August 5th, 2014

Live Stream: Mars Up Close National Geographic

With the ongoing success of the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity rover, America’s imagination has once again been captured by our nearest planetary neighbor.
To celebrate the new National Geographic book Mars Up Close, find out about the latest discoveries from the Red Planet as a panel of distinguished space scientists and Mars experts involved in current Mars exploration share what we’ve learned from Curiosity and the other Mars rovers.

April 2nd, 2014

Exploring Mars in Utah National Geographic

Join five scientists on a “mission to Mars” in Utah. Photojournalist Jim Urquhart embedded with Crew 138 of the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station for two weeks in March. The crew describes what it’s like, in their own words.

March 31st, 2014

Powerful Jets From Mars-Bound Comet Spied by Hubble National Geographic

After lurking in the outer reaches of the solar system for the past one million years, a comet is heading for a close encounter with Mars. The Hubble Space Telescope is keeping tabs on the icy interloper, seen in just-released images.
Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring), which now lies some 353 million miles (568 million kilometers) from Earth, was discovered by Australia’s Robert McNaught, a prolific comet and asteroid hunter, more than a year ago. NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, California, has been refining the comet’s exact trajectory ever since.
While researchers have ruled out a direct collision with Mars, the dusty coma of the comet (which is nearly as large as the entire Earth) will sweep directly across the red planet. The comet core, or nucleus, is expected make its closest approach to the red planet on October 19 at 2:28 p.m. ET. It will pass within 85,600 miles (137,760 kilometers) of Mars—less than half the distance from the Earth to the moon.

May 1st, 2013

Buzz Aldrin’s Mission to Mars National Geographic

April 1st, 2013

MISSION TO MARS: My Vision for Space Exploration National Geographic

In a new book from National Geographic, celebrated astronaut and bestselling author Buzz Aldrin boldly advocates continuing exploration of our solar system. In MISSION TO MARS: My Vision for Space Exploration (National Geographic Books; ISBN 978-1-4262-1017-4; on sale May 7; hardcover), by Buzz Aldrin and Leonard David, Aldrin lays out his goals for the space program and how he believes we can get humans to Mars by the 2030s, a vision shared by President Obama and one that is fortified by private industry and international cooperation.
In the book, which includes a foreword by Aldrin’s son Andrew, Aldrin makes the case and argues passionately for pushing our boundaries of knowledge and exploration of our solar system and presents his “unified space vision.” Aldrin discusses the history of space flight, including a reflective, not nostalgic, look at the people, technologies and steps that were taken to accomplish America’s Apollo moon landings, and plots a course of future exploration. He says “Do not put NASA astronauts on the moon. They have other places to go.” And he emphasizes that the path forward is not a competition; we cannot restart an engine to rerun a race we previously won. This is a controversial notion that causes significant division among astronauts.

March 1st, 2013

Mars Rover Curiosity Has First Big Malfunction National Geographic

The Mars rover Curiosity experienced its first significant malfunction on Wednesday, when one of its two onboard computers became corrupted and failed to turn off and enter “sleep mode” as planned.
The Curiosity team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory sent up commands to switch all operations from the corrupted A computer to the twin B computer early Thursday morning, according to a Thursday NASA statement.
Most spacecraft have a backup computer to step in if the primary computer fails. Richard Cook, project manager for the Curiosity project, said the problem was the most serious experienced by the rover so far in its nearly 7 months on the red planet.

March 11th, 2010

Inverted Crater on Mars National Geographic

It might look like an oddly circular iceberg in the Antarctic Ocean. But this is actually a crater turned inside-out by time in the Arabia Terra region of Mars.
Scientists think such inverted craters form when an impact basin fills with sediment and the material around that sediment gets eroded away.
NASA released the false-color, high-resolution picture March 3, 2010, to commemorate a milestone for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: the collection of a hundred trillion bits of data on the red planet. The camera that snapped this shot on January 29, known as HiRISE, is one of six instruments aboard the Mars-orbiting craft.

January 25th, 2010

Making Mars the New Earth National Geographic

What would it take to green the red planet? For starters, a massive amount of global warming.
Could we “terraform” Mars—that is, transform its frozen, thin-aired surface into something more friendly and Earthlike? Should we? The first question has a clear answer: Yes, we probably could. Spacecraft, including the ones now exploring Mars, have found evidence that it was warm in its youth, with rivers draining into vast seas. And right here on Earth, we’ve learned how to warm a planet: just add greenhouse gases to its atmosphere. Much of the carbon dioxide that once warmed Mars is probably still there, in frozen dirt and polar ice caps, and so is the water. All the planet needs to recapture its salad days is a gardener with a big budget.

January 24th, 2010

Stuck Mars Rover About to Die? National Geographic

NASA’s Mars rover Spirit passed its six-year anniversary January 3rd, but the upcoming Mars winter may spell the end for the ‘all-terrain’ vehicle.
Last year, Spirit’s wheels broke through a crusty Mars surface layer and became trapped in the loose sand hidden underneath. Here, a NASA scale model mockup is seen trying to maneuver out of the predicament.
Latest attempts to recover the real rover have resulted in it sinking deeper in the Martian soil.
Spirit’s twin rover, Opportunity, landed on the opposite side of Mars 3 weeks after Spirit, and is still able to rove across the planet’s surface. The two rovers combined have traveled more than 16 miles, sending back photos and lots of data about the planet.
As daily sunshine on the Red Planet’s southern hemisphere declines with the approaching winter, NASA ground operators are trying to adjust the tilt of Spirit’s solar panels to compensate for the decrease in solar energy.

December 3rd, 2009

Mars Had Liquid Water in Recent Past, Rover Finds National Geographic

Even while snared in a sand trap, NASA’s Mars rover Spirit has hit “wet” pay dirt: evidence of relatively recent groundwater activity on the red planet. For almost six months the rover has been precariously perched on the edge of a shallow crater in an equatorial region of Mars. The area is filled with cooled lava flows pitted by meteorite impacts. While on a routine drive, Spirit broke through a thin crust of hard soil that capped a filled-in impact crater, and its wheels became half buried in the soft sand.