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Superimposed on this image mosaic of Meridiani Planum is a rainbow-colored map showing the abundance and location of gray hematite, as mapped by the thermal emission spectrometer on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter. Red and yellow indicates higher concentrations, whereas green and blue areas denote lower levels. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/ASU
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Mars orbit around the sun. Compared to the orbits of Venus and Earth, the martian orbit is less circular.
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Frozen water (hydrogen) concentration in the two top meters of the martian subsurface provided by the Gamma spectrometer of the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. The blue and violet zones (high latitudes) indicate a strong concentration of ice, higher than 50% of volume.
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The ice evolution on Mars over a characteristic obliquity cycle. The angle between the white arrows and the dotted line denotes the Martian obliquity. At high obliquity, the northern cap becomes unstable and looses a few centimeters of ice each year. This ice is then deposited in equatorial zones. When the obliquity decreases, ice comes back at high latitudes. When the equatorial reservoir disappears, high-latitude ice deposits become unstable too. A fraction sublimates and lays out again towards the poles which contributes to the creation of Martian polar caps, while an other fraction is buried under a protecting dust lag. Image credit: ASD/IMCCE-CNRS, adapted from Jim Head/Brown University and NASA/JPL.
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Tectonic fractures within the Candor Chasma region of Valles Marineris, Mars, retain ridge-like shapes as the surrounding bedrock erodes away. This points to past episodes of fluid alteration along the fractures and reveals clues into past fluid flow and geochemical conditions below the surface.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona
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This enhanced-color view of the eastern rim and floor of "Victoria Crater" in Mars'Meridiani Planum region comes from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera in NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona

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This image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows evidence for ancient fluid flow along fractures in Mars' Meridiani Planum region.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona
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Montmorillonite is an aluminum-rich clay recently shown to be present on
Credit: Carnegie Mellon University
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Missions like NASA's Pathfinder have returned many images of the dry
surface of Mars, but the researchers believe that layers of Martian soil
might be able to help preserve ice on Mars and maybe even water.
Credit: NASA
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Researchers propose these images of seven black spots near a massive Martian volcano may actually be caves rather than impact craters. The images were taken from the Thermal Emission Imaging System aboard NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.
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Caves on Mars could provide human explorers with access to water reserves because the caves themselves might serve as locations for long-term ice accumulation.
Credit: NASA
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The thin atmosphere of Mars is mainly composed of carbon dioxide.
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A false-color image of a "bomb sag" preserved in layered rocks on the lower slopes
of Home Plate. Bomb sags form in volcanic explosions on Earth when rocks ejected
skyward by the explosion fall into soft deposits, deforming them as they land.

Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
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The Mars Simulation Chamber (MSC) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
Credit: NASA
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Maps available from Arizona
State University
show the martian atmosphere's opacity. The scale
bar's values run from nearly clear (0.05) to roughly a two-thirds
reduction in sunlight (0.40)
Credit: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University)
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The Mars Oxidant Analyzer, one of the instruments to be carried by ExoMars, will answer longstanding questions about chemicals hostile to life that are believed to be present at the martian surface. credit: NASA
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On Launch Pad 17-A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the first half of
the fairing is installed around the Phoenix spacecraft in preparation for launch.
Credit: NASA/George Shelton
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This 3-D image of the martian northern polar ice cap, taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera onboard ESA´ Mars Express orbiter, shows layers of water ice and dust. Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)
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NASA's Opportunity rover used its front hazard-identification camera to obtain this
image at the end of its first drive in six weeks.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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A model of the Life Marker Chip is tested in the laboratory.
Credit: University of Leicester
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The Life Marker Chip is one of ten experiments included in ESA's BIOPAN-6. Once in
orbit, BIOPAN is designed to open as shown and expose the experiments to the harsh
environment of space.
Credit: ESA
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False-color image of gully channels in a crater in the southern highlands of Mars,
captured with the HiRISE instrument on MRO.
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
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This enhanced-color HiRISE image is part of a much larger HiRISE image
of the Nili Fossae region of Mars, recently found to be rich in clay.
Clay minerals contain water and may preserve organic materials,
important clues about ancient environments that possibly supported life.
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
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The mesas in this false-color HiRISE image are part of another clay-rich
region of Mars of great interest to scientists searching for evidence of
ancient Martian life.
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
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NASA's Mars Science Laboratory is scheduled to launch in 2009 and will
arrive at Mars in 2010.
Credit: NASA
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This is a shaded relief image derived from Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter data, which
flew onboard the Mars Global Surveyor. The image shows Olympus Mons and the three
Tharsis Montes volcanoes: Arsia Mons, Pavonis Mons, and Ascraeus Mons from southwest
to northeast.
Credit: NASA
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This figure shows two examples of younger lava channels that buried older lava tubes
on Mars. The boundary between the rougher appearing lava channels and the smoother
appearing lava tubes is outlined in black. Image A was taken by the High Resolution
Stereo Camera (HRSC) onboard the European Space Agency's Mars Express and image B
was taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) onboard NASA's Mars
Odyssey spacecraft. Print-resolution copy.
Credit: ESA and NASA
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Image right: This figure shows two examples of volcanic cones. Image A was taken by
the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) Onboard NASA´ Mars
Reconnaissance Orbiter. This image shows a cone on the southern main flank of
Pavonis Mons. Image B is taken from Google Maps, and shows SP crater in northern
Arizona, near the town of Flagstaff.
Credit: NASA and Google, Inc.
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These images are examples of the "browse" products the CRISM instrument
obtained of areas on Mars near proposed landing sites for the 2009 Mars
Science Laboratory. CRISM is one of six science instruments on the Mars
Reconnaissance Orbiter, currently circling the red planet.
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The images show the topographic divide between the Martian highlands and lowlands.
The mysterious deposits of the Medusae Fossae Formation are found in the lowlands
along the divide.
Credit: ESA/ASI/NASA/Univ. of Rome/JPL/Smithsonian
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The Viking missions returned confusing results, but Houtkooper´ hypothesis provides a possible explanation. Photo credit: NASA / JPL / Malin Space Sciences System
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If life does exist on Mars, it would have to survive conditions that seem very harsh by our standards. Photo credit: NASA.
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This picture may be similar to what the molten Earth would have looked
like at the surface before the planet began to cool.
Credit: California State University, Los Angeles
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The Commonwealth Glacier meteorological station, located in the Dry
Valleys of Antarctica.
Credit: LTER
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The HiRISE camera took this picture of a dune field within a crater southwest of
Hershel Crater on July 1, 2007. The orbiter was flying 175 miles above the planet at
the time. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
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This image of Olympus Mons is color-coded according to height based on data from the
Digital Terrain Model (DTM).
Credit: ESA
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Students recreated the formation of how a fan forms at the Eurotank lab at Utrecht,
The Netherlands. Click here for a video of
the fan formation.
Credit: VirginiaTech
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Mawrth Vallis has a rich mineral diversity, including clay minerals that formed by the chemical alteration of rocks or loose "regolith" (soil) by water. The CRISM instrument on the MRO spacecraft detects a variety of clay minerals here, which could signify different processes of formation. The high resolution of the HiRISE camera helps us to see and trace out layers, polygonal fractures, and with CRISM, examine the distribution of various minerals across the surface. This surface is scientifically compelling for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, although some of the terrain can be somewhat rough. Scientists use HiRISE images to find the safest possible landing site for the rover. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.
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This image provides higher-resolution views of a site where another observation
indicates the presence of chloride salt deposits.
Credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Arizona State University/University
of Hawaii
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Bright blue marks a deposit of chloride (salt) minerals in the southern highlands of
Mars in this false-color image, which highlights mineral composition differences.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University/University of Hawaii
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Cellulose fibers may provide an excellent biosignature for past or present life on
other planets.
Credit: UNC
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Griffith and the ancient salt samples in the WIPP chambers
Credit: UNC
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The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took two images of the larger of Mars' two
moons, Phobos, within 10 minutes of each other on March 23, 2008. This
is the first, taken from a distance of about 6,800 kilometers (about
4,200 miles). It is presented in color by combining data from the
camera's blue-green, red, and near-infrared channels.
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This high-resolution image, taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows the rock
debris that Brown scientists believe was left by a glacier that rose at least one
kilometer from the surrounding plain and flowed downward onto the canyon.
Credit: NASA
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Artist's representation of a human colony on Mars. Credit: NASA / David Mattingly and Pat Rawlings.
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A transmission electron microscope (TEM) image of magnetite crystals from the Allan Hills meteorite ALH84001.
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