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Vocapedia > Space > Solar system > Planets > Mars - the fourth planet from the Sun

 

 

 

This artist's concept depicts

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander

a moment before its 2008 touchdown

on the arctic plains of Mars.

 

Pulsed rocket engines control the spacecraft's speed

during the final seconds of descent.

 

Image:

NASA/JPL-Calech/University of Arizona

http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/183571main_pia09943-full.jpg

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/multimedia/pia09943.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phoenix Spacecraft

Launch: August, 2007

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/future/phoenix.html

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/multimedia/Lt1.html

added 7.1.2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scientists hope it will be third time lucky

as they try to unlock Mars's water secrets

· Red planet curse has seen two earlier attempts fail

· Advanced cameras to map surface for landing sites

 

Alok Jha, science correspondent

G

p. 11

Friday March 10, 2006

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2006/mar/10/
spaceexploration.starsgalaxiesandplanets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mars in orbit, as seen by Nasa’s Mars Orbiter.

Red October : Why Mars is amazing right now

 

The Guardian        G2        pp. 4-5        Thursday October 27, 2005

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2005/oct/27/
spaceexploration.g2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch How NASA’s InSight Will Plumb the Depths of Mars        NYT        5 May 2018

 

 

 

 

Watch How NASA’s InSight Will Plumb the Depths of Mars | NYT - Out There        NYT        5 May 2018

 

NASA’s InSight spacecraft is heading to Mars

to listen for marsquakes

and probe the geological heart of the planet.

 

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKBNJyiOZUU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mars / the red planet / on the red planet / on Mars        UK / USA

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/mars

 

 

2022

 

https://www.npr.org/2022/05/04/
1095645081/nasa-is-bringing-rocks-back-from-mars-but-what-if-those-samples-contain-alien-li

 

 

 

 

2021

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/04/22/
989797337/out-of-thin-air-nasa-rover-makes-oxygen-from-martian-atmosphere

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/04/19/
985588253/success-nasas-ingenuity-makes-first-powered-flight-on-mars

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/19/
science/mars-water-missing.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/26/
opinion/mars-nasa-musk.html

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2021/feb/24/
listen-to-the-first-sounds-recorded-on-mars-video

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/02/22/
970245456/watch-perseverances-video-cameras-capture-its-arrival-on-mars-theres-audio-too

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/19/
science/mars-nasa-landing-pictures.html

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/gallery/2021/feb/19/
nasa-perseverance-mission-to-mars-in-pictures

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/feb/18/
nasa-perseverance-rover-mars-lands-life

 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/05/
jeff-bezos-elon-musk-spacex-blue-origin

 

 

 

 

2020

 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/
science/exploring-the-solar-system.html - July 30, 2020

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/28/
science/nasa-jezero-perseverance.html

 

https://www.npr.org/2020/07/28/
896356876/mars-is-the-place-to-go-this-summer

 

https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2020/jul/20/
perseverance-the-new-mission-to-mars

 

 

 

 

2019

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/11/29/
783278261/a-mole-isn-t-digging-mars-nasa-engineers-are-trying-to-find-out-why

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/
science/mars-tsunami-crater.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/01/
science/mars-methane-gas.html

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/02/13/
654737444/nasas-mars-rover-opportunity-is-officially-declared-dead

 

 

 

 

2018

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/
science/mars-wind-sounds.html

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/11/01/
662913017/waiting-for-opportunity-to-get-in-touch

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/30/
science/mars-life.html

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/07/26/
632620769/celestial-lineup-makes-for-a-very-bright-mars

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/07/25/
632222129/underground-lake-found-on-mars-beneath-a-mile-of-ice

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jul/25/
huge-underground-lake-discovered-on-mars-say-astronomers

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/21/
622288957/mars-dust-storm-now-planet-encircling-dimming-hopes-for-nasa-rover

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/07/
617235884/nasas-curiosity-rover-finds-chemical-building-blocks-for-life-on-mars

 

https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=OKBNJyiOZUU - NYT - 5 May 2018

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/05/
608737013/nasa-insight-kicks-off-6-month-journey-to-mars

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/04/
608448614/nasa-is-heading-back-to-mars-to-peer-inside-the-red-planet

 

 

 

 

2017

 

http://www.npr.org/2017/07/03/
535372087/another-july-4th-anniversary-pathfinders-landing-on-mars

 

 

 

 

2016

 

http://www.gocomics.com/mattdavies/2016/10/25

 

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/10/16/
science/space/mars-exomars-spacecraft-arrives.html

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/09/27/
495622695/this-afternoon-elon-musk-unveils-his-plan-for-colonizing-mars

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jul/04/
mars-satellites-may-have-been-created-by-third-moon-scientists-say

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/04/28/
476015372/mars-by-2018-spacex-and-nasa-announce-a-new-space-project

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/03/09/
469811190/after-equipment-woes-nasa-mission-to-mars-is-rescheduled-for-2018

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/mar/03/
mars-volcanoes-spewed-billion-billion-tons-of-lava-causing-surface-to-swivel-around

 

 

 

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/05/
454594559/researchers-reveal-how-climate-change-killed-mars

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/nov/05/
mars-atmosphere-liquid-water-nasa-northern-lights

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2015/11/03/
454180154/is-it-moral-to-explore-and-colonize-mars

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2015/10/16/
449106501/did-life-begin-on-mars

 

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/oct/01/
george-rr-martin-mars-game-of-thrones-martians

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/09/28/
444160913/scientists-confirm-theres-water-in-the-dark-streaks-on-mars

 

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/mar/09/
space-architects-shaping-plans-for-life-on-moon-and-mars

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/05/
nasa-finds-evidence-of-a-vast-ancient-ocean-on-mars

 

 

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/08/science/space/
bright-specks-of-comet-dust-light-up-martian-sky.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/science/space/
nasa-craft-mars.html

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jan/19/
mars-one-project-human-colony

 

 

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/09/
mars-lake-life-curiosity-rover-nasa

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/may/30/
radiation-dose-mars-mission-safe-lifetime-limit

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/may/06/
nasa-manned-mission-mars

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/video/2013/apr/23/
volunteers-life-mars-video

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/video/2013/feb/22/
curiosity-rover-drilling-mars-video

 

 

 

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/jun/05/mars-
anniversary-40-years-space

 

 

 

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/
the-wonder-of-mars-in-its-seasonal-glory-1714144.html

 

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2006/dec/06/
starsgalaxiesandplanets.usnews 

 

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2006-12-06-mars-water_x.htm

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2006/mar/10/spaceexploration.starsgalaxiesandplanets

 

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2005/oct/27/spaceexploration.g2

 

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/sep/10/starsgalaxiesandplanets.spaceexploration 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/mar/03/spaceexploration.starsgalaxiesandplanets

 

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2003/dec/11/
research.highereducation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter        April 2021        USA

 

Ingenuity looks a bit like a child's spindly toy.

 

On the very top

is a small solar panel

for charging the helicopter's

six lithium batteries.

 

Below that are two carbon fiber rotors

that turn in opposite directions.

 

The blades attach

to a common axle

protruding from the body of the rover.

 

The body is about the size of a tissue box.

 

Four thin legs that look

as if they could have been made

from coat hangers

(but in fact are carbon composite)

provide the landing gear.

 

The helicopter arrived on Mars on Feb. 18,

attached to the belly

of the six-wheeled Perseverance rover.

 

Last weekend,

the rover dropped the helicopter

to the Martian surface,

and then drove to a viewing point

about 60 yards away.

 

Unlike a drone,

the helicopter maintains stability in the air

by making fine adjustments

in the pitch of the rotor blades.

 

Designed to fly

in the thin Martian atmosphere,

the blades are much larger

than would be needed

for a similar-sized helicopter on Earth.

 

Even so,

the blades have to rotate quite rapidly,

2,537 revolutions per minute,

according to a NASA news release.

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/04/19/
985588253/success-nasas-ingenuity-makes-first-powered-flight-on-mars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

robotic explorer        USA

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/19/
science/mars-nasa-landing-pictures.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martian atmosphere

 

The Martian atmosphere is about 95% carbon dioxide.        USA

The remainder is mostly nitrogen and argon.

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/04/22/
989797337/out-of-thin-air-nasa-rover-makes-oxygen-from-martian-atmosphere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA > Nasa > Mission to Mars        USA

Perseverance rover / Nasa’s science rover Perseverance

MOXIE, or Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment

converting carbon dioxide to oxygen on Mars

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/04/22/
989797337/out-of-thin-air-nasa-rover-makes-oxygen-from-martian-atmosphere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA > Nasa > Mission to Mars        UK / USA

Perseverance rover / Nasa’s science rover Perseverance

 

2022

 

https://www.npr.org/2022/02/18/
1081626105/nasas-perseverance-rover-marks-its-first-year-hunting-for-past-life-on-mars

 

 

 

 

2021

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/04/22/
989797337/out-of-thin-air-nasa-rover-makes-oxygen-from-martian-atmosphere

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/04/19/
985588253/success-nasas-ingenuity-makes-first-powered-flight-on-mars

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2021/feb/24/
listen-to-the-first-sounds-recorded-on-mars-video

 

https://www.npr.org/2021/02/22/
970245456/watch-perseverances-video-cameras-capture-its-arrival-on-mars-theres-audio-too

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/19/
science/mars-nasa-landing-pictures.html

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/gallery/2021/feb/19/
nasa-perseverance-mission-to-mars-in-pictures

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/feb/18/
nasa-perseverance-rover-mars-lands-life

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/feb/18/
nasa-perseverance-rover-mars-lands-life

 

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2020/jul/20/
perseverance-the-new-mission-to-mars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

InSight mission

— or "Interior Exploration

using Seismic Investigations,

Geodesy and Heat Transport" mission —        USA

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/03/09/
469811190/after-equipment-woes-nasa-mission-to-mars-is-rescheduled-for-2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NASA’s Mars spacecraft, Maven        USA

 

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft

successfully entered Mars' orbit

at 7:24 p.m. PDT (10:24 p.m. EDT)

Sunday, Sept. 21, (2014),

where it now will prepare to study

the Red Planet's upper atmosphere.

- NASA, 22 September 2014

https://mars.nasa.gov/maven/ 

 

https://mars.nasa.gov/maven/

 

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/05/
454594559/researchers-reveal-how-climate-change-killed-mars

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/
science/space/nasa-craft-mars.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NASA > Mars > Radiation        UK        2013

 

Scientists used measurements

from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL),

the spacecraft that took the Curiosity rover

to the Red Planet in 2012,

to work out the radiation threat to humans

travelling through deep space

for long periods of time.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/may/30/
radiation-dose-mars-mission-safe-lifetime-limit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art from Mars - the best pictures        UK        10 January 2014

 

NASA rovers Spirit and Opportunity

have spent a decade

photographing the Red Planet.

 

Here are their most awe-inspiring shots,

from space blueberries to crater sunsets

 

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/jan/10/
art-from-mars-the-best-pictures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NASA's Curiosity rover

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/curiosity-rover

https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/home/index.html

 

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/21/
622288957/mars-dust-storm-now-planet-encircling-dimming-hopes-for-nasa-rover

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/07/
617235884/nasas-curiosity-rover-finds-chemical-building-blocks-for-life-on-mars

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/02/
582755898/mars-rover-curiositys-panoramic-photo-depicts-its-epic-journey

 

 

 

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/08/
446965582/nasa-rover-finds-that-mars-once-had-lakes

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/apr/13/
nasas-curiosity-rover-finds-water-below-surface-of-mars

 

 

 

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/07/273063248/
far-out-photo-earth-as-evening-star-over-mars

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/24/science/space/
mars-rover-marks-an-unexpected-anniversary-with-a-mysterious-discovery.html

 

 

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/09/
mars-lake-life-curiosity-rover-nasa

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/sep/19/
mars-curiosity-rover-finds-no-methane

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/jul/28/
curiosity-rover-descent-mars-nasa

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/interactive/2013/jul/28/
curiosity-rover-mars

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/20/science/space/
on-mars-curiosity-rover-repaired-nasa-says.html

 

 

 

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/dec/30/
adam-steltzner-curiosity-rover-mars

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/dec/03/
mars-rover-detects-complex-substances

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/
across-the-universe/2012/nov/23/curiosity-rover-life-mars

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/video/2012/oct/14/
mars-curiosity-rover-soil-scooping-video

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/aug/10/
nasa-curiosity-rover-mars-colour-panorama

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/07/
science/space/nasa-sends-first-images-of-rover-on-mars.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/06/
science/space/curiosity-rover-lands-safely-on-mars.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/aug/06/
curiosity-rover-mars-landing-live-blog

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/across-the-universe/2012/aug/05/
curiosity-rover-nasa-life-mars

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/aug/05/
mars-curiosity-rover-slower-speeding-snail

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/aug/03/
nasa-mars-curiosity-rover-essential-guide

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/across-the-universe/2012/aug/03/
mars-curiosity-rover-nasa-gale-crater

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/aug/03/
mars-explorer-rover-seven-minutes

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/
science/space/curiosity-nasa-rover-ready-for-mars-landing.html

 

 

 

 

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/
the-competition-between-solar-and-nuclear-energy-moves-to-mars/

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/science/space/
aboard-mars-curiosity-rover-tools-to-plumb-a-methane-mystery.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mars Global Surveyor        USA

 

http://www.msss.com/

 

 

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2007-01-11-
mars-probe_x.htm

 

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2006-12-06-
mars-water_x.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mars Climate Orbiter        USA

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/17/
science/space/missing-lander-beagle-2-finally-located-on-mars.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) mission

High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE)        USA

 

https://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/HiRISE/  

 

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/06/
272507742/nasa-probe-finds-newly-formed-crater-on-mars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NASA > explore Mars        USA

 

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars/main/index.html 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

missions to Mars        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/26/
mars.spaceexploration

 

 

 

 

Mars > methane        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/science/space/
aboard-mars-curiosity-rover-tools-to-plumb-a-methane-mystery.html

 

 

 

 

Mars meteorite 'Black Beauty'        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/jan/03/
mars-meteor-water-sahara-analysis

 

 

 

 

Mars > life        UK / USA

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/feb/18/
nasa-perseverance-rover-mars-lands-life

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2015/10/16/
449106501/did-life-begin-on-mars

 

 

 

 

Mars > lake        UK / USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/05/
454594559/researchers-reveal-how-climate-change-killed-mars

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/10/08/
446965582/nasa-rover-finds-that-mars-once-had-lakes

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/09/
mars-lake-life-curiosity-rover-nasa

 

 

 

 

Mars > water        UK / USA

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/19/
science/mars-water-missing.html

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/09/28/
444160913/scientists-confirm-theres-water-in-the-dark-streaks-on-mars

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/apr/13/
nasas-curiosity-rover-finds-water-below-surface-of-mars

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/05/
nasa-finds-evidence-of-a-vast-ancient-ocean-on-mars

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/09/
mars-lake-life-curiosity-rover-nasa

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/nov/18/
nasa-launches-maven-mission-mars-water

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/nov/17/
mars-probe-maven-water

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/sep/26/
nasa-curiosity-rover-mars-soil-water

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/across-the-universe/2012/oct/01/
water-mars-history

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/jun/13/
ocean-once-covered-mars

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/dec/17/
spaceexploration.highereducation

 

 

 

 

ice on Mars        2008

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jul/31/mars.
spaceexploration

https://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN20453269
20080620

 

 

 

 

Mars > snow        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/jan/27/
mars-snow-space-technology-nasa

 

 

 

 

Mars > volcanoes > lava        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/mar/03/
mars-volcanoes-spewed-billion-billion-tons-of-lava-causing-surface-to-swivel-around

 

 

 

 

Mars > giant volcanoes        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/03/
mars-once-home-giant-volcanoes

 

 

 

 

Mars > Gale crater        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/aug/10/
nasa-curiosity-rover-mars-colour-panorama

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/picture/2012/aug/08/
curiosity-rover-gale-crater-mars

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/aug/06/
curiosity-rover-mars-landing-live-blog

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/across-the-universe/2012/aug/03/
mars-curiosity-rover-nasa-gale-crater

 

 

 

 

Nasa > Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Perseverance rover > Jezero crater        UK / USA

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/26/
opinion/mars-nasa-musk.html

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jul/18/
mars.spaceexploration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nasa > Phoenix Mars Mission        2008

 

http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/11/
science/space/11mars.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/gallery/2008/may/27/
mars.spaceexploration?picture=334406488

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN2045326920080620

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/27/
mars.spaceexploration

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/video/challenges_getting_to_Mars_Phoenix.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSN2253816620080526

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/future/phoenix.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/26/mars.
spaceexploration1

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/interactive/2008/may/20/
phoenix

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2008-05-25-mars-
lander_N.htm

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2008-05-21-
phoenix_N.htm

 

 

 

 

Martian probe > Phoenix        2008

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2008-06-01-
phoenix-mars-footprint_N.htm

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/phoenix/multimedia/Lt1.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSN2253816620080526

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/interactive/2008/may/20/
phoenix

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2008-05-25-mars-
lander_N.htm

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2008-05-21-
phoenix_N.htm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/interactive/2008/may/20/
phoenix

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/video/2008/may/21/mars.
lander

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/05/mars_
probe_prepares_for_tricky.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mars rover > Opportunity        2006-2018        USA

 

https://mars.nasa.gov/mer/

 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/
science/mars-opportunity-rover-dead.html

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/02/13/
654737444/nasas-mars-rover-opportunity-is-officially-declared-dead

 

https://www.npr.org/2018/11/01/
662913017/waiting-for-opportunity-to-get-in-touch

 

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2006-10-03-
mars-opportunity_x.htm

 

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2006-09-28-
opportunity-crater_x.htm

 

 

 

 

Mars rovers > Spirit and Opportunity        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/jan/05/
spaceexploration.starsgalaxiesandplanets 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/jan/26/
spaceexploration.research 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/dec/17/
spaceexploration.highereducation 

 

 

 

 

Mars lander Beagle 2

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/apr/26/
beagle-2-most-detailed-images-yet-of-lost-mars-lander-revealed

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/17/science/space/
missing-lander-beagle-2-finally-located-on-mars.html

http://www.theguardian.com/science/colin-pillinger

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/may/08/
beagle-2-scientist-colin-pillinger-dies

 

 

 

 

Mars One Lander        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/10/
robotic-mission-to-mars-one-space-colony

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/video/2013/apr/23/
volunteers-life-mars-video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

probe > Pathfinder        USA

 

http://www.npr.org/2017/07/03/
535372087/another-july-4th-anniversary-pathfinders-landing-on-mars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boston Globe > Big Picture

Martian landscapes        USA        November 6, 2009

 

Since 2006,

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO)

has been orbiting Mars,

currently circling approximately 300 km (187 mi)

above the Martian surface.

 

On board the MRO is HiRISE,

the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera,

which has been photographing the planet

for several years now

at resolutions as fine as mere inches per pixel.

 

Collected here is a group of images

from HiRISE over the past few years,

in either false color or grayscale,

showing intricate details of landscapes

both familiar and alien,

from the surface of our neighboring planet, Mars

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/11/
martian_landscapes.html

 

 

 

 

the Red Planet            UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/jul/18/
mars.spaceexploration

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/27/
mars.spaceexploration

 

 

 

 

on the red planet

 

 

 

 

little green men

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

spacecraft        USA

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2008-05-25-
mars-lander_N.htm

 

 

 

 

Martian orbit

 

 

 

 

Mission to Mars

 

 

 

 

disengage from mother ship

 

 

 

 

touchdown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mars' moons        UK

Phobos, meaning “fear”,

and Deimos, meaning “terror”

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jul/04/
mars-satellites-may-have-been-created-by-third-moon-scientists-say

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mars' largest moon > Phobos        USA

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/11/
455615396/grooves-on-mars-moon-are-signs-that-it-s-slowly-shattering-nasa-says

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mars Settlement        USA

 

http://www.npr.org/2017/07/06/
522060920/to-prepare-for-mars-settlement-simulated-missions-explore-utahs-desert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mars One project        UK

 

plan to send 40 people

to spend the rest of their days

on the red planet

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/17/
houston-we-have-a-lot-of-problems-is-mars-one-too-good-to-be-true

 

http://www.npr.org/2015/03/17/
390995619/are-humans-really-headed-to-mars-anytime-soon

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/17/
houston-we-have-a-lot-of-problems-is-mars-one-too-good-to-be-true

 

 

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jan/19/
mars-one-project-human-colony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA > Elon Musk > SpaceX > land humans on Mars        USA

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/26/
opinion/mars-nasa-musk.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

colonize Mars        UK / USA

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/09/27/
495622695/this-afternoon-elon-musk-unveils-his-plan-for-colonizing-mars

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/27/
buzz-aldrin-colonize-mars-within-25-years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

human colony on Mars        UK

 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/05/
jeff-bezos-elon-musk-spacex-blue-origin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2000 > USA > movies > Brian de Palma's "Mission to Mars"

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2000/03/10/
movies/film-review-small-step-for-man-but-a-big-whoop-for-martians.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time cover        January 26, 2004        Vol. 163 No. 4

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/
0,9263,7601040126,00.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corpus of news articles

 

Space > Solar system > Planets

 

Mars - the fourth planet from the Sun

 

 

 

NASA Launches

Super-Size Rover to Mars:

'Go, Go!'

 

November 26, 2011

The New York Times

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The world's biggest extraterrestrial explorer, NASA's Curiosity rover, rocketed toward Mars on Saturday on a search for evidence that the red planet might once have been home to itsy-bitsy life.

It will take 8½ months for Curiosity to reach Mars following a journey of 354 million miles.

An unmanned Atlas V rocket hoisted the rover, officially known as Mars Science Laboratory, into a cloudy late morning sky. A Mars frenzy gripped the launch site, with more than 13,000 guests jamming the space center for NASA's first launch to Earth's next-door neighbor in four years, and the first send-off of a Martian rover in eight years.

NASA astrobiologist Pan Conrad, whose carbon compound-seeking instrument is on the rover, had a shirt custom made for the occasion. Her bright blue, short-sleeve blouse was emblazoned with rockets, planets and the words, "Next stop Mars!"

Conrad jumped, cheered and snapped pictures as the rocket blasted off a few miles away. So did Los Alamos National Laboratory's Roger Wiens, a planetary scientist in charge of Curiosity's rock-zapping laser machine, called ChemCam.

Wiens shouted "Go, Go, Go!" as the rocket soared. "It was beautiful," he later observed, just as NASA declared the launch a full success.

The 1-ton Curiosity — as large as a car — is a mobile, nuclear-powered laboratory holding 10 science instruments that will sample Martian soil and rocks, and analyze them right on the spot. There's a drill as well as the laser-zapping device.

It's "really a rover on steroids," said NASA's Colleen Hartman, assistant associate administrator for science. "It's an order of magnitude more capable than anything we have ever launched to any planet in the solar system."

The primary goal of the $2.5 billion mission is to see whether cold, dry, barren Mars might have been hospitable for microbial life once upon a time — or might even still be conducive to life now. No actual life detectors are on board; rather, the instruments will hunt for organic compounds.

Curiosity's 7-foot arm has a jackhammer on the end to drill into the Martian red rock, and the 7-foot mast on the rover is topped with high-definition and laser cameras. No previous Martian rover has been so sophisticated or capable.

With Mars the ultimate goal for astronauts, NASA also will use Curiosity to measure radiation at the red planet. The rover also has a weather station on board that will provide temperature, wind and humidity readings; a computer software app with daily weather updates is planned.

The world has launched more than three dozen missions to the ever-alluring Mars, which is more like Earth than the other solar-system planets. Yet fewer than half those quests have succeeded.

Just two weeks ago, a Russian spacecraft ended up stuck in orbit around Earth, rather than en route to the Martian moon Phobos.

"Mars really is the Bermuda Triangle of the solar system," Hartman said. "It's the death planet, and the United States of America is the only nation in the world that has ever landed and driven robotic explorers on the surface of Mars, and now we're set to do it again."

Curiosity's arrival next August will be particularly hair-raising.

In a spacecraft first, the rover will be lowered onto the Martian surface via a jet pack and tether system similar to the sky cranes used to lower heavy equipment into remote areas on Earth.

Curiosity is too heavy to use air bags like its much smaller predecessors, Spirit and Opportunity, did in 2004. Besides, this new way should provide for a more accurate landing.

Astronauts will need to make similarly precise landings on Mars one day.

Curiosity will spend a minimum of two years roaming around Gale Crater, chosen as the landing site because it's rich in minerals. Scientists said if there is any place on Mars that might have been ripe for life, it would be there.

"I like to say it's extraterrestrial real estate appraisal," Conrad said with a chuckle earlier in the week.

The rover — 10 feet long and 9 feet wide — should be able to go farther and work harder than any previous Mars explorer because of its power source: 10.6 pounds of radioactive plutonium. The nuclear generator was encased in several protective layers in case of a launch accident.

NASA expects to put at least 12 miles on the odometer, once the rover sets down on the Martian surface.

This is the third astronomical mission to be launched from Cape Canaveral by NASA since the retirement of the venerable space shuttle fleet this summer. The Juno probe is en route to Jupiter, and twin spacecraft named Grail will arrive at Earth's moon on New Year's Eve and Day.

NASA hails this as the year of the solar system.

___

Online:

NASA: http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/

NASA Launches Super-Size Rover to Mars: 'Go, Go!',
NYT,
26.11.2011,
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/11/26/
science/AP-US-SCI-Mars-Rover.html - broken link

 

 

 

 

 

On Mars Rover,

Tools to Plumb a Methane Mystery

 

November 22, 2011

The New York Times

By KENNETH CHANG

 

There are no cows on Mars.

Of that, planetary scientists are certain, which leaves them puzzling over what could be producing methane gas detected in the thin Martian air. Methane molecules are easily blown apart by ultraviolet light from the Sun, so any methane floating around must have been released recently.

Could the gas be burbling from something alive? Cows, after all, burp methane on Earth. Other creatures, including a class of micro-organisms that live without oxygen, also produce methane.

NASA could get some answers soon. On the launching pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida is a spacecraft, the Mars Science Laboratory, which is scheduled to lift off on Saturday and plop down on Mars next August. It will deliver an S.U.V.-size rover named Curiosity that carries an instrument that can detect methane in the air, and if it does, it will unleash a new wave of excitement about the prospect of life on Mars.

“Based on evidence, what we do have is, unequivocally, the conditions for the emergence of life were present on Mars — period, end of story,” said Michael J. Mumma, a senior scientist for NASA at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who led one of three teams that have made still-controversial claims of detecting methane in Mars’ atmosphere. “So life certainly could have arisen there.”

Because Mars is smaller than Earth, it cooled faster, and it probably would have been hospitable for life earlier. That raises the intriguing possibility that pieces of Mars containing microbes were blasted into space by asteroid impacts and later landed on Earth, seeding life here.

In other words: We could all be descendants of Martians.

The possibility of Martians has long fueled the imagination of Earthlings, from the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom fantasy novels to the canals Percival Lowell deluded himself into seeing through his telescope to Orson Welles’s “War of the Worlds” radio play.

Other times, the pendulum swung back the other way. Mariner 4, the first space probe to whiz past Mars, in 1965, sent back pictures not of verdant forests, but of barren rocks. And NASA’s two Viking landers in 1976, equipped with sophisticated life chemistry experiments, analyzed the soil and found it devoid of the organic building blocks of life.

Mars, it appeared in 1976, was really most sincerely dead.

“Things looked so grim for exobiology on Mars,” said Christopher F. Chyba, a professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University. “We made this tremendous investment in two Viking landers. There was a backlash of the people who felt the biology was oversold and premature.”

NASA subsequently played down the notion of life on Mars and instead set out on a methodical campaign to explore the past geology and climate of Mars. Although Mars today looks dry and cold — dead — geological markings like gullies, dry lake beds and colossal canyons point to a liquid past. “Follow the water” became the mantra. NASA’s last two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, found convincing evidence of environments that were habitable in the distant past. Curiosity will go further, looking for carbon-based molecules, including methane, that are the building blocks of life.

Recent orbital images show that water might still occasionally flow on the surface of Mars. New knowledge about life on Earth and how it can thrive in seemingly hostile environments like the dark, boiling waters near ocean-bottom volcanic vents also made scientists less dismissive of the notion that life persists on Mars. In 1996, a team of NASA scientists announced they had found fossilized microbes in a Martian meteorite that had landed in Antarctica. Those claims remain at least as controversial as the methane findings.

But short of photographing a cow or some other critter ambling among the rocks, Curiosity is not going to discover life. As with every NASA probe since the Viking landers, Curiosity is not carrying experiments designed to tell whether the building blocks of life ever came together to form life. If there are microbial Martians thriving in the soil, Curiosity will not see them.

“I don’t think we’ve put down enough groundwork,” said Michael A. Meyer, NASA’s lead scientist for Mars.

That is frustrating in particular for Gilbert V. Levin, who believes his experiment on the Vikings 25 years ago, designed to detect life, did indeed detect life.

Drops of a nutrient solution containing radioactive carbon-14 were added to Martian soil, and a stream of radioactive carbon dioxide was detected rising out of the soil. That is what would be expected from micro-organisms eating the food.

To rule out the possibility that a nonbiological chemical process was generating the carbon dioxide, other samples were heated to 320 degrees Fahrenheit to sterilize them. No radioactive carbon dioxide was seen rising from those when the nutrient drops were added, fitting with the hypothesis that the heat had killed the Martian microbes. If a nonbiological process were at play, the radioactive carbon dioxide should have been seen after the sterilization as well.

But other Viking experiments had failed to measure any organic molecules, so Dr. Levin’s results — even though they matched exactly what would be expected for life — were like announcing the discovery of a brick house in the absence of bricks. The consensus was that the claim was mistaken.

A recent discovery, however, offers a possible explanation for how Dr. Levin could be right after all. In 2008, NASA’s Phoenix lander found chemicals known as perchlorates in the Martian soil. Viking’s organic molecule detector heated the soil to release organics. But heating organic molecules in the presence of perchlorates destroys them, so even if they were there, Viking’s experiment may have inadvertently missed them.

Dr. Levin said a more sophisticated version of his experiment, weighing a couple of pounds and costing a few million dollars, could definitively validate or disprove the Viking results.

“But they won’t fly it,” Dr. Levin said. “Changing a paradigm is a tough thing. We’ve run this experiment thousands of times on Earth. It’s never given a false positive. It’s never given a false negative.”

The two missions that are to follow Curiosity — collaborations between NASA and the European Space Agency — do not have a version of Dr. Levin’s experiment planned. Christopher E. Carr, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology intrigued by the possibility that life on Earth could have started on Mars, has proposed an even more ambitious experiment: Send a DNA sequencer to Mars. That, too, has yet to find a mission to fly on.

Definitive answers may have to wait until a mission that brings Mars rocks back to Earth for study.

But that may be a very long wait. The Obama administration, mindful of tight federal budgets, has yet to give the green light on the 2016 and 2018 missions and is considering canceling them. Curiosity may be the last spacecraft landing on Mars for many years.

“That would derail the whole search for life, either extinct or extant, on Mars,” Dr. Mumma said. “That would be a disaster.”

    On Mars Rover, Tools to Plumb a Methane Mystery, NYT, 22.11.2011,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/science/space/
    aboard-mars-curiosity-rover-tools-to-plumb-a-methane-mystery.html

 

 

 

 

 

Mars Lander Succumbs to Winter

 

November 11, 2008
The New York Times
By KENNETH CHANG

 

The Phoenix Mars lander is dead.

Mission managers said Monday that they had not heard from the NASA spacecraft for a week and that they thought it had probably fallen quiet for good.

“At this time, we’re pretty convinced that the vehicle is no longer available for us to use,” said Barry Goldstein, the project manager. “We’re actually ceasing operations, declaring an end to mission operations at this point.”

With the onset of winter and declining power generated by the Phoenix’s solar panels, managers knew the lander would succumb soon, but had hoped to squeeze out a few more weeks of weather data.

But on Oct. 27, just after Phoenix finished its last major experiment analyzing Martian soil, an unexpected dust storm hit. The batteries, already low from running the experiment, ran out of energy.

The spacecraft first put itself into a low-energy “safe mode,” then fell silent. It revived itself on Oct. 30, but, with the dust still swirling, was never able to fully recharge its batteries. Each day, the solar panels would generate enough electricity for the spacecraft to wake up, but then the batteries drained again.

The last communication came on Nov. 2. Mr. Goldstein said the orbiting spacecraft would continue to listen for a few more weeks on the faint chance that the Phoenix defies their expectations.

The Phoenix landed in May to examine the northern arctic plains, and the $428 million mission, originally scheduled to last three months, was extended twice

“I’m just thrilled to death what we’ve been able to do here,” said Peter H. Smith of the University of Arizona, the mission’s principal investigator. The spacecraft accomplished all of its main objectives, but some science remained unfinished. The Martian soil proved to be extremely clumpy, and the spacecraft had recurrent trouble getting the samples through gratings into the spacecraft’s laboratory apparatus.

Dr. Smith admitted disappointment that a sample from one of the trenches that the Phoenix had dug was never successfully analyzed. “We got it all the way up to the instrument and even tried pressing it down,” Dr. Smith said. “But it wouldn’t go in.”

But Dr. Smith highlighted what the Phoenix did discover. It confirmed a layer of ice not far below the surface. It found some carbonates and clays, which suggest that liquid water may have be present within the past few millennia. It found the arctic soil to be alkaline, not acidic as has been observed in other parts of Mars. It also discovered perchlorates, a class of chemicals that in high concentrations can be toxic to life, but which can also serve as a food source for some microbes.The spacecraft took 25,000 photographs, including panoramas of the landing and microscopic images of dust particles.

“It’s really an Irish wake, not a funeral that we’re looking forward to,” said Douglas McCuiston, director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA headquarters. “NASA got what it wanted out of this mission.”

The data may yet reveal the presence of carbon-based molecules that could be building blocks for life, Dr. Smith said, and that the region might, at least occasionally, be suitable for life. The Phoenix was not designed to look directly for signs of life. Dr. Smith said the scientists had begun writing the scientific articles describing their findings.

In the coming months, when sunlight disappears entirely in the northern plains, temperatures will fall to minus-240 to minus-300 degrees Fahrenheit, and the Phoenix will become encased within carbon dioxide ice. When spring returns, NASA plans to try reviving the Phoenix again, but the expectation is that the spacecraft’s electronics will not survive the long, deep freeze.

    Mars Lander Succumbs to Winter, NYT, 11.11.2008,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/11/science/space/11mars.html

 

 

 

 

 

NASA craft

finds evidence of ice on Mars surface

 

Fri Jun 20, 2008
11:04am EDT
Reuters

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scientists working on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander mission are reporting what they call compelling evidence that the robot craft has found ice while digging on the Martian surface.

NASA is expected to give details on the discovery during a news conference on Friday.

The small science probe landed safely last month on a frozen desert at the Martian north pole to search for water and assess conditions for sustaining life.

Small chunks of bright material described as the size of dice have disappeared from inside a trench where they were photographed by the craft earlier this week, NASA said in a statement late on Thursday.

This has convinced scientists the chunks were ice -- frozen water -- that vaporized after digging exposed it, NASA said.

"It must be ice," said mission principal investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona. "These little clumps completely disappearing over the course of a few days. That is perfect evidence that it's ice. There had been some question whether the bright material was salt. Salt can't do that."

The presence of water on Mars is a hot topic for scientists. They have presented strong evidence in recent years of huge deposits of frozen water at the Martian poles and point to geological features that indicate that large bodies of water have flowed on the planet's surface in the distant past.

Water is a key to the question of whether life, even in the form of mere microbes, has ever existed on Mars. On Earth, water is a necessary ingredient for life.

The chunks were left at the bottom of a trench dubbed "Dodo-Goldilocks" when Phoenix's robotic arm enlarged that trench on June 15. Several chunks were gone when Phoenix looked at the trench again on Thursday, NASA said.

The U.S. space agency also said that the lander, digging in a different trench, used its robotic arm to connect with a hard surface that has scientists believing they have found an icy layer on the Martian surface.

The $420 million lander spent 10 months journeying from Earth to Mars.



(Reporting by Will Dunham, editing by Chris Baltimore)

    NASA craft finds evidence of ice on Mars surface, R, 20.6.2008,
    http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN2045326920080620

 

 

 

 

 

Research Explains

Formation of Unique Martian Fans

 

February 21, 2008
The New York Times
By KENNETH CHANG

 

To figure out an odd landscape feature on Mars, play in a big sandbox.

Enlist some high school students, too.

That’s what some scientists at the Utrecht University in the Netherlands did, and they believe they now know how sediment deposits spilling out of the mouth of some water channels on Mars were shaped in a series of terraces that look like terraced rice paddies.

But no similar natural formations have been seen in river deltas on Earth. Usually river sediments spill out in a smooth, sloping fan like the Mississippi delta.

Planetary geologists have been speculating about the terraced fans since they were first spotted by NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor eight years ago. About 10 stepped fans have been identified, most at the base of a steep slope emptying into a basin like an impact crater. (Most of the 200 sediment fans seen on Mars do not have the stepped structure. Another mystery is why many of the river channels seem to have no sediment deposit at all.)

Some scientists suggested the terraced fans were the result of repeated shore erosion as a lake in the basin dried up. Others thought repeated landslides might have formed the steps.

The sandbox experiment, reported in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature, supports a third notion. The terraces form by the interaction of the sediment flow with the water’s edge, which is rising as the basin fills.

“Where that’s happening, you’re getting a little lip,” said Erin R. Kraal, the lead author of the Nature paper. Pulses of flow and sediment produced multiple terraces. “They’re just stacking one atop the other,” she said.

While a postdoctoral researcher at Utrecht, Dr. Kraal became intrigued by the terraced fans and mentioned them to her colleagues there. Utrecht has a set-up known as Eurotank, essentially a 16- by 40-foot sandbox for studying sedimentary dynamics.

High school students visiting the laboratory as part of an educational project saw the Mars pictures on the laboratory walls and were interested in helping on an experiment, which eventually turned into a short educational movie about the Martian fans.

The students dug a crater in the sandbox and shaped a water channel. Then they sent water down the channel — and the result was a terraced fan, just as on Mars.

“We didn’t expect it to be so successful the first time,” said Dr. Kraal, now a research scientist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. “We were really surprised they formed so quickly and so easily.”

Dr. Kraal and her colleagues, Maurits van Dijk, George Postma and Maarten G. Kleinhans later repeated the experiments more rigorously so they could correlate their sandbox results with the Martian terrain.

They estimate that the water necessary to form one of the Martian fans, which measure up to a dozen miles wide, would equal 10 years of Mississippi River flow. The whole structure appears to have formed in one event lasting perhaps tens of years, they said.

“It does look like she’s experimentally shown here that this type of deposit can form in a single event type of discharge,” said Rossman P. Irwin III, a geologist at the Smithsonian Institute’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies who has also studied the terraced fans. “It offers some good experimental support for a type of feature that is basically unique to Mars and really was not well understood.”

Research Explains Formation of Unique Martian Fans,
NYT, 21.2.2008,
 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/21/science/space/21mars.html

 

 

 

 

 

Mars Rover Finding

Suggests Once Habitable Environment

 

December 12, 2007
The New York Times
By KENNETH CHANG

 

SAN FRANCISCO — The lame wheel on the NASA Mars rover Spirit has proved an invaluable science tool, turning up evidence of a once habitable environment, scientists said Monday.

Meanwhile, images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have largely unraveled the mystery of geological patterns called “spiders” that appear each spring around the south pole.

The scientists reported their findings here at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

The right front wheel of Spirit stopped turning in March 2006. Since then, the rover has been driving backwards, dragging the lame wheel along. This May, scientists noticed a bright spot in the trail of overturned dirt.

They turned Spirit around for a closer look, finding high levels of silica, the main ingredient of window glass. They then aimed the rover at a nearby rock, wanting to break it apart to determine if the silica was just a surface coating, or if the rock was silica all the way through.

The target rock survived Spirit’s charge, but a neighboring rock cracked open. The interior of that rock, which the scientists informally named “Innocent Bystander,” turned out to be rich in silica.

On Earth, such high concentrations of silica can form in only two places: a hot spring, where the silica is dissolved away and deposited elsewhere, or a fumarole, an environment, often near a volcano, where acidic steam rises through cracks. The acids dissolve other minerals, leaving mostly silica. On Earth, both environments teem with life.

Spirit’s twin, Opportunity, which has been exploring a spot on the other side of Mars, has found evidence of an environment once steeped in acidic groundwater. The silica discovery is the first time that Spirit has seen signs of widespread water in its surroundings, a 90-mile-wide impact crater known as Gusev Crater.

Gusev was chosen as a landing site, because, at least from orbit, it looks as if it were once a lake with what appears to be river channels flowing away from it. However, until now, the rocks that Spirit has examined have largely been volcanic basalt with little hint of water.

“This shows us a side of Mars we haven’t seen before, and my guess is that it’s more common than we had thought,” said Steven W. Squyres, the project scientist for the rovers. “Whichever of those conditions produced it, this concentration of silica is probably the most significant discovery by Spirit for revealing a habitable niche that existed on Mars in the past.”

From far above the surface, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been taking a closer look at radial patterns of “spider” gullies, as well as bright and dark fan-like features that appear in the Martian landscape each spring.

Scientists first spotted the gullies several years ago in images taken by the Mars Global Surveyor. With the much higher resolution of Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists saw for the first time that the gullies were wider at the center of the pattern. Another instrument allowed them to map the images onto the Martian topography; the centers of the spiders were at the top of the small hills. Those two bits of information indicated that the gullies were carved by something flowing uphill — and that pointed to carbon dioxide.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Candice Hansen, deputy principal investigator for the orbiter’s high-resolution camera, said it now appeared that a layer of translucent carbon dioxide ice, perhaps half a yard thick, formed over the south polar terrain during the winter months.

In the spring, sunlight warms the ground, vaporizing carbon dioxide at the base of the ice layer. The gas flows uphill, carving channels in the underlying soil. At weak points in the ice, the gas erupts in small geysers. The release of pressure causes the carbon dioxide gas to freeze solid and fall as white snow — the white parts of the fan-like patterns. Dust blown out with the carbon dioxide falls on the ground to form the dark parts of the fans.

“It is unlike anything on Earth,” Dr. Hansen said, though similar patterns have been seen on the Neptunian moon of Triton.

    Mars Rover Finding Suggests Once Habitable Environment, NYT, 12.12.2007,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/12/science/space/12mars.html

 

 

 

 

 

NASA Rover

Reaches First Stop in Crater

 

September 28, 2007
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 1:00 a.m. ET
The New York Times

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- NASA's rover Opportunity has reached its first stop inside a huge Martian crater and was poised Thursday to carry out the first science experiments.

Ground controllers planned to send commands late in the day to the six-wheel robot to examine bright rock layers arranged like a bathtub ring within Victoria Crater. Results on how the rover fared were expected Friday, said John Callas, the rover project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Mission managers wanted to delay the science operations because of a power outage at one of the international network of antennas that communicates with interplanetary spacecraft. But they changed their minds after they secured another antenna.

Opportunity rolled to the crater lip last month and began a calculated descent down the inner wall toward a shiny band of bedrock that scientists believe may be part of an ancient Martian surface. After a series of three drives, the rover parked itself 40 feet below the rim at a 25-degree tilt -- the steepest angle it has encountered since landing on the planet.

Opportunity's first task will be to use the tools on its robotic arm to touch and drill into the rock slab. Mission scientists expect it to stay in place for at least a week before scaling farther down the crater to sample other rocks.

''We're going to take our time collecting the data,'' principal investigator Steve Squyres of Cornell University said in an e-mail. ''We invested way too much effort in getting here to blow it by being hasty.''

Opportunity and its twin Spirit have outlasted their original, three-month mission since parachuting to opposite sides of Mars in 2004. The solar-powered rovers recently survived a raging dust storm that forced them to go into sleep mode to conserve energy.

Spirit is currently exploring a plateau called Home Plate for evidence of volcanism. Though Martian winter is still seven months away, mission managers have started looking for a safe spot for Spirit to retreat to.

------

On the Net:

Mars rovers: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html

    NASA Rover Reaches First Stop in Crater, NYT, 28.9.2007,
    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Mars-Rovers.html

 

 

 

 

 

NASA Probe

to Explore Martian Arctic

 

July 30, 2007
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 2:10 p.m. ET
The New York Times

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A three-legged NASA spacecraft with a long arm for digging trenches is going to the Martian north pole to study if the environment is favorable for primitive life.

But before it can start its work, the Phoenix Mars Lander must survive landing on the surface of the rocky, dusty Red Planet, which has a reputation of swallowing manmade probes. Of the 15 global attempts to land spacecraft on Mars, only five have made it.

''Mars has the tendency to throw you curve balls,'' said Doug McCuistion, who heads the Mars program at NASA headquarters.

Phoenix, which is pieced from old hardware that was shelved after two embarrassing Mars failures in 1999, will blast off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., aboard a Delta II rocket on a 423-million-mile trip. The three-week launch window opens Aug. 3.

Unlike the durable twin rovers near the equator, the Phoenix Mars Lander will sit in one place and extend its long arm to dig trenches in the permafrost and scoop up soil for analysis. Made of aluminum and titanium, the 8-foot-long arm acts like a backhoe and can dig down 20 inches and rotate.

Although Phoenix lacks the tools to detect past or current life, scientists hope it will shed light on whether the northern arctic possesses the signature ingredients for microbes to exist.

The lander should arrive at Mars 10 months after it launches and touch down in the northern plains for its three-month mission. If successful, it will be the first time since the Viking missions three decades ago that a robot will drill beneath the Martian surface.

Once it lands, Phoenix will heat the soil samples in miniature ovens to study their chemistry. The lander can detect the presence of organics, although it won't be able to tell if there's DNA or protein, said principal investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson.

The landing site was chosen because previous spacecraft found evidence that frozen water lurked below the surface. Some believe the shallow valley measuring about 30 miles wide might be the remnant of an ancient sea. However, Phoenix will look for evidence of liquid water that may have existed as recently as 100,000 years ago.

There's no water on the arid Martian surface today, but Phoenix's job is to find out whether the underground ice may have melted, creating a wetter environment. Scientists generally agree that water, along with the presence of organic materials and a stable heat source, is needed to support life.

To prevent Phoenix from accidentally bringing organisms to Mars, technicians had to take special care while prepping the lander for launch. It underwent dry heat treatment and precision cleaning to reduce the amount of germs on its surface. Its trench-digging arm was also sealed in a special wrapping to prevent contamination.

Phoenix is the first project from NASA's Scout program, a low-cost complement to pricier Mars missions in orbit and on the surface. Managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Phoenix cost $420 million compared to the hardy rovers Spirit and Opportunity, which cost $820 million to launch in 2003.

True to its name, Phoenix rose from the ashes of previous missions. It was supposed to fly in 2001 as a sidekick to the Mars Odyssey orbiter. The orbiter reached Mars, but the lander mission was canceled in the wake of back-to-back losses in 1999.

The Mars Climate Orbiter burned up as it neared Mars because Lockheed Martin/NASA mismatched metric and English measurement units. The Mars Polar Lander tumbled to its death after its rocket engine shut off prematurely as it tried to touch down on the south pole. Neither wreckage has been found.

Phoenix, built by Lockheed Martin, carries several science instruments similar to ones that flew on the ill-fated Polar Lander mission. Engineers rigorously tested the spacecraft over the last four years ''to drive out any of the problems we might have in the system,'' said Barry Goldstein, project manager at JPL.

If Phoenix survives its primary mission, it will turn into a weather station and collect data on the atmosphere.

------

On the Net:

Phoenix Mars mission: http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu

Jet Propulsion Laboratory: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov
 
University of Arizona: http://www.arizona.edu

    NASA Probe to Explore Martian Arctic, NYT, 30.7.2007,
    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Phoenix-Mars.html

 

 

 

 

 

Martian Dust Storm

Affecting Twin Rovers

 

July 5, 2007
Filed at 12:31 a.m. ET
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The New York Times

 

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- A powerful dust storm on Mars has worsened and is affecting the twin rovers' operations on the Red Planet, mission scientists say.

The storm, which has been brewing for a week, has partially blocked the sun. The rovers Spirit and Opportunity, which have solar panels, rely on sunlight to charge their batteries.

Scientists maintain that the robots, which are used to operating at low power levels, are not in danger.

''The storm is affecting both rovers and reducing the power levels on Opportunity,'' project manager John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement posted Tuesday on the space agency's Web site.

Solar array energy on Opportunity dropped from 765 watt-hours to 402 watt-hours as dust levels increased over the past week. The rover scaled back operations on June 30 to conserve energy.

The storm has already postponed Opportunity's descent into Victoria Crater to learn more about the planet's geologic past. Scientists hoped to send the rover into the crater this weekend, but unfavorable weather has delayed the entry until at least July 13.

The regional storm is the worst to hit the rovers since they landed on opposite ends of Mars in 2004, and scientists expect the storm to last for at least another week.

The highest dust activity is centered near Opportunity. However, weather data show the storm might have peaked, meaning the worst could be behind the rovers.

------

On the Net:

Mars Rovers mission:

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html

    Martian Dust Storm Affecting Twin Rovers, NYT, 5.7.2007,
    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Mars-Rovers.html

 

 

 

 

 

Mars Rover

to Make Risky Crater Descent

 

June 29, 2007

Filed at 1:40 a.m. ET

The New York Times

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- NASA's aging but durable Mars rover Opportunity will make what could be a trip of no return into a deep impact crater as it tries to peer further back than ever into the Red Planet's geologic history.

The descent into Victoria Crater received the go-ahead because the potential scientific returns are worth the risk that the solar-powered, six-wheel rover might not be able to climb out, NASA officials and scientists said Thursday.

The vehicle has been roaming Mars for nearly 3 1/2 Earth years. Scientists and engineers want to send it in while it still appears healthy.

''This crater, Victoria, is a window back into the ancient environment of Mars,'' said Alan Stern, the NASA associate administrator who authorized the move.

''Entering this crater does come with some unknowns,'' Stern added. ''We have analyzed the entry point but we can't be certain about the terrains and the footing down in the crater until we go there. We can't guarantee, although we think we are likely to come back out of the crater.''

Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, have been exploring opposite sides of Mars since landing in January 2004, discovering geologic evidence of rocks altered by water from a long-ago wetter period of the now-dusty planet.

Blasted open by a meteor impact, Victoria Crater is a half-mile across and about 200 to 230 feet deep -- far deeper than anything else the rovers have explored.

''Because it's deeper it provides us access to just a much longer span of time,'' said Steve Squyres, the principal investigator of the Mars Exploration Rover mission from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. He said it's not known just how much time is represented in the crater's layered walls.

Opportunity's first target will be a band of bright material like a bathtub ring about 10 feet below the crater's rim.

''That was the original, pre-impact surface so this bright stuff is the stuff that was in contact with the Martian atmosphere at the time Victoria formed, which may have been billions of years ago,'' Squyres said.

The initial entry is expected on July 7 or 9. To get into the crater, the rover will have to safely cross a ripple of wind-formed material at the lip of the crater, the kind of feature that has given it trouble before. The team plans to initially drive only far enough to have all six wheels on the slope and then back up to the top, to analyze how it performed.

''We call that a toe dip,'' said John Callas, the rover project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Since inception, the twin-rover mission has cost more than $900 million, and now costs $20 million to $24 million annually. Planned to last 90 days, the mission is in its fourth extension and another proposal would continue operations to the end of October 2008.

Mars Rover to Make Risky Crater Descent,
NYT,
29.6.2007,
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Mars-Rovers.html

 

 

 

 

 

Spirit Finds

Proof of Wet Past on Mars

 

May 21, 2007

Filed at 9:38 p.m. ET

The New York Times

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- The Mars rover Spirit has uncovered the strongest evidence yet that the planet used to be wetter than previously thought, scientists reported Monday.

The robot analyzed a patch of soil in Gusev Crater and found it unusually rich in silica. The presence of water would have been necessary to produce such a large silica deposit, scientists said.

''This is a remarkable discovery,'' principal investigator Steve Squyres of Cornell University said in a statement. ''It makes you wonder what else is still out there.''

Spirit previously found clues of ancient water in the crater through the presence of sulfur-rich soil, water-altered minerals and explosive volcanism. But the latest find is compelling because of the high silica content, researchers said, raising the possibility that conditions may have been favorable for the emergence of primitive life.

It's unclear how the silica deposit formed. One possibility is that the soil mixed with acid vapors in the presence of water. Others believe the deposit was created from water in a hot spring surrounding.

The durable Spirit and its twin, Opportunity, have been working on overtime since completing their primary, three-month mission in 2004.

For eight months, Opportunity has explored the rim of Victoria Crater on the opposite side of the planet. Scientists are looking for a safe opening to send the rover in.

The mission is managed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

------

On the Net:

Mars Rovers: http://www.nasa.gov/rovers

Spirit Finds Proof of Wet Past on Mars,
NYT,
21.5.2007,
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/
us/AP-Mars-Rovers.html

 

 

 

 

 

On Trip to Mars,

NASA Must Rethink Death

 

May 1, 2007

Filed at 1:24 p.m. ET

The New York Times

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- How do you get rid of the body of a dead astronaut on a three-year mission to Mars and back?

When should the plug be pulled on a critically ill astronaut who is using up precious oxygen and endangering the rest of the crew? Should NASA employ DNA testing to weed out astronauts who might get a disease on a long flight?

With NASA planning to land on Mars 30 years from now, and with the recent discovery of the most ''Earth-like'' planet ever seen outside the solar system, the space agency has begun to ponder some of the thorny practical and ethical questions posed by deep space exploration.

Some of these who-gets-thrown-from-the-lifeboat questions are outlined in a NASA document on crew health obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request.

NASA doctors and scientists, with help from outside bioethicists and medical experts, hope to answer many of these questions over the next several years.

''As you can imagine, it's a thing that people aren't really comfortable talking about,'' said Dr. Richard Williams, NASA's chief health and medical officer. ''We're trying to develop the ethical framework to equip commanders and mission managers to make some of those difficult decisions should they arrive in the future.''

One topic that is evidently too hot to handle: How do you cope with sexual desire among healthy young men and women during a mission years long?

Sex is not mentioned in the document and has long been almost a taboo topic at NASA. Williams said the question of sex in space is not a matter of crew health but a behavioral issue that will have to be taken up by others at NASA.

The agency will have to address the matter sooner or later, said Paul Root Wolpe, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania who has advised NASA since 2001.

''There is a decision that is going to have to be made about mixed-sex crews, and there is going to be a lot of debate about it,'' he said.

The document does spell out some health policies in detail, such as how much radiation astronauts can be exposed to from space travel (No more radiation than the amount that would increase the risk of cancer by 3 percent over the astronaut's career) and the number of hours crew members should work each week (No more than 48 hours).

But on other topics -- such as steps for disposing of the dead and cutting off an astronaut's medical care if he or she cannot survive -- the document merely says these are issues for which NASA needs a policy.

''There may come a time in which a significant risk of death has to be weighed against mission success,'' Wolpe said. ''The idea that we will always choose a person's well-being over mission success, it sounds good, but it doesn't really turn out to be necessarily the way decisions always will be made.''

For now, astronauts and cosmonauts who become critically sick or injured at the international space station -- something that has never happened -- can leave the orbiting outpost 220 miles above Earth and return home within hours aboard a Russian Soyuz space vehicle.

That wouldn't be possible if a life-and-death situation were to arise on a voyage to Mars, where the nearest hospital is millions of mile away.

Moreover, Mars-bound astronauts will not always be able to rely on instructions from Mission Control, since it would take nearly a half-hour for a question to be asked and an answer to come back via radio.

Astronauts going to the moon and Mars for long periods of time must contend with the basic health risks from space travel, multiplied many times over: radiation, the loss of muscle and bone, and the psychological challenges of isolation.

NASA will consider whether astronauts must undergo preventive surgery, such as an appendectomy, to head off medical emergencies during a mission, and whether astronauts should be required to sign living wills with end-of-life instructions.

The space agency also must decide whether to set age restrictions on the crew, and whether astronauts of reproductive age should be required to bank sperm or eggs because of the risk of genetic mutations from radiation exposure during long trips.

Already, NASA is considering genetic screening in choosing crews on the long-duration missions. That is now prohibited.

''Genetic screening must be approached with caution ... because of limiting employment and career opportunities based on use of genetic information,'' Williams said.

NASA's three major tragedies resulting in 17 deaths -- Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia -- were caused by technical rather than medical problems. NASA never has had to abort a mission because of health problems, though the Soviet Union had three such episodes.

Some believe the U.S. space agency has not adequately prepared for the possibility of death during a mission.

''I don't think they've been great at dealing with this type of thing in the past,'' said former astronaut Story Musgrave, a six-time space shuttle flier who has a medical degree. ''But it's very nice that they're considering it now.''

------

On the Net:

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/

On Trip to Mars, NASA Must Rethink Death,
NYT,
1.5.2007,
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/
us/AP-Death-in-Space.html - broken link

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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