background preloader

On and About the Red Planet

Facebook Twitter

Listen to the first audio recording of Mars (and see incredible video of the Perseverance rover landing) How to Watch NASA Perseverance Mars Rover Landing. Image via NASA The NASA Perseverance Mars Rover, which took off on its mission to Mars July 30, 2020, is expected to make its historic landing today, February 18, 2021, at approximately 3:55 PM EST/12:55 PM PST.

How to Watch NASA Perseverance Mars Rover Landing

The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover will search for signs of ancient microbial life, which will advance NASA’s quest to explore the past habitability of Mars. In preparation, NASA has set up a live stream of the event which will begin at 2:15 PM and will offer live footage and commentary. There is also a 360° stream, and a clean feed of the landing. NASA rover lands on Mars to look for signs of ancient life. DEVELOPING...

NASA rover lands on Mars to look for signs of ancient life

Story will be updated as new information can be verified. Updated 5 times AlertMe CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A NASA rover streaked through the orange Martian sky and landed on the planet Thursday, accomplishing the riskiest step yet in an epic quest to bring back rocks that could answer whether life ever existed on Mars. Ground controllers at the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, cheered and exchanged fist bumps and high-fives in triumph — and relief — on receiving confirmation that the six-wheeled Perseverance had touched down on the red planet, long a deathtrap for incoming spacecraft.

It took a tension-filled 11 1/2 minutes for the signal to reach Earth. “Touchdown confirmed! The landing marks the third visit to Mars in just over a week. All three missions lifted off in July to take advantage of the close alignment of Earth and Mars, traveling some 300 million miles in nearly seven months. NASA Just Dropped Trailer For Perseverance's Arrival On Mars And It's Pretty Intense. You probably heard about NASA’s Perseverance rover that was launched for Mars back in July this year.

NASA Just Dropped Trailer For Perseverance's Arrival On Mars And It's Pretty Intense

It will look for signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and soil) that could be returned and examined on Earth. The countdown to landing on Mars has now begun with 56 days to go. And just in time for Christmas, NASA has dropped a trailer of Perseverance’s journey completion that is due to take place on February 11. Nasa's Mars rover and the 'seven minutes of terror' NASA Curiosity Rover Plummets 100 Feet Off Martian Crater Edge While Trying To Take Selfie. A Freaky Elongated Cloud Has Reappeared on Mars. 'We are all Martians!': space explorers seek to solve the riddle of life on Mars. In the next few weeks, a flotilla of probes will be blasted into space from launch pads round the world and propelled towards one of the solar system’s most mysterious objects: the planet Mars.

'We are all Martians!': space explorers seek to solve the riddle of life on Mars

Within days of each other, spacecraft built by the USA, by China and by the United Arab Emirates will be sent on separate, seven-month voyages to investigate the red planet. Never has so much interplanetary traffic been put en route to Mars at one time - and all of it is intended to help answer a question that has nagged scientists for decades: is there, or was there ever, life on Mars? “Robot missions over the past decade or so have shown that Mars is not a dead, alien place as we had concluded in the late 20th century. In fact it is a world peppered with old lake beds, dried out river channels and organic material,“ said Profesor Ray Arvidson, of Washington University, St Louis. “In other words, back in the day, billions of years ago, Mars was warm and wet. And that is crucial. Death on Mars. As is the way of news cycles, in recent days we're back to hearing about plans for setting humans up on Mars.

Death on Mars

A few years ago this idea was in the spotlight because of now-defunct efforts like Mars One, which somehow got 200,000 people to express interest in what would have been a lifelong trip to the red planet. Strange magnetic pulses that happen at midnight detected on Mars. Scientists reveal preliminary findings from NASA's Insight Lander on Mars.The lander has been on Mars since November 2018.The data includes detection of magnetic pulses, happening at local midnight.

Strange magnetic pulses that happen at midnight detected on Mars

NASA's Insight Lander, a robot designed to study the deep insides of Mars, taking its vital signs, has sent back a wealth of information. Within the preliminary findings is evidence of a strange magnetic pulse some times emanating from the planet precisely at midnight. The seemingly timed nature of the phenomenon raised the attention of the scientists poring over the data. The cause of the pulsation is currently unknown. The researchers are trying to pinpoint whether the signal is from deep underground or closer to the surface. What's unusual about this occasional magnetic pulsation or wobbling is that it happens at a time when such events would be unlikely on Earth, where they are often related to northern or southern lights, explains National Geographic.

NASA's Plan to Free Its Stuck Mars Probe From InSight. The probe, made up of a spike and a sensor-studded tether, is designed to burrow nearly 16 feet into the surface.

NASA's Plan to Free Its Stuck Mars Probe From InSight

That’s deeper than previous instruments have gone “on any other planet, moon, or asteroid,” according to NASA (excluding Earth, of course). The tether was supposed to follow the spike down and measure the heat coming from the planet’s interior. The machine only made it 12 inches. Why Does This Picture From Mars Look Like a Riverbed on Earth? Picture a the shallows of a gently flowing stream, or a bathmat meant to evoke one, and you might settle on something that looks a lot like this—a swath of relatively uniform, smooth, round pebbles against smaller grains of sand.

Why Does This Picture From Mars Look Like a Riverbed on Earth?

Take a closer look at this one, though, and you’ll notice what’s missing. There are no ripples or minnows or strands of algae. That’s because this image, recently shared by NASA, was snapped on Mars. NASA’s Curiosity rover landed at the Gale Crater on the red planet in August 2012, and has been rolling around Mount Sharp—which rises 3.4 miles from the depression’s floor—ever since. So far, the rover has covered a little more than 12 miles. Orbiting satellites had detected clay minerals in this part of the mountain, a region known as Glen Torridon. Curiosity keeps coming across tiny stones like these. Researchers aren’t yet sure exactly how the pebbles came to look the way they do, but Fox says that, as on our own planet, water or wind probably played a role. Curiosity and Mars Express sniff out source of Martian methane. Mars Opportunity Rover Is Dead. NASA Catches Glimpse Of Hard-Charging Curiosity Rover Just Before InSight’s Communications Go Dark.

PASADENA, CA—According to panicking officials at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the new InSight lander successfully touched down on the Red Planet Monday, transmitted a few seconds of footage showing the Mars Curiosity rover charging hard in its direction, and then went completely dark.

NASA Catches Glimpse Of Hard-Charging Curiosity Rover Just Before InSight’s Communications Go Dark

“In a series of blurry images received just before we lost all contact with the lander, we can see Curiosity suddenly appearing in the distance, cresting a dune, and advancing at full speed toward InSight,” said the mission’s principal investigator, W. Bruce Banerdt, explaining that the spacecraft had landed 370 miles north of Curiosity’s last known location, and that his team had no idea how the rover found the landing site or why it apparently rammed into InSight with maximum force. NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will look for ancient life in a former river delta. Mars could have enough molecular oxygen to support life, and scientists figured out where to find it. Modern-day Mars may be more hospitable to oxygen-breathing life than previously thought.

Mars could have enough molecular oxygen to support life, and scientists figured out where to find it

A new study suggests that salty water at or near the surface of the red planet could contain enough dissolved O2 to support oxygen-breathing microbes, and even more complex organisms such as sponges. "Nobody thought of Mars as a place where aerobic respiration would work because there is so little oxygen in the atmosphere," said Vlada Stamenkovic an Earth and planetary scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who led the work.

Huge Deposits of Ice Found Just Beneath Mars’ Surface. Scientists have known for some time that vast ice sheets lie deep beneath the rusty surface of Mars. But details about the thickness of the ice, its composition and its layering have been difficult to gauge—until now. As Mike Wall reports for Space.com, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has discovered eight sites where erosion has exposed enormous deposits of ice, some of which are 330 feet thick. The findings, described recently in the journal Science, were made with the MRO’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, which has been taking images of Mars since 2005. The sites of exposed ice are located on steep slopes, or “scarps,” in Mars’ midlatitudes.

The ice seems to be relatively pure and some of the deposits are only about a meter below the surface, writes Robbie Gonzalez of Wired. Scientists are intrigued by these discoveries for a number of reasons. There is at least one caveat, however, as Gonzalez points out in Wired. Boron Found on Mars Is a Crucial Building Block For Life. ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum) The discovery of boron in the Gale Crater on Mars has given scientists a clue to the potential of life having once existed on the Red Planet.

"Because borates may play an important role in making RNA—one of the building blocks of life—finding boron on Mars further opens the possibility that life could have once arisen on the planet," said Patrick Gasda, a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico and lead author of a paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters. Ancient Mars Lake Had Multiple Environments That Might Have Supported Life. The window of opportunity for life to arise on ancient Mars was apparently broader than scientists had thought.

The lake that once filled much of Mars' huge Gale Crater featured multiple potentially habitable environments segregated by depth, as some water bodies here on Earth do, a new study based on observations by NASA's Curiosity rover suggests. "This chemical stratification might've provided a sort of menu of options for any microbes that preferred one environment over the other to take advantage of," study lead author Joel Hurowitz, a geoscientist at Stony Brook University in New York, told Space.com.

[Photos: Ancient Mars Lake Could Have Supported Life] "What we're learning is that all of the necessary ingredients for life to take hold were present inside this lake in Gale Crater," Hurowitz added. Why methane on Mars is a sign of something extraordinary. If you want to detect life on another planet, look for biomarkers—spectroscopic signatures of chemicals that betray the activity of living things. And in fact we may have already found a biomarker. In 2003 Earth-based astronomers caught glimpses of methane in the Martian atmosphere. The discovery was initially controversial, so much so that the discoverers themselves held back from publishing it.

But the two of us and our colleagues recently confirmed the presence of methane using NASA’s Curiosity rover. Everything About Mars Is The Worst. At first glance, Mars seems pretty nice. The sun warms its rusty surface to a balmy 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and gentle breezes ruffle its dirt. Spacecraft touch down and either plant their legs, so they can scrape and till its umber soil, or roll away, so they can trundle over rocks, up hills and down craters. Eventually, humans may be able to stake their flags in that solid ground, and build habitats, and maybe grow food.

No other world in the solar system offers us this chance. Mercury is way too close to the sun. Martian dust storms could make life interesting for future astronauts. NASA scientists have discovered that three powerful dust storms which occur each Martian year could pose a hazard to astronauts undertaking a mission to the Red Planet. The discovery also represents a rare opportunity for planetary scientists to gain an insight regarding the processes at work in the tenuous Martian atmosphere.

Scientists are trying to brew oxygen on Mars. Ancient Mars Had an Ocean, Scientists Say. Meet the people who have volunteered to die on Mars. Mars Crater Once Held A Massive Lake, New Curiosity Data Suggest. Ancient Mars may have been much wetter than scientists thought. New data from NASA's Curiosity rover indicate the red planet's Gale Crater once contained a massive lake--and that Mount Sharp, the mountain at the center of the 96-mile-wide crater, formed from the build-up of sediment over tens of millions of years.

The new finding suggests that large, long-lasting lakes once dotted the Martian landscape, raising the possibility that the planet was once habitable. Is Martian soil actually good for farming? If we ever wanted to permanently colonize Mars, one thing seems probable: we'd have to figure out how to grow some food there. This raises an interesting question: could we use Martian soil to do it? Plants grew better in a simulated martian soil than in a nutrient-poor earth soil Previously, NASA researchers had speculated that we'd have to either grow food hydroponically on Mars, or ship soil there from Earth. We can terraform Mars for the same cost as mitigating climate change. Which would you rather? Turn it blue? Curiosity stumbles upon new evidence of life of Mars.

Rover Finds New Evidence That Ancient Mars Was Habitable. Mars Water: Buried Channels Discovered On Planet May Be Evidence Of Ancient 'Megafloods' Mars Clays May Have Volcanic Source. Curiosity rolls out, and writes a message on Mars. Mars Rover Curiosity Begins 1st Long Martian Drive. Does Curiosity Have the Smarts to Find Life on Mars? Newfound Streambed Latest Evidence for Wet Ancient Mars. Mars Water: NASA's Curiosity Rover Finds Signs Of Ancient Stream. Mars 'Blueberries': Iron Baubles Spotted By NASA Opportunity Rover, Suggests Life Existed On Red Planet. Mars Soil Similar To Volcanic Sand On Hawaii's Mauna Kea, NASA Curiosity Rover Finds.

Scientists To Put Genome-Sequencers On Mars To Find Alien DNA. Scientists probe fresh Martian meteorite  Curiosity sends back weather and radiation data. Curiosity Rover's Chemistry Lab Gets First Taste of Mars Soil. ESA's Mars Express relays Curiosity data. Mars Dust Storm May Affect NASA Rovers Opportunity, Curiosity. Organics On Mars: Curiosity Rover Finds Evidence Of Organic Compounds On Red Planet. Giant Mars Crater Shows Evidence of Ancient Lake. Mars Rover Curiosity's Tracks Spied From Space. New evidence of groundwater-fed lake on Mars.