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Emoticons Invade Mars
Topic: Mars
The Mars Global Surveyor released the latest glyph image that appears to evoke the kinds of communication in rock formations that has become famous among Mars' watchers on the internet. But there is a serious side to interpreting remote sensing data, and shadow is not always one's ally.

The Other Mars Meteorite
Topic: Mars
The most famous Mars meteorite, the Allen Hills rock with its strange, cylindrical rock segments, may not be the most intriguing. Consider a rock launched from Mars only 700 million years ago called Lafayette.

Searching for Scarce Life
Topic: Mars
Chile's Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth. So dry that, in some regions, not even bacteria can survive. That makes it a perfect place to test out Zoë, a prototype rover designed to detect life's faintest traces.

Life on Mars: A Definite Possibility
Topic: Mars
This much is known: At some point in Mars's past, at least one region of the planet was drenched in water. Ancient Mars provided a habitat suitable for life as we know it. What kind of organism might have lived there? And is life lying dormant there still, just waiting for things to warm up a bit?

How Mars Fooled the World
Topic: Mars
The famous Orson Welles' radio broadcast of "The War of the Worlds" is about to hit the big screen, as film moguls Spielberg and Cruise bring the H.G. Wells' classic back into the popular imagination. Are we so clever today not be duped?

Dining on Diamonds
Topic: Mars
When scientists found their second Mars' rover had landed inside a crater, they expressed surprise. When evidence pointed to that crater once having been soaked in water, they had accomplished a primary mission goal.

Straining Down a Rathole
Topic: Mars
The Mars Opportunity rover is inching its way down the slope of Endurance Crater, and each step has entailed stopping for a drilling sample from the rock abrasion tool. Confirming earlier findings of high sulfur content and a plausible water history, the new results show a higher chlorine concentration.

Mars Echoes of Earthtones
Topic: Mars
As the Spirit rover gets its bearings after a one-mile trek to Columbia Hills, the landscape has transformed from flat plains to exposed vertical faces. To a geologist, finding such layering offers a history lesson in which element dominated its ancient past.

Moving Forward By Moving Backward
Topic: Mars
To manage on five out of six wheels, the Spirit rover has found backing up to be more efficient than driving forward. The net result however continues to impress mission scientists as they back their way into the Columbia Hills.

Bigger than the Grand Canyon
Topic: Mars
About a third of the size of Earth, Mars has both the solar system's largest volcano and canyons. The likelihood of exploring the canyon called Valles Marineris robotically is slim, given its ruggedness. When viewed by the recent Mars Express orbiter, one can appreciate the six-mile drop that its cliff face poses to a would-be rover.
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