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Alien Yet Familiar: Following Curiosity Across Mars

Alien Yet Familiar: Following Curiosity Across Mars

822 Martian days after landing, NASA’s Curiosity rover, carrying the Mars Science Laboratory, continues on its extraordinary journey across landscapes that are both utterly alien, and remarkably familiar...

November 28, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
Mars's First Close-up

Mars' First Close-up

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of NASA’s Mariner IV spacecraft (November 28, 1964). In total, the mission gave us 21 complete images of Mars, including this, our first close view of the planet—courtesy of data transmitted by the interplanetary probe and earth-bound scientists wielding pastels (below)...

November 28, 2014 — Jen Christiansen

Two New Arrivals Send Back Pictures Of Mars

The skies of Mars just got a little more crowded. On September 21st, 2014 NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) fired its engines for some 33 minutes in order to swing into a safe orbit...

September 26, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
MAVEN Maneuvers into Orbit Tonight

MAVEN Maneuvers into Orbit Tonight

Last summer, I attended a new media professionals workshop at the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) in Colorado to learn more about the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission which launched last November...

September 21, 2014 — Joanne Manaster
The Great Alien Debate (Part 1)

The Great Alien Debate: How Unlikely is Life?

This post is one in a series covering, and expanding on, topics in the book The Copernicus Complex (Scientific American/FSG).           The conversation usually goes like this: Do you think we’re alone in the universe?...

August 26, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
Summer Shorts: A Record 25 Miles On Mars

Summer Shorts: A Record 25 Miles On Mars

It's summer in the northern hemisphere of a small, damp, planet orbiting a middle-aged star in a spiral galaxy of matter enjoying a brief heyday before colliding with another galaxy in some 4 billion orbits of the same small, damp, planet...

July 31, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf

Space: A New Hope or an Old Dream?

The release of a long-awaited National Academy of Sciences report on the state and future of the US space program has triggered wide-reaching commentary on what it means to be space-faring...

June 5, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
Rock-Eating Martian Microbes?

Rock-Eating Martian Microbes?

A recently published study of a 30-pound martian meteorite found in Antarctica suggests the presence of indigenous carbon-rich material, ancient water erosion, and a number of tiny structures that resemble the sort of features that we see rock-eating microbes leaving in basaltic glasses here on Earth...

February 28, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
Mystery of Mars ‘Doughnut’ Rock Solved

Mystery of Mars ‘Doughnut’ Rock Solved

About a month ago an intriguing pair of images from NASA’s Opportunity rover on Mars showed a curious rock that had seemingly appeared our of nowhere during the course of 12 days.

February 18, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
The Jumping Rocks of Mars

The Jumping Rocks of Mars

Now you don’t see it, now you do. Ten years into a mission that was originally going to only last a few months, NASA’s Opportunity rover continues to turn up surprises on Mars...

January 22, 2014 — Caleb A. Scharf
Something’s Cooking on Mars

Something’s Cooking on Mars

What do you get when you cook buried martian mudstone in your oven? The answer appears to be the kind of gases you’d expect if you cooked organic material here on Earth.

December 20, 2013 — Caleb A. Scharf
5 Signs of Life on Mars – The Countdown, Episode 37

5 Signs of Life on Mars – The Countdown, Episode 37

Could Mars support life? In this episode of The Countdown, we run through five intriguing lines of evidence that the red planet was not always as desolate as it appears, and may even be habitable today...

December 12, 2013 — Joss Fong

4 Billion Years of Martian History in 2 Minutes

In honor of a slew of new results coming from NASA’s Curiosity rover, here’s a two-minute simulation of our current best-bet for how the martian environment has evolved over the past 4 billion years...

December 9, 2013 — Caleb A. Scharf
NASA’s MAVEN Mission, as told by LeVar Burton

NASA’s MAVEN Mission, as told by LeVar Burton

I am having quite the space-filled weekend! Today, we just had a hangout with astronaut Chris Hadfield and now I’m packing up to head to Cape Canaveral to watch an ATLAS V rocket send the next Mars Orbiter, MAVEN, to space!...

November 14, 2013 — Joanne Manaster
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