Mars

  • The Martian Mile-Ride Club
    The Mars Opportunity rover has surprisingly high power levels, despite its mid-winter break and its now four-months traversing inside Endurance Crater. On the other side of the planet, the Spirit rover continues to track ancient layered rocks with bum steering and one stuck wheel in
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  • Step Off a Cliff
    In high-resolution, an ancient martian basin called Huygens shows evidence of sediment filling, erosion and dendritic patterns characteristic of water run-off.
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  • Mission to Mars: Risky Business
    The Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, will claim a place in history as tremendous successes. But to get the rovers ready for launch, mission team members had to push themselves to their limits. MER Principal Investigator Steve Squyres explains how they handled the challenge.
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  • Emoticons Invade 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
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  • Popping the Escape Hatch
    The Mars Opportunity site continues to intrigue scientists as they decipher the chemistry deeper in Endurance crater. The rise in chlorine and fall in sulfur may suggest alterations by evaporating water in the crater's past.
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  • Mars Bathing in Epsom Salts
    The Mars Odyssey orbiter recently showed that there may be as much as 10 percent water hidden in the Martian near-surface. If that water is trapped in salts, then magnesium sulfate, or Epsom salts, may trap more than half its weight as water.
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  • Mars Water, Escher-style Puzzle
    As the two surface rovers continue their search for the water history on Mars, a new clue may be the presence of cracking patterns that usually are linked to freezing ground.
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  • Chaos in the Canyon
    The adage in space science is that one person's noise is another's signal. When the sun temporarily blocked Earth-Mars links, the orbital and surface science went into a deep sleep to protect from noise becoming a errant signal.
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  • Blown Away by Dry Mars?
    Where did all the martian water go? It is a basic question that has puzzled planetary scientists, even more now that evidence of past water becomes more comprehensive. One theory that the Mars Express orbiter is trying to test suggests that solar wind has scavenged
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  • Making Tracks on Mars
    In a remarkable series of orbital pictures, the Mars Global Surveyor's cameras have imaged the tracks of the Spirit rover on the surface. Individual debris pieces including the backshell and lander are visible with remarkable clarity using an innovative roll of the satellite.
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  • Postcards from the Grander Canyon
    As the largest feature of its kind in the solar system, the martian canyon, Valles Marineris, stretches an equivalent terrestrial distance from New York to Los Angeles. But getting a robotic explorer down into the canyon floor challenges even the most intrepid of navigators.
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  • Driving on Mars From Home
    As Mars pulls out from the behind the Sun, mission scientists get the opportunity to reintroduce themselves to their families and command the rovers' next day's move from a distributed work environment. The promise is not exactly like working in one's pajamas, but does give
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  • Drilling on Autopilot
    Drilling is complex work, even under the best of circumstances. Small wonder, then, that drilling rigs are usually attended by a crew of technicians who control their operation. But if scientists want to explore for life beneath the martian surface, they may have to send
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  • Coping with Contamination
    Drilling is a messy business. Drilling fluid is anything but sterile. For most drilling applications, that's no problem. But when astrobiologists drill into the subsurface for new and unusual life forms, they need to be sure that the bacteria they find really do come from
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  • Life on Earth: Signpost to Life on Mars
    The Río Tinto is a river in Spain with highly acidic water the color of red wine. A group of astrobiologists wants to know what microbial life forms are lurking deep below the surface where the river's headwaters seep out of the ground. Then
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