Scientists and engineers with the Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE) recently selected a location near the Rio Tinto river to drill for exotic subsurface life. Representing NASA, numerous U.S. universities, and the Spanish Centro De Astrobiolog
Drilling for Life Astronomy.com
Martian Landing Sites Chosen Astronomy.com
In May and June, NASA will be launching two new landers to the Red Planet, but until late last week the agency hadn’t decided where to send them. After years of analysis and debate, Mars scientists and NASA have agreed to set the twin Mars Exploration Rovers down in two places where liquid water seems to have flowed in the past. The first Mars Exploration Rover (MER-A) will land inside Gusev Crater, which may have at one time held a lake. Located a little less than 15 degrees south of the martian equator, the 160-kilometer (100-mile) impact crater lies at the end of a 900-kilometer-long (550-mile) fluvial channel called Ma’adim Vallis. Some scientists have suggested that Ma’adim Vallis may have once fed water into a lake within Gusev Crater.
Deep Down, Mars is a Softie Astronomy.com
Mars may be the god of war, but its namesake planet apparently has a soft heart. Information from the orbiting Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft suggests the martian core is at least partially fluid. In a paper published online by Science on March 7, a team of scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and California Institute of Technology report on their analysis of more than three years of orbital data from Mars Global Surveyor.
NASA Gives Students a Chance to Play on Mars Astronomy.com
Two programs offer students and teachers a chance to actively participate in NASA’s upcoming Mars Explorer Rover missions. The Red Rover Goes to Mars Student Astronaut Team and the Athena Student Interns Program come a couple months after NASA Administrator, Sean O’Keefe, asserted the agency’s renewed commitment to outreach through education. These new programs are an extension of an initiative to increase awareness for NASA projects. As O’Keefe stated in January, when he unveiled the Educator Astronaut Program, “Education has always been a part of NASA’s mission, but we have renewed our commitment to get students excited about science and mathematics.”
Timeline of Mars events for 2003 and Early 2004 Astronomy.com
On August 27, 2003, Mars will be closer to Earth than it has been for many millennia. But observers will be able to enjoy the extroadinary event much longer than just that one day. Here is a guide describing what to look for when, which will help you to take advantage of Mars’s latest opposition throughout the year.
Mars Meets Its Rival Astronomy.com
The chilly mornings of late January may not seem inviting, but they do have one redeeming feature: Head outside before the break of dawn and you
Next in Line for Mars Astronomy.com
In five years, a new class of spacecraft will be heading to the Red Planet. This week, NASA announced the four finalists that will compete for the opportunity to be the first “Mars Scout.” Of the 25 proposals submitted in August, NASA selected these four because of their innovative scientific goals and cost effectiveness. Each mission is designed to answer many unknown questions about the planet’s chemical composition and biological activity. A full-scale model of the ARES Mars airplane NASA / LARC The four finalists are: ARES, Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Survey; Marvel, Mars Volcanic Emission and Life Scout; Phoenix; and SCIM, Sample Collection for Investigation of Mars.
New Exhibit Showcases Latest Mars Images Astronomy.com
Visitors to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., expect to see historic pieces from humankind’s quest to conquer the sky and the dark realm beyond. But a new exhibit brings visitors to the forefront of space exploration as it is happening now. The exhibit, which is on display indefinitely, features the latest images from the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) aboard NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, which is now orbiting Mars. Controlled by a team at Arizona State University (ASU), THEMIS records daytime and nighttime images of the martian surface at visible and infrared wavelengths. This information provides insight about temperature changes on the surface, as well as the planet’s mineralogy and topography.
Music on Mars Astronomy.com
When earthlings finally do journey to Mars, the trip will be a lot longer than a drive to grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving. Yes, there will be science to conduct and chores to do in transit and on the martian surface, but there will be some downtime. The space travelers will need entertainment to keep their spirits up during their historic but challenging endeavor. In the spring of 2002, a crew of six camped out in a remote Utah desert to find out what life might be like on Mars, physically isolated from the rest of society. They recognized the role music plays in our everyday lives on Earth, so the Utah-based “martians” made sure music was a part of their experience as well.
Return of the Red Planet Astronomy.com
Few planets disappear for longer stretches than Mars. We last saw the Red Planet during spring, when it lay low in the evening sky after sunset. It then spent all summer and early autumn hidden in the sun’s glare, nearly matching our star’s speed across the sky. Now as October turns to November, Mars once again returns to view, this time in the morning sky.