Youth and vigor have their advantages, but there is something to be said for longevity. NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter has been circling the red planet since 2001 and has just released the best map ever made of the Martian surface.
Using Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope program, you can now take an interactive tour of Mars with the highest-resolution images available of the Red Planet -- something even scientists have never been able to see before.
The next Mars rover, Curiosity, has been outfitted with a new cutting-edge mobility system that's enough to make off-road enthusiasts drool with envy. The rover, which will carry ten times the payload mass of Spirit and Opportunity, is about the size of an SUV, and too heavy for an airbag landing.
In April, Kathie Thomas-Keprta told a standing-room-only audience at the Astrobiology Science Conference that she had found evidence of life on a three-billion-year-old Martian meteorite. And no one was surprised. That’s because she and eight other researchers at several universities and NASA’s Johnson Space Center had reported the same thing about the same meteorite in 1996. They were met with criticism and ridicule back then. But this time, the reaction was more favorable.
Many of life's building blocks, such as amino acids, sugars and other molecules, are chiral -- meaning they come in two identical forms, mirror images of each other. Most life on Earth tends to prefer one side over the other, such as right-handed glucose molecules. But some forms of bacteria are less choosy.
Most life is left-handed, but its lower forms are ambidextrous, according to a new study reported in New Scientist. This might complicate the search for life on other planets, but it could also explain the Viking Mars landers' odd findings four decades ago.
So you're holed up in a well-equipped shipping container for the next year and a half. How do you pass the time? By playing Guitar Hero and dreaming of showers.
You can now take a video tour of the "Mars 500" facility in Moscow, where a six-man crew is spending 520 days simulating a round-trip mission to Mars.
It took NASA a few decades, several probes, and a whole lot of money to find hard evidence for the existence of water on the surface of Mars. But timing is everything. Had the agency been looking for water on the Red Planet a few billion years earlier, all they would've needed was a telescope. A new CU-Boulder analysis of the Martian surface has concluded that a massive ocean covered as much as a third of the planet around 3.5 billion years ago.
On Saturday, June 5, in the remote southeast Utah desert, a team of engineering students from Oregon State University emerged as the champion of the fourth annual University Rover Challenge (URC).
Competition events began on Friday morning, June 4, at two adjacent sites near the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah. The "sample return mission" involved investigating sites that might have microbial life and bringing back a sample. At the second site, the "equipment servicing task" required rovers to flip switches, push buttons, and insert plugs into outlets.
The second phase of the Mars500 simulated mission to the Red Planet launched this morning as six men -- a Frenchman, an Italian, one Chinese man and three Russians -- were locked inside a 19,500-cubic-foot facility outside of Moscow, where they will remain for the next 520 days.
In late 2008, NASA's Phoenix lander dropped into deep hibernation at the onset of Martian winter, concluding a successful and long-running mission. But there was some hope that, despite not being built for such hostile temperatures, the craft would emerge from the thaw with a pulse. A final checkup from the Mars Odyseey orbiter circling overhead last week, however, has erased all hope--Phoenix's solar panels have been frozen off. It's dead.