Mars News

Astronomers Study Textured Dust Storms on Mars

August 21, 2015

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Dust Storms on Mars

A new analysis of textured dust storms from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics examines data over eight years of MGS observations and finds that such storms account for about half of all the dust in the Martian atmosphere. In the 1870’s astronomers first noted the presence of yellow clouds on the surface of Mars and […]

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NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finishes ‘Marias Pass’ Studies, Headed to Mount Sharp

August 20, 2015

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NASA Mars Rover Moves Onward

The Curiosity Mars rover has finished activities in Marias Pass and is headed onward up Mount Sharp. NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is driving toward the southwest after departing a region where for several weeks it investigated a geological contact zone and rocks that are unexpectedly high in silica and hydrogen content. The hydrogen indicates water […]

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Ten Years and Counting, Mars Orbiter Still Going Strong

August 12, 2015

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Mars Orbiter Still Going Strong One Decade Later

It’s been ten years since the launch of NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and its work is far from over. The Mars Orbiter has revealed the Red Planet’s diversity and activity, returning more data about Mars every week than all six other missions currently active there. The workhorse orbiter now plays a key role in NASA’s […]

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NASA SLS Program ‘Right on Track’ for Journey to Mars

August 5, 2015

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NASA on Schedule for Journey to Mars

NASA’s Space Launch System Program has completed its review – another step forward for the program that will help launch astronauts on missions to an asteroid placed in lunar orbit, and eventually to Mars. You know the feeling of pride and achievement when you’ve worked really hard on a term paper, and finally turn it […]

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New NASA Image of the Northern Plains of Mars

July 30, 2015

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New HiRISE Image of the Northern Plains of Mars

This new image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows frost in gully alcoves in a crater on the Northern plains of Mars. Seasonal frost commonly forms at middle and high latitudes on Mars, much like winter snow on Earth. However, on Mars most frost is carbon dioxide (dry ice) rather than water ice. This frost […]

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Mars Orbiter Preparing for Mars InSight Lander’s 2016 Arrival

July 28, 2015

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Mars Orbiter Preparing for Mars Lander Arrival

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is preparing for the arrival of NASA’s InSight Lander, which will occur on 2016. A planned 77-second firing of six intermediate-size thrusters on July 29 will adjust the orbit timing of the veteran spacecraft so it will be in position to receive radio transmissions from InSight as the newcomer descends through […]

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NASA’s Curiosity Rover Discovers Bedrock with High Levels of Silica

July 24, 2015

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Curiosity Rover Discovers Unusual Bedrock on Mars

After almost three years on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover continues to amaze. This time Curiosity has discovered a target unlike anything it has studied before – bedrock with surprisingly high levels of silica. Silica is a rock-forming compound containing silicon and oxygen, commonly found on Earth as quartz. This area lies just downhill from […]

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Fluid Shifts Investigation to Help Advance Journey to Mars

July 21, 2015

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Fluid Shifts Investigation Advances Journey to Mars

A research partnership between NASA’s Human Research Program and the Russian Space Agency is helping to prepare us for the journey to Mars. NASA and the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) are studying the effects of how fluids shift to the upper body in space and how this adaptation to space flight affects changes in vision. […]

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Could The Prandtl-m Become the First Mars Airplane?

June 30, 2015

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Could This Be the First Mars Airplane

Later this year NASA researchers will test prototype aircraft aerodynamics that could lead to the first aircraft on Mars. When an aircraft makes its first flight on Mars in the 2020s, a NASA Armstrong innovation may have made it possible. A prototype of the Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars, or Prandtl-m, which […]

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Study Reveals Ancient Climate of Mars Was Cold and Icy

June 16, 2015

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Early Climate of Mars Was Cold and Icy

Using a three-dimensional atmospheric circulation model to compare a water cycle on Mars under different scenarios 3 to 4 billion years ago, researchers at Harvard believe Mars was cold and icy billions of years ago – not warm, wet and Earth-like. Cambridge, Massachusetts – June 16, 2015 – The high seas of Mars may never […]

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Scientists Discover Evidence of Methane in Martian Meteorites

June 16, 2015

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Scientists Discover Methane in Mars Meteorites

A newly published study details the discovery of methane in Martian meteorites, a possible clue in the search for life on the Red Planet. The researchers examined samples from six meteorites of volcanic rock that originated on Mars. The meteorites contain gases in the same proportion and with the same isotopic composition as the Martian […]

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Detects Impact Glass on Mars

June 9, 2015

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Detects Impact Glass on Surface of Mars

Newly detected deposits of glass within impact craters on Mars could provide details into the possibility of past life on the Red Planet. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has detected deposits of glass within impact craters on Mars. Though formed in the searing heat of a violent impact, such deposits might provide a delicate window […]

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New HiRISE Image of a “Fresh” Crater Near Sirenum Fossae

June 5, 2015

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A Fresh Crater Near Sirenum Fossae

This new image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows a 1-kilometer wide impact crater in the Sirenum Fossae region of Mars. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter acquired this closeup image of a “fresh” (on a geological scale, though quite old on a human scale) impact crater in […]

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Researchers Predicted Blue, Red and Green Aurorae at Mars

May 29, 2015

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Blue Aurorae Visible in Martian Sky

Astronomers believe glowing aurorae of blue, with red and green hues would be visible to astronauts walking on Mars. For the first time, an international team of scientists from NASA, the Institute of Planetology and Astrophysics of Grenoble (IPAG), the European Space Agency and Aalto University in Finland, have predicted that colorful, glowing aurorae can […]

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NIAC Program Working on Ideas for an Ecosystem on Mars

May 7, 2015

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Planting an Ecosystem on Mars

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program is funding cutting-edge work that is testing the viability of using ecosystem-building pioneer organisms to churn out oxygen by using Martian regolith. Taming the brutal environment of Mars for future human explorers to survive and thrive there may demand a touch of “ecopoiesis” – the creation of an ecosystem […]

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Scientists Find Evidence of Briny Water at Gale Crater

May 5, 2015

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Transient Liquid Water at Gale Crater

Data from NASA’s Curiosity rover reveals transient liquid water and water activity at Gale Crater on Mars. Fayatteville, Arkansas – Data collected on Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover and analyzed by University of Arkansas researchers indicate that water, in the form of brine, may exist under certain conditions on the planet’s surface. The finding, published […]

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Indirect Evidence of Transient Liquid Water on Mars

April 14, 2015

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Curiosity Weather Data Bolsters Case for Brine

New calculations indicate favorable conditions for small quantities of brine to form during some nights throughout the year on Mars. The possibility for liquid brines on Mars has wider implications for habitability and geological water-related processes. Martian weather and soil conditions that NASA’s Curiosity rover has measured, together with a type of salt found in […]

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NASA’s MAVEN Spacecraft Completes 1,000th Orbit around Mars

April 9, 2015

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MAVEN Completes 1,000th Orbit around Mars

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft completed 1,000 orbits around the Red Planet on April 6, four-and-a-half months into its one-year primary mission. MAVEN is in its science mapping orbit and has been taking data since the start of its primary mission on Nov. 16, 2014. The furthest point in the spacecraft’s elliptical […]

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