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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.
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SCIENCE
June 30, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The Mars rover Opportunity is preparing to descend into the huge Victoria Crater, a trek from which it may not be able to return. The descent will allow the rover to examine the composition and texture of exposed materials in the crater's depths for clues about ancient, wet environments. But if a wheel fails, the craft will not be able to climb back out.
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SCIENCE
June 30, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The Mars rover Opportunity is preparing to descend into the huge Victoria Crater, a trek from which it may not be able to return. The descent will allow the rover to examine the composition and texture of exposed materials in the crater's depths for clues about ancient, wet environments. But if a wheel fails, the craft will not be able to climb back out.
SCIENCE
September 30, 2006 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
Twenty-one months after landing on the surface of Mars, NASA's rover Opportunity is poised to look deeper into the Red Planet's watery history than ever before. The rover has reached the crest of 230-foot-deep Victoria Crater, whose exposed rock walls hold secrets of the planet's ancient past, including the time when scientists think shallow pools of water existed on the surface. "This is a geologist's dream come true," said lead scientist Steve Squyres of Cornell University.
SCIENCE
February 10, 2004 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
The first close-up photos of the rock outcropping discovered by NASA's Opportunity rover rule out the possibility that the layered Martian rock was created by volcanic lava flows. The photos also suggest that it is unlikely there was once a large body of water at the Meridiani Planum site. But the photos revealed a new mystery: small, spherical grains of an apparently different material embedded within the layers of stone.
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
January 26, 2004 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
NASA's Opportunity rover "scored a 300-million-mile hole in one," landing in the middle of a Martian crater and returning images Sunday of a "bizarre alien landscape" that is puzzling and entrancing geologists. "I'm flabbergasted. I'm astonished. I'm blown away," said principal investigator Steve Squyres of Cornell University.
SCIENCE
February 5, 2004 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
Close-up pictures of the Martian surface taken by NASA's Opportunity rover have revealed an unusual soil structure scattered with puzzlingly spherical pebbles, which may hold clues to whether water was widespread on the planet's surface. The pebbles are big, coarse, gray grains that may contain hematite, a mineral often formed in water that was one of the reasons the craft landed in Meridiani Planum in the first place, principal investigator Steve Squyres of Cornell University said Wednesday.
SCIENCE
October 17, 2004 | John Johnson, Times Staff Writer
Winter on Mars is a cruel season. Nights are long. The sun is a shrunken orb, appearing half its size from Earth. With temperatures plunging to a heart-stopping minus 175 degrees, there is little relief from the alien chill. What lies ahead is even worse: dust storm season, when howling, planet-wide siroccos can claw at the surface and choke the atmosphere. NASA's twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have been operating in this brutal environment since they landed on Mars in January.
SCIENCE
June 11, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The Mars rover Opportunity has resumed roaming the Martian surface after scientists freed it from a sand dune where it had been mired for nearly five weeks, NASA officials said. Opportunity's wheels started slipping April 26 during a planned 295-foot trip. While trying to drive over a foot-high sand dune, the robotic explorer stopped moving, its wheels hub-deep in soft soil.
SCIENCE
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.
SCIENCE
June 11, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The Mars rover Opportunity has resumed roaming the Martian surface after scientists freed it from a sand dune where it had been mired for nearly five weeks, NASA officials said. Opportunity's wheels started slipping April 26 during a planned 295-foot trip. While trying to drive over a foot-high sand dune, the robotic explorer stopped moving, its wheels hub-deep in soft soil.
SCIENCE
October 17, 2004 | John Johnson, Times Staff Writer
Winter on Mars is a cruel season. Nights are long. The sun is a shrunken orb, appearing half its size from Earth. With temperatures plunging to a heart-stopping minus 175 degrees, there is little relief from the alien chill. What lies ahead is even worse: dust storm season, when howling, planet-wide siroccos can claw at the surface and choke the atmosphere. NASA's twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have been operating in this brutal environment since they landed on Mars in January.
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
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.
SCIENCE
February 1, 2004 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
NASA's Opportunity rover rolled off its lander early Saturday morning, but before it did so it sent back preliminary data hinting that its search for signs of ancient water on the Martian surface would be successful.
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
February 20, 2004 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
The first look beneath the Martian surface has shown that the soil composition changes dramatically with depth and hints that trace amounts of water have been present recently or may even be there now, researchers said Thursday. The Opportunity rover has spent the last three days examining a 4-inch-deep, 20-inch-long trench it created with its front wheel in Meridiani Planum.
SCIENCE
February 10, 2004 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
The first close-up photos of the rock outcropping discovered by NASA's Opportunity rover rule out the possibility that the layered Martian rock was created by volcanic lava flows. The photos also suggest that it is unlikely there was once a large body of water at the Meridiani Planum site. But the photos revealed a new mystery: small, spherical grains of an apparently different material embedded within the layers of stone.
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