All Candy. All Science. All FUN – Make Your Halloween Scientifically Spooky!

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Drop a Warhead in baking soda water, and bubbles erupt. Leave a Skittle in water, and the S floats to the surface. Melt a Starburst, and shiny oil spots form. That’s right, next week is Halloween which means – All Candy. All Science. All FUN! 

Candy experiments are a great way to use up all of that candy & still enjoy all the sweetness Halloween has to offer.  Why not play with your candy? Any seasoned trick or treater knows that his loot is full of candy that brings lots of unwrapping and stirring and sticking things together – it’s one of the important parts of the trick or treating experience. We love candy experiments because they can teach basic science lessons about topics such as density, dissolving, and nutrition. Listed below are just a few ideas to get started. Have fun, and as always, let curiosity be your guide! 

Here’s A Few of our Favorite!

Acid Test: This experiment tests for the acid often found in sour candy. 

Chocolate Bloom: Chocolate is made of cocoa butter, cocoa solids, and other ingredients that have been mixed together. Can you take them apart? 

Color Separation (Chromatography): You know candy is colored with artificial dye. To see the different dyes for yourself, try this. 

Density Rainbow: Sugar water is denser than water—the more sugar, the denser. This experiment shows you how to layer different densities into a rainbow.

Dissolving Hot/Cold: See if candy dissolves faster in hot or cold water. 

Hidden Candy: Most candy is made from sugar, corn syrup, and flavorings. These ingredients are used to sweeten lots of different foods. Can you find the “hidden candy” in other varieties of food you eat? 

Lifesaver Lights: Do wintergreen Lifesavers really make a spark in the dark?

Sink/Float Most: candy sinks in water, because sugar is denser than water.  But some will float. Why? 

Oil Test: If you thought your candy was all sugar, think again. Many chewy candies also contain oil. This experiment uses heat to let you see the oil for yourself. 

Pop Rocks: What’s the secret ingredient in the candy that crackles? 

Sticky You: know candy can cling to your fingers—but how sticky can you make it?  

For step-by-step instructions and more information about these experiments, visit

The fun doesn’t stop there! Check out these additional resources on ways to make your Halloween scientifically spooky! 

November E-News: I Didn’t Know I Could Recycle That!

“I see the chasing arrows, but I just don’t know what to do with my (insert product here).”

It’s a common dilemma, especially for those items that don’t operate under a clear-cut recycling plan, such as plastic water bottles. Tack on a “hazardous” label and disposal laws, and you’ve got yourself a recycling conundrum.

While we can’t investigate every item in your home (because that would take years), we thought we’d give you a rundown on some common items that people use in their homes daily. As an added bonus, we’ve thrown in some oddities for your entertainment.


Any type of battery that contains metal is recyclable. According to Call2Recycle, most batteries are named for the type of metal they contain (lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, etc.). The more harmful the metal that’s present, the more likely you’ll be able to find a recycler because of state and federal laws.

Many battery retailers will also accept them for recycling. This includes both automotive and household batteries. You can also find mail-in programs that allow you to collect batteries over time and send them in all at once. You’ll want to properly prepare batteries prior to recycling, otherwise they could explode during shipping.

Once batteries are collected, any acids are drained for reuse, metals are reprocessed for recycling into new products and plastic casings are melted down and recycled into new plastics.

CDs / DVDs / Cassettes

As technology evolves, we’re left with souvenirs in the form of CDs/DVDs, cassette and video tapes and floppy disks. This author admits to having an entire box of 80s cassette tapes in her garage! While you would think this stuff would be considered electronic waste, the fact that it doesn’t contain metals or a power cord disqualifies it from that category. But that doesn’t mean these products aren’t recyclable.

Best Buy collects CDs and DVDs for recycling at in-store kiosks. Another option is the GreenDisk mail-in program, which recycles media into new CDs and disks. GreenDisk also collects cases for recycling, so you won’t be left with a bunch of plastic lying around.

Holiday Lights

‘Tis the season for holiday lights galore. And as Clark Griswold so famously discovered in Christmas Vacation, when one bulb goes out, the whole strand seems to go out as well. But is it time to throw that strand of holiday lights in the trash?

One of the fastest growing holiday recycling programs involves strand lights, with municipal programs and national retailers like Home Depot signing on to offer consumer recycling.

Making the switch from regular incandescent strand lights to LED lights? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, that is a wise decision, as ten incandescent strands running all night produces 300 pounds of CO2 versus 30 pounds with LED lights. And according to one holiday calculator, it would cost about $6-10 per season to light your tree with three strands of incandescent versus only 13-17 cents with LEDs.

Convinced you’ll make the switch? will recycle your incandescent lights for you. Mail them in and the company recycles the lights and the box they were shipped in, and they will send you a coupon for 15 percent off LED light purchases through its site. You can save even more and use those new LED lights on a timer!


Alright, so you have a trophy to prove you were the competitive eating champion in 1988 and the karaoke champion in 1990, but those glory days are long gone. The trophies now collect dust in a box in the garage. And unless another talented competitive eater with the same name is about to take the title, your trophy may have little reuse value.

Total Awards & Promotions, Inc. has created a trophy recycling program to benefit charities. Through a mail-in program, the company’s Madison, Wisc. headquarters recycles your defunct awards or re-engraves and donates them to nonprofit organizations. One of many trophy recycling programs offered nationwide, the company also manufacturers its own awards made of recycled glass and newsprint.


Yep, human hair! Not only can human hair be composted, but it can actually be recycled into dense mats for soaking up oil. Public charity, Matter of Trust, began the Hair For Oil Spills Program in 2000 after Phil McCrory, a hair stylist from Alabama, watched news coverage of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and noticed the oil saturated fur on the Alaskan otters.

After testing the amount of oil he could collect with hair clippings from his salon, McCrory invented the hairmat to help soak up oil from an estimated 706 million gallons of oil that enter our oceans each year.

There are more than 370,000 hair salons in the U.S., and each collects about 1 pound of hair per day. That represents a tremendous amount of landfill matter from something we probably never even thought about!

With help from Matter of Trust, thousands of volunteers are deployed after oil spills to clean up beaches using the hairmats. The charity even sponsors an Oily Hairmat Remediation study, detoxifying the oil mats through a thermophilic compost and vermiculture process.


A quick clean out of your arts and crafts drawer or your child’s old toy bin is likely to yield a box of crayons, which most us would toss out without a second thought. But believe it or not, there is a National Crayon Recycle Program operated by Crazy Crayons, LLC. The recycling program has diverted more than 47,000 pounds of crayons from landfills.

Each day, more than 120,000 pounds of crayons are produced in the U.S. alone. With drop-off bins nationwide and a mail-back option, the program accepts unwanted and broken crayons for recycling into new crayons. Also, most schools and community organizations will accept unbroken crayons for use in their art programs.


Oftentimes our latest paint projects leave us with half-empty cans. Instead of piling them in the garage, recycle old latex paint into brand new recycled paint. Manufacturers can mix together paint from different cans and produce new product that is often cheaper than virgin paint. States such as California even list recycled paint retailers near you.

But this process is only available for latex paint, as oil-based paint is disposed of with other household hazardous waste (HHW). While you’re at the municipal HHW facility, look for a swap shop, where you can pick up used items (like paint) for free.

But what about the actual can itself? If you’ve used all the paint inside and can remove any residue with paint thinner, you can likely recycle them with other steel cans (assuming they are metal).

Reducing your painter’s footprint starts in the store. Look for low-VOC and lead-free paints, such as those made by Behr.

Last year, the United States produced 251 million tons of municipal solid waste — or 4.6 pounds of waste per person per day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.  You can help cut down on your garbage production by reusing things, giving old clothes or toys away, recycling & composting. There is no better time than America Recycles Day to take one extra step toward using a little less, reusing more, and recycling as much as possible.

Whether you’re tossing plastic bottles into the blue bin or mailing off your old soccer trophy – one by one, we can work together to make recycling bigger & better in 2012!  Visit the official America Recycles Day website to learn more about how you can take the pledge & motivate a recycle revolution in your house & community! 

Additional Resources:

National Geographic Recycle Roundup game


Children’s Drawing and Coloring Exercises:

For K-12 Schools 

For General Audience

November E-News: Native American Science!

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In November, we celebrate change – in more ways than one! We’re already halfway through the fall season, and we still see and feel many changes: it begins to get just a little bit colder, almost every leaf has fallen to the ground, and everyone is anticipating the first snowfall. One thing that never changes throughout the year is the fun and excitement that learning brings! November is National American Indian Heritage Month. This month we investigate how science was used in the everyday lives of Native Americans all across our country. From astronomy to chemistry to meteorology, Native American’s incorporated science into their way of life & made their mark with scientific research that can still be used today. 

National American Indian Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of the original inhabitants, explorers and settlers of the United States. In 1990, Congress chose the month of the November to recognize the American Indians as this month concluded the traditional harvest season and was generally a time of thanksgiving and celebration for the American Indians.

American Indians were very insightful people. Their scientific observation began with their established relationship with nature – used to teach them the importance of scientific concepts like astronomy, geology, biology, chemistry and even physics. American Indian knowledge and inventions sprung from hunches or intuitions, rather than modern day scientific observation which involves rigorous and systematic study.  Many of the foods we eat and the medicines or remedies we use were introduced by Indians. Here are a few of the ground breaking contributions that Native Americans gave to the future of modern day science. 


American Indians were very careful scientists. They learned important facts about objects in the sky and used them to tell time, to predict the changes of the seasons, and to use maps. Today, American Indian scientists help us learn more about the sky and galaxy. In fact, Native Americans have known for thousands of years that there was a black hole located through the center of the bowl in the big dipper. NASA discovered it just a few years ago.

John Herrington – Astronaut


American Indians knew that the world was round long before Europeans ever did. For example, this is reflected in the Lakota Creation Story. The first four beings – Inyan (rock), Maka (earth), Taku Skan Skan (sky), and Wi (sun) are all round because roundness is the most sacred state. The inclusion of this information in such an ancient story shows that the Lakota have known that the Earth is round for many thousands of years.

Dr. Robin Kimmerer – Plant Ecologist


Maize is a popular food, and it is well known that it was a gift to the rest of the world from the Native Americans.  What is not commonly known is that corn is the result of one of the most amazing plant breeding accomplishments in the history of the world. Maize is the result of many years of cultivation and domestication of a wild grass known as teosinte. Arturo Warman, a maize historian, has called maize “a thoroughly cultural artifact, in that it is truly a human invention, a species that does not exist naturally in the wild and can only survive if sown and protected by humans.” It is also believed that the domestication of maize is directly related to the rise of civilization in Mesoamerica. Since the days when it was given to Columbus, maize has affected everything from land use, to food production, to cuisine, and to population growth around the world.

Dr. David R. Burgess – Biologist


Another amazing fact about corn is that the Native Americans used alkaline substances to remove the hard exterior of corn once it hardened. Once corn dries, the outer edge of it becomes lignified. This means that the cells around the center of the corn kernel become tightly latticed, like the weaving of a basket. Native Americans were able to use the alkaline substances to soften the corn and make it edible again. Often, certain kinds of corn were kept hard so that the people could make foods like popcorn from them.

The Native American tribes who live in areas where there are cedar trees have always known to throw cedar on a fire during a thunderstorm. Grandmothers and Mothers would throw pieces of cedar on the fire when lightning was near, because they knew that cedar warded off lightning. What is the value of this in the world of Chemistry? Because cedar wood has a negative charge, it repels lightning; therefore, throwing cedar into the fire reduced the risk that lightning would strike the area where the people were. Native Americans have had a practical understanding of Chemistry since long before the science itself was developed.

Dr. Jani Ingram  Chemist

Many pharmaceutical drugs that are commonly used today come from our Native American ancestors. Their extensive knowledge of medicinal plants has contributed to present-day medicines that include salicin. Willow contains salicin, which is acetyl salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. They used complex pain killers long before aspirin was developed by modern science. Native Americans would boil a tea or chew the willow leaves or inner bark. The leaves and inner bark contain the medicinal extract, which helped relieve minor pain from headaches, joint pain, and toothaches. The same way aspirin is used today. The willow is often given the nickname ‘toothache tree’. Over 200 medical drugs and their source can be linked back to Native Americans for their use of healing plants.

Without written records, historians must work backward from oral traditions preserved in written form or dissect physical remains to uncover many of the purposes or reasoning of their ancient scientific discovery. Native Americans have made scientific contributions in every area of endeavor and affected many aspects of modern day American life. All of these contributions came from incredibly insightful Native Americans that learned about the world around them, not from the internet but from actually living in it.  

Additional Resources:

– For a full database full of Native Americans & their contribution to the world of science, check out the SACNAS.  The SACNAS celebrates both the traditional  knowledge and (Western) science contributions of Native Americans to the nation’s scientific endeavor.

– Think About it Thursday: Did Native Americans Use Science?

– The Law Library of Congress : Native American Heritage Month

– : Celebrate Native American Hertiage Activities & Lesson Plans



The Science of the Perfect Storm – Hurricane Hunting with Sandy!

Starting yesterday evening, residents along the eastern U.S. coast and much further inland, from Washington D.C. to Chicago, hunkered down and braced for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, the biggest hurricane (by area) on record. Ever. (Since 1988.)

Scientists have been following and projecting Sandy’s path with all the tools at their disposal: ocean buoys, radar and satellite imagery, and computer modeling. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also gathers information from special reconnaissance aircraft, which fly over hurricanes and can drop instruments into them to measure wind speeds, air pressure, temperature, and altitude. 

The storm that is threatening 60 million Americans in the eastern third of the nation in just a couple of days with persistent high winds, drenching rains, extreme tides, flooding and probably snow is much more than just an ordinary weather system. It’s a freakish and unprecedented monster.

Don’t Just Watch Hurricane Coverage on TV….Experience a Tropical Monster for Yourself on ORBIT! 

Discover the mighty hurricane by following it through the Caribbean basin. Watch as the threat level increases with every correct answer! Click the image above to get started on your very own Hurricane Hunting expedition!

What forces created this “Frankenstorm”?

Start with Sandy, an ordinary late summer hurricane from the tropics, moving north up the East Coast. Bring in a high pressure ridge of air centered around Greenland that blocks the hurricane’s normal out-to-sea path and forces it west toward land.

Add a wintry cold front moving in from the west and colliding with that storm. Mix in a blast of Arctic air from the north. Add a full moon and its usual effect, pulling in high tides. Factor in immense waves commonly thrashed up by a huge hurricane plus massive gale-force winds. Do all that and you get a stitched-together weather monster expected to unleash its power over 800 square miles, with predictions in some areas of 12 inches of rain, 2 feet of snow and sustained 40- to 50 mph winds.

“The total is greater than the sum of the individual parts” said Louis Uccellini, the environmental prediction chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologists. “That is exactly what’s going on here.”  This storm is so dangerous and so unusual because it is coming at the tail end of hurricane season and beginning of winter storm season, “so it’s kind of taking something from both – part hurricane, part nor’easter, all trouble,” Jeff Masters, director of the private service Weather Underground, said Saturday.

With Sandy expected to lose tropical characteristics, NOAA is putting up warnings that aren’t hurricane or tropical for coastal areas north of North Carolina, causing some television meteorologists to complain that it is all too confusing. Nor is it merely a coastal issue anyway. Craig Fugate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency told reporters Saturday: “This is not a coastal threat alone. This is a very large area. This is going to be well inland.”

It’s a topsy-turvy storm, too. The far northern areas of the East, around Maine, should get much warmer weather as the storm hits, practically shirt-sleeve weather for early November, Masters and Uccellini said. Around the Mason-Dixon line, look for much cooler temperatures. West Virginia and even as far south as North Carolina could see snow. Lots of it. It is what NOAA forecaster Jim Cisco meant Thursday when he called it “Frankenstorm” in a forecast, an allusion to Mary Shelley’s gothic creature of synthesized elements. 

Check out this real-time wind map to see just how far Sandy can reach: you can see the leading edge of the hurricane pushing into the East Coast. The National Hurricane Center will give you a map of the storm’s projected path, along with some other meteorological projections such as the risk of storm surge.

Google has also put together a map showing the path of the storm. Google’s version has toggles so you can turn cloud cover on and off, show the locations of webcams in the area and chart out the locations of Red Cross shelters. 

Learn more about Hurricane Sandy & stay up to date with these resources:

Congratulations to the Asheville Tourists!

On September 14, 2012, the Asheville Tourists defeated the Greensboro Grasshoppers 10-4 to win the 2012 South Atlantic League Championship series three games to one. The SAL title is the first won by the Tourists since 1984. High Touch High Tech is a proud sponsor of the Asheville Tourists Education Day games each spring in which the stadium fills with students from across WNC. Our own Teri-dactyl Terri got the opportunity to pose with the Tourists’ championship trophy yesterday outside of the HTHT headquarters.

Asheville dropped the first game of the series 6-3 but rallied to win Game Two by a final score of 10-3. In Game Three, the Tourists hit four Home Runs and defeated the Grasshoppers 9-0. The 2012 Asheville Tourists set the best regular season record in all of Minor League baseball!  The Tourists defeated the Rome Braves two games to one in the Southern Division Championship series before capping off a memorable and exciting season with the pinnacle of achievements; a South Atlantic League Championship. Way to go guys!

We can’t wait to be a part of another exciting season with the Asheville Tourists in 2013! Learn more about the Asheville Tourists on their website 

Arachnid Allen Gets Global Recognition for ScienceMadeFunKIDS!

This past March, High Touch High Tech introduced a new interactive e-learning community, ORBIT, that has taken the science education world by storm!  This addition to our popular transforms an ordinary computer into an exciting science lab engaging kids in exciting games & trivia. With games such as Tropical Monster, The Water Cycle & Infest Station – students put their science skills to the test & are challenged to experience common science concepts outside of the classroom.  Of course, none of this would be possible without the talent of our very own Arachnid Allen! 

Recently, E-Learning Brothers- a world renowned multimedia & graphic design company, highlighted the incredible games that Allen created for ScienceMadeFunKIDS & ORBIT. This global recognition applauds Allen for his incredible creativity, ingenuity & hard work that he put in to developing the these interactive games. With Allen’s help, High Touch High Tech & ScienceMadeFunKIDS has become the premiere online science community for FUN, hands-on science for  kids across the globe!  

Check out ORBIT on ScienceMadeFunKIDS by clicking here! 


SpaceX Capsule Launches ‘Space Mud’ Experiment Taking Hands-On Science into Orbit!

A commercial cargo ship rocketed into orbit Sunday in pursuit of the International Space Station, the first of a dozen supply runs under a mega-contract with NASA. It was the second launch of a Dragon capsule to the orbiting lab by the California-based SpaceX company. The first was last spring. 

This time was no test flight, however, and the spacecraft carried 1,000 pounds of key science experiments and other precious gear on this truly operational mission. There was also a personal touch: chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream tucked in a freezer for the three station residents. When it comes to the International Space Station, even the ice cream has science behind it! The ice cream from Blue Bell Creameries in Texas, is making its 2nd appearance in Orbit – the first being in 2006 on the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Contrary to what you might think, the ice cream isn’t your usual freeze-dried ice cream that normally goes into space, it’s the same as you buy at the local grocery store. The ice cream is kept in a special refrigerator that has a freezer with the ability to reach temperatures as low as -300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also onboard the capsule is material to make silly putty, also known as Space Mud to all of you High Touch High Tech fans out there! The Silly Putty will be made by the astronauts while in space to see whether or not Silly Putty can be made in space in the first place. If so, experimenters will want to know how it differs from the regular, Earth-made version of the stuff. It’s hypothesized that the space-made Silly Putty will be possible to make, but its viscosity is expected to be different from the Silly Putty we all know and love.

This experiment is just one of the 11 science experiments chosen from a pool of 1,125 experiments proposed from around the country to blast into orbit courtesy of the SSEP National Initiative. Designed as a keystone STEM Education program launched as a U.S. National initiative in June 2010, SSEP engages entire communities. Each participating community is provided all launch services to fly a real microgravity research mini-laboratory in low Earth orbit, capable of supporting a single experiment. An experiment design and proposal process in each community, mirroring how professional research is undertaken, allows student teams to design microgravity experiments vying for their community’s reserved mini-lab slot. Additional programming leverages grade K-12 community-wide engagement in STEM education. 

SSEP is the first pre-college STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture. SSEP is enabled through NanoRacks LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.

A decade ago, commercial space travel was considered pure fantasy, however, SpaceX is making it a reality! The company’s unmanned Falcon rocket roared into the night sky right on time, putting SpaceX on track to reach the space station Wednesday, October 10. The complex was soaring southwest of Tasmania when the Falcon took flight. Officials declared the launch a success, despite a problem with one of the nine first-stage engines. The name Falcon comes from the Millennium Falcon star ship of “Star Wars” fame.

The Dragon will spend close to three weeks at the space station before being released and parachuting into the Pacific at the end of October. By then, the space station should be back up to a full crew of six. SpaceX is unique as none of the Russian, European or Japanese cargo ships can bring anything back from orbit due to them being destroyed upon re-entry to Earth. 

To learn more about the SSEP, including future opportunities for student participation, visit:

Stay up-to-date with SpaceX & the Dragon Capsule Online:



Check out & learn how you can see the dragon capsule in the night sky! 

Mars Rover Curiosity Finds Evidence of Ancient Stream!


The NASA rover Curiosity has beamed back pictures of bedrock that suggest a fast-moving stream, possibly waist-deep, once flowed on Mars — a find that the mission’s chief scientist called exciting. There have been previous signs that water existed on the red planet long ago, but the images released Thursday showing pebbles rounded off, likely by water, offered the most convincing evidence so far of an ancient stream bed.

From a NASA/JPL news release:

NASA’s Curiosity rover mission has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving. There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence — images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels — is the first of its kind. 

Scientists are studying the images of stones cemented into a layer of conglomerate rock. The sizes and shapes of stones offer clues to the speed and distance of a long-ago stream’s flow. 

“From the size of gravels it carried, we can interpret the water was moving about 3 feet per second, with a depth somewhere between ankle and hip deep,” said Curiosity science co-investigator William Dietrich of the University of California, Berkeley. “Plenty of papers have been written about channels on Mars with many different hypotheses about the flows in them. This is the first time we’re actually seeing water-transported gravel on Mars. This is a transition from speculation about the size of streambed material to direct observation of it.”   

The finding site lies between the north rim of Gale Crater and the base of Mount Sharp, a mountain inside the crater. Earlier imaging of the region from Mars orbit allows for additional interpretation of the gravel-bearing conglomerate. The imagery shows an alluvial fan of material washed down from the rim, streaked by many apparent channels, sitting uphill of the new finds. 

The rounded shape of some stones in the conglomerate indicates long-distance transport from above the rim, where a channel named Peace Vallis feeds into the alluvial fan. The abundance of channels in the fan between the rim and conglomerate suggests flows continued or repeated over a long time, not just once or for a few years.

The discovery comes from examining two outcrops, called “Hottah” and “Link,” with the telephoto capability of Curiosity’s mast camera during the first 40 days after landing. Those observations followed up on earlier hints from another outcrop, which was exposed by thruster exhaust as Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory Project’s rover, touched down.

“Hottah looks like someone jack-hammered up a slab of city sidewalk, but it’s really a tilted block of an ancient streambed,” said Mars Science Laboratory Project Scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

The gravels in conglomerates at both outcrops range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball. Some are angular, but many are rounded. “The shapes tell you they were transported and the sizes tell you they couldn’t be transported by wind. They were transported by water flow,” said Curiosity science co-investigator Rebecca Williams of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Ariz.

The science team may use Curiosity to learn the elemental composition of the material, which holds the conglomerate together, revealing more characteristics of the wet environment that formed these deposits. The stones in the conglomerate provide a sampling from above the crater rim, so the team may also examine several of them to learn about broader regional geology.

The slope of Mount Sharp in Gale Crater remains the rover’s main destination. Clay and sulfate minerals detected there from orbit can be good preservers of carbon-based organic chemicals that are potential ingredients for life. 

“A long-flowing stream can be a habitable environment,” said Grotzinger. “It is not our top choice as an environment for preservation of organics, though. We’re still going to Mount Sharp, but this is insurance that we have already found our first potentially habitable environment.”

During the two-year prime mission of the Mars Science Laboratory,esearchers will use Curiosity’s 10 instruments to investigate whether areas in Gale Crater have ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech, built Curiosity and manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

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