Mars

  • 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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  • Mars Methane Pairs with Water?
    The Mars Express team has reported an intriguing connection between methane and water vapor found in three broad geographic regions, a result that may suggest looking further for past or dormant microbial life.
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  • Drilling for Weird Life
    Scientists interested in the search for life on other planets often spend their time hunting for novel life forms and unique ecosystems here on Earth. The Río Tinto, a river in Spain with highly acidic water the color of red wine, has one group of
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  • 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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