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Mars spacecraft snaps glorious view of Martian volcanoes — and a surprise

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What an extraterrestrial view.

The long-lived Mars Express Orbiter — a European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft that has flown around Mars for over two decades and recently eclipsed 25,000 orbits — captured a highly detailed image of the Red Planet. And among the giant Martian volcanoes is a surprise.

“The stunning view shows volcanoes, valleys, craters, clouds, and even a flying visit from Mars’s largest moon, Phobos,” the ESA wrote.

Here’s what you’re seeing in the outer-space vista below:

– Olympus Mons: The largest bulge near the top left is Olympus Mons, the biggest volcano in our solar system. It’s about the same size as Arizona, and reaches a whopping 16 miles (25 kilometers) high. (Mount Everest is 5.5 miles high.)

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– Volcanic trio: Below Olympus Mons is a line of three similarly colossal volcanoes: Ascraeus Mons, Pavonis Mons, and Arsia Mons. They are shield volcanoes, which tend not to be explosive. Instead, lava oozes out of vents, gradually layering over eons and creating a gentle slope. Ultimately, they produce a landform similar to a shield laid on its back.

– Countless craters: Mars is absolutely blanketed in craters. Just scan the surface. The Red Planet is close to our solar system’s asteroid belt, a region teeming with millions of asteroids. When they do collide with Mars, the Martian atmosphere is just 1 percent the density of Earth’s, meaning these space rocks are less likely to heat up and disintegrate. What’s more, Mars isn’t quite geologically dead — marsquakes frequently occur there — but there’s not enough geologic activity and volcanism to wash away, or cover up, new craters (like on Earth).

– Martian clouds: At both poles, atop and below the image, you can spy large regions of cloud cover. On Mars, clouds are made of water ice and carbon-dioxide ice.

– The moon Phobos: You can see Mars’ dark, misshapen moon Phobos on bottom left orbiting above the Red Planet. It’s relatively small and not too massive, with its longest side measuring just 17 miles (27 kilometers) long. “Phobos is too light for gravity to make it spherical,” the European Space Agency explains. What’s more, it’s been hit time and time again by potent space rocks. “Phobos was nearly shattered by a giant impact, and has gouges from thousands of meteorite impacts,” NASA noted.

The Mars Express view of Mars, with colossal volcanoes, clouds, craters, and a photobomb from a moon.

The Mars Express view of Mars, with colossal volcanoes, clouds, craters, and a photobomb from a moon.
Credit: ESA / DLR / FU Berlin

A close-up view of Phobos as it orbits Mars.

A close-up view of Phobos as it orbits Mars.
Credit: ESA / DLR / FU Berlin

Today, this great Martian desert is irradiated and profoundly dry — Mars has largely lost its atmosphere, leaving it an intensely dry, desert world. Mars is 1,000 times drier than the driest desert on Earth.

Yet Mars was once a wet planet, with gushing floods and expansive lakes. The now-desert planet could have once hosted primitive life. NASA‘s car-sized rovers are sleuthing for hints of past organisms — though there’s still no evidence life ever evolved on the Martian surface.





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‘We Are Probably Alone’: Elon Musk Gets Candid On Aliens And Colonising Mars ‘Before World War 3’

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Elon Musk believes that humans are probably alone in the universe since there is no evidence of an alien civilisation. Speaking at SpaceX’s event at Starbase, Texas on April 6, Musk spoke on a range of topics involving Mars, the future of humanity, consciousness and of course, aliens.

He said that he is yet to see any concrete evidence about the existence of aliens while evoking one of the coolest theories in existence — the ‘Fermi Paradox’. It is named after Italian-American Physicist Enrico Fermi who believed that aliens equipped with super advanced technology might have spread out and colonised the entire galaxy but no one has ever found any proof of their existence.

Elon Musk speaking at Starbase event in Texas. Image: SpaceX/@X

“I have not seen any evidence that there are aliens on Earth. The question ‘where are the aliens’ is a very profound one. I am aware of no evidence of aliens whatsoever…I think we are probably alone,” Musk said.

Colonise Mars before World War 3

Refusing to be a “lame one-planet civilisation,” Musk spoke on the preparations that are underway to make humans multiplanetary in order to preserve consciousness if it hasn’t extended to other star systems. He said that he will build a city on Mars in 20 years and Starship will play a key role in realising his dream.

Starship is SpaceX’s full reusable and world’s most powerful rocket which is currently undergoing test launches. It has launched three times so far but failed to complete the missions. Musk said that the fourth flight is likely next month. Standing 121 meters (397 feet) tall, Starship’s upgraded model will be taller by ten meters, the SpaceX CEO said.

SpaceX has plans to launch a million tonnes in eight years to Mars and 10 Starships each day in its preparation to colonise the red planet. A self-sustaining city on Mars, according to SpaceX, will need around 1 million people and millions of tonnes of cargo. “We will do this in 20 years,” Musk said.

ALSO SEE: Scientist Warns Against Elon Musk’s Mars Migration Dream, Calls It ‘Unrealistic’ And ‘Dangerous Illusion’

He also said that thousands of Ships will depart from Earth to Mars every two years at one point, something which he believes is pretty doable. “It will look like Battlestar Galactica, but in a good way,” he said. He also said that Mars must be colonised before World War 3 breaks out.

After Starship’s third flight on March 14, Musk predicted that the launch vehicle will reach Mars within five years. But before colonising Mars, Starship will play a crucial role supporting NASA’s Artemis Program to build bases on the Moon.

ALSO SEE: SpaceX Rolls Out Starship’s Booster To Launch Pad As Anticipation For Fourth Flight Builds Up





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Total Solar Eclipse On April 8 Will Cause Considerable Temperature Drop, NASA Reveals

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The total solar eclipse will occur on April 8 and millions of people will get to witness it in Mexico, the US and Canada. Thanks to NASA’s livestream, you can also watch it live in India when it begins at 10:30 pm. There are a few changes that will take place here on Earth once the eclipse begins in Mexico.

ALSO SEE: Total Solar Eclipse 2024: This Year’s Spectacle Will Be Better Than 2017 Experience; Here’s Why

What all will change when the eclipse begins?

First of all, the sky will begin to get dark with the beginning of totality – where the Moon will entirely cover the Sun. The path of totality will be a narrow band of shadow on Earth and, according to NASA, it will stretch about 185 km starting from Mexico to eastern Canada.

“In the path of totality, where the Moon completely covers the Sun, the sky will become dark, as if it were dawn or dusk,” NASA said. An estimated 32 million people live in the path of totality and additional 150 million in the areas nearby.

Moreover, there will also be a temperature drop during the period of totality. NASA says that the temperature can plummet by about 5°C depending on the humidity and cloud cover at a given eclipsed location.

The longest duration of totality will be near Torreón, Mexico (4 minutes, 28 seconds) with the average duration between 3.5 and 4 minutes at most locations.

This year’s totality will last slightly longer than the one in 2017 because the Moon is closer this time. It will also offer a unique opportunity to spot the chromosphere (a region of the solar atmosphere) and the outer solar atmosphere (corona) itself that will appear as streams of white light.

ALSO SEE: Total Solar Eclipse On April 8 Will Not Occur In India But You Can Still Watch It; Here’s How



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Scientists explore deep sea around Easter Island, find strange animals

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The mountains of the ocean teem with otherworldly life.

A deep sea expedition along an expansive underwater ridge, focused on the area around Rapa Nui (Easter Island), spotted some 160 species never found before in this remote marine realm, including 60 species scientists think are completely new to science. A major goal of this mission — across the Salas y Gómez Ridge in the Pacific Ocean — is to identify places that should be protected from exploitation and the coming wave of deep sea mining.

The expedition visited 10 seamounts along the 2,900-kilometer-long (1,800-mile) range, though the greater range includes over 100 undersea mountains. Earlier this year, another Pacific Ocean seamount expedition off of Chile found perhaps 100 new species, too.

“The astonishing habitats and animal communities that we have unveiled during these two expeditions constitute a dramatic example of how little we know about this remote area,” Javier Sellanes, a professor in the Universidad Católica del Norte Department of Marine Biology in Chile who worked on the expedition, said in a statement.

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Scientists captured the following imagery by lowering a deep sea robot, the ROV SuBastian, off of the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s hi-tech exploration vessel RV Falkor (too).

A long "galaxy siphonophore," which is actually a colony of many organisms, spotted on a dive between 800 and 1,200 meters (2,625 to 3,940 feet) down.

A long “galaxy siphonophore,” which is actually a colony of many organisms, spotted on a dive between 800 and 1,200 meters (2,625 to 3,940 feet) down.
Credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute

A moai on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), with the exploration vessel RV Falkor (too) in the background.

A moai on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), with the exploration vessel RV Falkor (too) in the background.
Credit: Misha Vallejo Prut / Schmidt Ocean Institute

An octopus perched on a seamount along the Salas y Gómez Ridge.

An octopus perched on a seamount along the Salas y Gómez Ridge.
Credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute

A hydroid living on the northern flank of Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

A hydroid living on the northern flank of Rapa Nui (Easter Island).
Credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute

A squat lobster amid Chrysogorgia coral along the flank of an uninhabited island in the Salas y Gómez Ridge.

A squat lobster amid Chrysogorgia coral along the flank of an uninhabited island in the Salas y Gómez Ridge.
Credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute

Ocean research organizations are now vigilantly documenting and mapping the deep sea. Scientists want to shine a light — literally and figuratively — on what’s down there.

“We always discover stuff when we go out into the deep sea. You’re always finding things that you haven’t seen before,” Derek Sowers, an expedition lead for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Ocean Exploration mission, told Mashable.

The implications of knowing are incalculable, particularly as deep sea mineral prospectors prepare to run tank-like industrial equipment across parts of the seafloor. For example, research expeditions have found that ocean life carries great potential for novel medicines. “Systematic searches for new drugs have shown that marine invertebrates produce more antibiotic, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory substances than any group of terrestrial organisms,” notes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.





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