Tag Archives: Mars

Image Gallery: fog in Valles Marineris

Water fog in the Valles Marineris canyons. Image Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin

After yesterday’s exciting news about the Curiosity rover finding methane and organics on Mars, here is a reminder that the planet is rather Earth-like in other ways too, such as having water clouds and fog. This well-known image is from the Mars Express spacecraft, showing dense fog filling canyons in Valles Marineris, the giant canyon Continue Reading →

Curiosity rover finds methane and organics on Mars

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity drilled into this rock target, "Cumberland," during the 279th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (May 19, 2013) and collected a powdered sample of material from the rock's interior.

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill. “This temporary increase in methane — sharply up and then back down — tells us there must be some relatively localized source,” Continue Reading →

Image Gallery: mesas and buttes on Mount Sharp

Mesas and buttes in the foothills of Mount Sharp. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The Curiosity rover has taken some great images of the mesas and buttes in the foothills of Mount Sharp. This newly released montage is a mosaic of images taken last year, Sep. 7, 2013. The rover is now much closer to these landforms, but even from this previous vantage point, remarkable detail can be seen. The Continue Reading →

Curiosity finds new evidence Gale crater was once a large lake

This illustration depicts a lake of water partially filling Mars' Gale Crater, receiving runoff from snow melting on the crater's northern rim.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin/MSSS

Observations by NASA’s Curiosity Rover indicate Mars’ Mount Sharp was built by sediments deposited in a large lake bed over tens of millions of years. This interpretation of Curiosity’s finds in Gale Crater suggests ancient Mars maintained a climate that could have produced long-lasting lakes at many locations on the Red Planet. Continue Reading →

Image Gallery: weird round landform on Mars

Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

An unusual round landform in the Athabasca region on Mars, as seen by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The round “island” is isolated, sitting in a “sea” of old smooth lava flows. How it formed isn’t known yet, but theories include that it was pushed up somehow by lava or ice that was melted by the lava. Continue Reading →

Image Gallery: polygons in Martian crater

polygons

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, Continue Reading →

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

The Tissint meteorite. Photo Credit: Alain Herzog / EPFL

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 Continue Reading →

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

Close-up view of the tiny "stick-like" objects from sol 3850. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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? Continue Reading →

Image Gallery: more rock oddities in Pahrump Hills

The "samosa" from sol 821. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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 Continue Reading →

Image Gallery: interesting rock textures in Pahrump Hills

Some of the rounded "blisters" as seen on sol 810 by Curiosity. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

As Curiosity has continued to investigate the rock outcrops of Pahrump Hills near the base of Mount Sharp, it has found a variety of interesting textures on the rocks that should provide more clues to the conditions here a long time ago. Shown here are examples of rounded, raised “blisters” and many small elongated “hollows” Continue Reading →

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