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…

Double Moon: Debunked

In what seems to be a newly-evolved form of the 15-year-old Mars Hoax people have recently been asking me about a “double Moon” that they heard is supposed to occur. I hadn’t come across it myself (maybe because I follow too much *actual* science news) but it sounded suspiciously familiar and, now being August, I figured…

Happy Opposition Day!

It’s Opposition Day! No, that’s not a political stance but rather a geometric one, relating to the positions of Earth, the Sun, and Mars in the Solar System. Today our neighboring planet Mars will be directly opposite the Sun relative to Earth, which will make it the second-brightest “star” in the night sky after Venus….

ESA Finds Liquid Water on Mars

Water has been found on Mars! (Yes, again.) In what’s turned into the biggest space news of the day, today ESA (and that’s pronounced “eesa”, you don’t need to spell it out) announced that the Italian-run radar experiment aboard its Mars Express orbiter has provided the first good evidence of liquid water present beneath the…

An Opportunity From Above

To commemorate the 12th anniversary of NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter at Mars (March 10, 2006) and the still-roving Opportunity, below is an edited version of an article I wrote back in 2011 showing Opportunity imaged by MRO’s HiRISE camera. The eye in the sky sees all…especially when that eye is the HiRISE camera on the…