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Spacecraft and Space Missions

Mission Update: Mars and the Moon

Mission teams presenting at this week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference provided updates on the Perseverance and Zhurong rovers at Mars, Chang'e 5's lunar sample return, and more.

View of Gale Crater from top of pediment

Solar System

Evidence Hints at Ancient Life on Mars

Scientists have found a chemical signature that hints at ancient life on Mars. But other possible explanations remain.

Labyrinth on western end of Valles Marineris, by Mariner 9

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Mariner 9: The Martian Semicentennial

A half century ago, Mariner 9 — our first orbiter at another planet — showed us the real Mars.

Arabia Terra from orbit

Solar System

Mars Hosted Supervolcanoes in the Ancient Past

Scientists have found massive ash deposits that formed over millions of years of volcanic super-eruptions, the first evidence for such explosive activity on Mars.

ESCAPADE

Spacecraft and Space Missions

ESCAPADE Blue and Gold Orbiters Head to Mars in 2024

A pair of spacecraft will head to Mars in 2024 as the ESCAPADE mission, to study the Martian space weather environment.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter over Nilosyrtis Mensae (art)

Solar System

Discovery of a Recent Martian Mudslide

A geologically recent landslide on Mars appears like mudslides on Earth — but it would have required water during a time when Mars was expected to be dry.

First Sample

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

Mars Perseverance Rover Hits a Snag on First Sampling Attempt (Update)

Perseverance came up empty on its first attempt to grab and stow a sample of Mars.

Solar System

"Liquid Water" Below Martian Surface Might Be Clay

Mysterious spots that scientists thought were subsurface lakes beneath the Martian south pole may instead be ancient clay deposits.

Solar System

NASA’s Curiosity Takes Step Toward Solving Mars Methane Mystery

New measurements from NASA’s Curiosity rover show that methane concentrations near the Martian surface vary on a daily cycle. The finding could help reconcile conflicting data.

Solar System

More Mysterious Buried Splotches on Mars Might Not be Liquid Water

Astronomers find more bright spots underneath Mars's south polar cap, but could they really be subterranean lakes?

Illustration of Perseverance in Jezero Crater

Solar System

Water-Ice Clouds Could Have Warmed Early Mars

New simulations show that the greenhouse effect of high water-ice clouds could have warmed early Mars, permitting the presence of long-ago lakes.

Mars North Pole

Spacecraft and Space Missions

See the Latest Stunning Images from Mars

NASA's Perseverance rover, China's Tianwen 1, and the United Arab Emirates' Hope orbiter share their latest photos from Mars.

Exomars Trace Gas Orbiter

Solar System

Chlorine and Water Are in the Air in Martian Summertime

Two studies of the Martian atmosphere are changing the way we think about its current climate and its ancient past.

Mars the magnificent

Explore the Night with Bob King

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.

Spacecraft and Space Missions

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.

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