Mars

  • Spirit Makes Tracks on Mars
    The Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit, descended today from its landing base onto red soil. The wheel tracks were confirmed by new images looking back at what is now debris, its petal-like platform. What was a mission that began as a lander is now a
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  • Mars Express: Takeout Service
    The swarm of ongoing Mars missions offers scientists a chance to combine wits, either using different instruments or unusual perspectives. An experiment dreamed up in a Paris cafe less than a year ago will unfold on Friday, when the European Mars Express orbiter looks down
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  • Shadow Boxing with ‘Fear’
    One of the most intriguing views that the rover Spirit may bear witness to is a solar eclipse by its potato-shaped moon, Phobos. Taken from the Greek word, 'fear', Phobos makes two trips across the martian sky everyday and passes in front of the
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  • Journey (Not the Destination)
    New panoramas released with identifying tie-points now show martian hills that are 2 to 3 kilometers away. The landforms expected in the distance likely differ from those found on the crater floor, a prospect that gives mission scientist the urge to go prospecting.
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  • Spirit Scientists Plot a Course
    The first thing that the Spirit rover will do later tonight, after getting all six wheels on the ground, is sample the soil in the immediate vicinity of its base petal. Once that task is complete, Spirit will head out toward a nearby crater.
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  • Panning for Treasure
    The Spirit rover downlinked a larger portion of the panoramic scene that surrounds the landing site, and a close-up view of what textures the surface below may offer.
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  • Our Time in the Sun
    Each martian day is about 40 minutes longer than a terrestrial one, but thanks to the first interplanetary sundial the differences in movements of the sun can be tracked between two planets by the shadow that the sun casts.
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  • Reverse Robotic Origami
    As the Spirit rover unfolded from its stowed position and prepared to drive with six wheels in the martian soil, mission scientists described why the current landing site has their team ready to drive.
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  • Earth, Wind and Fire: What’s Missing?
    In variations on the Mars' theme to 'follow the water', one colorful global map shows why scientists have followed the hydrogen to the Spirit rover's current location at Gusev crater.
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  • Water on Mars? Maybe.
    The first color images, seen as if in infrared with heat detection, reveal that Gusev crater has some signatures of minerals common to Earth that form only in water. If found in future images, this ground-truth provided by being on the surface will
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  • Where on Earth is That?
    Short of buying a ticket to Mars, where on Earth is the best place to get a taste of what scenery the red planet offers? A tourist to a Mars analog location would have to pack well, because the destination may be cold, dry,
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  • There’s History in Them Thar Hills
    Taking the Spirit rover over the horizon is just one of the unique mission options available to scientists as they debate where to turn next on Mars.
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  • Location Is Everything
    To tie down Spirit's location, three mission teams have agreed to within a quarter-mile. But before driving their rover around, the teams want to agree precisely on terrain and features in an otherwise flat landscape.
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  • Alien Textures ‘Weird Stuff’
    Judging from just the glimpses of high-resolution imagery coming from Mars, some bizarre features of the Spirit rover's immediate neighborhood has geologists scratching their heads. The instrument package, called Athena, will be very capable of getting good answers once it rolls off its landing
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  • Interview with Nathalie Cabrol
    Geologist Nathalie Cabrol has had her eye on Gusev Crater for more than 15 years. Cabrol, along with her husband, Edmond Grin, were the scientists who first proposed that Gusev would make a good MER landing site. Now, as a member of the Spirit
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