NASA scientists report that the Curiosity rover has found another compound on Mars that could be indicative that life could have been possible om Mars at one time, in this case nitrates. While not outright proof, but it does make the likelihood higher. To quote the article:
The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover has detected oxidized nitrogen-bearing compounds during pyrolysis of scooped aeolian sediments and drilled sedimentary deposits within Gale crater. […] Fixed nitrogen could have facilitated the development of a primitive nitrogen cycle on the surface of ancient Mars, potentially providing a biochemically accessible source of nitrogen.
Self portrait by Curiosity in the Gale Crater where the nitrates were discovered.
The great thing about a game in public Early Access is that most to the development and alterations of the game can be followed by anybody. The Mohawk team is encouraging players to stream while they are playing, and many do. A few good streamers who regularly stream OTC are:
When I was following the development of Spore, one of the many interesting and talented people working on it to me was Soren Johnson. He is a game designer and worked on Civilization 3 and was the lead designer of Civilization 4, which many people view as the best of the series. Soren actually designed the civ phase in Spore. He since founded his own company Mohawk Games and found a publisher in Stardock.
The first game is now in Early Access and is called Offworld Trading Company. It plays on Mars, and let the player step into the shoes of a industry tycoon, setting up base and play the upcoming market. As always you’re not alone in that endeavor, other players are trying to do the same. That is the basic idea of the game, and the result is a unique almost board-game like RTS game.
The game is still in development, and the team is very open about the process, which is exciting to be a part of. In this blog I will follow this closely, so stay tuned.
The video below is made by one of the top players at the moment, Zultar. So you get to jump in at the deep end.
Ganymede, one of Jupiters many moons, is found to have a large underground ocean. It may even contain more water than can be found here on Earth. This is the conclusion that can be drawn from the fact that Ganymedes has aurora lights. This reveales the shape of the moons magnetics field, with in turn tells us about its interior build up. Another stunning fact that NASA’s Hubble telescope has helped us find during the 25 years it is now serving us.
Nasa has found evidence of a vast ancient ocean on Mars. This is the conclusion based on the relative quantity of deuterium versus regular water. Since Mars is relatively small, water is easily evaporated from the surface. Deuterium is heavier and will be ever more present in the compound. The measurements show that there must have been a huge amount of water present on Mars one day. Below a video of what this could have looked like.
Very sad news this week, Maxis as-we-know-it is closed by EA. EA will still support The Sims and Simcity, but the creative team based in Emeryville is being disbanded. It feels like the end of an era. Everybody who plays computer games will have played at least one of the games they made. Even more if you started gaming a while ago. Maxis was known for quirky games like SimAnt, where you play a colony of ants, or SimTower where you needed to pay attention to the place of the elevators. And of course the blockbuster titles that even today make good money, started out as being unique and very different from the other games that were being made. I sincerely hope that this will not be the end of this type of games and some other studio will take up the gauntlet and fill the gaping hole.
The game developers gathered at GDC this week have offered hartwarming support to the now homeless ‘Maxoids’, so I am sure that will will hear of them again in some shape or form. Let’s wish them all the best.