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Liquid Water

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By Mary O'Keefe | March 16, 2006
A tiny Saturn moon has made a big splash at JPL. The Cassini spacecraft may have found evidence of liquid water reservoirs on the surface of Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons. Cassini is the first spacecraft to explore the Saturn system from its orbit. Since entering Saturn's orbit on June 30, 2004, the spacecraft has sent data and images of not only the planet's rings but also of its many moons. High-resolution Cassini images showed icy jets and towering plumes ejecting large quantities of particles at a high speed.
NEWS
By Mary O'Keefe | May 24, 2007
The robotic rover Spirit, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has found the strongest evidence yet that there was liquid water on the surface of ancient Mars. On Monday JPL released information that a high deposit of silica was found in a soil sample in the Gusev Crater area, near Home Plate. "We knew this area would be silica rich," Diana Blaney, Mars deputy project scientist. However most soil consisted of about 56 percent silica, scientists were surprised to learn that this new deposit was 90 percent silica rich.
NEWS
By Mary O'Keefe | January 11, 2007
At a recent meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Wash., a geology professor at Washington State University, Dirk Schulze-Makuch, presented his theory that the JPL-managed Viking space probes of 1976-77 may have found alien microbes on Mars and inadvertently killed them. Schulze-Makuch contends that Viking was looking for Earth-like life, in which salt water is the internal liquid of living cells. However with the cold dry conditions of Mars, life could have evolved with the key internal fluid consisting of a mix of water and hydrogen peroxide-based life peroxide.
NEWS
By Sara Cardine | January 15, 2014
In January 2004, two exploration vehicles touched down on Mars, beginning a 90-day mission in search of potential sources of water, a precursor for life, on a seemingly dead planet. Armed with geological instruments, cameras and the technology required to beam down information to scientists at La Cañada's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Spirit and Opportunity were expected to traverse separate courses of about two-thirds of one mile during their three-month journeys. Now, 10 years later, scientists are still sifting through mountains of data and images collected by Spirit, which traveled 4.8 miles during its six years of mobile operation, and Opportunity, which has logged an amazing 23.6 miles and continues today.
NEWS
By Joe Piasecki, The Valley Sun | October 29, 2010
The Mars rover Spirit has been stuck in sand for some 18 months, but that hasn't stopped JPL scientists from making new discoveries. Analysis of soil layers that the rover exposed while trying to break free of a Martian sand trap has turned up new evidence that liquid water once existed on the Red Planet. Just below the planet's dusty surface, water-soluble minerals were found layered below less-dissolvable minerals, leading the rover team to hypothesize that the water-soluble minerals were dissolved and then deposited by water percolating down from melting ice or snow.
NEWS
By Charles Cooper | March 5, 2004
The Mars Opportunity rover, born in experiments at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, has come through in a major way for the home team, scientists said this week. Opportunity has found definitive evidence that water once soaked portions of the Mars surface, and that conditions existed that could have sustained life. In a major announcement Tuesday from NASA headquarters, rover mission directors celebrated success in the main mission set four years ago for the twin Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, both of which arrived at the Red Planet earlier this year.
NEWS
By Sara Cardine | November 5, 2009
Images and data from one of Saturn’s moons were sent earlier this week to JPL scientists in La Cañada Flintridge, indicating the possible presence of a liquid ocean beneath the surface of the tiny Enceladus that may contain the conditions necessary for life. Information was gathered in a flyby Monday morning as part of the Cassini mission to Saturn, currently five years underway, in which NASA hopes to learn more about the exact composition of bodies existing within the planet’s rings.
NEWS
December 1, 2005
Every parent knows how special the one-year birthday is of their progeny. They remember the sleepless nights worrying about the health of their babies and if they are safe, and the constant amazement of the knowledge one year can bring. JPL scientist are like all parents as they celebrate the one Martian year birthday of their rovers Spirit and Opportunity. "Spirit was a year old on November 20. Opportunity will be a year old on December 12," said John Callas, deputy project manager of Mars Exploration Rover Project.
NEWS
By Mary O'Keefe | April 19, 2007
Having lost communication with Mars Global Surveyor late last year, JPL/NASA announced late last week that an internal board has determined the spacecraft was lost due to a series of events triggered after ground control in Denver sent an incorrect computer address. "There was not a single thing that happened," said Fuk Li, Mars exploration program manager at JPL in La Cañada Flintridge. "It was a series of events that caused the problem." MGS was launched in November 1996, and arrived at Mars to begin its mission in September 1997.
NEWS
By Rosemary Sullivant, JPL | September 28, 2005
All Atlantic hurricanes, no matter how grand they may become, begin the same. Each starts as a small disturbance in the atmosphere above equatorial Africa. These disturbances, called tropical waves, head west and, if conditions are just right, they increase in size and start spinning. Some develop into tropical depressions, grow into tropical storms and finally evolve into full-blown hurricanes. "The mystery is why does it happen," says JPL researcher Bjorn Lambrigtsen, "There is a constant stream of these tropical waves coming off the coast of Africa, but most don't turn into hurricanes."
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NEWS
By Sara Cardine | January 15, 2014
In January 2004, two exploration vehicles touched down on Mars, beginning a 90-day mission in search of potential sources of water, a precursor for life, on a seemingly dead planet. Armed with geological instruments, cameras and the technology required to beam down information to scientists at La Cañada's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Spirit and Opportunity were expected to traverse separate courses of about two-thirds of one mile during their three-month journeys. Now, 10 years later, scientists are still sifting through mountains of data and images collected by Spirit, which traveled 4.8 miles during its six years of mobile operation, and Opportunity, which has logged an amazing 23.6 miles and continues today.
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NEWS
By Mary O'Keefe | May 24, 2007
The robotic rover Spirit, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has found the strongest evidence yet that there was liquid water on the surface of ancient Mars. On Monday JPL released information that a high deposit of silica was found in a soil sample in the Gusev Crater area, near Home Plate. "We knew this area would be silica rich," Diana Blaney, Mars deputy project scientist. However most soil consisted of about 56 percent silica, scientists were surprised to learn that this new deposit was 90 percent silica rich.
NEWS
By Mary O'Keefe | January 11, 2007
At a recent meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Wash., a geology professor at Washington State University, Dirk Schulze-Makuch, presented his theory that the JPL-managed Viking space probes of 1976-77 may have found alien microbes on Mars and inadvertently killed them. Schulze-Makuch contends that Viking was looking for Earth-like life, in which salt water is the internal liquid of living cells. However with the cold dry conditions of Mars, life could have evolved with the key internal fluid consisting of a mix of water and hydrogen peroxide-based life peroxide.
NEWS
By Mary O'Keefe | March 16, 2006
A tiny Saturn moon has made a big splash at JPL. The Cassini spacecraft may have found evidence of liquid water reservoirs on the surface of Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons. Cassini is the first spacecraft to explore the Saturn system from its orbit. Since entering Saturn's orbit on June 30, 2004, the spacecraft has sent data and images of not only the planet's rings but also of its many moons. High-resolution Cassini images showed icy jets and towering plumes ejecting large quantities of particles at a high speed.
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