Category Archives: Mars

Curiosity Finds Mars May Be Covered in Organic Chemistry

New analysis from NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover shows that the red planet is likely flush with organics.

“I am convinced that organics are all over Mars,” said Jennifer Eigenbrode, a biogeochemist and geologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

“They’re all over the surface and they’re probably through the rock record. What that means is something we’ll have to talk about,” Eigenbrode said last week during a National Academy of Sciences workshop about the search for life beyond Earth. Continue reading Curiosity Finds Mars May Be Covered in Organic Chemistry

Curiosity’s Mars Drill Is Jammed

Having your drill break down while you’re millions of miles from the nearest hardware store would be a bummer, but that is exactly what’s happened to NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity.

The rover, which is currently located at the lower slopes of the 3.4-mile-high Mount Sharp (officially known as Aeolis Mons), was supposed to carry out a drilling operation on a geologically interesting location on Dec. 1 when mission controllers got word that Curiosity was unable to complete its commands. Early indications show that the rover detected a fault with the “drill feed” mechanism that lowers the drill piece to the rocky sample and aborted the operation. Continue reading Curiosity’s Mars Drill Is Jammed

National Geographic ‘MARS’ Offers History of Future 1st Landing on Red Planet

Humanity is still years away from landing on Mars, but the first documentary to look back at that achievement is already complete.

The six-part television docudrama “MARS,” premiering on the National Geographic Channel Monday night (Nov. 14), chronicles the first mission to the Red Planet in 2033 using footage of the crew’s activities on the surface and through “flashbacks” to 2016, when the journey to Mars began. Continue reading National Geographic ‘MARS’ Offers History of Future 1st Landing on Red Planet

Mars Lander Crashed, Possibly Exploded

Satellite imagery from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) dashed hopes that Europe’s Schiaparelli lander arrived in one piece on the surface of Mars.

Before and after shots of Schiaparelli’s landing site show a white spot, believed to be the probe’s jettisoned parachute, and a large dark region, the likely crash site, images released on Friday show. Continue reading Mars Lander Crashed, Possibly Exploded

Odds Favor Successful SpaceX Mars Mission

Before NASA decided to help SpaceX on its journey to Mars, details of which company chief Elon Musk plans to unveil on Tuesday, the U.S. space agency reviewed the plan for SpaceX’s first mission, slated to launch in 2018, and decided it has a reasonably good chance of success.

For NASA, a successful mission means that SpaceX’s Mars vehicle, called Red Dragon, flies through the Martian atmosphere with its thrusters firing in the direction of travel, a technology known as supersonic retrograde propulsion. The feather in the cap would be a propulsive landing on the Martian surface. Continue reading Odds Favor Successful SpaceX Mars Mission

NASA Is Ready to Start Building Its Life-Hunting 2020 Mars Rover

NASA’s life-hunting 2020 Mars rover has cleared an extensive review process and is now ready to begin the final design and construction phase, agency officials announced July 15.

If all goes according to plan, the six-wheeled robot will blast off in August 2020, touch down in February 2021 in a yet-to-be-determined spot, and then explore the Martian surface for at least two years, mission team members said. Continue reading NASA Is Ready to Start Building Its Life-Hunting 2020 Mars Rover

Humans to Mars by 2028? Check Out Lockheed Martin’s Red Planet ‘Base Camp’ Idea

Lockheed Martin has launched its campaign to establish a “Mars Base Camp” — a vision for sending humans to Mars by 2028.

In its Mars Base Camp concept video, the aerospace compant Lockheed Martin lays out a plan that would transport astronauts from Earth to a Mars-orbiting science laboratory, where they could perform real-time scientific exploration, analyze Martian rock and soil samples,and confirm the ideal place to land humans on the surface. Continue reading Humans to Mars by 2028? Check Out Lockheed Martin’s Red Planet ‘Base Camp’ Idea