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  Water on Mars-Nepali Student
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Posted on 08-05-11 5:04 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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How an undergrad spotted possible water on Mars
Lujendra Ojha stands with a poster of his work on looking at possible briny water on the surface of Mars.
August 5th, 2011
02:29 PM ET

How an undergrad spotted possible water on Mars

In high school, Lujendra Ojha hoped he might one day invent a time machine. A science-fiction fan, he was fascinated with ideas about string theory, multiple universes and time travel.

Ojha hasn't cracked those mysteries yet, but he did discover something else otherworldly: possible flows of saltwater on Mars.

The 21-year-old is a co-author of a new study in the journal Science suggesting that there is liquid water during warmer seasons on Mars. If it's there, this water probably would be briny, because studies have shown that Mars' surface is salty.

A native of Kathmandu, Nepal, Ojha has always been fascinated by mountains, especially since several of the world's tallest are in his country. He combined his interest in physics and geology by majoring in geosciences at the University of Arizona.

The Mars discovery came out of an independent project he was doing with professor Alfred McEwen, lead author of the new study published in Science. Their collaborator, University of Arizona researcher Colin Dundas, was interested in gullies on Mars, which may be remnants of past water activity. The researchers were looking for seasonal changes in those gullies.

Using a computer algorithm to examine images taken in the same crater as the gullies Dundas had examined, Ojha removed visual distortions, such as shadows, from images of a crater taken at different points in time. With that technique, he compared the images to identify the changes over time.

That's how Ojha noticed irregular features in the crater that weren't related to the gullies.

"When I first saw them, I had no idea what it was. I just thought it was a streak made by dust or something similar," he told CNN on Thursday after a NASA news conference. "It was a lucky accident."

It took McEwen's team months of research to figure out what it could be. In fact, scientists say, Ojha had found the first evidence of finger-like features on the slope of the crater that could be liquid briny water on Mars, although scientists do not know for sure. The source of this water could be below the surface, but that has yet to be determined, Ojha said.

"There's going to be years of research put into this to even prove that this is definitely a proof of water. And from that, we can move on: OK if this is water, what are the chances that life could be in these kinds of surroundings?" he said.

As for life on Mars, Ojha has his fingers crossed.

"That would be exciting. That’s kind of like the holy grail of science: To find our neighbor, to find life on some other planet," he said.

Ojha will graduate next year but isn't sure what's next - perhaps graduate school.

Posted on 08-05-11 5:23 PM     [Snapshot: 81]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Posted on 08-05-11 5:29 PM     [Snapshot: 83]     Reply [Subscribe]
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 Now, that's something to be proud of! Not the fact that one went to Harvard for his 'BS'. One Harvard BS even managed to give a TedxKathmandu talk re! Achievement chahin ZERO, kura chahin kati charko! Good job Ojha bro. I saw the related article in Nature and the science blogosphere is exploding with this possibility of water on Mars and its obvious implications. All the best with getting into a grad school of your choice!
Posted on 08-05-11 5:35 PM     [Snapshot: 107]     Reply [Subscribe]
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did u hear that u freaking indians? go, and claim that he's from India, too.
Posted on 08-05-11 6:53 PM     [Snapshot: 288]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Good job ojha bhai. Its not surprising, a researcher from uni of arizona will come with such outstanding outcome.
UNi of arizona is competing with NASA and doing parallel research abt mars and they are planning to reach mars before NASA will do.I forgot the date though
I dont think any other uni of the world is doing such extensive research abt mars even MIT is fikilo if study of mars is releated.They are competing with NASA, so imaginr brother.
Posted on 08-05-11 7:59 PM     [Snapshot: 403]     Reply [Subscribe]
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 Good job Ojha bro!!!!
Posted on 08-05-11 8:44 PM     [Snapshot: 466]     Reply [Subscribe]
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 Please read the comments...Racist americans! 
Posted on 08-05-11 9:08 PM     [Snapshot: 543]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Jangali Maanab : I don't find it surprising . Why should i ? We are not any less see few last threads on sajha so you can understand what i am talking about lol .

Posted on 08-06-11 6:44 AM     [Snapshot: 778]     Reply [Subscribe]
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मंगल पर बहता पानी? खगोलविदों को मिले संकेत

5 Aug 2011, 1931 hrs IST,पीटीआई  


वॉशिंगटन ।। मंगल ग्रह पर बहते पानी के संकेत मिले हैं। पहले वहां बर्फ के होने का पता चला था और अब ऐसा लग रहा है कि कुछ खास मौसमों में मंगल की सतह पर पानी भी बहता है।

भारतीय मूल के वैज्ञानिक और खगोलविदों ने इस बात की जानकारी दी। साथ ही यूएस स्पेस एजेंसी नासा ने कहा कि मंगल ग्रह पर बहते पानी का पहला सबूत मिला है। अगर इसकी पुष्टि हो जाती है तो यह लाल ग्रह पर पानी मिलने की पहली खोज होगी।

अमेरिकी अंतरिक्ष एजेंसी नासा के वैज्ञानिकों के अनुसार मार्स रिकॉनायसां ऑरबाइटर स्पेसक्राफ्ट से लिए गए चित्रों में कुछ गाढ़ी रेखाएं नजर आईं हैं। ये निशान नमकीन पानी का बहाव हो सकता है। वैज्ञानिक लुजेन्द, ओझा और एरिजोना यूनिवर्सिटी के उनके सहयोगियों का अब दावा है कि यह खोज यह स्थापित करने में मदद कर सकती है कि क्या मंगल पर जीवन टिक सकता है।
Source: http://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/9495727.cms
Last edited: 06-Aug-11 06:44 AM

Posted on 08-06-11 8:31 PM     [Snapshot: 1040]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Ojha bhai, hamro nak ali thulo bhayo aba. Badai chha bhai. Aru pani naya naya kura patta laudai janu. Hami sabai ko subhakamana chha.
Posted on 08-06-11 8:41 PM     [Snapshot: 1052]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Mixing music with Mars
- Nepal-born student who spotted ‘water’ also plays guitar
Lujendra Ojha, the lead guitarist in a heavy metal band named Gorkha

New Delhi, Aug. 6: Eight years ago, Lujendra Ojha was a schoolboy in his native Nepal trying to sharpen his skills on the guitar, but also dreaming about pursuing research on parallel universes, designing time machines and exploring space.

Drawing inspiration from comic books, science fiction films, and Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, which he recalls reading while he was in the 9th grade at Kathmandu’s Galaxy Public School, Ojha wanted to do “something fascinating” in science.

If he couldn’t travel around the world as a star guitar player, that is.

Ojha is now an undergraduate geophysics student at the University of Arizona, Tucson, where he moved with his parents in 2005 when he was 15. And he is lead guitarist of a student band named Gorkha that specialises in heavy metal.

But this week, Ojha appeared to leap towards a career in planetary science with his first research paper — a publication in the US journal Science — describing intriguing features on the planet Mars that scientists are interpreting as the flow of liquid water.

Ojha, a co-author in the paper, was the first to spot dark finger-like features on images of the surfaces of steep slopes in the southern hemisphere of Mars, captured by a camera orbiting Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

“They appear only in the summer, grow during the summer season and fade away in the winter,” said Ojha, an undergraduate member of a research team led by principal investigator Alfred McEwen that examined the features over three Martian summers.

These dark, finger-like features that appear and extend down some Martian slopes during the warmest months of the Mars year may show activity of salty water on Mars. They fade in winter, then recur the next spring.

“These features appear only when the temperatures rise during summers, only on steep slopes, and only in the mid-latitudes — the best explanation we think is the flow of liquid water with salts,” Ojha told The Telegraph in a telephone interview.

Although geological features observed on Mars earlier have indicated that liquid water once flowed on the planet, scientists believe that the possibility of liquid salt-laden water could have implications for future studies in the decades-old search for life on Mars.

For his discovery, Ojha was among only two undergraduate students from Arizona invited to share their research findings with the government and representatives of science agencies during a special event in Washington DC in April this year.

He believes the opportunity for research that his university offered him as well as the invitation to present his research are both tremendous honours.

“I’m from halfway around the world, came here, and got involved in some awesome research. For me to move from Nepal to Capitol Hill in such a short (time) feels like a great accomplishment,” he told his university newsletter earlier this year.

Ojha is determined to continue with his studies in geophysics and hopes he can become a planetary scientist. He still plays the lead guitarist in Gorkha, but says music is now only a hobby.

“I still sometimes dream of travelling the world playing the guitar — but science is fascinating.”


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