Mars

  • Opportunity: On the Edge
    The Mars Opportunity rover is trying to back its way out of the steep Endurance Crater. Mission planners have judged their first route as too risky, and now look to climb the way they descended months ago.
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  • Over the Wall
    The Opportunity rover is embarking on the most trecherous maneuver of its last 100 days inside Endurance Crater, as the six-wheeled robot tries to climb over the rim wall. Spirit, on the other side of the planet, continues to collect clues of water erosion around
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  • Mars Lava and Faults
    One of the most fascinating and thoroughly studied regions on Mars is Valles Marineris, the largest canyon in the solar system. As imaged by Mars Express, orbital views of the canyon's western end show the geological remnants of wind, water, volcanoes and perhaps faults.
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  • Red Planet: Catabatic Winds
    The north polar cap on Mars offers some of the most dramatic landscapes on the Red Planet, including strong winds that cascade across flat terrain. Called catabatic wind, these cold depressions can drive winds in Antarctica to hurricane scales of hundreds of miles per hour.
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  • Mars: The Long Sleep
    The Mars rovers routinely go into low-power mode, or electronic sleep, but machine intelligence may not be the only thing needing a rest when weathering the extremes of the red planet. Will astronauts hibernate like a bear?
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  • Martian Methane: Dig Far, Go Deep
    The detection of methane on Mars is one of the best clues to whether a possible biogenic source of recent geological age exists on the red planet. Since methane persists for a few hundred years without active generation, the hydrocarbon gas is a potential biomarker.
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  • Marsquakes
    Pit chains are among the youngest features on the martian landscape, indicating recent - on a geologic time scale - fault slip and perhaps seismic activity. If marsquakes play a current role, then fault lines may serve as reservoirs for ice or water.
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  • Yale Lock on Martian Ages
    A Yale geology team has tested an isotope method to correlate the age of martian meteors to how uranium and thorium decay to form helium. An important byproduct is a profile of how the rock may have been heated during its ejection or atmospheric
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  • 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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