NASA’s Perseverance Rover Launches to Mars

Today, July 30, 2020 at 7:50 a.m. EDT (11:50 UTC) NASA’s Mars 2020 rover Perseverance launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida aboard a ULA Atlas V 541 rocket. The weather at the Cape was picture-perfect and the launch went smoothly, sending NASA’s newest robotic mission to Mars on its way for an anticipated arrival and landing…

When Spirit Spotted a Swarm of Devils

Mars may be pretty low on traffic these days but, on this day back in 2005, NASA’s Spirit rover (the twin to Opportunity) seemed to find itself at a busy intersection as several blustery dust devils zipped past, one after the other!

ESA’s Trace Gas Orbiter Detects Green Airglow Around Mars

Many photographs taken from low-Earth orbit, especially from the Space Station while on the night side of Earth, show a thin line of green or yellowish light just above the limb of our planet. This is called airglow, and it’s caused by excited oxygen atoms high in the atmosphere releasing energy in the form of…

Mars Odyssey Orbiter Takes Moon Phobos’ Temperature

(News from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) Three new views of the Martian moon Phobos have been captured by NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter. Taken this past winter and this spring, they capture the moon as it drifts into and out of Mars’ shadow. Combined with three previous images, these observations represent waxing, waning and full views…

Mars May Have Repeatedly Been a Ringed Planet

(News from SETI) Scientists from the SETI Institute and Purdue University have found that the only way to produce Deimos’s unusually tilted orbit is for Mars to have had a ring billions of years ago. While some of the more massive planets in our solar system have giant rings and numerous big moons, Mars only…

Stromatolites in the Nevada Desert…and Maybe Even on Mars?

I’m no paleontologist but I’ve long found stromatolites to be really interesting. They’re one of the earliest known forms of complex life on Earth. These layered mounds created over hundreds and thousands of years by cyanobacteria—basically  “microbial reefs”— have existed on Earth for over 3.5 billion years. Today they can be found in active, living…

Phobos Will Eventually Become a Ring Around Mars

Phobos, Mars’ largest moon — although at just 16 miles wide still quite small — is slowly but steadily being torn apart by the gravitational pull of Mars… and it bears the scars to prove it. Long parallel grooves seen wrapping around the surface of Phobos are most likely stress fractures, visible evidence of the tidal forces…

Earth and Moon as Seen from Mars

This is an image of Earth and the Moon captured from Mars by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) aboard NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor on May 8, 2003. It was the first time an image had been captured from another planet—i.e., by a spacecraft in orbit—showing both bodies as discernible planetary disks, in phases. At that time Mars…

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Mission Getting in Shape for Launch

(Via NASA) Engineers working on NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission at Kennedy Space Center in Florida have begun the process of placing the Mars-bound rover and other spacecraft components into the configuration they’ll be in as they ride on top of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Stacking spacecraft components on top of each…