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Mars the magnificent

Celestial Objects to Observe

Behold Mars! The Best View Until 2035

After a two-years hiatus Mars returns big and bright at opposition on October 13th, its best apparition until September 2035.

Mars south pole ice cap

Solar System

Evidence Grows for Super-Salty Underground Lakes on Mars

New analysis of data from the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter strengthens the case for salty lakes underneath Mars's south polar cap.

Superimposed: Mars river valley networks and Devon Island channels

Solar System

Was Early Mars "Wet and Warm"? Or Wet and Cold?

A new model suggests that Martian valley networks might have been created by ancient subglacial rivers rather than water flowing on the surface.

Perseverance launch

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

NASA Launches Perseverance Rover for Mars

NASA’s Perseverance rover heads to the Red Planet.

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

China Launches Tianwen 1 Mars Mission

China launches its first Marsbound mission, Tianwen 1, which carries an ambitious orbiter, lander, and rover package.

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

United Arab Emirates Launches Mars Hope Orbiter

United Arab Emirates joins the "planetary space club" with an ambitious mission to Mars.

Mars: dry vs. wet

Solar System

Weak Martian Magnetic Field May Have Let Air Out

Mars's magnetic field weakened and disappeared billions of years ago. Now, scientists have found that the weak field might have been worse than none at all.

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter looks for methane (art)

Solar System

The Martian Methane Mystery Continues

The most advanced instrument ever sent to Mars to study its atmosphere has failed to find any methane after months of searching.

Phobos Shadow

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

Curiosity Sees Phobos Transit . . . After Sunset

NASA's Curiosity rover just spied transits of both Martian moons across the face of the Sun — including one that happened after the Sun had set.

Mars Express

Solar System

New Study Confirms Methane on Mars – But It’s Not Definitive

Independent methane detections in the Martian atmosphere by the Curiosity rover and Mars Express orbiter add confusion to a convoluted story.

Curiosity selfie

Solar System

Curiosity Rover Exposes Mountain’s Origin

Scientists have used an innovative measure of Mars's gravity to reveal the origin of the mountain the rover is exploring.

Image of Martian dust storm

Solar System

Dust Storm Electricity Might Forge Perchlorates on Mars

Electrostatic discharge in a simulated dusty Martian environment yields perchlorates — a potential energy source for microbial life — at abundances 1,000 times greater than sunlight alone.

Illustration of dust storms on Titan

Solar System

60-Second Astro News: Dust Storms on Titan, Origin of Phobos

In astronomy news this week: Dust storms are seen blowing around Titan for the first time, and new clues from old data suggest that an impact on Mars gave birth to Phobos.

Planets

Observers Anxious for Dust to Settle as Mars Opposition Approaches

With opposition only weeks away, will the current global dust storm finally break? We look at the prospects.

One explosion begets another

Explore the Night with Bob King

Fireworks, Planets, Comets, a Nova — July's Got it All!

July's a busy month for skywatching. Not only are five bright planets in view, but three comets and a newly-discovered nova are also observable. And it all starts with a bang on Independence Day.

Celestial News & Events

Big Dust Storm Blows up on Mars (Updated)

Will Mars soon be hidden under a veil of dust? Let's hope not. We explore the current storm and the planet's upcoming close opposition.

Hill on Medusae Fossae Formation

Solar System

Martian Supervolcano Created Mysterious Rock Formation

Scientists have discovered that a supervolcano likely created a mysterious rock formation on Mars some 3 billion years ago.

Solar System

Mars Dust Storm Grows — Curiosity's Skies Darkening

The dust storm on Mars that broke out at the end of May is now affecting the skies across the entire planet.

Mojave drill site on Mars

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Methane and Other Organics on Mars

The Curiosity rover has detected organic molecules in ancient rocks on Mars.

Drill Duluth

Solar System

Curiosity Rover is Drilling Again

An innovative technique has allowed NASA's Curiosity Rover to resume drilling Martian rocks. But the partially successful test shows that more work remains to be done.

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