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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

Celestial News & Events

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.

Planets

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

Solar System

Methane and Other Organics on Mars

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

Drill Duluth

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

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.

Solar System

Mud Cracks on Mars Reveal Lake's History

Curiosity spotted polygonal shapes on the surface of rocks on Mars — now, analysis of these mud cracks is revealing the history of the long-ago lake that once filled Gale Crater.

Celestial News & Events

Mars Flies By Jupiter in a Close Dawn Conjunction

The new year opens with the magnificent pairing of the solar system's largest planet with one of its smallest.

Explore the Night with Bob King

Venus and Mars Kiss at Dawn

Be sure to set the alarm so you don't miss the squeaky-tight conjunction of Venus and Mars Thursday morning. They'll stay close through the weekend.

Solar System

Curiosity Rover Watches Clouds on Mars

Barely visible water-ice clouds coast across Mars’s skies in new videos from the Curiosity rover.

map near 8.3N lat, 47.95E

Solar System

How Hard Did It Rain on Ancient Mars?

Mars was once far wetter than it is now — but just how much rain fell, and when?

how sputtering works

Astrobiology

Mars Lost Atmosphere to Space

NASA’s MAVEN mission has confirmed that the solar wind stripped the Red Planet of its atmosphere.

New Year's Revelers Passing in the Night

Explore the Night with Bob King

Mars Meets Neptune on New Year's Eve

Doing anything on New Year's Eve? Before you start toasting, don't miss an exceptionally close conjunction of Mars and Neptune.

Phobos, by ExoMars CASSIS instrument

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter Gets to Work

Welcome to Mars: the European Space Agency's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter sets up shop around the Red Planet.

EDM Lander

Spacecraft and Space Missions

ESA's Schiaparelli Lander: Missing in Action

Here's what we know so far about the fate European Space Agency's Schiaparelli mission.

EDM Lander

Astronomy in Space with David Dickinson

Schiaparelli Lander to Touch Down on Mars

The innovative joint European Space Agency/Roscosmos Schiaparelli lander begins its three day solo journey to the Martian surface this weekend.

Open All Night

Celestial News & Events

Saturn's Splendid Summer Show

It's showtime for the King of the Rings! Time to get your telescope out to see and share Saturn, which comes to opposition this week.

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