November 6, 2004 |
For some reason, NASA's Opportunity rover on Mars recently has experienced a 2% to 5% increase in power. "We're surmising that for some reason dust is being removed from the solar panel and that's increasing the efficiency of the sunlight being converted to electricity," said Jim Erickson, rover project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. The rover team's favorite theory is that "a dust devil happened to
August 21, 2004 |
After spending 160 days traversing a plain and climbing a steep hill, the Mars explorer Spirit is finding the first strong indications of significant quantities of water at Gusev Crater. Spirit's twin, Opportunity, has found powerful evidence of water halfway around Mars in Meridiani Planum. Both NASA craft have been exploring the planet since January.
July 24, 2004 |
Another meteorite from Mars has been discovered in Antarctica, one of only about 30 known Martian space rocks on Earth. What makes this rock special is its comparatively large size, said Timothy J. McCoy, curator of meteorites at the Smithsonian Institution. "It's a 700-gram rock [about 1 1/2 pounds] but by meteorite standards it's a mountain of material," he said.
July 10, 2004 |
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.
June 16, 2004 |
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.
June 12, 2004 |
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.
April 17, 2004 |
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.
April 3, 2004 |
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.
March 24, 2004 |
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.
March 19, 2004 |
The first chemical analysis of the tiny spherules of rock called Martian blueberries shows that they are composed of iron-bearing hematite -- a finding that provides yet another piece of evidence that large quantities of water once existed on the planet. Spectrometers on Mars orbiters had observed vast fields of hematite at Meridiani Planum, stretching over an area the size of Oklahoma. The rover Opportunity landed there Jan. 24 to find the source.