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Mars Planet

March 18, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
First there was Google Earth, then Google Moon. Now Google Inc. has expanded its galactic reach by launching Google Mars, a Web browser-based mapping tool that gives users an interactive view of the Red Planet with the click of a mouse. The Martian maps, at, were made from images taken by NASA's Mars Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor orbiters.
March 11, 2006 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
After a seven-month, 310-million-mile journey, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter executed a risky braking maneuver Friday, slipping into an elongated orbit around the Red Planet that should eventually allow it to record the surface in unprecedented detail. "It's right on the money!" cheered one mission controller at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge after confirming the craft survived a 27-minute engine burn.
February 25, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is on course and in apparently good condition as it nears the Red Planet on a search for water and future landing sites, officials said. The spacecraft, scheduled to enter orbit around Mars on March 10, is expected to examine the planet in unprecedented detail. In addition to cameras that should be able to see the two Martian rovers on the planet, its radar can spot underground features 50 feet across, such as a water basin.
February 18, 2006 | From Associated Press
The Mars rover Spirit has hit a home run by landing in a rugged plateau dubbed "Home Plate," but scientists are still trying to decipher its geology. The six-wheeled Spirit reached the northern edge of the broad mesa last week about four months after climbing down from a Martian hill as tall as the Statue of Liberty. Scientists believe "Home Plate" -- which stands about 6 feet high -- holds important geologic clues to the Red Planet's past. Scientists say they are puzzled by what they have seen.
January 21, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Mysterious debris fields found far from the poles on Mars were made by glaciers, possibly formed just like glaciers are on Earth -- by the buildup of snow, researchers from Brown University reported Friday in the journal Science. The glaciers would have resembled those found on Earth in places such as Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa or the Andean peaks in South America, the researchers said, and probably formed when Mars was tilted on its side five million years ago.
December 24, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Two new studies are challenging the notion that the desolate Martian plains once brimmed with salty pools of water that could have supported some form of life. The studies, published in the current issue of the journal Nature, argue that layered rock outcrops probed by NASA's Opportunity rover appear to have formed from volcanic ash that reacted with small traces of acidic water and sulfur dioxide gas, said geochemist Thomas McCollom of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
December 17, 2005 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
Auroras similar to the ones that cast great curtains of spectral light over Earth's polar regions have been found on Mars, physicists at UC Berkeley said. Researchers analyzing six years of data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft say they have found evidence of hundreds of auroras flashing across the barren landscape. The discovery is a surprise because Mars does not have a planet-wide magnetic field like the one that blankets Earth.
December 1, 2005 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
Using sophisticated radar aboard the European Mars Express spacecraft, scientists have for the first time peered into the heart of Mars, uncovering ancient geological structures and reservoirs of ice more than a mile beneath the arid surface. "We're looking at the third dimension on Mars, something no other mission has done before," Agustin Chicarro, project scientist for the European Space Agency, said during a news conference Wednesday from the agency's Paris headquarters.
October 4, 2005 | Brenda Beitler Bowen
Site: Lake Brown in Australia, about 300 miles east of Perth. Why is it so special? In southern Australia, millions of years of continental weathering and arid desert conditions have created super-salty, acidic lakes. The water is as much as eight times saltier than the ocean. There's no other place like this known on Earth. Comparable areas may include the acid salt lakes believed to have existed in the central United States about 300 million years ago, or formations on Mars.
September 24, 2005 | From Associated Press
The Martian surface has changed in the last few years, with new gullies and boulder tracks now visible, according to images released this week. The photos, taken by the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter, suggest the Red Planet is more active than previously thought. The spacecraft, which entered orbit eight years ago, captured images of two gullies on a sand dune that were not present in 2002.
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