Image Gallery: polygons in Martian crater

New HiRISE image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showing an amazing network of polygon fractures inside a crater. The fractures are thought to be caused by the cracking of ice-cemented soil (permafrost). They are also known as periglacial landforms, such as in the polar regions on Earth. They are common on Mars, even near the equator, … Read more

New study shows carbon in Martian meteorite to be ‘likely of biological origin’

The possibility of ancient life on Mars just received an added boost: new analysis of carbon inside a Martian meteorite shows that it is likely of biological origin, according to an international team of scientists from EPFL, it was announced on Dec. 2, 2014. The meteorite, called Tissint, was first found in the Moroccan desert … Read more

Image Gallery: tiny odd linear features in Opportunity images (sol 3850)

As the Opportunity rover nears the top of Cape Tribulation, it has been busy as usual examining the rocks it comes across. On sol 3850, a brushing of dust off one of the rocks showed some interesting details. What are the tiny linear “stick-like” objects in this Microscopic Imager view? Mineral fibers? Dislodged feldspar laths? … Read more

Review: The Year in Space wall calendar for 2015

It’s that time of year again and the new 2015 edition of The Year in Space calendar is now available! This beautiful and stunning large-format wall calendar, published in cooperation with The Planetary Society, is a unique and awe-inspiring gift for every space and astronomy enthusiast. There are relatively few space-themed calendars out there, and this … Read more

Image Gallery: more rock oddities in Pahrump Hills

The Curiosity rover is still investigating the fascinating variety of rock outcrops at Pahrump Hills, near the base of Mount Sharp. In addition to the odd “blisters” and “elongated hollows” mentioned before, there are other interesting and unusual rock formations here. Wind and erosion can create some weird shapes in rocks, and these two new … Read more

Hot ‘super-Earths’ provide clues to water in exoplanet atmospheres

Some of the most interesting exoplanets discovered so far are the “super-Earths,” rocky worlds which are significantly larger and more massive than Earth but still smaller than the ice giants such as Uranus or Neptune. Since they are not present in our own Solar System, their existence elsewhere can provide valuable information about planetary formation … Read more

Image Gallery: Europa redux

NASA just released this new version of probably the most well-known image of Jupiter’s moon Europa. First taken in the late 1990s by the Galileo spacecraft, this version has been enhanced by more current imaging techniques, with more accurate colours. The cracked icy surface hides a deep global ocean of water, making Europa a prime … Read more