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November 5, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
And she's off! India's space agency successfully launched its 3,000-pound Mars Orbiter Mission probe on Tuesday, and you can watch video of it leaving Earth in a cloud of smoke in the box above. The spacecraft lifted off early Tuesday morning. It will spend the next several weeks in orbit around Earth and on Dec. 1 head out on the arduous 300-day journey to the Red Planet. If the mission is successful, the probe will arrive in Mars orbit about Sept. 24. It will make India the first country in Asia to have a spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet, joining missions launched by the U.S., Russia and the European Union.
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SCIENCE
April 8, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
Mars is in opposition tonight, and if you look up any time after nightfall, you can see the red planet shining brighter in the sky than it has in  6½ years.  On April 8, the clockwork of our solar system places the Earth between Mars and the sun, so that Mars is positioned directly opposite the sun in our night sky. The red planet will rise in the eastern sky just as the sun sets in the west, and it will dip below the horizon just as...
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SCIENCE
November 20, 2013 | By Amina Khan
As NASA's MAVEN mission heads toward Mars , scientists say they've discovered highly unusual, light-colored rock on the mostly dark-toned Red Planet - and two teams have dueling ideas of what such pale rock could be. Could it be granite, the stuff found in fancy kitchen counter tops on Earth? Or could it be anorthosite, the rock that characterizes the bright highlands of the moon? Either way, the two papers published in Nature Geoscience indicate that Mars' inner workings may have been more complicated, and its rock collection more diverse, than planetary scientists once thought.
SCIENCE
March 12, 2014 | By Amina Khan
NASA's elderly Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter flipped into “safe mode” on Sunday after an unexpected computing glitch caused the spacecraft to switch from its main computer to its backup. The 8-year-old satellite, which left Earth in August 2005 and entered Martian orbit on March 10, 2006, has lived well beyond its primary two-year science phase, so perhaps the occasional "brain fart" is understandable. Tasked with searching for signs that water flowed on Mars for a long period of time, it's been sending Earth detailed information about seasonal and longer-term changes on our rust-hued neighbor . In fact, it has returned more data than all other interplanetary missions combined, according to officials at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, which manages the mission.
SCIENCE
June 12, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Add this to your list of winter sports: sledding down Mars' sand dunes on a sled of dry ice. Scientists say they have finally determined that mysterious, long gouges down the Red Planet's slopes were caused by large chunks of frozen carbon dioxide. The findings, described in the journal Icarus, shed light on strange features -- so-called linear gullies -- that are unlike any observed on Earth. Picked up by the Mars Global Surveyor, launched in 1996, the strange, long grooves puzzled planetary scientists for years.
SCIENCE
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.
SCIENCE
September 19, 2009 | John Johnson Jr.
One thing that almost every schoolchild knows about Mars is that it's red. The question is why? Until now, the widely accepted scientific explanation has been that the red color of the dust that covers almost everything on Mars results from rocks having been rusted by water. New research, however, suggests that the planet could have turned red without any help from the water that once flowed across it. Scientists at the Mars Simulation Laboratory at the University of Aarhus in Denmark were able to produce red dust simply by tumbling sand and magnetite, an iron oxide present in Martian rocks, in glass flasks.
OPINION
March 28, 2004
Re "A Salty Sea Long Ago Lapped on Surface of Mars, NASA Discovers," March 24: NASA scientists are justifiably excited by the discovery that water once existed on Mars. Much may be learned about the origins of our solar system, the demise of a once-thriving environment and the implications for our planet. Perhaps the Red Planet once supported advanced, intelligent life. And maybe nationalist, separatist, extremist and antiglobal forces took over. Then the Martians' war-waging technology exceeded their ability to control it, and they destroyed themselves and the planet's delicately balanced environment, turning it into a lifeless desert.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 10, 2000 | KEVIN THOMAS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
If looks were everything, "Red Planet" would have it made. On the visual level, this space epic is completely convincing in its depiction of the barren landscape of Mars, the mission there to save mankind from an over-polluted Earth, and all the elaborate equipment and technology involved in the undertaking. When it comes to special effects, the filmmakers have spared no expense. But when it comes to the story, audiences have been shortchanged.
NEWS
February 18, 2001 | JAMES HANNAH, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Lyle Kelly greets a visitor to his home in this Cincinnati suburb with a button proclaiming "Mars or Bust" pinned to his tan cardigan. As chairman of the Ohio chapter of the Mars Society, Kelly helps lead a drive to persuade the U.S. government to commit to human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet. "We're really just chomping at the bit to see us make a start," Kelly said.
SCIENCE
December 10, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Mars One is a plucky not-for-profit organization that wants to turn the colonization of Mars into a worldwide reality TV show -- and it appears to be making headway. On Tuesday, Mars One announced it had contracted Lockheed Martin to develop a mission concept study for a Mars lander to be launched in 2018. (Click through the photo gallery above to see an image of the proposed lander). Lockheed Martin is the company that tested and operated the 2007 Phoenix Mars lander for NASA.
SCIENCE
November 28, 2013 | By Monte Morin
Move over Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, there's another observance that's looking to share the spotlight this Thursday: Red Planet Day. That's right, Thursday, Nov. 28, marks the 49th anniversary of the launch of Mariner 4, the first spacecraft ever to complete a successful mission to Mars. Roughly eight months after its launch, the flyby probe gave us our first close-up look at the Red Planet. These days, as the Mars rover Curiosity makes wheel tracks all over Gale crater and zaps rocks with its ChemCam laser, this might not seem like a big deal.
SCIENCE
November 20, 2013 | By Amina Khan
As NASA's MAVEN mission heads toward Mars , scientists say they've discovered highly unusual, light-colored rock on the mostly dark-toned Red Planet - and two teams have dueling ideas of what such pale rock could be. Could it be granite, the stuff found in fancy kitchen counter tops on Earth? Or could it be anorthosite, the rock that characterizes the bright highlands of the moon? Either way, the two papers published in Nature Geoscience indicate that Mars' inner workings may have been more complicated, and its rock collection more diverse, than planetary scientists once thought.
NEWS
November 19, 2013 | By Amy Hubbard
MAVEN is now on its way to Mars, joining Curiosity and various other predecessors in humanity's effort to figure out the Red Planet. Was there life on this apparently barren world? What happened to make Mars what it is today? MAVEN will look for clues . The launch of the spacecraft Monday and its performance afterward went " flawlessly ," according to the MAVEN team website. Next stop is Mars orbit, to be reached Sept. 22, 2014. What's next for Mars? NASA's InSight is a mission to study the deep interior of the planet.
SCIENCE
November 18, 2013 | By Amy Hubbard
[Updated, 10:41 a.m. Nov. 18: Success! The Atlas V rocket, carrying MAVEN on its mission to Mars, lifted off this morning just as the launch window opened.  Social media lighted up as the robotic explorer left the launchpad at Cape Canaveral. This is just the first step in a 10-month journey. ] And lift off of the #MAVEN spacecraft on a journey to Mars aboard an #Atlas5 rocket: pic.twitter.com/kbAWwvMoZE - NASA (@NASA) November 18, 2013 MAVEN is on schedule for its launch to Mars today.
SCIENCE
November 15, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Four billion years ago, rivers and lakes dotted the surface of Mars, their waters reflecting puffy clouds drifting in a blue sky, scientists believe. Now, it's a dry, rusty rock that's subject to fierce sandstorms, withering blasts of radiation and freezing temperatures that have frozen carbon dioxide to the planet's poles. What happened? That's the question NASA seeks to answer with the scheduled launch Monday of the MAVEN spacecraft. Planetary scientists believe the answer lies high in the Martian atmosphere.
SCIENCE
December 7, 2006 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
NASA scientists announced Wednesday that they have found evidence that water still flows on the surface of Mars in the form of sporadic gushers that increase the possibility that the Red Planet harbors some form of life. Using images obtained by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, the researchers concluded that changes in the shapes and sizes of gullies cut into the walls of two Martian craters were probably made by flowing water. The team looked at two sets of images taken several years apart.
SCIENCE
December 24, 2003 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
Britain's Beagle 2 -- the first of three Martian landers headed to the Red Planet -- was cruising silently in space Tuesday while earthbound engineers prepared for a complicated landing scheduled for Christmas Day in Britain, Christmas Eve in the U.S.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 13, 2013
Paul Mantee Actor known for 'Robinson Crusoe on Mars' Paul Mantee, 82, a veteran actor who starred in the 1964 science-fiction adventure film "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" and had a regular role as Detective Al Corassa on the 1980s TV series "Cagney and Lacey" before turning to fiction writing, died Nov. 7 at a rehabilitation center in Canoga Park, according to his wife, Suzy Davis Mantee. The longtime Malibu resident had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was born Paul Marianetti on Jan. 9, 1931, in San Francisco and as a teenager worked as a busboy in his family's Italian restaurant before becoming interested in acting.
SCIENCE
November 5, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
And she's off! India's space agency successfully launched its 3,000-pound Mars Orbiter Mission probe on Tuesday, and you can watch video of it leaving Earth in a cloud of smoke in the box above. The spacecraft lifted off early Tuesday morning. It will spend the next several weeks in orbit around Earth and on Dec. 1 head out on the arduous 300-day journey to the Red Planet. If the mission is successful, the probe will arrive in Mars orbit about Sept. 24. It will make India the first country in Asia to have a spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet, joining missions launched by the U.S., Russia and the European Union.
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