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Philae Lander Touches Down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Rosetta Comet Mission Could Change Science Forever
Rosetta Orbiter Continues Into Its Full Science Phase: With the Philae lander’s mission complete, Rosetta will now continue its own extraordinary exploration, orbiting Comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenko during the coming year as the enigmatic body arcs ever closer to our Sun.
Philae Completes Main Mission Before Hibernation: Just prior to depleting its batteries and falling silent, Philae returned science data from its instruments, including ROLIS, COSAC, Ptolemy, SD2 and CONSERT, completing the measurements planned for the final block of experiments on the comet's surface.
How (And Where) Is Philae?: Many of Philae's key instruments have been activated and are autonomously running while the lander is out of radio contact with the Rosetta orbiter. Collecting their precious data hinges on the state of Philae's exhausting batteries when Rosetta's orbit returns it above the comet's horizon.
Philae Lander Is Frantically Doing Improvised Science As Its Batteries Die: Less than two days after its historic landing, Rosetta's probe may be reaching its final hours, and the scientific team is racing to collect as much data as possible before Philae's batteries run out. It's do or die, and at this point there's very little to lose in terms of its lifespan.
Philae's Battery Might Die Soon: The lander isn't getting enough light to recharge its pack.
Comet Lander Stuck against Bottom of Shady Cliff: Philae's solar panels will get just three hours of light per day, hindering Philae's science goals.
Rosetta: Concerns For Comet Lander After Uneven Landing: After a historic but awkward comet landing, the robot probe Philae is now stable and sending pictures - but there are concerns about its battery life. After two bounces, the first one about 1km back out into space, the lander settled in the shadow of a cliff, 1km from its target site.
Three Touchdowns For Rosetta's Lander: The lander remains unanchored to the surface at an as yet undetermined orientation. The science instruments are running and are delivering images and data, helping the team to learn more about the final landing site.
Rosetta: Waiting Game After Comet Lander Glitch: Data indicates that the Philae lander may have bounced twice, taking a full two hours to come to a rest.
Philae Lander Stable on Comet, for Now: Philae seems to have landed, bounced and then settled back down again, even though its harpoons apparently failed to secure the craft to the surface.
Philae Lander Touches Down On Comet 67P: Philae has landed. The Rosetta orbiter on Wednesday 11.12.14 dropped a spidery, three-legged robot the size of a small refrigerator and watched as it tentatively set down on a comet - the first time that the surface of these primordial balls of dust and ice has ever been explored.
- Alone No More
- Martian Meteorite ALH84001 Harbinger of Extraterrestrial Life
- Check out Bob's Martian Touchdown - A Rockhound's Cosmic Encounter with Three Extraterrestrials
- Curiosity on Mars
- The Landing: Another Small Step for Man - A Giant Leap for Robot Kind
- The Landing Site: The Geological Jackpot at Gale Crater
- Curiosity: The Escalade of Mars Rovers
- The Science Payload: Rock Zappers and the Search for Biosignatures
- Want to Know More? References and Further Reading
Curiosity Finds Conditions Once Suited For Ancient Life On Mars: An analysis of a rock sample collected by Curiosity shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes. The data indicate the Yellowknife Bay area the rover is exploring was the end of an ancient river system or an intermittently wet lake bed that could have provided chemical energy and other favorable conditions for microbes. The rock is made up of a fine-grained mudstone containing clay minerals, sulfate minerals and other chemicals. This ancient wet environment, unlike some others on Mars, was not harshly oxidizing, acidic or extremely salty.
Second Time Through, Curiosity Examines Chosen Rocks: Curiosity has completed a reconnaissance "walkabout" of the first outcrop it reached at the base of Mount Sharp and has begun a second pass examining selected rocks in the outcrop in more detail.
Curiosity Finds Mineral Match: Reddish rock powder from the first hole drilled into Mount Sharp by Curiosity has yielded the mission's first confirmation of hematite mapped from orbit. The sample is only partially oxidized, and preservation of magnetite and olivine indicates a gradient of oxidation levels which could have provided a chemical energy source for microbes.
Rover Drill Pulls First Taste From Mount Sharp: Curiosity has collected its first taste of the layered mountain whose scientific allure drew the mission to choose this part of Mars as a landing site. The rover's hammering drill chewed about 2.6 inches deep into a basal-layer outcrop on Mount Sharp and collected a powdered-rock sample.
Curiosity Arrives at Mount Sharp: Curiosity has reached the Red Planet's Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-size mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission's long-term prime destination. Curiosity is starting this process at an entry point near an outcrop called Pahrump Hills, rather than continuing on to the previously-planned, further entry point known as Murray Buttes.
Mars Rover Team Chooses Not to Drill 'Bonanza King': Evaluation of a pale, flat Martian rock as the potential next drilling target for Curiosity determined that the rock was not stable enough for safe drilling. The rock, called "Bonanza King," moved slightly during the mini-drill activity at an early stage of this test, when the percussion drill impacted the rock a few times to make an indentation.
Curiosity Prepares for Fourth Rock Drilling: The team operating Curiosity has chosen a rock that looks like a pale paving stone as the mission's fourth drilling target, if it passes engineers' evaluation. They call it "Bonanza King."
Two Years and Counting on Red Planet: During its first year of operations, Curiosity fulfilled its major science goal of determining whether Mars ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. During its second year, Curiosity has been driving toward long-term science destinations on lower slopes of Mount Sharp.
Curiosity Nears Mountain-Base Outcrop: As it approaches the second anniversary of its landing on Mars, Curiosity is also approaching its first close look at bedrock that is part of Mount Sharp, the layered mountain in the middle of Mars' Gale Crater.
Images Show Laser Flash on Martian Rock: Flashes appear on a baseball-size Martian rock in a series of images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the arm of Curiosity. The flashes occurred while the rover's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument fired multiple laser shots to investigate the rock's composition.
More Curiosity in the News
|Opportunity Rover Mission Updates:
|November 11, 2014:
|| Several Drives Push Opportunity Over 41-Kilometer Mark!
|November 07, 2014:
|| Dust Levels Back to Normal
|October 30, 2014:
|| Dust Storm Watch
|October 27, 2014:
|| Opportunity Snaps Images of Comet Siding Spring
|October 02, 2014:
|| Opportunity Preps for Comet Siding Spring Encounter
|September 27, 2014:
|| Opportunity Heading to a Small Crater Called 'Ulysses'
|September 23, 2014:
|| Back to Driving
|September 12, 2014:
|| Flash-Memory Reformat Successful!
|September 03, 2014:
|| Flash-Memory Reformat is Underway
|August 29, 2014:
|| Flash-Memory Reformat Planned
|August 21, 2014:
|| Opportunity Suffers a Series of Resets
Rocks in the News
Fly-By View Of Europa's Stunning Surface: Located deep under the frozen crust of Jupiter's moon Europa is a global ocean containing more water than on all of Earth. On Earth whereever there's water there is life, and the question that fascinates scientists is whether the same could be true on Europa.
World’s Oldest Engraving Upends Theory Of Homo sapiens Uniqueness: Researchers have discovered a shell engraved with a geometric pattern at a Homo erectus site known as Trinil, on the Indonesian island of Java, that dates to between 540,000 and 430,000 years ago. The find is at least 300,000 years older than the oldest previously known engravings, which come from South Africa.
Researchers Contend Golden Fleece Myth Based On Real Events: Jason and the Argonauts' mythic quest for the Golden Fleece took inspiration from the use of sheepskins to collect gold grains and flakes from mountain streams.
Tail Discovered On Asteroid 62412: Astronomers have discovered a new active asteroid in the Solar System's main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is the first comet-like object seen in the Hygiea family of asteroids.
Infant Worlds Carve Gaps In Planet-Forming Disk: Dark rings in a disk of gas and dust encircle a young star in the clearest image yet of an infant planetary system.
How To Repurpose Your Old Radio To Listen To Meteor Showers: Can you hear the sweet music of ionized meteor trails?
Geophysicists Are Turning Peanut Butter Into Diamond Gemstones: The world's simplest sandwich is actually a diamond in the rough.
'Sailing Stones' Mystery of Death Valley Solved: Racetrack Playa is home to an enduring Death Valley mystery. Littered across the surface of this dry lake are hundreds of rocks - some weighing as much as 700 pounds - that seem to have been dragged across the ground, leaving synchronized trails that can stretch for hundreds of meters. The rare combination of events causing the rocks to move is now known.
Exceptionally Well Preserved Insect Fossils From The Rhône Valley Found: Now, for the first time, researchers have found fossil insects in the French equivalent of the Tithonian Konservat-Lagerstätte lithographic limestone - discoveries which include a new species representing the oldest known water treader.
World’s Largest Dinosaur Discovered: The newly discovered dinosaur species Dreadnoughtus schrani makes Tyrannosaurus rex look like a munchkin. The towering behemoth, which stretched a bit longer than a 25-meter swimming pool and as tall as a two-story building, weighed more than seven T. rexes. And the animal was still growing.
What Happens When A Volcano Erupts Under A Glacier?: Nobody will really know the answer to that until Bárðarbunga actually erupts.
More Rocks in the News
Utah Goblin Topplers Sentenced To Probation : Glenn Tuck Taylor and David Benjamin Hall may have to shell out thousands to pay for warning signs telling future visitors to Goblin Valley State Park to leave the rocks alone. The men were sentenced to a year of probation without jail time and payment of restitution after pleading guilty to knocking over an ancient rock formation in the state park.
Ex-Boy Scout Leaders Charged With Felonies: It just took a little push to topple the delicately perched boulder - millions of years in the making - in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park. Then the man who did it laughed, high-fived his son, and flexed his muscles while being cheered on by a fellow Boy Scout leader. He is not likely celebrating now, nor is his friend who videotaped then publicized the episode, after both were charged with third-degree felonies.
Boy Scouts Toss 2 Leaders Who Knocked Over Goblin: A northern Utah Boy Scouts council has announced that former Boy Scout leaders Glenn Taylor and Dave Hall will no longer be allowed to lead scouting troops as a result of their vandalism of Goblin Valley State Park.
Boy Scout Leaders Destroy Ancient Formation In Utah's Goblin Valley: Boy Scout and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints youth leaders Dave Hall, Glenn Taylor and Dylan Taylor are potentially facing felony charges for destroying a rock formation nearly 200 million years old. The trio of vandals was adventuring in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park when they decided to film themselves knocking over one of the formations, known as "Goblins."
- Drilling Down Into The Deepwater Horizon Disaster
- What Happens When British Petroleum Executives Spill Coffee
- What Happens When British Petroleum Funds Congressional Election Campaigns
- Why This Is Going To Happen Again...
- Letters to the Editor
- Say NO to Akaka Governed Public Land: A bitter legislative battle is raging over collecting fossils on public lands.
- Chambers Fit For A Queen - A Quest For English Ammonites
- Rock&Gem Feature Article
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- Anyone Can Carve
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- Bingham Canyon Copper - Finding Chalcopyrite at "The Richest Hole on Earth"
- Rockhound in Greece - A Great Destination for Geology... and Humanity
- Honoring Mr. Jones - Our Senior Editor Gets What He Deserves
- Faceting Fascinates - With an Experienced Guide, You, Too, Can Bring Gemstones to Life!
- Tonopah and Goldfield - They Were the Hub of Nevada's Gold Rush
- Agates from the Land of Pumas and Craters
- Mexico's Mystery Stone
- A Lesson in Channel Work
- New England Pegmatites: They Have Been Mined Since America's Earliest Days
- Turquoise: Blue Sky...Blue Stone
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- Software for Rockhounds
- Mineral Database and Identification Software: Photo Atlas of Minerals - Lithos - MinSearch - MDI Mineral Database - Geolib - Topaz - Minrls - Digital Rockhound's Companion
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- RockWare Freeware: Erupt - GeoTrig - Mineral Mastery - Seismic - Magnetic
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- Rock Identification Key
- A Beginner's Guide and Key to Help You Identify and Put a Name on That Rock!
- Learn to ID and Distinguish Basalt, Diabase, Diorite, Gabbro, Granite, Obsidian, Pumice, Rhyolite, Scoria, Gneiss, Marble, Quartzite, Schist, Serpentinite, Slate, Breccia, Conglomerate, Limestone, Sandstone, Shale...
- Mineral Identification Key
- An Online Guide and Key to Aid in the Identification of Field Collected Mineral Specimens
- Covering Several Hundred of the Most Commonly Occurring and Collected Species
- Crystallography and Mineral Crystal Systems
- An Illustrated, Nine-Part Primer on Crystallography and Mineral Crystal Systems
- Mineral Nomenclature: Naming New Minerals
- So You've Discovered a New Mineral and Want to Name It "Spottite" After Your Dog...
- Changes In Mineralogical Nomenclature: Varieties
- Why Rock Scientists Won't Understand the Question When You Ask "What mineral is amethyst a variety of"?
- Grand Hikes
- A Virtual Tour and Rockhound's Hiking Guide for the Grand Canyon
- Stromatolite Fossils in the Hakatai Shale - A Day Hike from Phantom Ranch
- Comanche Point Vicinity - An Overnight Hike to Spectacular Grand Canyon Supergroup Views
- Genesis V2.0 - God's Grand Work Week - A Grand Canyon Geology Primer
- The 1869 Expedition - An Account of the First Grand Canyon Float Trip
- Grand Hikes Screen Saver V1.0 - A Complimentary Grand Canyon Screen Saver
- Bob's Grand Canyon Backcountry Equipment Checklist - Don't Leave Home Without It!
- A Faceted Gemstone Design for CZ Inspired by the Pleiadians - Designed by Bob Keller
- Perfect Transfer
- Interested in Faceting? Check Out this Feature for Faceters!
- Featured Cut: Santa's Little Helpers - Rose Cut Spheres
- Gateway to Gemstone Designs on the Internet - Download Over 300 Faceting Diagrams with Cutting Instructions!
- Browse and Download the Freeware Faceters Companion CD
- Currently Featured Article: A Graphical Presentation of Brightness in the Standard Round Brilliant
- Index of Online Faceting Articles - Faceting How-to and Tips from Many Facetors and Gemstone Designers!
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- Sworn to Fun
- A Club President's Perspective on the Decline of Rockhounding
- Featured Articles by John Betts
||Advice for Beginners
Anthony's Nose, New York
A Field Guide to Mineral Collectors
Mineral Prices: Why so High?
|Dealing with Dealers
Largest Mineral Crystals on Record
Display Lighting of Minerals
- The Great Fresnoite Discovery of 1998
- Scott's Big Score in California's San Benito Mountains
- Rockhounding Graves Mountain
- Collecting Rutile and Other Minerals at this Famous Georgia Locality
- Collecting at the Bunker Hill Mine
- Ron and Rose-Marie's Most Excellent Bunker Hill Mine Adventure
- Gypsum Rosettes
- Collecting at the Red River Floodway in Winnipeg, Canada
- Micromounter's Mecca
- A Visit to the Micromounter's Swap Room at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show
- Check Out Tim Jokela's The Top Ten Reasons to Get Into Micromounting
- Anatomy of a Three-Headed Sphere Machine
- Interested in Rolling Your Own?
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- An Introduction to the Feldspar Minerals by Anita D. Westlake
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- Bob's Rock Shop 1st WWW Specimen Image Contest Results!
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- Winners competed for custom specimen mounting, mineral specimens, rockhound magazine and newsletter subscriptions, specimen labeling and mineral database software and more... These and other outstanding entries will also be featured in a new version of the Shop's ever popular freeware specimen image screen saver!
- Book and CD Reports
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