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Mars rovers 'could be less than 7ft away from finding proof of aliens', say NASA
NASA boffins say that Mars rovers could unearth evidence of alien life if they dig seven feet down into the Red Planet.The hunt for extra-terrestrials involves discovering certain amino acids on Mars, which in turn are a component to build proteins.However, new research by the US space agency published in the journal Astrobiology suggests cosmic rays are destroying this evidence on Mars faster than we realised.READ MORE: NASA baffled after 'mystery spacecraft' smashes into the Moon leaving odd craterAlexander Pavlov, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, said: "Current Mars rover missions drill down to about two inches."At those depths, it would take only 20million years to destroy amino acids completely."The addition of perchlorates and water increases the rate of amino acid destruction even further." Although it sounds like a long time, 20m years is just a blip when hunting for proof of ancient life from billions of years ago, when Mars was much more like Earth.NASA now reckons that the rovers will need to dig around 6.6ft deep to make a breakthrough and find amino acids that haven't been degraded by ionising radiation from space.Pavlov, who was the lead author of the study, continued: "Missions with shallow drill sampling have to seek recently exposed outcrops — e.g., recent microcraters with ages less than 10m years or the material ejected from such craters."There is evidence to suggest that, billions of years ago, Mars had a thick atmosphere and global magnetic field shields like Earth.This atmosphere would have allowed for liquid on the Red Planet. It also would have blocked cosmic rays from reaching the surface.
Lewis Hamilton handed lifeline as Mercedes confirm improvements ahead of Miami GP
Toto Wolff has issued a lifeline to Lewis Hamilton after confirming that the team are rolling out improvements for this weekend's Miami Grand Prix, which they hope will revitalise their season.The German outfit have won eight Constructor's Championships in a row but have endured a woeful start to the new season, with the Silver Arrows unable to maintain the pace with Ferrari and Red Bull - who are in danger of pulling out of reach.Seven-time world champion Hamilton has particularly struggled, finishing outside the points last time out at Imola and unable to find the pace in the car that teammate George Russell has, raising questions as to whether his time on the grid will be coming to an end.Mercedes' issues this season have come amid an inability to solve the 'porpoising' problems that leaves the car bouncing at high speed and while others have also encountered similar issues, the likes of Ferrari have still been able to maintain a blistering pace. That's left Hamilton out of the picture for the title fight and Mercedes looking likely to cede their crown unless a remarkable comeback can be achieved, with Toto Wolff confirming that lessons have been learned and there are improvements on the cards.“Since we returned from Italy, we've learned as much from the weekend as we can and, in parallel, our learning has continued in the wind tunnel and simulations.
NASA spends whole month preparing for catastrophic asteroid impact in scary scenario
NASA has told how it has spent the last month preparing for an asteroid impact.The confession was made during the Planetary Defense Interagency Tabletop Exercise – which is the fourth gathering of several space experts in recent years.Although it was not clear whether or not the organisation is actually worried about an impending impact.Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer at NASA Headquarters, said: “While NASA has previously led and participated in simulated asteroid impact scenarios, this specific exercise marked the first time an end-to-end simulation of this type of disaster was studied, to include assessing a scenario from discovery of the asteroid impact threat through the aftermath effects of its hypothetical impact with Earth.“An asteroid impact to our planet is potentially the only natural disaster humanity is capable of accurately predicting and preventing.“Conducting exercises of this nature enable government stakeholders to identify and resolve potential issues before real-world actions to respond to an actual asteroid impact threat would ever be needed.”While there are no predicted asteroid impact threats to our planet for the foreseeable future, this exercise - hosted by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland - focused extensively on United States federal and state government coordination that would be necessary to respond to such a threat should one ever be discovered.Over the course of two days, multiple government agency officials worked through a detailed hypothetical scenario in which astronomers “discover” a simulated asteroid, designated 2022 TTX, that has a probability of impacting the Earth six months after its discovery.As more information was revealed to exercise