Mars Rover Opportunity Working at ‘Matijevic Hill’

NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity, well into its ninth year on Mars, will work for the next several weeks or months at a site with some of the mission’s most intriguing geological features.


Opportunity Eyes Rock Fins on Cape York, Sol 3058

NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity, well into its ninth year on Mars, will work for the next several weeks or months at a site with some of the mission’s most intriguing geological features.


Copal

Copal is a name given to tree resin that is particularly identified with the aromatic resins used by the cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica as ceremonially burned incense and other purposes.[1] More generally, the term copal describes resinous substances in an intermediate stage ofpolymerization and hardening between “gummier” resins and amber.[2] The word copal is derived from … Continue reading

Copal is a name given to tree resin that is particularly identified with the aromatic resins used by the cultures of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica as ceremonially burned incense and other purposes.[1] More generally, the term copal describes resinous substances in an intermediate stage ofpolymerization and hardening between “gummier” resins and amber.[2] The word copal is derived from the Nahuatl language word copalli, meaning “incense“.[3][4][5][7][6]

To the pre-Columbian Maya and contemporary Maya peoples it is known in the various Mayan languages as pom (or a close variation thereof),[3][8]although the word itself has been demonstrated to be a loanword to Mayan from Mixe–Zoquean languages.[citation needed]

Copal is still used by a number of indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America as an incense and during sweat lodge ceremonies.[9] It is available in different forms. The hard, amber-like yellow copal is a less expensive version. The white copal, a hard, milky, sticky substance, is a more expensive version of the same resin.

Copal was also grown in East Africa (the common species there being Hymenaea verrucosa), initially feeding an Indian Ocean demand for incense. By the 18th Century, Europeans found it to be a valuable ingredient in making a good wood varnish. It became widely used in the manufacture of furniture and carriages. It was also sometimes used as a picture varnish.[10] By the late 19th and early 20th century varnish manufacturers in England and America were using it on train carriages, greatly swelling its demand.

In 1859 Americans consumed 68 percent of the East African trade, which was controlled through the Sultan of Zanzibar, with Germany receiving 24 percent. The American Civil War and the creation of the Suez Canal led to Germany, India and Hong Kong taking the majority by the end of that century.[11]

East Africa apparently had a higher amount of subfossil copal, which is found one or two meters below living copal trees from roots of trees that may have lived thousands of years earlier. This subfossil copal produces a harder varnish. Subfossil copal is also well-known from New Zealand(Kauri gum), Japan, the Dominican RepublicColombia and Madagascar. It often has inclusions and is sometimes sold as “young amber”. Copal can be easily distinguished from genuine amber by its lighter citrine colour and its surface getting tacky with a drop of acetone or chloroform.[12]

Dawn: Vesta Got Special Delivery of Hydrated Minerals

Observations by NASA’s Dawn mission suggest that hydrated minerals were delivered to Vesta in a radically different way than how they were deposited on the moon.


Map of Hydrated Minerals on Vesta

Observations by NASA’s Dawn mission suggest that hydrated minerals were delivered to Vesta in a radically different way than how they were deposited on the moon.


Study Examines Forest Vulnerability to Climate Change

Mid-elevation forests between 6,500 to 8,000 feet elevation are most sensitive to climate change, finds a new University of Colorado Boulder-led study co-funded by NASA.


A Sierra Nevada forest in Sequoia National Park, Calif.  Forest patterns are correlated to snow depth.

Mid-elevation forests between 6,500 to 8,000 feet elevation are most sensitive to climate change, finds a new University of Colorado Boulder-led study co-funded by NASA.


NASA to Televise Mars Curiosity Rover Science Update Sept. 27

NASA will host a news conference at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT) Thursday, Sept. 27, to present science findings from the Curiosity rover’s mission to Mars’ Gale Crater.


This artist concept features NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover

NASA will host a news conference at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT) Thursday, Sept. 27, to present science findings from the Curiosity rover’s mission to Mars’ Gale Crater.


Curiosity Finishes Close Inspection of Rock Target

NASA’s rover Curiosity touched a Martian rock with its robotic arm for the first time on Sept. 22, assessing what chemical elements are in the rock called “Jake Matijevic.”


This image combines photographs taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager

NASA’s rover Curiosity touched a Martian rock with its robotic arm for the first time on Sept. 22, assessing what chemical elements are in the rock called “Jake Matijevic.”


Shuttle Endeavour Flyby Brought an Old Friend to JPL

JPL employees, whose space shuttle Endeavour payloads gave us windows to worlds near and far, gazed skyward Sept. 21, 2012 as Endeavour paid the lab a visit before retirement.


Endeavor Flies Over JPL

JPL employees, whose space shuttle Endeavour payloads gave us windows to worlds near and far, gazed skyward Sept. 21, 2012 as Endeavour paid the lab a visit before retirement.