Category Archives: Mars

Mars Is Coming Out of an Ice Age

Radar imagery from a NASA Mars orbiter shows the Red Planet has been through cycles of climate change — and it’s currently thawing.

 Mars is in the process of 370,000-year-old climate shift that, one day, will leave the Red Planet looking fairly pink, new research shows.

Evidence that Mars is emerging from an ice age comes from analysis of radar images showing dramatic variations within layers of ice inside the planet’s northern polar cap. As the planet warms, more ice collects on its polar regions, the reverse of long-duration climate shifts on Earth. The cycles are triggered by variations in the planets’ orbits around the sun and their axial tilts. Continue reading Mars Is Coming Out of an Ice Age

Mysterious Mars Mounds Were Liquid-Filled Craters

On Mars, formerly water-filled craters transformed to dry mile-high mounds with the help of wind, according to new research.

The results explain the geography of Gale Crater (the Curiosity rover’s landing site) as well as other high-topped places on the Red Planet, and confirm that wind is currently the dominant force in Mars’ geology. (Mars has no widespread plate tectonics or liquid water today). Continue reading Mysterious Mars Mounds Were Liquid-Filled Craters

Sandbox Selfie! Curiosity Plays in Mars Sand Dune

Sure, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has seen sand before, but this dune is by far the biggest and the six-wheeled rover is making the most of it.

Seen here on sol 1,228 (Jan. 19) of its mission, Curiosity another another picturesque selfie, using its robotic arm-mounted Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). MAHLI snapped 57 high-resolution Continue reading Sandbox Selfie! Curiosity Plays in Mars Sand Dune

Powered Up, Veteran Rover Soldiers Through Mars Winter

For a rover with a prime mission of only 3 months, NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity sure is going above and beyond the call of duty.

On Monday, the veteran wheeled rover celebrated its 12th year (yes, that’s 12 Earth years, or 144 months) on the red planet and, although it’s been a hard road for the robot, it is still doing science. And it’s doing science during the most aggressive period of the Martian year, which is nearly 687 Earth days long. Continue reading Powered Up, Veteran Rover Soldiers Through Mars Winter

Mars will become ringed planet after crushing its moon Phobos

It may take millions of years, but Mars will likely one day become the fifth ringed planet in our solar system.The Red Planet, scientists have calculated, will crush its small moon Phobos with the force of its own gravity, leaving just a belt of debris in orbit. The moonlet circles the Red Planet some 6,000 kilometers above the surface – compared to the average 385,000 km that separates Earth from the moon. Since its discovery in 1877, Mars has pulled Phobos closer by roughly 2.5 meters or by 1.8288 cm (0.72 inches) each year. Continue reading Mars will become ringed planet after crushing its moon Phobos

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