8. Well done Curiosity!

Yes, it looks like a little hole on the ground but what Curiosity has achieved so far on the surface of Mars is way beyond my childhood dreams.

I remember the first time I saw Mars through a telescope, I could see some white-fuzzy “clouds” on the top of that pale orange/red dot… I was told, “those aren’t clouds, but ice caps… like the ones we find on the north pole”… I was fascinated! Ice? on Mars?…. that night I decided that I wanted to know more about astronomy and I have been hooked since then.

Back the topic:)


Curiosity has drilled for the first time in an extraterrestrial body, that careful operation has revealed fresh rock material that has been untouched by eons…. for us geologists it looks like a…..rock, yes it is a rock in a planet located some 225 million km on average. The image above does not show a simple hole on the ground, but the first of many attempts to explain the cosmic environment around us…. it is enigmatic to say the least.


I honestly wish I could live more so I could see man landing on Mars, probes being sent to the Galilean and Jovian moons and the great discoveries that are still in front of us.

Well done Curiosity!


7. This year I either post or close the blog!

Hi there!, Happy New Year to all!

Yes, things get out of control sometimes, and time is definitely a commodity today no doubt about that and the more you commit yourself the less you have it (obvious!)… but this year of 2013 will be busy for sure, so I decided that I either post weekly here or I close this blog…..

well… I don’t have the greatest audience yet, but the idea of this space is to share ideas and to improve my presentation skills, so my target is a weekly or more posts per week from today onwards.

By the way, I am starting my Honours Degree at the University of Ballarat in Australia and the reading has already started… I’ll post some basic ideas of this Honours project as soon as I understand what I am doing!….. Ah, forgot… I have to tell you the results of my 3rd Year Project first…. you see?, I am a bit lost but things will be in place soon.

Take care


6. Busy, busy life!

Hi there people, I hope you are all safe and sound!

Yes, life has been very busy… I could not post anything on the three months due to reports, assignments and stuff (remember I’m still a student), but I can tell you that I have been to some nice field trips, learning a lot about astronomy and astrophotography and just came back from the AINSE Winter School in Sydney.

Yes, one post and many things! But I’ll try to post on weekly basis now so I can keep up!

Thank you for your visit and messages on the last couple of months!


PS: Here is a picture from our Field Trip to Broken Hill, NSW!

05. Not Dead Yet: Moon Still Seismically Active (By Ars Technica, Wired.com)

Hi there,

I am a follower of the Wired.com website, I read it daily and it is food for my neurons!. I would like to share this amazing research released by Nature Geoscience (by Thomas R. Watters, Mark S. Robinson, Maria E. Banks, Thanh Tran, and Brett W. Denevi) suggesting that the moon might still be tectonically active.

Recent images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) suggests that shallow graben may have formed within the last 50 million years. While this activity is not precisely new, it postdates the last major tectonic activity, which ended roughly 1.2 billion years ago.

To read the full article:


To read Abstract: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1387.html#/supplementary-information

To read supplementary information (worth it) : Supplementary Information (750 KB)

Cheers guys!


By Matthew Francis, Ars Technica


04. Surprise in Daylesford

Then you start walking along a creek and realise that weird rock formation on the other side… as you approach you realise that that image should be at least 100 km away from there, and even better you are standing at 632 meters above sea level. You have found a sand ripple formation.

Sand ripples (or ripple marks) are sedimentary structures that indicate agitation by fluids/wind and or waves. You are more likely to see a “fresh” sand ripple on a tidal flat, where the tide was just retreated leaving the ripple marks behind. The rocks in Daylesford are mostlly Ordovician turbidites, which can be very boring after a while. I’m glad I have found this ripple mark formation here as we can study it more in order to undestand the evolution of the Highlands area. See images below.

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03. Astrophotography… I’m starting

I love looking at the skies, it is indeed a window to the universe that surrounds us and I feel a connection with the stars… yes, as you know you came from the stars 🙂

Here some pictures taken on my simply Celestron 130EQ Telescope and my Panasonic Lumix FH25 camera. I need to find a solution as my telescope has not a motor to track the object in the sky and my camera is not the best option to take pics as the focus is not ideal… well, I believe that those images are the first of many as I’m hooked now!

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02. Not a fossil, but looks like

Yes, it is not a fossil…. I must confess that the first time I came into contact with a sample of Dendritic crystal (aka Dendrite) I was thinking I had found some sort of novelty… I was wrong.

After some disappointment I researched and was mesmerized with the fact this crystal grows in a fractal pattern, which is amazing in intself. They form in naturally occurring fissures, cracks and faults along bedding planes between layers in the rock which are are filled by percolating mineral solutions. Those mineral solutions  are rich in manganese and iron flows and the formation of dendritic crystals happens as the solution flows through those layers. See animation below.

Animated GIF of dendrite formation - NASA

At the door steeps, it is not a fossil 🙂

Manganese Oxide
Photo Copyright © Rui Nunes 2005

01. Believe it or not, 2013 Graduate Program applications in Mining are open!

Yes, indeed! 2013 Graduate Program applications for the major mining companies in Australia are open right now.

Some of my friends all over were caught by surprise and now it is a good time to sit and prepare your application if you are graduating in 2012 (if you want to work in mining of course). Reading the job ads, you can see that BHP and Rio want to find their graduates as soon as possible so they can have time to study their last year and get good results.

For more information, search for 2013 Graduate Program on Google and voila! Alternatively, you can visit sites such as UNIGRAD or GRAD CONNECTION and search for more opportunites.

Take care and good luck!