mars

Why This Martian Full Moon Looks Like Candy

Why This Martian Full Moon Looks Like Candy

For the first time, NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter has caught the Martian moon Phobos during a full moon phase. Each color in this new image represents a temperature range detected by Odyssey's infrared camera, which has been studying the Martian moon since September of 2017. Looking like a rainbow-colored jawbreaker, these latest observations could help scientists understand what materials make up Phobos, the larger of Mars' two moons.

Curiosity has Finally Sampled a Clay-Rich Region on Mars

Curiosity has Finally Sampled a Clay-Rich Region on Mars

It’s hard to believe that MSL Curiosity has been on Mars for almost seven years. But it has, and during that time, the rover has explored Gale Crater and Mt. Sharp, the central peak inside the crater. And while it has used its drill multiple times to take rock samples, this is the first sample it’s gathered from the so-called ‘clay unit.’

Mars Helicopter Completes More Test Flights. It’s Almost Ready to go to Mars

Mars Helicopter Completes More Test Flights. It’s Almost Ready to go to Mars

We’ve known for some time that NASA is sending a helicopter to Mars. The vehicle, called the Mars Helicopter, is undergoing flight testing at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. The little helicopter will make its eventual way to Mars as part of the Mars 2020 Rover mission.

Methane on Mars: a new discovery or just a lot of hot air?

Methane on Mars: a new discovery or just a lot of hot air?

The discovery of life on Mars would get pretty much everyone excited. But the scientists hunting for it would probably be happy no matter what the outcome of their search – whether life turned out to extinct, dormant or extant. They’d even consider finding no evidence of life whatsoever to be an important discovery. But, as the saying goes, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and it will take many decades of detailed exploration of Mars to be reasonably sure that life has always been absent there.

Rivers on Mars Flowed for More Than a Billion Years

Rivers on Mars Flowed for More Than a Billion Years

The ancient climate of Mars is a mystery to scientists. Even with all we’ve learned about Mars, it’s still difficult to explain how lakes and rivers existed. A new study shows that Martian rivers were swollen with runoff and that they flowed far later into the planet’s history than previously thought.

The Incredible Challenge of Landing Heavy Payloads On Mars!

The Incredible Challenge of Landing Heavy Payloads On Mars!

It’s too bad Mars is such an interesting place, because it’s actually one of the most difficult places to visit in the Solar System, especially if you want to bring along a lot of luggage. That planet is a graveyard of missions that didn’t quite make it.

Opportunity's Parting Shot Was a Beautiful Panorama

Opportunity's Parting Shot Was a Beautiful Panorama

Over 29 days last spring, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity documented this 360-degree panorama from multiple images taken at what would become its final resting spot in Perseverance Valley. Located on the inner slope of the western rim of Endeavour Crater, Perseverance Valley is a system of shallow troughs descending eastward about the length of two football fields from the crest of Endeavour's rim to its floor.

Signs that Ancient Rivers Flowed Across the Surface of Mars, Billions of Years Ago

Signs that Ancient Rivers Flowed Across the Surface of Mars, Billions of Years Ago

Billions of years ago, Mars was likely a much warmer and wetter place than the cold, dry, barren world we see today. Whether there was life there or not remains an open question. But there’s a massive, growing wall of evidence showing that Mars may have had the necessary conditions for life in the past, including at least one system of river valley networks.

Land Heavier Payloads on Mars. Aim for the Ground and Then Pull up at the Last Moment

Land Heavier Payloads on Mars. Aim for the Ground and Then Pull up at the Last Moment

In the coming decades, a number of missions are planned for Mars, which include proposals to send astronauts there for the first time. This presents numerous logistical and technical challenges, ranging from the sheer distance to the need for increased protection against radiation. At the same time, there is also the difficulty of landing on the Red Planet, or what is referred to as the “Mars Curse“.

Farewell, Opportunity: rover dies, but its hugely successful Mars mission is helping us design the next one

 Farewell, Opportunity: rover dies, but its hugely successful Mars mission is helping us design the next one

NASA’s Opportunity rover on Mars has been officially pronounced dead. Its amazingly successful mission lasted nearly 15 years, well beyond its initial three-month goal. Opportunity provided the first proof that water once existed on Mars and shaped its surface, a crucial piece of knowledge informing both current and future missions.

InSight has Placed its Heat Probe on the Martian Surface. The Next Step is to Jackhammer Down 5 Meters and Hope it Doesn’t Encounter a Large Rock

InSight has Placed its Heat Probe on the Martian Surface. The Next Step is to Jackhammer Down 5 Meters and Hope it Doesn’t Encounter a Large Rock

NASA’s InSight lander has finally placed its heat probe on the surface of Mars. The Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) was deployed on February 12th, about one meter away from SEIS, the landers seismometer. Soon it’ll start hammering its way into the Martian soil.

NASA's Record-Setting Opportunity Rover Mission on Mars Comes to End

NASA's Record-Setting Opportunity Rover Mission on Mars Comes to End

One of the most successful and enduring feats of interplanetary exploration, NASA's Opportunity rover mission is at an end after almost 15 years exploring the surface of Mars and helping lay the groundwork for NASA’s return to the Red Planet. 

NASA used Curiosity’s Sensors to Measure the Gravity of a Mountain on Mars

NASA used Curiosity’s Sensors to Measure the Gravity of a Mountain on Mars

Some very clever people have figured out how to use MSL Curiosity’s navigation sensors to measure the gravity of a Martian mountain. What they’ve found contradicts previous thinking about Aeolis Mons, aka Mt. Sharp. Aeolis Mons is a mountain in the center of Gale Crater, Curiosity’s landing site in 2012.

This Crater on Mars Traps the Cold, and Remains Filled With Ice, All Year Round

This Crater on Mars Traps the Cold, and Remains Filled With Ice, All Year Round

On June 2nd, 2003, the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission left Earth to begin its journey to Mars. Six months later (on December 25th) the spacecraft fired its main engine and entered orbit around Mars. This Christmas will therefore mark the fifteenth anniversary of the orbiter’s arrival and all the observations it has made of the Red Planet since then.