Mars

  • Day in the Sun
    Since September 8th and 9th, the twin Mars rovers have been taking a well-deserved break, while the Sun-Earth line clears again for communication directly to Mars. While this conjunction may temporarily halt their wheels in the sand, other science tasks have kicked off under autonomous
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  • The Other Mars Meteorite
    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.
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  • Martian Mesas
    With its high-resolution stereo camera, Mars Express continues to beam back orbital views of the kind of massive erosion features expected around Earth mesas and canyons. Whether aqueous or tectonic erosion, the perspective views show spectacular snapshots demonstrating inverted relief.
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  • Mobile Mars Lab
    A remote Mars life-detection strategy is being tested in the fjords of Scandanavia, with a goal of eventually identifying even a single biological cell hiding in the rugged landscape.
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  • Opportunity’s Great Lakes
    According to University of Colorado's Brian Hynek, the Opportunity rover's landing site at Meridiani Planum used to be covered by an enormous sea or lake at least 127,000 square miles in area.
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  • Astronaut’s View of Mars
    Looking at Mars as if viewed outside an airplane window offers a remarkably clear picture of what other planets might offer for future landers. The high resolution images from Mars Express continue to survey the largest canyon in our solar system.
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  • Conjunction Junction
    In the next few weeks the twin Mars rovers will be out of touch with Earth when the Sun lines up to block communications. Daily operations will be taken over by longer-term instructions without radio links between the two planets.
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  • Searching for Scarce Life
    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.
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  • Life on Mars: A Definite Possibility
    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
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  • Scratching the Dunes
    Opportunity's mission scientists have eyed the dunes in the deep pit known as Endurance crater. The sandy terrain has deterred the rover from going further, at the risk of getting trapped.
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  • Odyssey’s New Odometer
    One Mars orbiter, Odyssey, has mapped the red planet for hydrogen while also serving as a communications relay link to surface rovers in the first interplanetary satellite constellation.
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  • Beagle 2: Lessons Learned
    The ambitious Mars lander, Beagle 2, never was able to respond from the surface back to Earth, but the mission team has assembled their thoughts on making the next one better.
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  • Martian Basin Dune
    Among the forces that reshape Mars, few play as prominent a role as the combined effects of impacts and wind. In unison, the result is a reshaped landscape where great craters host equally spectacular dunes.
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  • Driving into the Sunset
    The Mars rovers fuel their instruments by following the sun and as their energy budget gets tighter during the winter, their terrestrial drivers get more skilled at driving towards the light.
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  • Finding Gusev’s Water
    The Spirit rover's initial inspection of an outcrop called "Clovis" on a hill above the plain suggests that water may once have been active near Gusev crater.
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