NASA Mission to Mars: Probes, Design, Dangers

Introduction About 110 years ago, when McKinley was President of United States, the concept “Man on Moon” was an insignificant consideration to society and to the government’s budget. In present day, space constitutes a large portion of the 2011 government budget plan.  President Barack Obama is predicting a manned Mars mission to orbit the planet…

Physical Geology & Plate Tectonics

Geology (study of Earth) is important for energy and natural resources, solving environmental problems, building cities and highways, predicting and protecting against natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, floods Uniformitarianism: fundamental principle “the present is the key to the past” How long? geologic time is measured in billions of years Where and How? After…

Igneous Rocks: Formation, Composition, Naming

Igneous rocks crystallize from molten silicate material called magma that forms at high temperatures and pressures deep in the Earth. Magma rises through the crust and either reaches the surface by volcanoes (extrusive) or cools below surface (intrusive). How Magmas Evolve – according to Bowen’s Reaction Series: discontinuous (different molecular structures of olivine [single tetrahedra],…

Minerals: Silicates, Carbonates, Ores

Minerals are solid chemical compounds that combine to form rocks. They are found in nature and vary in atomic bonding, molecular structure, and element composition, all of which determine their chemical, physical properties and permit their identification. ‑ An infinite number of chemical combinations are possible and almost 4000 natural minerals are known; however, only…