Minerals and the search for life on Mars

Fourth rock from the Sun

Understanding if life could ever have existed on Mars is one of the most challenging scientific questions facing us in the 21st Century. We know that the Martian surface at present is an arid environment bombarded with ultraviolet radiation, so the chance of finding living organisms existing there today is extremely unlikely. However, Mars has not always been this way, its history is divided into three distinct geological periods; the Amazonian, Hesperian, and the Noachian. The oldest of these, the Noachian, is likely to have been a significantly more promising time for life to potentially evolve as liquid water persisted on or near the surface long enough to carve valleys into the Martian surface and leave behind distinctive rock units. For example, in Gale Crater Curiosity Rover discovered minerals that indicated the presence of a freshwater lake at the time of their formation billions of years ago, an environment…

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Being connected is more of a good thing than it is a bad thing

Gigaom

As smartphones and social platforms become more and more ubiquitous, debate continues over whether being connected all the time — even in a small way — is good for us, and that debate is probably never going to be settled. But even though I wrestle with the difficulties of ubiquitous connectivity and the “always on” social web, I believe that the vast majority of us are better off than we were before the internet came along.

What got me thinking about this again was a piece that Scottish novelist Andrew O’Hagen wrote in the New York Times‘ style magazine a few weeks ago, entitled “In Defense of Technology.” In it, the author talks about trying to convince his children that things were better when he was younger, before technology came along. But he admits that his heart isn’t really in it:

[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]”One is supposed to stare into…

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