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Posts tagged Mars

Mystery Rock ‘Appears’ in Front of Mars Rover

After a decade of exploring the Martian surface, the scientists overseeing veteran rover Opportunity thought they’d seen it all. That was until a rock mysteriously “appeared” a few feet in front of the six wheeled rover a few days ago. Read more

Before you say “ALIENS!” the random rock probably hasn’t been placed there by Martians… probably.

Mind-Blowing Beauty of Mars’ Dunes: HiRISE Photos

Mars plays host to a huge number of dune fields — regions where fine wind-blown material gets deposited to form arguably some of the most beautiful dunes that can be found on any planetary body in the solar system. Using the powerful High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, planetary scientists have an orbital view on these features that aid our understanding of aeolian (wind-formed) processes and Martian geology. Here are some of our favorite Mars dunes as seen by HiRISE.

Mars Express Orbiter Buzzes Martian Moon Phobos

On Sunday, at 5:17 p.m. GMT (12:17 p.m. EST), Europe’s Mars Express orbiter successfully completed a daring low-pass of Mars’ largest moon Phobos. In an effort to precisely measure the gravitational field of the moon, the 10 year-old mission was sent on a trajectory that took it only 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the dusty surface, the closest any spacecraft has ever come to the natural satellite. Read more

Will Mars Have a White Christmas?

There will be a white Christmas on Mars, say scientists studying how much of the Martian polar caps are created by winter snow falling from the rusty sky.

But will Santa be making deliveries to Curiosity and Opportunity? Probably not. Sorry rovers.

Read more

The “before” and “after” shots of Curiosity’s wheels are pretty striking. Although the rover’s wheels are designed to sustain significant damage without putting the mission at risk, mission managers are assessing a recent acceleration in perforations and rips in the wheels’ aluminum. See more photos

Rough Roving: Curiosity’s Wheel Damage ‘Accelerated’

In May, Discovery News reported the dramatic signs of wear and tear on Mars rover Curiosity’s wheels. The aircraft-grade aluminum material appeared scratched, dented, even punctured. At the time, lead rover driver Matt Heverly said that the damage was to be expected. “The ‘skin’ of the wheel is only 0.75mm thick and we expect dents, dings, and even a few holes due to the wheels interacting with the rocks,” he said via email. Despite the assurances that the holes were just a part of Curiosity’s mission, there seems to be increasing concern for the wheels’ worsening condition after the one-ton robot rolled over some craggy terrain. Read more

Mars Rover Finds Ancient Life-Supporting Lakebed

The site where NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity landed last year contains at least one lake that would have been perfectly suited for colonies of simple, rock-eating microbes found in caves and hydrothermal vents on Earth. Read more

beautifulmars:

Tightly-Meandering Ridge in Aeolis Planum

How curious… raised ancient river bed?

DNews’ Anthony gets more than a little excited by the most recent Curiosity “water on Mars” announcement… and with good reason!

This Scoop of Mars Soil is Two Percent Water

Yesterday was a BIG day for Mars exploration — the first scoop of Mars soil analyzed by NASA’s Mars Science Lab in October is 2% water by weight. This is groundbreaking as this will be a valuable resource for future colonists and could have ramifications for the continuing search of microbial life on Mars. Find out more

invaderxan:

Postcards from Mars

Some awesome Martian views for Tuesday morning.

NASA Probe to Solve Mars Atmosphere Mystery

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission, nicknamed MAVEN, is designed to provide some answers as to why Mars’ atmosphere was stripped into space. From its orbital perch around Mars, MAVEN will track how the solar wind picks away at the planet’s thin atmosphere. The information will then be used to create computer models that move backward in time so scientists can determine when the planet was most suited for life and how long that period lasted. Read more

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