NASA continues to try to find ways that man could set up a permanent home on Mars, but there are many challenges related to taking up residence on the Red Planet. But new research into a possible power source could solve one of the main problems with long-term residency there.

In order to live on Mars, explorers will need an electricity source, but setting up a power station on the planet would be complicated, especially without the supplies and equipment necessary. New research from NASA has discovered a potential answer to that in the form of small nuclear reactors. Called the kilopower reactor, these devices would provide enough power for settlers to set up a home on the planet.

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Saturday, 27 January 2018 00:00

Could a Newly-Discovered Stone Be from Space?

Generally, when geologists find rocks and stones, they can immediately identify them. Even if they aren’t familiar with a discovery, they can trace it to something found in the immediate area. But a pebble recovered more than two decades ago in Egypt so far doesn’t match anything previously found in our solar system.

The pebble, named the Hypatia stone, has been studied extensively over the years, with scientists announcing in 2013 that it had not come from Earth. This was based on the compounds found on the stone, which can’t be traced to anything on our surface.

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The Earth has a magnetic field protecting its atmosphere from solar winds. But since Mars lacks such protection, many have speculated that solar winds are responsible for the collapse of the hydrological cycle that was thought to have been in place billions of years ago. The theory is that the winds caused the greenhouse effect to wipe out that cycle, creating the atmosphere seen on the planet today.

However, new research shows that the Red Planet does, in fact, have a protective magnetosphere, created by the solar winds themselves. As the winds blow over the planet’s surface, they activate currents in the ionized upper atmosphere, which generates the magnetic field necessary to protect the planet.

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