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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Comet C/2013 A1 will pass Mars ten times closer than any observed comet has passed the Ear...

In October, Mars will encounter comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring, which will come closer to the Red Planet than any recorded comet has passed to Earth. This spectacular event isn't just an astronomical curiosity, it’s also a potential hazard to NASA’s armada of orbiting explorers, so the space agency is taking steps to protect them from damage by the cosmic visitor.  Read More

Artist concept of commercial Mars satellites providing communications (Image: ASA/JPL)

You can land the most advanced spacecraft in history on the Mars, but if you can’t keep in touch with it, it might as well be so much scrap. To prevent that from happening, NASA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to investigate the feasibility of using private satellites to provide communications into the 2020s between Earth and the fleet of exploration probes operating on and around Mars.  Read More

Large, fresh crater surrounded by smaller craters (Image: NASA)

There are millions of impact craters all over the Solar System, but direct evidence of the massive collisions that form them is very hard to come by – and therefore very valuable. While carrying out its routine monitoring of the weather on the Red Planet, the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has inadvertently snapped before and after images of the largest fresh meteor impact crater found anywhere in the Solar System.  Read More

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter doing what it does best – orbiting Mars (Image: NASA)

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has transmitted further measurements of curious seasonal marks on the surface of Mars. They could be the most compelling evidence yet of flowing water existing on the Red Planet in the present day.  Read More

Traveled and projected route of Curiosity to Mount Sharp (Image: NASA)

NASA took the metaphorical training wheels off the Mars rover Curiosity on Tuesday, as the unmanned explorer took its first drive using autonomous navigation. It used its onboard cameras and software to select and drive over an area of ground that mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California couldn't see and vet beforehand. This capability allows the nuclear-powered rover to negotiate the most direct route to Mount Sharp rather than having to detour to find routes that can be seen directly by Curiosity before entering, so they can be analyzed by mission control.  Read More

Mars 3 lander (Image: NASA)

Russian space enthusiasts have pinpointed the resting place of what is believed to be the Soviet lander, Mars 3, which failed shortly after landing in 1971. Using images returned by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a crowdsourcing effort has found what may be four components of the lander, its parachute and descent module.  Read More

Graphic showing the Sun/mars Conjunction (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA is taking an enforced holiday of sorts in April as it suspends Mars exploration missions for 17 to 21 days. This isn't due to budget cuts, but rather because Mars will be in conjunction with the Sun during April, which will make direct communications with the probes difficult, if not impossible.  Read More

The scans were made by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbitor (Image: NASA)

While you may be aware of NASA's historic Curiosity mission (and the current problems it's facing), you might not have heard of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO. The craft has been in orbit around the Red Planet since 2006 and its latest research, a 3D scan of a huge underground channel system, has provided researchers with an insight into the planet's recent hydrologic activity.  Read More

Artist's concept of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (Image: NASA/JPL)

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has found new evidence of a wet underground environment that once existed on the Red Planet. Using its Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), the orbiter examined the floor of McLaughlin Crater in the Northern Hemisphere of the planet and found evidence of the formation of carbonates and clay in a groundwater-fed lake in the ancient past.  Read More

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