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NASA’S Curiosity Rover Lands On Mars For A Two Year Study

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NASA’s “Curiosity” rover lands at the foot of a tall mountain rising from the Gale Crater in the Martian southern hemisphere. There are plans for a two year research effort on Mars.  A rocket-powered sky crane lowered “Curiosity” to the surface with a deceleration from 13,000 MPH to zero within the planned time frame of under ten minutes.

The ultimate objective of the mission is to determine whether or not Mars is or ever was suitable for hosting microbial life forms. The cells of prokaryotes and eukaryotes have two common characteristics. That is, both have a plasma membrane and cytoplasma.

Prokaryotes have a simpler construction while the eukaryotes contain a nucleus. Scientists would be looking initially for prokaryotes in the form of bacteria and cyanobacteria; such as, blue green algae. Next in the life chain are the eukaryotes consisting of protozoa, fungi, plants and lastly animals.

The Martian atmosphere is 95% carbon dioxide, nearly 3% oxygen 2% argon, with trace quantities of oxygen, carbon monoxide, water vapor and ozone. The density of Mars is about 25-30 % less than planet Earth. In addition, gravity is
slightly over 1/3 the size of Earth’s. A smaller gravitational force could have

important implications for humans on Mars since there would be less stress on
internal organs in an atmosphere with a fraction of the gravitational pull as earth.

For Mars to sustain life-particularly human life, scientists would be required to construct a geodome concept with extensive tree planting to maintain a viable oxygen/CO 2 cycle together with existing water harnessed from the middle to high altitude regions on Mars or from brine. Sunlight would be problematic because the planet gets approximately half of the natural sunlight of earth.

Mars was once warm enough for liquid water to cover a portion of the planet. Ice formed at the poles as on Earth. If a large enough volume of water is determined to be present on Mars or its south polar cap, then the next step would be to harness the water for purposes of sustaining life in the not too distant future.

Another important task for NASA and its rover is to monitor the daily weather patterns on Mars and develop good data on the atmospheric conditions.  NASA also needs to measure wind shear and other atmospheric effects. The rover will be monitoring water vapor and dust on the planet. Enhanced phase diagrams need to be constructed for thermodynamic properties relating to solids, liquids, gases and vapors.

Over the next two years, NASA will be analyzing data from the rover with a view toward ascertaining the probability of sustaining life on Mars, as well as water levels, trace minerals, energy sources and the geologic profile. Mars could be an important interplanetary stopoff point for missions to Saturn.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.