How's this for potentially earth-shattering news? NASA announced today that:
Rocks examined by NASA's Spirit Mars Rover hold evidence of a wet, non-acidic ancient environment that may have been favorable for life. Confirming this mineral clue took four years of analysis by several scientists.
That analysis was published today in the journal, Science. The two rovers mentioned above are Spirit and Opportunity. The duo reside on Mars, but are Southland natives. From today's release:
The rovers landed on Mars in January 2004 for missions originally planned to last three months. Spirit has been out of communication since March 22 and is in a low-power hibernation status during Martian winter. Opportunity is making steady progress toward a large crater, Endeavour, which is about seven miles away. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rovers for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. For more information about the rovers, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/rovers.
The full NASA Mars press release is here.JPL's most recent public open house took place May 15-16. More on that event soon from a TTLA special correspondent, including more photos such as the one above.Photo of a Rover model with signs of life at JPL, if not Mars. Photo copyright and courtesy Julie Pittman 2010.