Scientists this week announced the strongest evidence yet that there may be liquid water on Mars. A paper published in Nature Geoscience described observations made by researchers over the past three years that indicate that water – most likely in the form of a salty brine – appears seasonally on Mars, forming dark lines as it trickles down steep slopes. Although scientists have known for years that Mars once had water, the new evidence provides hope that one day humans may discover life on the red planet. The latest announcement was based on the study of photographs of the surface of Mars. However, we can reveal here exclusively that a super-sekrit kitteh mission led by Commander Kibbles flew up to have a look and can confirm the findings. Yes, there is water, and yes, it is yucky.
Coffee’s here! SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft made its rendezvous with the International Space Station yesterday, delivering food, scientific experiments and other supplies, including the first espresso machine in space.
The machine, called ISSPresso, was produced as a joint venture between the Italian coffee company Lavazza, the engineering firm Argotec and the Italian Space Agency. Lavazza, which expects the machine to operate for several years in orbit, will supply the ISS with capsules of coffee year round, so they never run out – a good plan if they want any science to get done up there!
The honor of brewing the first espresso in space will go to Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who has somehow been surviving on instant coffee until now.
(Our caffeine-deprived space kitty was originally designed by Ben Ducker for British company O2)
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko lifted off Friday from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to spend almost a year on the International Space Station. Kelly’s long sojourn in space will beat the U.S. record for longest-duration spaceflight by more than 100 days. Kelly and Kornienko will be closely monitored for studies aimed at determining the effect of long-term spaceflight on the human body. Former astronaut Mark Kelly, Scott Kelly’s identical twin, will be monitored on Earth as a control subject for the unusual yearlong experiment.
Still no word on when a cat will get a chance to go to space, and from the looks of Commander Kibble (above), the technology and funding are still lagging for this important scientific endeavor.
In the headlines this week: 16th century rocket cats. That’s right, experts recently revealed that a military manual dating from around 1530 imagined the use of cats and birds as weapons of war, with gunpowder-filled “jet packs” strapped to their backs to set fire to enemy castles or cities.
According to this article in The Guardian, the academics studying the manuscript believe that cats would be poor weapons. Given their preference for staying close to home and doing pretty much as they please, a gunpowder-toting kitty would be more likely to set fire to his master’s camp than to go near a strange castle.
However, the photo above, obtained from a top-sekrit source, indicates that some testing of rocket cats may have been carried on long after castle walls fell, and may indeed be going on to this day.
Image via cheezburger.com