April 4th, 2004

Their spot on Mars The Arizona Republic

There’s a little spot on Mars, fairly close to the equator, that a few Phoenix kids know better than their own back yards. Ten students from Madison No. 1 Elementary School scoured an 11- by 34-mile patch of the Red Planet for signs of water. But they didn’t use just any old picture of Mars for their research. They studied an image shot especially for them by a camera on NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

January 26th, 2004

It’s ‘a Mars we haven’t seen before’ The Arizona Republic

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists were ecstatic Sunday viewing “a Mars we haven’t seen before” from the rover Opportunity, which landed Saturday. And they were encouraged by progress in restoring to health Opportunity’s ailing twin rover, Spirit, which landed Jan. 3. Project Manager Pete Theisinger said Spirit’s prognosis had gone from “critical” to “serious” and was approaching “guarded.”

January 7th, 2004

Girl who named Mars landers is off to jet lab The Arizona Republic

Sofi Collis, the Scottsdale girl and former Russian orphan who gave the Martian rovers Spirit and Opportunity their identity, heads to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., this weekend to watch Spirit explore the Red Planet’s surface. Last year, Sofi’s 50-word essay topped nearly 10,000 entries in a nationwide contest co-sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to name the robotic geological explorers. “In America, you have spirit and opportunity to do stuff,” Sofi said as to why she selected the names.

January 1st, 2004

ASU’s attention on Mars The Arizona Republic

Cosmic tension is afflicting Arizona State University scientists as two spacecraft loaded with ASU-designed equipment streak closer and closer to Mars for January landings. The Mars Exploration Rovers, an $820 million project, will seek evidence about whether the environment in two regions ever had been capable of supporting life. And whether humans will be able to live on Mars some day.

September 24th, 2003

Mars gets a bit windy at times The Arizona Republic

The other day I happened to read something about Mars that mentioned the high wind there. If there is no air in space, how can there be wind on Mars? There is lots of air on Mars. It just isn’t air we can breathe. The atmosphere of Mars is 96 percent carbon dioxide, about 3 percent nitrogen and 1 percent other stuff, including water vapor and a little bit of oxygen. And it is a very thin atmosphere. The average air pressure there is only about 1 percent of Earth’s.

August 1st, 2003

ASU, UA scientists seek $350 million Mars grant The Arizona Republic

Arizona State University and University of Arizona space scientists are about to go into orbit with anxiety waiting for a decision from NASA on who will get a $350 million space project. Announcement of the winner will come today or Monday, officials at both schools said.

June 6th, 2003

Geologist at ASU gains fame with Mars The Arizona Republic

Scientists rarely get research published on the cover of the world’s premier science journals. For Phil Christensen, though, it’s becoming commonplace. The Arizona State University geologist and internationally known Mars researcher had his second major science cover story published Thursday, four days before NASA sends a new rover to explore the Red Planet. “It’s one thing to get in the journal (Science or Nature), but to get on the cover is another thing,” Christensen said.

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