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Mars

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has detected two unexpected phenomena in the short time since making orbit around the red planet – an aurora occurring deep in the Martian atmosphere, and an as of yet unexplained high altitude dust cloud. MAVEN is currently four months into a primary mission lasting one Earth year, during which time it is attempting to shed light on the characteristics of the Martian upper atmosphere and ionosphere, studying how they interact with our Sun. Read More
Lockheed Martin has provided a glimpse at the next generation of commercial spacecraft by revealing its proposal for NASA's Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) program. The new cargo ships, which Lockheed compares to the US transcontinental railroads of the 19th century, are designed to not only resupply the International Space Station, but also support manned deep space missions, such as the first expedition to Mars. Read More
Future missions to Mars may well be powered by carbon dioxide fueled engines, thanks to a recent prototype developed by Northumbria and Edinburgh Universities. Exploiting a phenomenon known as the Leidenfrost effect, researchers hope that their engine could be powered by the vast amount of dry-ice deposits found on the red planet, thereby reducing the need to transport fuel on interplanetary missions. Read More
In Edgar Rice Burroughs's Barsoom novels, Earthman John Carter's adventures took place on the dry beds of Mar's ancient oceans. Now NASA scientist's say that may not be so far fetched. Though they haven't found signs of any thoats, they have estimated that Mars may once have had enough water to form a vast ocean surrounding its north pole of which only plains remain. Read More
NASA is putting its Curiosity Mars rover on hold for a few days as engineers try to determine the cause and severity of a recent short circuit. The space agency says that during a recent sample-taking operation, the unmanned explorer suffered a transient short circuit that activated an automatic shutdown by the rover's computers. Read More
NASA has released a self-portrait of Curiosity, showing a full view of the Pahrump Hills sites where the rover has been working for the last five months. The mosaic view includes a look at the Telegraph Peak site where the rover has just begun drilling, analyzing the chemistry of the rocks and soil. Read More
NASA’S Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter has taken a deep dive into the Martian atmosphere. The first of a series of five planned deep-dip maneuvers by the unmanned spacecraft, its purpose was to gather information about the lower limits of the upper regions of the Red Planet's atmosphere. Read More

New images taken by the ESA’s Mars Express orbiter have provided a fresh look at a region believed to be hiding large volumes of water ice just beneath the surface – something that could serve as a water source for future manned missions to the Red Planet. Read More

The Mars One project, aimed at starting the first permanent human settlement on the Red Planet, has reduced its pool of prospective colonists to 100 candidates. According to the non-profit company, the selection was winnowed down from the original pool of 202,586 applicants of people from all walks of life from all over the world. However, questions remain about the viability of the project. Read More
Astronomers are scratching their heads over mysterious plumes that have been sighted in the atmosphere of Mars. First seen by amateur astronomers using Earthbound telescopes, the plumes are at an altitude much higher than that of any clouds yet seen on the Red Planet, and may not even be clouds. Read More
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