Mars Sundial to Help Teach Kids About Time, Sun

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 9, 2003   View Article

If all goes according to plan this coming January, the twin Spirit and Opportunity rovers will land on Mars. At that same time continuously updated images of sundials built by school children and individuals around the world will launch on the Internet.

The link between the two lies in science and the sun.

High Lakes May Yield Clues to Life on Mars

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 27, 2003   View Article

Next month Nathalie Cabrol and colleagues hope to slip into drysuits, don masks, and dive, without the aid of an oxygen tank, into a lake tucked into the crater of a 19,734-foot (6,014-meter) tall volcano on the border between Chile and Bolivia.

If they succeed, they will tie a world record for the highest “free dive.”

Photo Tips: Mars Is Ready for its Close-Up – Are You?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 26, 2003   View Article

Stargazers in a frenzy by the spectacle of Mars’ closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years Wednesday may be compelled to snap a photo of the once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. They’ll need some patience and a little luck.

“The big challenge is that we are viewing Mars through the Earth’s turbulent air, and you have to wait for moments when the air is steady,” said Michael Covington, an Athens, Georgia-based author of several books on amateur astronomy, including Astrophotography for the Amateur and Celestial Objects for Modern Telescopes.

Astronomers Get Ready for a Close Encounter of a Mars Kind

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 12, 2003   View Article

On August 27, the orbits of Earth and Mars will bring the two planets the closest they have been in nearly 60,000 years. For the weeks surrounding this celestial event, the red planet will be the brightest star in the night sky.

Precisely 34,646,418 miles (55,758,006 kilometers) will separate Earth and Mars during the event. Mars won’t approach the Earth as closely again for another 284 years, at which time it will approach even closer, according to astronomers.

Moon Derives From Earth, Space Object, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: August 11, 2003   View Article

Science has a better understanding of how and when the moon came to be thanks to a team of German geochemists who compared ratios of trace elements in rocks from the Earth, the moon, Mars, and meteorites.

Most astronomers subscribe to the so-called “cratering” theory to explain the moon’s creation: Billions of years ago, a Mars-sized body slammed into Earth, projecting a mixture of rocky debris into space, some of which lumped together to form the moon. The remaining debris rained back down on Earth.

Chile Desert to Prepare Robot for Life on Mars

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 25, 2003   View Article

Scientists on the prowl for life on Mars have trained their sights on the parched Atacama Desert of northern Chile. Scientists believe that if their high-tech robotics succeed in their quest to find life in the Earth’s most inhospitable deserts, they may also be able to find life on Mars.

David Wettergreen, a research scientist at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, described the Atacama as “the most arid desert on Earth. It is what scientists call an end member [ecosystem] in that it has the lowest organic content of anywhere on Earth.”

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach