2012年,好奇号与火星一个河床里识别出了存在了30亿年的水的化学痕迹。其后一年,科学家们在由好奇号于相同地点附近采集的岩石样本中认出了生命的一些化学组成部分。

欧洲航天局的微量气体轨道飞行器已经在火星轨道飞行了一年多了,还没有测量出一点甲烷。通过与微量气体轨道飞行器小队合作,NASA的科学家们希望最终解决火星上甲烷的秘密,并找到这种天然气的来源。

本文来自于

Mars Rover Detects Primordial Signs of Life Under the Red Planet’s Surface

By Isobel Whitcomb, Live Science Contributor | June 24, 2019 03:41pm ET

The Mars rover Curiosity has uncovered a potential sign of life on the Red Planet — the planet’s highest-ever measurement of a natural gas called methane.

On Earth, methane primarily comes from microbes, who breathe out the gas. It’s possible that life-forms hiding under Mars’ crust are also responsible for this latest measurement, according to NASA. But don’t get too excited — yet. Life isn’t the only potential explanation for the finding. Methane is also created by chemical reactions between rocks and water, according to NASA. [9 Strange, Scientific Excuses for Why Humans Haven’t Found Aliens Yet]

“With our current measurements, we have no way of telling if the methane source is biology or geology,” principal investigator Paul Mahaffy of NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a statement.

Plus, even this record-high methane measurement pales in comparison with average methane levels on Earth. Curiosity measured methane concentrations of 21 parts per billion (ppb) on Mars. In comparison, Earth’s methane concentrations are close to 1,860 ppb.

Curiosity has detected methane in the past, albeit at much lower concentrations. The average level on Mars is close to 7 ppm. But methane levels do appear to rise and fall seasonally, according to NASA. And this pattern offers a potential clue about the source of the methane. During the Martian winter, concentrations fall. In the summer, they rise once more. Scientists know that beneath the Red Planet’s crust lies a layer of ice. Perhaps, in summer, ice thaws, releasing trapped bubbles of methane into the atmosphere (similar to the way Earth’s arctic permafrost releases methane into the atmosphere as it melts). These methane pockets could be a relic of ancient life, according to NASA.

Methane isn’t the only evidence that Mars was once hospitable to ancient life. In 2012, Curiosity identified chemical traces of 3 billion-year-old water in a Martian streambed. The following year, scientists identified some of the chemical building blocks of life in a rock sample collected by Curiosity near that same site.

The European Space Agency’s Trace Gas Orbiter has been in orbit around Mars for over a year and has yet to measure any methane. By partnering with the Trace Gas Orbiter team, NASA scientists hope to eventually solve the Mars methane mystery and find the source of the natural gas.

火星上的漫游者在红色行星的地表下探测到了生命原始的迹象

火星的漫游者好奇号已经在红色行星上发现了一个潜在的生命迹象——这个星球历史上甲烷气体的最高浓度的测量结果。

地球上,甲烷主要来源于呼出甲烷的微生物。根据NASA,隐藏在火星地壳下面的生物可能也是最近的测量结果的原因。但是现在请别过于兴奋。生命不是对于这个发现的唯一可能的解释。根据NASA,甲烷也能够由岩石和水之间的化学反应产生。

“从我们现在的测量结果来看,我们没有方法去判断甲烷的来源是生物还是地质原因。”位于绿地、马里兰州的NASA戈达德航天中心的主要研究者保罗马哈菲说道。

再说,即使这个破纪录的甲烷测量结果和地球上的甲烷含量的平均值相比较也显得逊色。

好奇号测出的火星上的甲烷含量是10的9次方分之21。相比较而言,地球的甲烷含量接近10的9次方分之1860。

好奇号在过去已经检测到过甲烷,虽然含量比这次要低很多。火星上甲烷含量的平均值接近于10的9次方分之7。可是根据NASA,甲烷含量确实随着季节的变化而升高或降低。这个模式提供了关于甲烷的来源的潜在的证据。在火星的冬季,甲烷含量减少。在夏天,它们的含量再次增多。科学家们知道,在红色行星的地壳底下躺着一层冰。也许在夏季,冰融化了,向火星的大气层释放出原来被困在冰层中的甲烷其气泡(与地球北极地区的冰冻土层在自己融化的同时向大气层释放出甲烷气体相似)。根据NASA,这些甲烷气体有可能是生命的遗迹。

甲烷不是火星曾经拥有古代生命适宜的环境的唯一证据。在2012年,好奇号与火星一个河床里识别出了存在了30亿年的水的化学痕迹。接下来一年,科学家们在由好奇号于相同地点附近采集的岩石样本中认出了生命的一些化学组成部分。

欧洲航天局的微量气体轨道飞行器已经在火星周围的轨道待了一年多了,还没有测量出一点甲烷。通过与微量气体轨道飞行器小队合作,NASA的科学家们希望最终解决火星上甲烷的秘密,并找到这种天然气的来源。

 

本文来自于:

Mars Rover Detects Primordial Signs of Life Under the Red Planet’s Surface

Mars Rover Detects Primordial Signs of Life Under the Red Planet's Surface
NASA’s Curiosity rover has found a sky-high amount of methane while sampling in Mars’ Gale Crater (shown here).

Credit: NASA

The Mars rover Curiosity has uncovered a potential sign of life on the Red Planet — the planet’s highest-ever measurement of a natural gas called methane.

On Earth, methane primarily comes from microbes, who breathe out the gas. It’s possible that life-forms hiding under Mars’ crust are also responsible for this latest measurement, according to NASA. But don’t get too excited — yet. Life isn’t the only potential explanation for the finding. Methane is also created by chemical reactions between rocks and water, according to NASA. [9 Strange, Scientific Excuses for Why Humans Haven’t Found Aliens Yet]

“With our current measurements, we have no way of telling if the methane source is biology or geology,” principal investigator Paul Mahaffy of NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a statement.

Plus, even this record-high methane measurement pales in comparison with average methane levels on Earth. Curiosity measured methane concentrations of 21 parts per billion (ppb) on Mars. In comparison, Earth’s methane concentrations are close to 1,860 ppb.

Curiosity has detected methane in the past, albeit at much lower concentrations. The average level on Mars is close to 7 ppm. But methane levels do appear to rise and fall seasonally, according to NASA. And this pattern offers a potential clue about the source of the methane. During the Martian winter, concentrations fall. In the summer, they rise once more. Scientists know that beneath the Red Planet’s crust lies a layer of ice. Perhaps, in summer, ice thaws, releasing trapped bubbles of methane into the atmosphere (similar to the way Earth’s arctic permafrost releases methane into the atmosphere as it melts). These methane pockets could be a relic of ancient life, according to NASA.

Methane isn’t the only evidence that Mars was once hospitable to ancient life. In 2012, Curiosity identified chemical traces of 3 billion-year-old water in a Martian streambed. The following year, scientists identified some of the chemical building blocks of life in a rock sample collected by Curiosity near that same site.

The European Space Agency’s Trace Gas Orbiter has been in orbit around Mars for over a year and has yet to measure any methane. By partnering with the Trace Gas Orbiter team, NASA scientists hope to eventually solve the Mars methane mystery and find the source of the natural gas.

由于尘埃降落到在火星上,机遇号漫游者仍然是失踪的。

         由于操控者正在准备发起联系,因此这个漫游者还没有报到。Opportunity rover still MIA as dust settles on Mars

我们在火星上看到的最大的一次沙尘暴现在正在逐渐结束,给机遇号将快速得到足够的功率 去重新开启和地球的正常联系带来了希望。从六月至今,这个漫游者已经失去了联系,控制者也在准备好去尝试使漫游者回复NASA的深空探测网发送的命令。

和更大的好奇号漫游者不同,机遇号由太阳能供电。当现在的沙尘暴渐渐包围了整个火星的大气层时,为它提供能量的太阳光逐渐变淡。机遇号已经有几个月不能够得到足够的能量去维持在正常的功能,导致它转换到了休眠模式。一旦它经历了这次在6月的转换,这个漫游者就有了足够的功率和地球上的操作人员实现应答了。

基于大气层的状况,那些操作人员预测在不久的未来那个电源很有可能是充足的。可是,这个漫游者的情况会有一些无法把握的事情,这意味着它将不会像预期的那样进行联系。最简单的可能是沙尘暴在漫游者的太阳能控制板上沉积了足够的尘埃,使它一直远离充足电量的程度。那能够把它从睡眠的返回推延到最后一颗尘埃离开大气层,或者甚至造成电量停留在低的状态,直到附近的风清理了控制板。

当然,那一切假设每件事情都在正常地运行。机遇号的电量很有可能降得太低了,以至于它的机载时钟停止运转。如果是那种情况,那么就没有方法去得知这个漫游者什么时候会努力重新连接建立联系。这是操作人员正在准备给它发送命令去建立联系的缘故之一,到了那时就不能等待漫游者去应答了。

在休眠的过程中,一些电量或联络的硬件设备也有可能出故障了。操作者认为漫游者现在待着的位置会保持足够温暖,能使一些主板上加热器将继续维持部件在被估计的温度或其以上,所以问题基本上是部件是旧的而且它们已经在火星上的14年的条件是艰苦的。

在状况好到能使它产生足够的功率以回应后,NASA将持续尝试去联络漫游者45天。如果在那个时段里没有响应,漫游者的操控者将只会再用几个额外的月份来被动地听它。

Opportunity rover still MIA as dust settles on Mars

The rover has not checked in as controllers are getting ready to trigger contact.

One of the largest dust storms we’ve ever seen on Mars is finally winding down, raising hopes that the Opportunity rover will soon be able to obtain enough power to resume normal contact with Earth. At this point, there’s been no contact with the rover since June, and controllers are getting ready to attempt to get the rover to respond to commands sent over NASA’s Deep Space Network.

Unlike the larger Curiosity rover, Opportunity is solar-powered. And as the current dust storm gradually grew to encompass the entirety of Mars’ atmosphere, the sunlight that powered it gradually faded out. For several months, Opportunity hasn’t been getting enough powerto maintain normal function, causing it to shift into a hibernation mode. Once it underwent this shift back in June, the rover has been waiting for enough power to start checking in with its operators here on Earth.

Based on the atmospheric conditions, those operators expect that power is likely to be sufficient in the very near future. There are a number of uncertainties regarding the rover’s condition that could mean it won’t be making contact as expected, however. The simplest possibility is that the storm deposited enough dust on the rover’s solar panels to keep them from reaching sufficient power levels. That could delay its return from hibernation until the last of the dust is out of the atmosphere, or it could even cause the power to stay low until local winds clean the panels off.

All that, of course, assumes everything’s working normally. There’s a good chance that Opportunity‘s power dropped so low that its on-board clock shut down. If that’s the case, then there’s no way of knowing when the rover will try to re-establish contact. That’s one of the reasons that operators are preparing to send it commands to establish contact rather than waiting for the rover to try to check in.

There’s also the chance that some power or communication hardware failed during the hibernation. Operators expect that the location the rover is in will stay warm enough that some small onboard heaters will keep components at or above the temperatures they’re rated for, so the issue is primarily that the components are old and the conditions have been harsh for the 14 years they’ve been on Mars.

NASA will continue attempts to contact the rover for 45 days after the conditions are good enough for it to generate sufficient power to respond. If there’s no response during that period, the rover’s controllers will just passively listen for it checking in for several additional months.

NASA的洞察号着陆器正在红色行星上正式地开展搜寻地震的工作

This image from NASA's InSight Mars lander, taken on Jan. 7, 2019, shows the SEIS seismograph instrument deployed on the Martian surface to measure Marsquakes.

根据建造此地震仪的法国航天局的说法,这个用于叫做SEIS的内部结构地震实验的超级灵敏地震仪已经通过了最初的实验,目前工作正常。

“这是一个具有历史意义的时刻,也是地球物理学重大的希望,”法国航天局的官员正式说道。“美国的NASA在1975年发射的海盗1和海盗2航天飞船上都带着一个地震仪。其中的一个地震仪的功能失效,另一个地震仪安装在舱面上,由于它对风产生的周围的背景噪声过于敏感而没能检测到火星的震动。SEIS是此类仪器中第一个被放置在火星地表上的。”

洞察号着陆器于11月26日在火星上登陆。12月19日,它用像起重机的机器手臂使SEIS在火星的地表上展开。洞察号将迅速地在SEIS地震仪上面安装一个特殊的盖子覆盖住SEIS地震仪之上,以使它免受火星上的风和极端的温度的侵扰。

法国航天局的官员说道,自从NASA的阿波罗17号在月球上登陆后宇航员哈里森·施密特有效地利用那次任务的阿波罗月球表面实验包——一个含有月球地震仪的传感器组件以来,SEIS是第一个开始在另一个世界里成功地开始工作的地震仪。

SEIS由三个钛球体中的超静谧的振动传感器组成,被置于真空中。一个用来给它的系统供电的电子拴绳和加热器在1月6日被配置好。根据法国航天局,SEIS传感器“正在开始记录每分钟的地面移位”。

洞察号的SEIS是这个着陆器将要调动的两个工具中的一个。另外一个是用来挖掘的一个工具,叫做具有热流和物理特性的探头,或者HP3。执行航天任务的科学家们将要利用敏感的地震仪去检测火星震和陨石的撞击、研究火星内部的结构;利用HP3记录着关于热量如何在这个星球的地表里移动的。为了帮助科学家们研究这个行星的震动,洞察号也要做一个无线电实验。

NASA在2018年5月份发射了85千万美元的洞察号着陆器(它的名字是使用地震勘探、测地学和热量转移的简称)。人们期待它能用至少一个火星年——大约两个地球年的时间来研究火星的内部。

NASA’s InSight Lander on Mars Is Now Hunting for Marsquakes

This image from NASA’s InSight Mars lander, taken on Jan. 7, 2019, shows the SEIS seismograph instrument deployed on the Martian surface to measure Marsquakes.

NASA’s InSight Mars lander is officially hunting for quakes on the Red Planet.

The lander’s ultrasensitive seismometer, called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), has passed its initial tests and is working working well, according to the French space agency CNES, which built the lander’s instrument.

“This is a historic moment and a great hope for geophysics,” CNES officials said in a statement. “The two U.S. Viking 1 and Viking 2 missions launched by NASA in 1975 were each carrying a seismometer. One failed to function, while the other — fixed to the deck of the lander — was unable to measure Mars’ seismic activity as it was too sensitive to the background noise generated by winds. SEIS is thus the first instrument of its kind to be placed on the surface of the Red Planet.” [NASA’s InSight Mars Lander: Full Coverage]

The InSight lander touched down on Mars Nov. 26 and used its crane-like robotic arm to deploy the SEIS instrument on the Martian surface on Dec. 19. On Jan. 1, InSight celebrated the new year by testing the seismograph, CNES officials said. InSight will soon deploy a special cover over the SEIS instrument to protect it from the Martian wind and extreme temperatures.

SEIS is the first seismometer to successfully begin work on another world since NASA’s Apollo 17 moon landing in 1972, when astronaut Harrison Schmitt deployed a that mission’s Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package — a sensor suite that included a lunar seismometer, CNES officials said. SEIS is made up of three ultraprecise seismic sensors surrounded by a vacuum inside a titanium sphere. An electronic tether to power its systems and heaters was deployed on Jan. 6, and the SEIS sensors “are beginning to record minute ground displacements.” according to CNES.

InSight’s SEIS instrument is one of two tools the lander will deploy on the surface of Mars. The other is a burrowing tool called the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Probe, or HP3. Mission scientists will use the sensitive seismometer to detect Marsquakes, meteorite impacts and to study the structure of the interior of Mars, with the HP3 tool recording observations on how heat moves through the planet’s surface. InSight also carries a radio experiment to help scientists study the planet’s wobble.

NASA launched the $850 million InSight lander (its name is short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) in May 2018. It is expected to study the interior of Mars for at least one Martian year, which is about the equivalent of two Earth years.

NASA的火星好奇号着陆器发现关于神秘的夏普山的证据。

通过对好奇号的一个航行工具进行改进,科学家们已经分析了着陆器下面的岩石的密度,发现它的孔隙度原来所想的要更大。

一个科考队设法改变了一个监测运动状况的设备的用途,该设备帮助NASA的好奇号漫游者导航,它被改造后应用于测量这颗红色行星重力场的变化范围。在这个过程中,科学家们发现着陆器底下的岩石比原来认为的要有更多的小孔。这提供了神秘的夏普山的形成的一些证据,夏普山是一个奇异的山丘,该着陆器一直在盖尔陨坑的中央探索它。

“这个研究有一点像此类型中的第一个。”霍普金斯大学研究报告的作家凯文路易斯说道。“它是在地球和月球之外另一个的行星中第一个引力测线。

在地球上,地质学家通常用这类仪器来研究潜藏在地下的岩石。但是在火星上,研究者只能从绕轨道飞行的航天飞船上获得这种重力的数据,由于航天飞船离火星地表太远而不能拍摄到一张精细的图像。所以即使好奇号漫游者已经在这颗红色星球上待了六年多了,科学家和工程师们一起工作,主要给好奇号提供一个新的仪器。

就像路易斯解释的一样,引力只不过是加速度。好奇号配备有加速计——就像用在苹果手机和其他电子产品上面常用的加速度一样——既可以用来航行,也可以用来得知车的方向。因此,通过使用着陆器的加速计,这个团队能够测量来自各处地下岩层的重力“牵引”。

从亚丽桑大立州大学毕业的一个队员特拉维斯加布里埃尔在一封电子邮件中说道:“引力的测量……给这个行星上一块特别的区域提供一个放大镜。这就是地表上重力的测量在地球地质的工具腰带中是一个主要工具的原因。”所以,通过将好奇号发送去爬位于火星的盖尔陨坑中间一个高3英里(高5公里)的夏普山,这个团队能够发现这个地区的密度以及夏普山在过去是怎样的形成的。

在过去,研究者们认为盖尔陨坑的底部在很久以前有可能埋藏在数英里的岩石下面。

“如果你在月亮上用一个望远镜观察火星,你会注意到在大多数大型坑洞中央的小山峰——盖尔陨坑也是一样的。但是盖尔陨坑中的山峰比个的边缘要更高。这导致科学家们相信他曾经一次性地充满沉积物。”

因此,当好奇号的重力数据表明这个想法是根本不可能的时候,人们都极其惊讶。这是因为即使那里石头的密度极其小,它里面实际的矿物质很稠密。这意味着岩石中充溢着使其变得多孔的空洞。

如果盖尔陨坑曾经被充溢到边缘上,那么就像路易斯所说的那样,样式中的孔隙就会在数吨的石头下面,基本上被挤扁。

加布里埃尔补充说:“我们现在认为盖尔陨坑只是部分地被充满了,引出了‘盖尔陨坑的历史以及远古时期火星赤道上的环境状况是怎样的’这个谜团。”与之不同的是,这个团队认为在更暖和的时候,风可能已经把残骸吹到坑里;在寒冷的夜晚中,风又使残骸被吹到坑外,在数百万年里逐渐形成夏普山。

这可能不将是我们最后一次听到好奇号“新”的重力设备。“在我们的分析中,我们也证实了这个加速计检测火星上的地震的能力,这又是在此类尺度上的又一次科技演示,并可以在未来对火星的地表下面提供全新的洞察力。”加布里埃尔补充道。

这个研究将会于2月1日(周五)发表在杂志《科学》中。

本文来源于:

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover finds clues about mysterious Mount Sharp

By tweaking one of Curiosity’s navigational tools, scientists have analyzed the density of the rock beneath the rover, finding it’s more porous than previously thought.
curiosity1

This 2016 Curiosity rover selfie shows the vehicle at the “Okoruso” drilling site on Mount Sharp’s Naukluft Plateau. The Martian scene is a mosaic of images taken with the arm-mounted Mars Hands Lens Imager (MAHLI).

A team of researchers managed to repurpose a movement-detecting device that helps NASA’s Curiosity rover navigate and use it to measure variations in the Red Planet’s gravitational field. In the process, the scientists discovered that the rocks beneath the rover are more porous than previously suspected. This offers clues into the mysterious formation Mount Sharp, a strange hill the rover has been exploring in the center of Gale Crater.

“This study is a little bit of the first of its kind,” said study author Kevin Lewis of Johns Hopkins University. “It’s the first gravity traverse on the surface of another planet other than the Earth and the moon.”

On Earth, geologists commonly use such instruments to study rocks lurking beneath the surface. But on Mars, researchers could only get this kind of gravity data from orbiting spacecraft, which are too far away to get a detailed picture. So scientists and engineers worked together to essentially give Curiosity a new scientific instrument — even after more than six years on the Red Planet.

As Lewis explains, gravity is really just acceleration. And Curiosity is equipped with accelerometers — like the ones commonly used in iPhones and other electronics — which are used both to drive and get the vehicle’s orientation. So, by using the rover’s accelerometers, the team was able to measure varying gravitational “tugs” from subsurface rock layers.

“Gravity measurements … provide a magnifying lens into one particular area of the planet’s subsurface,” Travis Gabriel, a team member and graduate student at Arizona State University, said in an email. “This is why surface measurements of gravity are a staple tool in an Earth geologist’s toolbelt.” So, by sending Curiosity to climb Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-tall (5-km-tall) mountain in the middle of Mars’ Gale crater, the team was able to uncover the density of the area’s rocks and how Mount Sharp likely formed.

Martian geology

In the past, researchers thought the floor of Gale Crater was probably buried beneath miles of rock long ago.

“If you look through a telescope at the moon, you’ll notice central peaks in most of the large craters – Gale Crater is no different,”Gabriel said. “However, (Gale’s) central peak stands taller than the crater’s rim, which leads scientists to believe it was filled to the brim with sediments at one time.”

So it came as a surprise when Curiosity’s gravity data showed this idea just isn’t possible. That’s because the rocks there have a surprisingly low density, even though the actual minerals in the rocks are fairly dense. This implies the rocks are riddled with empty pockets that make them porous.

If Gale Crater had ever been filled to the brim, those pores in the rocks would have been essentially “squished out,” as Lewis put it, beneath tons of rock.

“We think Gale Crater was filled only partially, providing a critical piece of the puzzle that is the history of Gale crater and the ancient environmental conditions at the equator of Mars,” Gabriel added. Instead, the team suggests winds may have blown debris into the crater in the warmer day hours and out of the crater during the cold night, gradually forming Mount Sharp over many millions of years.

And this probably won’t be the last time we hear about Curiosity “new” gravity instrument. “In our analysis, we also demonstrated the capacity of the accelerometers to measure martian earthquakes, which is yet another technology demonstration with these units and can provide new insights in the subsurface of Mars in the future,” Gabriel added.

The research will be published in the journal Science on Friday, Feb. 1.

NASA的火星好奇号着陆器寻找到关于神秘的夏普山的证据。

通过对好奇号的一个航行工具进行改进,科学家们已经分析了着陆器下面的岩石的密度,发现它比原来想象的要更潮湿。

一个科考队改变了一个监测运动状况的设备的用途,并将其应用于测量这颗红色行星重力的变化范围。在这个过程中,科学家们发现着陆器底下的岩石比原来认为的要有更多的小孔。这提供了神秘的夏普山的形成的一些证据。夏普山是这个着陆器已经在盖尔陨坑的中央探索过的奇异山丘。

“这个研究是这个类型中的第一个。”霍普金斯大学研究报告的作家凯文路易斯说道。“它是除了地球和月球之外的行星中第一个引力侧线。”

在地球上,地质学家通常用这类仪器来研究潜藏在地下的岩石。但是在火星上,研究者只能从绕轨道飞行的航天飞船上获得这种重力的数据,而航天飞船离火星地表太远以至于不能拍摄到一张精细的图像。所以科学家和工程师们一起工作,主要是给好奇号一个新的一起——即使他已经在这颗红色星球上待了六年多了。

就像路易斯解释的一样,引力只是加速度。好奇号配备有加速计——就像用在苹果手机和其他电子产品上面的——既可以用来航行,也可以用来得知车的方向。因此,通过运用着陆器的加速计,这个团队能够测量从地表底下的岩层传来的变化的重力拖船。

从亚丽桑大立州大学毕业的一个队员特拉维斯加布里埃尔在一封电子邮件中说道:“引力的测量……给这个行星上一块特别的区域提供一个放大镜。这就是地表上重力的测量在地球地质的工具腰带中是一个主要工具的原因。”所以,通过将好奇号发送去爬位于火星的盖尔陨坑中间一个高3英里(高5公里)的夏普山,这个团队能够发现这个地区的密度以及夏普山在过去是怎样的形成的。

火星的地质情况

在过去,研究者们认为盖尔陨坑的底部在很久以前有可能埋藏在数英里的岩石下面。

“如果你从一个望远镜中观察月亮,你会注意到在大多数大型坑洞中央的小山峰——盖尔陨坑也是一样的。但是盖尔陨坑中的山峰比个的边缘要更高。这导致科学家们相信他曾经充满沉淀。”

因此,当好奇号的重力数据表明这个想法是不可能的时,简直就是一个惊讶。这是因为那里石头的密度极其小,即使里面实际的矿物质很稠密。这意味着岩石中充溢着使其变得多孔的空洞。

如果盖尔陨坑曾经被充溢到边缘上,那么岩石中的那些小孔就会被挤出。就像路易斯所说的,在数吨的石头下面。

加布里埃尔补充说:“我们现在认为盖尔陨坑只是部分地被充满了,提供了‘盖尔陨坑的历史以及远古时期火星赤道上的环境状况’这一关键板块。”相反地,这个团队认为在更暖和的时候,风可能已经把残骸吹到坑里;在寒冷的夜晚中,风又使残骸被吹到坑外,在数百万年里逐渐形成夏普山。

这可能不将是我们最后一次听说到好奇号新的重力设备。“在我们的分析中,我们也证实了这个加速计检测火星上的地震的能力,而这又是在此类尺度上的另一个科技证明,并可以在未来给火星的地表下面提供全新的洞悉。”加布里埃尔补充道。

这个研究将会于2月1日(周五)发表在杂志《科学》中。

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover finds clues about mysterious Mount Sharp

By tweaking one of Curiosity’s navigational tools, scientists have analyzed the density of the rock beneath the rover, finding it’s more porous than previously thought.

By Chelsea Gohd  |  Published: Friday, February 01, 2019

A team of researchers managed to repurpose a movement-detecting device that helps NASA’s Curiosity rover navigate and use it to measure variations in the Red Planet’s gravitational field. In the process, the scientists discovered that the rocks beneath the rover are more porous than previously suspected. This offers clues into the mysterious formation Mount Sharp, a strange hill the rover has been exploring in the center of Gale Crater.

“This study is a little bit of the first of its kind,” said study author Kevin Lewis of Johns Hopkins University. “It’s the first gravity traverse on the surface of another planet other than the Earth and the moon.”

On Earth, geologists commonly use such instruments to study rocks lurking beneath the surface. But on Mars, researchers could only get this kind of gravity data from orbiting spacecraft, which are too far away to get a detailed picture. So scientists and engineers worked together to essentially give Curiosity a new scientific instrument — even after more than six years on the Red Planet.

As Lewis explains, gravity is really just acceleration. And Curiosity is equipped with accelerometers — like the ones commonly used in iPhones and other electronics — which are used both to drive and get the vehicle’s orientation. So, by using the rover’s accelerometers, the team was able to measure varying gravitational “tugs” from subsurface rock layers.

“Gravity measurements … provide a magnifying lens into one particular area of the planet’s subsurface,” Travis Gabriel, a team member and graduate student at Arizona State University, said in an email. “This is why surface measurements of gravity are a staple tool in an Earth geologist’s toolbelt.” So, by sending Curiosity to climb Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-tall (5-km-tall) mountain in the middle of Mars’ Gale crater, the team was able to uncover the density of the area’s rocks and how Mount Sharp likely formed.

Martian geology

In the past, researchers thought the floor of Gale Crater was probably buried beneath miles of rock long ago.

“If you look through a telescope at the moon, you’ll notice central peaks in most of the large craters – Gale Crater is no different,”Gabriel said. “However, (Gale’s) central peak stands taller than the crater’s rim, which leads scientists to believe it was filled to the brim with sediments at one time.”

So it came as a surprise when Curiosity’s gravity data showed this idea just isn’t possible. That’s because the rocks there have a surprisingly low density, even though the actual minerals in the rocks are fairly dense. This implies the rocks are riddled with empty pockets that make them porous.

If Gale Crater had ever been filled to the brim, those pores in the rocks would have been essentially “squished out,” as Lewis put it, beneath tons of rock.

“We think Gale Crater was filled only partially, providing a critical piece of the puzzle that is the history of Gale crater and the ancient environmental conditions at the equator of Mars,” Gabriel added. Instead, the team suggests winds may have blown debris into the crater in the warmer day hours and out of the crater during the cold night, gradually forming Mount Sharp over many millions of years.

And this probably won’t be the last time we hear about Curiosity “new” gravity instrument. “In our analysis, we also demonstrated the capacity of the accelerometers to measure martian earthquakes, which is yet another technology demonstration with these units and can provide new insights in the subsurface of Mars in the future,” Gabriel added.

The research will be published in the journal Science on Friday, Feb. 1.

NASA的洞察号火星着陆器正在官方地搜寻这颗红色行星上的的地震。

根据建造这个着陆器的设备的法国航天局,这个着陆器的地震仪SEIS超级灵敏,已经通过了它的室内测试并且正在良好地工作着。

“这是一个充满历史意义的时刻,一个对地球物理学的极大希望,”法国航天局官员在一句话中说道。“由美国的NASA在1975年发射的海盗1和海盗2航天任务每个都带着一个地震检测器。有一个地震仪没有运行,另一个安装在舱面上的地震仪由于它对风产生的背景过于灵敏而没能检测火星震动的活动。SEIS是此类仪器中第一个被放置在火星地表上的。”

洞察号着陆器于11月26日在火星上登陆。在12月19日,它用它像起重机般的机器人的手臂使SEIS在火星的地表上展开。法国航天局的官员说,在1月1日,洞察号通过测试地震仪来庆祝新年。洞察号将迅速将SEIS地震仪上配置一个特殊的盖子,以使它免受火星上的风和极端的温度的侵扰。

自从NASA的阿波罗17号在月球上登陆后宇航员哈里森·施密特有效地利用那次任务的阿波罗月球表面实验包——一个包含一个月球地震仪的传感器套件以来,SEIS是第一个成功地以此方式在另一个世界里成功地开始工作的地震仪。

SEIS由三个钛球体中的超静谧的振动传感器组成,周围是真空。一个电子栓用来给它的系统供电。加热器在1月6日被配置好。根据法国航天局,SEIS传感器“正在开始记录每分钟地面的排水量”。

洞察号的SEIS是这个着陆器将要调动的两个工具中的一个。另外一个是用来挖掘的一个工具,叫做具有热流和物理特性的探头,或者HP3。航天任务的科学家们将要利用敏感的地震仪去检测火星上的地震和陨石的影响、研究火星内部的结构,HP3记录着关于热量如何在这个星球的地表里移动的观测。为了帮助科学家们研究这个行星的震动,洞察号也要做一个无线电实验。

NASA在2018年5月份发射了85千万美元的洞察号着陆器。他被期待去用至少一个火星年,也就是大约两个地球年的时间来研究火星的内部。

本文来自于:

NASA’s InSight Mars lander is officially hunting for quakes on the Red Planet.

The lander’s ultrasensitive seismometer, called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), has passed its initial tests and is working working well, according to the French space agency CNES, which built the lander’s instrument.

“This is a historic moment and a great hope for geophysics,” CNES officials said in a statement. “The two U.S. Viking 1 and Viking 2 missions launched by NASA in 1975 were each carrying a seismometer. One failed to function, while the other — fixed to the deck of the lander — was unable to measure Mars’ seismic activity as it was too sensitive to the background noise generated by winds. SEIS is thus the first instrument of its kind to be placed on the surface of the Red Planet.”

The InSight lander touched down on Mars Nov. 26 and used its crane-like robotic arm to deploy the SEIS instrument on the Martian surface on Dec. 19. On Jan. 1, InSight celebrated the new year by testing the seismograph, CNES officials said. InSight will soon deploy a special cover over the SEIS instrument to protect it from the Martian wind and extreme temperatures.

SEIS is the first seismometer to successfully begin work on another world since NASA’s Apollo 17 moon landing in 1972, when astronaut Harrison Schmitt deployed a that mission’s Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package — a sensor suite that included a lunar seismometer, CNES officials said. SEIS is made up of three ultraprecise seismic sensors surrounded by a vacuum inside a titanium sphere. An electronic tether to power its systems and heaters was deployed on Jan. 6, and the SEIS sensors “are beginning to record minute ground displacements.” according to CNES.

NASA的航天飞船洞察号(InSight)现已飞过距离火星一半的距离。

NASA的航天飞船洞察号(InSight)现已飞过距离火星一半的距离。

洞察号预期在11月26日抵达火星。它被指派揭示火星的地形,去探测它的地壳、地幔和地核的深度。

“我们正在真正地在测量这个星球的深度,试图深入行星内部数以千英里的位置,目的是不仅仅只理解它的地表,而是整个行星。” 洞察号太空飞行任务的首席研究员Bruce Banerdt说道。

洞察号在5月离开地区,携带着一个地震仪,为了去研究火星上地面的震动。这个飞船将要在火星上的埃律西昂平原区域。洞察号太空飞行任务将是探索这颗星球的内部的第一个火星任务。

行星学会汇报道,洞察号太空飞行任务原本是被计划在2016年5月启动的,但是关于地震仪的问题造成了一个拖延。

根据NASA,洞察号代表内部的探索使用着地震的侦探,大地测量学和热量转移。这个太空飞行任务由NASA的喷气推进实验室负责。

洞察号背后的在NASA的团队正在为这个飞船着陆进行准备。团队也激活并监视洞察号中对于航行、着陆、表面操作必要的子系统。根据由NASA开放的一个新闻,这些系统中包括非常敏感的科学的设备。

团队计划去探索为什么火星有那么多山峦。NASA报告称,他们希望侦查这颗行星的气温将给予洞察号什么东西导致了它的火山的组成,比如一个将近是珠穆拉玛峰3倍大小的火山奥林帕斯山。

除了月球之外,火星已经是太阳系中对于太空飞行任务来讲最受欢迎的地点。不过,探索火星中的一半尝试都以失败告终。根据行星协会,从1996年以来的火星太空飞行任务的数据向太空探险者显示:火星比原先相信的更加和地球相像。

科学家们希望他们研究火星能够理解更多关于多岩石的行星是怎样形成的。

水星、金星、地球和火星都拥有一个多岩石的结构。根据NASA,科学家们希望对于火星内部的理解也将帮助他们搞懂太阳系外面的行星。

“我们将要去侦查它的深度,思考出地核有多大、地核由什么构成以及硬层有多大。我们运用着那个信息就将有能力回去检测我们关于火星和地球分别是如何形成的模型。” Banerdt说道。

两个来帮助洞察号将数据传回地球的小型宇航飞船火星一号立方体由洞察号喷射进太空。科学家们希望测试这些微型的交流仪器来帮助增大未来深度火星太空飞行任务的可能性。但是,根据NASA,如果它们不管用,它们将不会影戏洞察号太空飞行任务。

NASA的现在探索火星的漫游者机遇号有一个不确定的未来。Space.com报道说,洞察号正在去火星的路上时,出于一次大型沙尘暴的原因,机遇号的联络在6月10日被切断。机遇号于2004年11月在火星上着陆。

 

NASA Spacecraft More Than Halfway to Mars

BY COLIN FREDERICSON

August 30, 2018 Updated: August 30, 2018   

NASA’s InSight spacecraft is now more than halfway to Mars.

The InSight is expected to touch down on Mars on Nov. 26. It’s set to penetrate the terrain on Mars to probe the depths of its crust, mantle, and core.

“We’re actually measuring the depths of the planet, thousands of miles deep into the planet to understand the entire planet, not just the surface,” said Bruce Banerdt, the principal investigator on the InSight mission.

The InSight departed Earth in May, carrying a seismometer to study ground motions on Mars. The spacecraft is set to land on Mars’s Elysium Planitia region. The InSight mission will be the first Mars mission to explore the interior of the planet.

The InSight mission was originally scheduled to launch in March 2016, but seismometer issues caused a delay, The Planetary Society reported.

InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, according to NASA. The mission is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The team at NASA behind InSight is preparing for the day the spacecraft lands. The team also monitors and activates InSight subsystems necessary for cruise, landing, and surface operations. These include very sensitive scientific instruments, according to a news release from NASA.

The team plans to explore why Mars has so many mountains. They hope probing the planet’s temperature will give insight into what led to its volcano formations, such as Olympus Mons, a volcano almost three times the size of Mount Everest, NASA reported.

Besides the moon, Mars has been the most popular location for space missions in the solar system. However, half of the attempts to explore Mars failed. Data obtained from Mars missions since 1996 revealed to space explorers that Mars is more like Earth than previously believed, according to The Planetary Society.

Scientists hope that studying Mars, they can understand more about how similar rocky planets formed. Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars all have a rocky structure. Scientists hope that understanding the interior of Mars will also help them understand other planets outside our solar system, according to NASA.

“We’re going to probe its depths, figure out how big the core is, what its made out of, how big the crust is and using that information we’re going to be able to go back and test our models of how Mars formed and how the earth formed,” said Banerdt.

Blasting through space behind InSight are two mini spacecraft called Mars Cube One to help InSight communicate data back to Earth. Scientists hope to test the viability of these miniaturized communications devices to help expand the possibilities of future deep space Mars missions. But if they don’t work, they will not affect InSight’s mission, according to NASA.

A NASA rover currently exploring Mars, the Opportunity, has an uncertain future. As InSight was on its way to Mars, Opportunity communications were cut off on June 10 due to a large dust storm, Space.com reported. Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004.

Fox contributed to this report

From NTD Television

NASA的航天飞船洞察号(InSight)现在距离火星比其路程一半还要远。

洞察号预期在11月26日抵达火星。它被指派揭示火星的地形,去探测它的硬层、地幔和地核的深度。

“我们正在真正地在测量这个星球的深度,试图深入行星内部数以千英里的位置,目的是不仅仅只理解它的地表,而是整个行星。” 洞察号太空飞行任务的原理侦察员Bruce Banerdt说道。

洞察号在5月离开地区,携带着一个地震仪,为了去研究火星上地面的震动。这个飞船将要在火星上的埃律西昂平原区域。洞察号太空飞行任务将是探索这颗星球的内部的第一个火星任务。

行星学会汇报道,洞察号太空飞行任务原本是被计划在2016年5月启动的,但是关于地震仪的问题造成了一个拖延。

根据NASA,洞察号代表内部的探索使用着地震的侦探,大地测量学和热量转移。这个太空飞行任务被NASA的喷气推进实验室艰难地完成。

洞察号背后的在NASA的团队正在为这个飞船着陆进行准备。团队也激活并监视洞察号中对于航行、着陆、表面操作必要的子系统。根据由NASA开放的一个新闻,这些系统中包括非常敏感的科学的设备。

团队计划去探索为什么火星有那么多山峦。NASA报告称,他们希望侦查这颗行星的气温将给予洞察号什么东西导致了它的火山的组成,比如一个将近是珠穆拉玛峰3倍大小的火山奥林帕斯山。

除了月球之外,火星已经是太阳系中对于太空飞行任务来讲最受欢迎的位置。不过,探索火星中的一半尝试都以失败告终。从1996年以来的火星太空飞行任务的数据向太空探险者显示,火星比原先相信的更加和地球相像。

科学家们希望他们研究火星能够理解更多关于多岩石的行星是怎样形成的。

水星、金星、地球和火星都拥有一个多岩石的结构。根据NASA,科学家们希望对于火星内部的理解也将帮助他们搞懂太阳系外面的行星。

“我们将要去侦查它的深度,思考出地核有多大、地核由什么构成以及硬层有多大。我们运用着那个信息就将有能力回去检测我们关于火星和地球分别是如何形成的模型。” Banerdt说道。

在洞察号后面进入太空的是两个来帮助洞察号将数据传回地球的小型宇航飞船,叫做火星一号立方体。科学家们希望测试这些微型的交流仪器来帮助增大未来深度火星太空飞行任务的可能性。但是,根据NASA,如果它们不管用,它们将不会影戏洞察号太空飞行任务。

NASA的现在探索火星的漫游者机遇号有一个不确定的未来。Space.com报道说,洞察号正在去火星的路上时,出于一次大型沙尘暴的原因,机遇号的联络在6月10日被切断。机遇号于2004年11月在火星上着陆。

本文出自:

NASA Spacecraft More Than Halfway to Mars

August 30, 2018 Updated: August 31, 2018   

NASA’s InSight spacecraft is now more than halfway to Mars.

The InSight is expected to touch down on Mars on Nov. 26. It’s set to penetrate the terrain on Mars to probe the depths of its crust, mantle, and core.

“We’re actually measuring the depths of the planet, thousands of miles deep into the planet to understand the entire planet, not just the surface,” said Bruce Banerdt, the principal investigator on the InSight mission.

The InSight departed Earth in May, carrying a seismometer to study ground motions on Mars. The spacecraft is set to land on Mars’s Elysium Planitia region. The InSight mission will be the first Mars mission to explore the interior of the planet.

The InSight mission was originally scheduled to launch in March 2016, but seismometer issues caused a delay, The Planetary Society reported.

The team at NASA behind InSight is preparing for the day the spacecraft lands. The team also monitors and activates InSight subsystems necessary for cruise, landing, and surface operations. These include very sensitive scientific instruments, according to a news release from NASA.

The team plans to explore why Mars has so many mountains. They hope probing the planet’s temperature will give insight into what led to its volcano formations, such as Olympus Mons, a volcano almost three times the size of Mount Everest, NASA reported.

Besides the moon, Mars has been the most popular location for space missions in the solar system. However, half of the attempts to explore Mars failed. Data obtained from Mars missions since 1996 revealed to space explorers that Mars is more like Earth than previously believed, according to The Planetary Society.

Scientists hope that studying Mars, they can understand more about how similar rocky planets formed. Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars all have a rocky structure. Scientists hope that understanding the interior of Mars will also help them understand other planets outside our solar system, according to NASA.

“We’re going to probe its depths, figure out how big the core is, what its made out of, how big the crust is and using that information we’re going to be able to go back and test our models of how Mars formed and how the earth formed,” said Banerdt.

Blasting through space behind InSight are two mini spacecraft called Mars Cube One to help InSight communicate data back to Earth. Scientists hope to test the viability of these miniaturized communications devices to help expand the possibilities of future deep space Mars missions. But if they don’t work, they will not affect InSight’s mission, according to NASA.

A NASA rover currently exploring Mars, the Opportunity, has an uncertain future. As InSight was on its way to Mars, Opportunity communications were cut off on June 10 due to a large dust storm, Space.com reported. Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004.

Fox contributed to this report

From NTD.tv

在尘埃处在火星上时,机遇号漫游者仍然是失踪的。

这个漫游者在操控者正在准备发起联系时还没有报道。

我们在火星上看到的最大的一次沙尘暴现在正在逐渐结束,给机遇号将快速得到足够的能量去重新开启和地球的正常联系带来了希望。直到这时,自从六月以来,这个漫游者已经失去了联系,控制者也在准备好去尝试使漫游者回复NASA的深空探测网发送的命令。

和更大的好奇号漫游者不同,机遇号是太阳能的。现在的沙尘暴渐渐包围了整个火星的大气层时,为它提供能量的太阳光逐渐变淡。机遇号已经有几个月不能够得到足够的能量去维持在正常的功能,导致它转换到了睡眠的模式。一旦它经历了这次在6月的转换,这个漫游者已经在为了足够去开始和它在地球上的操作人员进行检查了。

基于大气层的状况,那些操作人员预测在不久的未来那个电源很有可能是充足的。可是,看待这个漫游者的情况会有一些无法把握的事情,这意味着它将不会和预期的那样进行联系。最简单的可能是沙尘暴在漫游者的太阳能控制板上沉积了足够的尘埃,使它一直远离充足电量的程度。那能够把它从睡眠的返回推延到最后一颗尘埃离开大气层,或者甚至造成电量停留在低的状态,直到附近的风清理了控制板。

当然,那一切假设每件事情都在正常地运行。机遇号的电量很有可能降得太低了,以至于它主板上的钟表停下来了。如果是那种情况,那么就没有方法去得知这个漫游者什么时候会努力重新连接建立联系。这是操作人员正在准备给它发送命令去建立联系,而不是等待漫游者去检验自己。

在睡眠的过程中,一些电量或联络的硬件设备也有可能出故障了。操作者预测漫游者现在待着的位置会保持足够温暖,能使一些主板上加热器将继续维持部件在被估计的温度或其以上,所以问题基本上是部件是旧的而且它们已经在火星上的14年的条件是艰苦的。

在状况足够好、能使它产生足够的电源后去回应,NASA将持续尝试去联络漫游者45天。如果在那个时段里没有响应,漫游者的操控者将只会再用几个额外的月份来被动地听它。

Opportunity rover still MIA as dust settles on Mars

The rover has not checked in as controllers are getting ready to trigger contact.

JOHN TIMMER – 9/5/2018, 1:38 AM

One of the largest dust storms we’ve ever seen on Mars is finally winding down, raising hopes that the Opportunity rover will soon be able to obtain enough power to resume normal contact with Earth. At this point, there’s been no contact with the rover since June, and controllers are getting ready to attempt to get the rover to respond to commands sent over NASA’s Deep Space Network.

Unlike the larger Curiosity rover, Opportunity is solar-powered. And as the current dust storm gradually grew to encompass the entirety of Mars’ atmosphere, the sunlight that powered it gradually faded out. For several months, Opportunity hasn’t been getting enough power to maintain normal function, causing it to shift into a hibernation mode. Once it underwent this shift back in June, the rover has been waiting for enough power to start checking in with its operators here on Earth.

Based on the atmospheric conditions, those operators expect that power is likely to be sufficient in the very near future. There are a number of uncertainties regarding the rover’s condition that could mean it won’t be making contact as expected, however. The simplest possibility is that the storm deposited enough dust on the rover’s solar panels to keep them from reaching sufficient power levels. That could delay its return from hibernation until the last of the dust is out of the atmosphere, or it could even cause the power to stay low until local winds clean the panels off.

All that, of course, assumes everything’s working normally. There’s a good chance that Opportunity‘s power dropped so low that its on-board clock shut down. If that’s the case, then there’s no way of knowing when the rover will try to re-establish contact. That’s one of the reasons that operators are preparing to send it commands to establish contact rather than waiting for the rover to try to check in.

There’s also the chance that some power or communication hardware failed during the hibernation. Operators expect that the location the rover is in will stay warm enough that some small onboard heaters will keep components at or above the temperatures they’re rated for, so the issue is primarily that the components are old and the conditions have been harsh for the 14 years they’ve been on Mars.

NASA will continue attempts to contact the rover for 45 days after the conditions are good enough for it to generate sufficient power to respond. If there’s no response during that period, the rover’s controllers will just passively listen for it checking in for several additional months.