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Big, Bold Mars This Week

Explore the Night with Bob King

Follow Mars to His Double Star Lair

Let Mars be your guide to no fewer than 15 diverse and delightful double stars that pepper its path through Scorpius and Libra this opposition season.

Celestial News & Events

Mars Opposition: Best Showing in a Decade

At last, a fine Mars apparition: on May 22nd the Red Planet reaches opposition, shining almost as bright as Jupiter, and the planet makes its closest approach to Earth on May 30th.

Mars gravity map

Solar System

Mars Gravity Map

By tracking deviations in spacecraft orbits, planetary scientists have created a high-resolution map of the Red Planet's gravitational pull.

going to Mars

Solar System

NASA's Plans for Putting Humans on Mars

Scientists and engineers gathered together to figure out what would make a good Martian landing site and what hurdles they’ll have to overcome for a 2035 launch.

Mars's atmospheric loss

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Mars Losing Gas to Solar Wind

NASA’s Mars orbiter MAVEN has painted a detailed picture of how the solar wind robs the Red Planet of its atmosphere.

Hale Crater's dark streaks

Astrobiology

Waterlogged Salts on Mars

Scientists have confirmed that water-soaked salts likely create dark seasonal lines on Mars.

glass on Mars

Solar System

The Glint of Martian Glass

Scientists have detected glass in Martian craters, created by the fierce heat of impacts that melted the Red Planet’s surface.

MAVEN detects aurora

Spacecraft and Space Missions

MAVEN Spots Dust Cloud, Aurora on Mars

NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft has detected dust high in Mars’s atmosphere and auroras across the planet’s northern hemisphere.

Solar System

Curiosity Studies Mars Dry-out

Samples taken from two drill holes on Mars support the idea that Mars lost a whole lot of water fairly early in its history.

methane creation possibilities on Mars

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Curiosity Finds Methane, Other Organics

NASA’s Curiosity rover has detected both methane in Mars’s atmosphere and carbon-bearing organic compounds in its rocks. But it’s unclear where these molecules come from — or whether there’s any biological connection.

Solar System

MAVEN Finds New Particles, Ion Plume

NASA’s MAVEN mission has discovered a new population of particles in Mars’s upper atmosphere. It’s also found a plume of particles escaping from the planet’s poles, confirming atmospheric loss is happening today.

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Mars Orbiters Duck for Cover

Mission planners have devised an unusual strategy for protecting orbiting spacecraft when Comet Siding Spring passes the Red Planet in October 2014.

Spacecraft and Space Missions

NASA Gears Up for Mars 2020 Rover

Six years from now, there will be a new NASA robot heading to the Red Planet: the Mars 2020 rover. On July 31st mission planners unveiled the rover’s seven scientific instruments, which will pave the way for human exploration of Mars.

Moon and Saturn on July 7, 2014

Celestial News & Events

Two Moon-Planet Conjunctions Juice Up July

On July 5th, the Moon has a remarkably close brush with Mars, followed two nights later by a similar rendezvous with Saturn.

Solar System

Is Water Flowing on Mars?

Spacecraft images are keeping an eye on little surface flows on Mars that show up in midsummer, then fade over time. It's the strongest suggestion yet that the Red Planet can get wet.

dust storm

Dust Storm Erupts on Mars

Earlier this week amateur astronomers watching Mars spotted a large — and growing — dust cloud over the planet's southern hemisphere.

Astronomy & Observing News

Dust Storms on Mars

Just as it's swinging close by Earth, Mars has spawned widenings dust storms visible in amateur telescopes.

Celestial Objects to Observe

Dust Storm on Mars

A large regional dust storm has enveloped several thousand square kilometers of the red planet and shows no signs of abating.

Planets

Another Martian Dust Storm

Less than one month after a localized dust storm appeared on the Martian surface, another dust cloud has spring up.

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