Mars

  • Launching  Opportunity
    The final mission in the blitz to Mars successfully left on its six month mission to look for signs of a watery past in the geology of the Red Planet. The spacecraft, called 'Opportunity', joins this summer's flurry, including 'Spirit' (NASA), 'Beagle' (ESA), and 'Nozomi'
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  • Facing Phobos
    Recent images of the martian moon, Phobos, show one of the darkest known objects in our solar system. Meteor collisons of nearly comparable size to the potato-shaped moon give it a dramatic relief against a skyview of the Red Planet it orbits.
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  • Permafrost Odyssey
    Analysis of the changing seasons on Mars has revealed northern latitudes with significant water ice. In some places, inferences from detection of hydrogen suggest up to ninety percent water content.
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  • Life Pinned on Viking Horns?
    The 1976 Viking mission sampled the strongly rusting soil on Mars. Retrospectively, its three biology experiments give insight into the challenges of working remotely, where one can never have too much data for further analysis.
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  • Mars: History of Antacids
    The 1976 Mars Viking mission involved the first lander to orbit another planet, and the first biology experiments based on soil sampling. Program managers maintained a dynamic 'worry list', which included a 1970's computer that opened like a wireframe book.
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  • Retro-Rockets to a Red Planet
    As NASA successfully launched their Mars' probe called Spirit, its seven-month journey echoes back to the pioneering effort of the earliest explorers. Take a retrospective look at the twin Viking landers.
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  • The Edge of Life
    This is the first in a series of articles on a research project, Life in the Atacama, that recently began in Chile's Atacama desert. This article will focus on the unique habitats for life that exist in the Atacama and on how the project may
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  • Hot Camera Points to Mars
    With temperature-sensitive detectors, views of martian geography have revealed a dramatic, environmentally changing landscape. Some of the best evidence found so far for a possible watery past, in fact, is now visual.
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  • Robots Hammer Red Planet
    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover project launches it twin missions toward the red planet this month. Set for takeoff on June 10 and 25, both will seek evidence of water. Both will also roam nearly a third of a mile from their final touchdown locations. The
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  • Beagle Hunts for Mars
    Europe's first probe to land on another planet--launched flawlessly late Monday night from the Russian Cosmodrome.
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  • The Viking Files
    Three expeditions to the surface of Mars have succeeded so far: the two Viking probes in the 1970s and Mars Pathfinder in 1997. As that total is expected to double with planned launches next month (2 NASA/1 ESA probe), scientists have periodically revisited what it
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  • Dune
    Satellite photos of a bright dune in the Martian southern hemisphere show remarkable details of an unusual erosion pattern. Unlike rocky avalanches found elsewhere, the dune flows suggest to two German scientists that for a few summer noon hours, liquid water may carve up the
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  • Countdown: Martian Traffic Jam
    Three missions are headed to Mars over the next five weeks. All of them will hunt for evidence of water, after potentially bouncing on airbags.
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  • Valley Networks: Connecting the Dots
    New data suggest that Mars's valley networks are far more extensive than previously thought. That, according to one researcher, adds weight to the idea that Mars was once much warmer and wetter than it is today. But not everyone is convinced.
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  • A Perfect World III: Goldin
    "Name two things you hope will be true about the world in fifty years. Tell me about an environment in which you personally thrive. Now paint a picture of your ideal world."
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