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Mars Planet

SCIENCE
July 10, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Solar storms might have torn away the water that used to cover parts of Mars, NASA scientists said Thursday. Astronomers think Mars once had oceans that disappeared about 3.5 billion years ago. Researchers said repeated buffeting by solar storms could have ripped away Mars' watery veil. Unlike Earth, which has a protective magnetosphere that guards the planet against high-energy particles, Mars has only isolated zones of protection.
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SCIENCE
June 16, 2004 | Eric D. Tytell, Times Staff Writer
Showing its advancing age, NASA's Spirit rover has developed a problem in one of its six wheels but has overcome a communications glitch that was preventing it from receiving commands from Earth, mission controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena said Tuesday. The right front wheel is using two to three times more electricity than the others, suggesting that the wheel is failing, team members said.
SCIENCE
June 12, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
NASA's Spirit rover has discovered more evidence of water on Mars, a high concentration of salt in a trench dug by the rover in the Gusev Crater region it has been exploring. "We have found more evidence of salts, more evidence for the action of water -- much more compelling evidence than we found anywhere else at Gusev," said principal scientist Steven Squyres of Cornell University.
SCIENCE
April 17, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
NASA's Opportunity rover has found an unusual rock at its Meridiani Planum landing site that is unlike any others seen by previous Mars expeditions, researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena said Wednesday. But the rock is virtually identical in composition to two meteorites discovered on Earth that were thought to have come from Mars. One is the Shergotty meteorite that fell in India in 1865; the second was discovered in Antarctica in 1979.
SCIENCE
April 3, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
NASA's Spirit rover uncovered more evidence that there was once water on Mars, although not in the quantities its twin Opportunity found traces of halfway around the planet last month, the space agency said Thursday. Spirit found clues that limited amounts of water altered a volcanic rock, coursing through tiny fissures that crisscross the boulder and cementing together the multiple layers that mask its surface.
SCIENCE
March 24, 2004 | Charles Piller, Times Staff Writer
Portions of the Martian surface were once covered with an ancient salty sea, NASA scientists said Tuesday, announcing a discovery that transforms the image of the now-frigid and desolate planet. Evidence of the body of water, possibly covering hundreds or thousands of square miles, was found near the landing site of the rover Opportunity in Meridiani Planum near the Martian equator. The rover has been exploring the planet since Jan. 24.
SCIENCE
March 13, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Beagle 2, the British space probe that disappeared as it descended toward Mars, may have been spotted on the surface of the Red Planet. No signal has been received from the craft since it was due to land on Christmas Day. Satellite images of the area where Beagle 2 was to have come down show four bright spots, which may be the remains of the probe.
SCIENCE
March 12, 2004 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
After traveling over the Martian surface for more than 30 days to reach the "Bonneville" crater, NASA's Spirit rover peeked over the rim and found that the crater floor looked very much like the terrain it had already passed over, researchers said Thursday. Notably absent in the 220-yard-diameter crater were rock outcroppings like those found by Spirit's twin, Opportunity, halfway around Mars in a much smaller crater at Meridiani Planum.
SCIENCE
March 3, 2004 | Charles Piller, Times Staff Writer
The Mars rover Opportunity has discovered that potentially life-sustaining waters once soaked the surface of Mars, providing an answer to one of the most provocative questions of modern planetary science. At a news conference Tuesday in Washington, NASA scientists said analysis of rock samples showed that salt-laden sediments were shaped by percolating or flowing water -- and may even have been formed by a great Martian sea.
SCIENCE
February 27, 2004 | Charles Piller, Times Staff Writer
The Mars rover Opportunity shifted its gaze from the microscopic to the celestial -- moving from an examination of grains of soil to a dramatic Martian sunset. Scientists on Thursday unveiled time-lapse images of the setting sun in a murky Martian dusk. These first sunset images of the mission were captured about two weeks ago by the rover's panoramic camera.
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