Earthly/Geo/Astro · Science · Technology

Mars Rover Finds Evidence of Ancient Habitability

NASA’s Curiosity rover has found what it went to Mars to look for: evidence of an environment that could have once supported life.

Chemical analyses show that a greyish powder taken from the rover’s first drilled rock sample contains clay minerals formed in water that was slightly salty, and neither too acidic nor too alkaline for life.

“If this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it,” says Curiosity project scientist John Grotzinger, a planetary geologist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He and other NASA researchers announced the findings today at a news briefing in Washington DC.

Previous missions to Mars have spotted clay minerals. And Curiosity itself had already found signs that liquid water once flowed across the surface. But the pinch of powder tested by Curiosity, from a rock nicknamed John Klein, is the first hard evidence of water-borne clays in a benign pH environment. “This is the only definitive habitable environment that we’ve described and recorded,” says David Blake, principal investigator for the rover’s Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument (CheMin) at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

Excerpt from an article written by Alexandra Witze and Nature magazine. Continue THERE

Digital Media · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Photographics

Interactive 360° Panorama of Curiosity’s Landing Site on Mars

A high-resolution interactive 360 panorama of Curiosity’s landing site stitched by EDS Systems. See it HERE

Education · Human-ities · Performativity

Freedom to Learn: The roles of play and curiosity as foundations for learning.

The Baining—one of the indigenous cultural groups of Papua New Guinea—have the reputation, at least among some researchers, of being the dullest culture on earth. Early in his career, in the 1920s, the famous British anthropologist Gregory Bateson spent 14 months among them, until he finally left in frustration. He called them “unstudiable,” because of their reluctance to say anything interesting about their lives and their failure to exhibit much activity beyond the mundane routines of daily work, and he later wrote that they lived “a drab and colorless existence.” Forty years later, Jeremy Pool, a graduate student in anthropology, spent more than a year living among them in the attempt to develop a doctoral dissertation. He too found almost nothing interesting to say about the Baining, and the experience caused him to leave anthropology and go into computer science. Finally, however, anthropologist Jane Fajans, now at Cornell University, figured out a way to study them.

Excerpt from a text written by Peter Gray, Psychology Today. Continue HERE
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