December 25, 2004 |
Photos taken by a spacecraft orbiting Mars indicate that active volcanoes may still exist on the planet, offering sites to prospect for signs of life. Images from the European Space Agency's Mars Express Orbiter show activity in the summit craters of five volcanoes as recent as 4 million years ago. Though long in human terms, that amounts to the most recent 1% of Martian history.
December 18, 2004 |
The Mars rover Spirit found a mineral linked to water during its exploration of the Red Planet, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Monday. Scientists identified the mineral goethite in bedrock studied in the Columbia Hills. Goethite forms only in the presence of water, although it may be in liquid, ice or gaseous form. The Columbia Hills bedrock was previously found to have hematite, a mineral that usually, but not always, forms in the presence of water.
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.