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$1 Billion Mission To Reach the Earth's Mantle 267

black6host writes "Humans have reached the moon and are planning to return samples from Mars, but when it comes to exploring the land deep beneath our feet, we have only scratched the surface of our planet. This may be about to change with a $1 billion mission to drill 6 km (3.7 miles) beneath the seafloor to reach the Earth's mantle — a 3000 km-thick layer of slowly deforming rock between the crust and the core which makes up the majority of our planet — and bring back the first ever fresh samples."

How Do You Land a Nuke-Powered Mini-Cooper On Mars? 218

tcd004 writes "Miles O'Brien narrates this video simulation of NASA's next Mars shot, which promises to out-gun all previous efforts. The Mini Cooper-sized Mars Science Laboratory, which is now named Curiosity, will crawl the Martian surface under steam from a nuclear powerplant — but it's a gentle giant compared to its predecessors. Recent theories have emerged that previous attempts at identifying organic compounds in Martian soil may have actually cooked away any signs of life-giving elements. Curiosity will go to great pains to avoid scorching the Earth ... erm ... Mars."

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