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Carnival Of Space #385

Carnival of Space. Image by Jason Major.

Carnival of Space. Image by Jason Major.

This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Joe Latrell at his Photos To Space blog.

Click here to read Carnival of Space #385
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According to recent findings, the water that once existed on Mars' surface could be found underground. Credit: Kevin Gill

According to recent findings, the water that once existed on Mars’ surface could be found underground. Credit: Kevin Gill

It is a scientific fact that water exists on Mars. Though most of it today consists of water ice in the polar regions or in subsurface areas near the temperate zones, the presence of H²O has been confirmed many times over. It is evidenced by the sculpted channels and outflows that still mark the surface, as well as the presence of clay and mineral deposits that could only have been formed by water. Recent geological surveys provide more evidence that Mars’ surface was once home to warm, flowing water billions of years ago.

But where did the water go? And how and when did it disappear exactly? As it turns out, the answers may lie here on Earth, thanks to meteorites from Mars that indicate that it may have a global reservoir of ice that lies beneath the surface. [click to continue…]

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Why Care About Astronomy?

Babak Tafreshi (TWAN), ESO Ultra HD Expedition

The Milky Way seen above the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory. Image Credit: Babak Tafreshi / ESO

I need to get something off my chest. A month or so ago I was sitting in a classroom surrounded by 10 peers. For the first time this semester we had the opportunity to spend the entire day discussing astronomy. And I was thrilled to dive into that brilliant subject, which I have adored for most of my 26 years.

But it didn’t take long before the day turned sour. Most of my classmates touched on one common theme: why should we care about astronomy when it has no practical applications? It’s a concern I have seen time and time again from students, museum guests, and readers alike.

So dear world, here is why you should care.

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How Do We Know How Old Everything Is?

We hear that rocks are a certain age, and stars are another age. And the Universe itself is 13.7 billion years old. But how do astronomers figure this out?
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Taking the Chinese Yutu rover out for a spin on the Moon. The mission began in December 2013. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences

Taking the Chinese Yutu rover out for a spin on the Moon. The mission began in December 2013. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences

It’s been just over a year since China wowed the world with the first soft Moon landing in almost 40 years. The Chang’e-3 robotic lander made it all the way to Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains) on Dec. 14, 2013, quickly deploying the Yutu rover for a spin.

Mission updates have been sparse in recent months, but the Planetary Society and a forum on Unmanned Spaceflight recently pointed out a new image archive. These pictures are so high-definition, it’s almost as good as being on the Moon beside the rover.

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