Last week, humanity made a major leap towards resolving the age-old question: Was there life on Mars? With bated breath, the world witnessed NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover successfully land on Thursday, February 18, after a seven-month journey through space. It was the first rover to be sent to our planetary neighbor with the stated mission of searching for traces of ancient microbial life.
To mark the historic moment, London’s Natural History Museum has unveiled an enormous replica of Mars at its main hall. The installation, made by the British artist Luke Jerram, is suspended from the Hintze Hall’s ceiling alongside its 82-foot-long blue whale skeleton. For ambiance, the museum has also illuminated the hall in Martian-red lighting.
Furthermore, two scientists from the museum, Caroline Smith and Keyron Hickman-Lewis, are advising NASA’s Mars team on rock and soil sample collection. Their work is part of a collaboration between NASA, the UK Space Agency, and the European Space Agency.
“This is the culmination of years of intensive effort from thousands of scientists and engineers at NASA and around the world,” said Smith in a press release. “We are so excited to reach this milestone in the mission, to see Perseverance land on Mars and start exploring the different rocks and geological features with the onboard cameras and scientific instruments.”
Smith, who heads the Earth Sciences Collections at the museum, will be studying the mineralogy and geochemistry of rocks found at Jezero crater, the site of a Martian lake that existed 3.9 billion years ago. The professor will also contribute to planning how the samples will be curated upon their arrival on earth.
Hickman-Lewis will be studying the environments reflected by the sedimentary rocks found at Jezero crater and their potential to preserve ancient microbial life, the museum said.
“Jezero crater provides a splendid window into the early history of Mars, when the planet may have hosted a biosphere,” Hickman-Lewis said.
“Traces of this biosphere, which was likely microbial, may be challenging to identify and so we will rely upon the rover’s instruments to help us make decisions as to where and what we should sample,” the scientist added. “Once returned to Earth, this unique set of samples will give us a deep understanding of the geology of Mars.”
Meanwhile, Perseverance has sent back high-resolution images of its landing at the Jezero crater. According to NASA, the majority of robot’s cameras capture images in color, unlike past rovers. Since the first black and white image of the landing, the agency has been steadily updating its website with breathtaking images in full-color.
The six-wheeled robot also carried a helicopter called “Ingenuity,” the first of its kind on another planet. A fragment of a Martian meteorite from the Natural History Museum’s collection, which landed on Earth between 600,000 and 700,000 years ago and was discovered in Oman in 1999, was also sent with the rover. The meteorite, named “Sayh al Uhamiyr 008” (or SaU 008), will be used for calibration purposes as the rover examines Martian soil. Furthermore, the rover will be the first to collect sound recording from Mars.
Follow-up missions will collect the samples that will be extracted by Perseverance over the next decade and deliver them to earth sometime in the 2030s. If the samples provide proof of past life forms on Mars, it “would be one of the most significant scientific discoveries in history,” Smith said.
“Our bodies are not that cheap,” said one Iraqi artist who signed an open letter to the biennale’s curators.
Museums will have to install “prominently placed” placards alongside the works, according to a new suite of laws signed by Governor Kathy Hochul.
Choose from over 140 courses for adults and youth ages 13 to 17, including options for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students. Enroll by August 23 for an early bird discount.
Scientists borrowed the ecological “unseen species” model to estimate how many works of medieval European literature have gone extinct.
As bodily autonomy and workers’ rights remain under constant and often intertwined threat, The Work of Love, the Queer of Labor reminds us of what is still at stake.
The Brooklyn organization is now accepting new project inquiries for its fee-based fabrication services in printmaking, ceramics, and large-scale public art.
The emphasis in Semmel’s retrospective Skin in the Game is on the various points of view she has taken on herself — and, briefly, on others too.
The artist and former SWAIA chief operating officer and executive director has found a stable of dedicated collectors and a close-knit community at Santa Fe Indian Market.
The Newark Museum of Art Presents Jazz Greats: Classic Photographs from the Bank of America Collection
Photographers Antony Armstrong Jones, Milt Hinton, Chuck Stewart, Barbara Morgan, and more capture a breadth of legendary and local musicians and performance artists. On view through August 21.
Each voice in This Long Thread intersects to reveal the collective chronicles, struggles, and triumphs of women of color in today’s craft landscape.
Works by the Abeyta family of artists encourage thinking beyond activism and legislation as a means for political progress.
Despite faithfully recreating the story of the beloved comic book series, the TV show lacks the verve of the original.