back to article Toaster oven-sized boffin box bound for Mars to search for life

A team from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center gathered last week to bid farewell to a mass spectrometer as it began its journey to the red planet via an assembly plant in Italy. The instrument is a key component of a toaster oven-sized lab, called the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA), which will detect evidence of …

  1. Jay Lenovo Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The Chilarity Reality

    Finally the question of life on Mars can be answered.

    You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool MOM(A)

    1. TVU Silver badge

      Re: The Chilarity Reality

      "Finally the question of life on Mars can be answered"

      To be honest, Mars is giving out all the signs so far that it is biologically dead, the fact its atmosphere is in chemical equilibrium is a case in point.

      Mars was only clement for part of its Noachian era so there was only a relatively short window of opportunity for life to potentially develop before the protective magnetic field and vulcanism died out because of Mars' relatively small mass (one ninth that of Earth) and the quick cooling of its core as happens with such small bodies.

      Places like Europa, Ganymede and Enceladus look to be more potentially promising abodes of life though (in their case, they are the beneficiaries of ongoing gravitational tidal heating).

  2. saxicola

    Title should be Toaster-oven sized, which means an oven the size of a toaster. Toaster oven-sized means a toaster the size of an oven. Now, not sure about you guys, but in the UK ovens a bigger than toasters and the title gives a misleading impression about the size of the toast. Maybe it's a USA UK thing because we all know everything is bigger in the US. Except for gallons, miles, shoe sizes...

    1. Little Mouse

      Apparently a toaster-oven is a thing. I had to Google exactly what though.

      About the size of a microwave, give or take.

      <edit> oven, not electromagnetic radiation...

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        I got introduced to them in the far east, got some very funny looks asking why they didn't just get a toaster...

        Still never managed to get both sides to the correct shade of brown on my toast with it..

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Quite - a toaster is generally quite compact - althogth YMMV on their ability to toast and not burn.

      2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Apparently a toaster-oven is a thing. I had to Google exactly what though.

        About the size of a microwave, give or take.

        well even with my 4 slice toaster it is an awful lot smaller than an oven (say small mirowave) - say 50% reductiuon in dimensions). That makes a lot of difference if you are lofting it out of planet (which obvioulsy also a major factor - but then only size is mentioned in the headline). My oven will toast but it is massive!

  3. Swiss Anton

    Is the toast more or less likely to land sunny side up on Mars?

  4. M7S

    Howdy doodly doo

    Mars? I think AI toaster sized devices were deployed by the Jupiter Mining Corporation first....

  5. Mage Silver badge


    The MAIN news about this is the ESA Rover, yet the article is NASA focused a component. It's like a rewrite of a NASA PR?

    There is no doubt that ESA achievements, CNES, ArianeSpace and European space & launch technology is less known to the public than American. The Americans are much better at marketing. See Coca-Cola, Levi, Nike, Starbucks, KFC, McDonalds, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Tesla, SpaceX.


    How many people know that construction of Europe's main space port, that has a Russian terminal, started as a French project in 1960s?

    Or that over half of the satellites in Earth orbit are ArianeSpace launches?


    China & India are catching up with Europe, USA and Russia. Japan & Israel don't seem to be doing much these days. UK the only country to achieve "space" and give it up (USA pressure?). The Satellite experts in Sussex is the main UK expertise left.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019