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a mars mystery: how did land form without much water?


the surface of mars, with its dune flows, gullies and slope movements, is the result of sediment being transported downwards in the recent past as well as today.






mars mystery: how was ancient red planet warm enough for liquid water?


the mystery of how mars could have once had water flowing on its surface is deepening, as a new study suggests that the red planet's early atmosphere possessed far less carbon dioxide than needed to keep it warm enough for liquid water to last.






how did land form without much water?


this article was originally published at the conversation. the publication contributed the article to space.com's expert voices: op-ed & insights. the surface of mars, with its dune flows, gullies and slope movements, is the result of sediment being transported downwards in the recent past as well as today. but this "mass wasting," typically caused by flows of water – for example, how the gullies on earth are shaped – has proved a mystery to planetary scientists. this is because it is assumed that huge amounts of water are needed to form these features. the problem is, there is a lack of enough water on mars now and in the planet's recent past. in a new study published in nature communications, we simulated the atmospheric conditions on mars to discover how these features could have come a






water ice mystery found at martian equator


a new examination of old data suggests that there might be ice hiding in the martian equator, even though scientists previously thought that the substance couldn't exist there. scientists uncovered an unexpected amount of hydrogen when looking at older data from nasa's mars odyssey spacecraft dating back to between 2002 and 2009. at higher latitudes, hydrogen generally indicates buried water ice, but this was not believed possible at the equator, according to a statement from nasa. if there is indeed water there, this would help with a future human mission to mars, because it could mean the astronauts wouldn't need to bring the substance with them for drinking, cooling equipment or watering plants, researchers said in the statement. instead, the astronauts could live off the land to an ext






meltwater from glaciers may have flowed on ancient mars


the wet past of mars may have unfolded in short bursts. even though climate models suggest that the red planet's temperatures mostly remained below freezing, new research from scientists at brown university suggests that daily temperatures in the summer would have been just warm enough to melt the edges of glaciers, producing small amounts of meltwater that could explain the planet's river-like valleys.  "we see this in the antarctic dry valleys, where seasonal temperature variation is sufficient to form and sustain lakes even though mean annual temperature is well below freezing. we wanted to see if something similar might be possible  for  ancient mars," said lead author ashley palumbo, a brown ph.d. student, in a statement.  palumbo's supervisor and co-author, jim head, is a brown profe






mars facts: life, water and robots on the red planet


learn about planet mars’ atmosphere, water supply and the possibility to support life, plus, findings from the mars exploration rover mission.






drill! students mine for simulated martian ice


while mars has water ice beneath its surface, extracting the liquid for future human missions will be a challenge. a recent nasa competition tasked university student teams to mine simulated martian subsurface ice. the rasc-al (revolutionary aerospace systems concepts – academic linkages) mars ice challenge took place between june 13 and 15 at nasa's langley research center in virginia.  the goal was to demonstrate which technology was best for in-situ resource utilization, referring to the practice of "living off the land" on another world, nasa officials said in a statement. the process could allow missions to reduce the inherent cost of shipping water and other materials to other worlds, because the future colonists could instead use the resources available at their landing site. [how l






how mars' atmosphere evaporated away


mars may have once possessed an atmosphere about as thick as earth's, but then lost most of it to space due to solar wind and ultraviolet rays, a new study found. the new finding could shed light on the habitability of not just early mars, but also distant worlds, researchers said. mars is currently a frigid desert world with extremely thin air. the atmospheric pressure on the martian surface is on average only about one-hundredth to one-thousandth that on earth at sea level. (in comparison, the atmospheric pressure at the highest point on earth's surface, the top of mount everest, is about one-third that on earth at sea level.) [the search for water on mars in pictures] in the thin air of mars, water easily boils. still, previous research has unearthed ample evidence that mars was once co






mars crater or collapse? a photo mystery in martian 'swiss cheese'


scientists aren't sure if a big dimple on mars came from something smacking into the red planet's surface or if it was simply caused by a collapse.






risks on mars mean humans might want to follow opportunity rover's tracks


given the risk and complication of sending humans to mars, why not pick a spot where a robot has been? astronauts should roam in the most-explored area of mars, the meridiani planum, argue several researchers in an article published by the journal acta astronautica. the rover opportunity has driven over that terrain for more than 13 years and they say a location in the southern part of the zone is ideal for human exploration. "meridiani planum is a good exploration site," lead author jon clarke, president of the mars society australia, said in an e-mail. an expert in carbonate sedimentology and paleoecology, clarke researches both analogs to mars exploration and good places to explore on mars. "it's safe, with large, smooth, and flat areas for landing sites and for setting up a station, an






'unearthing mars' now available on psvr


winking entertainment’s psvr exclusive unearthing mars hit the north american and european markets. now you can explore the red planet from the comfort of your living room. unearthing mars takes you through 10 interactive stages that simulate various portions of a mars mission. you get to pilot spacecraft, which you must land safely on the martian surface. once you land safely, you can explore the red planet on foot or from inside a rover.winking entertainment said that unearthing mars includes approximately two hours of story-driven gameplay, which progresses from basic interactions to puzzle solving. the developer said that the second half of the game even includes a battle with alien beings. unearthing mars is available on the north american psn store for $14.99 ($13.49 for several more






can microbes survive on mars?


cape canaveral, fla. — a tiny version of mars on earth is tucked inside the space life sciences lab here at nasa's kennedy space center — a specialized simulation chamber that's helping scientists delve into the prospect of detecting life on the red planet. work is underway to investigate how hitchhiking microorganisms on spacecraft might survive, grow and possibly adapt to the harsh environmental conditions on that distant world. additionally, new research is centered on mimicking sites on mars that could harbor microbes today — places that contain transient or permanent liquid water near the surface. for instance, one candidate locale for liquid water on mars is active recurring slope lineae (rsl). these recently discovered dark fingers of mystery emerge from steep, rocky exposures, incr






wetter red planet? ancient mars may have had more water than thought


mars may have harbored even more liquid water on its surface in the ancient past than scientists had thought, a new study suggests.mars meteorites commonly contain a mineral called merrillite, which is regarded as an indicator of dry environments. but some of the merrillite in mars meteorites may actually have been converted from a "wet" mineral called whitlockite by the asteroid impacts that blasted the red planet rocks toward earth, the study indicated. "if even a part of merrillite had been whitlockite before, it changes the water budget of mars dramatically," study co-leader oliver tschauner, a professor in the department of geoscience at the university of nevada, las vegas, said in a statement.[photos: the search for water on mars] researchers are still trying to get a handle on that






weird dark streaks on mars may not be flowing water after all


bad news for microbes on mars: a new paper argues that dark streaks on the martian surface are not caused by underground supplies of liquid water.






wetter red planet? ancient mars may have had more water than thought


mars may have harbored even more liquid water on its surface in the ancient past than scientists had thought, a new study suggests.






weird dark streaks on mars may not be flowing water after all


bad news for microbes that want to make a home on mars: a new study argues that dark streaks on the martian surface are not caused by underground supplies of liquid water. in 2015, observations by nasa's mars reconnaissance orbiter revealed trace amounts of water (mixed with heavy doses of salts) on the red planet's surface. these "hydrated salts" corresponded with dark streaks on martian hillsides called recurring slope lineae (rsl), which researchers had already identified as possible sites of liquid water rising to the surface. studies of rsl, and in particular the findings by the mro, introduced the tantalizing possibility that there could be enough liquid water on the surface of mars today to support microbial life. [photos: the search for water on mars] this processed, false-color im






mars' atmosphere: composition, climate & weather


mars is a planet that shows climate change on a large scale. although its atmosphere used to be thick enough for water to run on the surface, today that water is either scarce or non-existent. the atmosphere today is also too thin to easily support life as we know it, although life may have existed in the ancient past.  the climate of mars comes from a variety of factors, including its ice caps, water vapor and dust storms. at times, giant dust storms can blanket the entire planet and last for months, turning the sky hazy and red. what is mars' atmosphere made of? the atmosphere of mars is about 100 times thinner than earth's, and it is 95 percent carbon dioxide. here's a breakdown of its composition, according to a nasa fact sheet: carbon dioxide: 95.32 percent nitrogen: 2.7 percent argon






today in space! june 22, 2000: nasa finds evidence of water on mars


find out what happened today in space on june 22, 2000 when nasa's mars global surveyor spacecraft found evidence of present-day liquid water on mars.






nasa mars orbiter snaps image of water-carved structures in melas basin


in recent years, observations made using nasa’s curiosity rover and the mars reconnaissance orbiter (mro) have provided ample evidence that water once flowed on mars’ surface. on tuesday, the space agency released another image captured by the mro showing layered deposits of sediments in the melas basin. scientists believe that the basin, located in the red…






what it would actually take to get to mars by 2020


short answer: a time machine nasa/viking 1 mars’ atmosphere today, during a phone call with astronaut peggy whitson on the international space station, president trump joked that he hoped nasa would land astronauts on mars by the end of his first term in 2020. obviously, this timeline is completely unreasonable for an agency that’s already running…






how did mars lose so much of its atmosphere? maven has an answer


after circling the red planet for more than a full martian year, nasa’s maven spacecraft has discovered the culprit behind much of mars’ missing air: a young, rambunctious sun.the findings, published in friday’s edition of the journal science, point to solar wind and radiation as one of the main drivers behind atmospheric loss — and may help scientists better understand how a once-habitable planet became such an arid world.billions of years ago, scientists believe, the red planet may have looked a little more like a pale blue dot with a thick, earth-like atmosphere enclosing puffy clouds, rivers, lakes and perhaps even seas of liquid water. but over the intervening eons, mars lost the thick atmosphere that allowed water to remain stable in liquid form. the planet transformed into the rusty






how did mars lose so much of its atmosphere? maven has an answer


after circling the red planet for more than a full martian year, nasa’s maven spacecraft has discovered the culprit behind much of mars’ missing air: a young, rambunctious sun.the findings, published in friday’s edition of the journal science, point to solar wind and radiation as one of the main drivers behind atmospheric loss — and may help scientists better understand how a once-habitable planet became such an arid world.billions of years ago, scientists believe, the red planet may have looked a little more like a pale blue dot with a thick, earth-like atmosphere enclosing puffy clouds, rivers, lakes and perhaps even seas of liquid water. but over the intervening eons, mars lost the thick atmosphere that allowed water to remain stable in liquid form. the planet transformed into the rusty






terrifying 'life'-form revealed in new red band trailer


warning: graphic imagery - a long dormant life-form from mars lays waste to the international space station and has its ‘eyes’ set on earth. the new sci-fi thriller 'life' premieres on march 24, 2017. new 'life' trailer brings terrifying thrills from mars






mars may have been born in the asteroid belt


mars and earth have very different histories. a simple example: earth is mostly covered with water, while mars lost its water in the distant past. but scientists have also known that the elements on mars have different isotopes, or atomic masses, particularly for chromium, titanium, and oxygen. a new paper published in the journal earth and planetary science letters argues these compositional differences arose because mars formed in a different part of the solar system than where it is now located. instead of being between the sun and the asteroid belt, the paper argues mars formed within the asteroid belt before migrating somewhat closer to the sun to where it is now. the migration occurred, the paper says, due to mars gravitationally interacting with planetesimals – small bodies such as






nighttime forecast for mars: bursts of rapidly falling snow


headed to mars? remember to pack your snow gear. turns out that there are snowstorms on the red planet at night, according to a new paper.the findings, published in the journal nature geoscience, could shed light on the dynamics of the planet’s ancient climate — and reveal that even today, mars remains a more dynamic world than some scientists expected.today, the red planet seems dusty, rusty and dry, with an atmosphere that’s about 100 times thinner than earth’s. but scientists say that early in its history, mars probably looked a lot like earth, with a thick atmosphere, puffy clouds and liquid water. that’s part of why researchers study mars — to understand why our next-door neighbor ended up with such a different fate than that of our planetary home.even now, mars has some thin clouds,






a moon of mars may have once been rings (& might be again)


mars might once have had rings — and might regain them over and over again, according to new research. a new model suggests that mars' oddball moon phobos might once have been rings around the planet, caused by a large impact about 4.3 billion years ago, and that as it approaches the planet it will be torn into a ring again. mars' borealis basin, which covers two-fifths of the planet's surface, could be the impact site of the event that generated all that debris, researchers said in a statement. [phobos and deimos: the moons of mars in pictures] in the model, the debris from a large impact slowly spreads out away from mars, clumping up to form a moon over time. then, mars' gravity begins to pull the moon toward the planet until the gravitational force is too strong, and the moon is ripped






did life ever exist on mars? it could have


more than 3b years ago, mars had all the building blocks necessary for life including drinking water.curiosity is the first rover that can drill for samples of mars and analyze them in its built-in lab.could humans come from martian origins? a lead nasa engineer says it's a possibility.curiosity's tracks on the surface of marsnow the latest from mars, thanks to nasa's incredibly sophisticated geologist: a one-ton rover named curiosity that landed on mars more than four years ago. its biggest discovery so far is this: more than three billion years ago, mars had all the building blocks necessary for life. back then mars and earth were very similar—wet, warm, and habitable. but as life evolved on earth, mars became cold, dry and inhospitable. did life ever exist on mars? we don't know—yet.  b






how did mars lose so much of its atmosphere? maven has an answer


after circling the red planet for a whole martian year, nasa’s maven spacecraft has discovered the culprit behind much of mars’ missing air: a young, rambunctious sun.the findings, published in the journal science, point to solar wind and radiation as one of the main drivers behind atmospheric loss – and may help scientists better understand how a once-habitable planet became such an arid world today.billions of years ago, scientists think, the red planet may have looked a little more like a pale blue dot – with puffy clouds in a thick, earth-like atmosphere over rivers, lakes, and perhaps even seas of liquid water. depending on how long they lasted, those conditions were potentially ripe for life to form. but over the intervening eons, mars lost the thick atmosphere — particularly the wor






spacex may land mars rocket on the launch stand


spacex's mars-colony missions may take "pinpoint rocket landing" to a whole new level.






li researcher: mars crater held fresh water, key to early life


advertisement | advertise on newsdaya stony brook researcher and nasa scientists have discovered what they believe to be an ancient lake on mars.  this evenly layered rock imaged in 2014 by the mastcam on nasa's curiosity mars rover shows a pattern typical of a lake-floor sedimentary deposit near where flowing water entered a lake. (credit: nasa/jpl-caltech/msss) a crater about 100 miles wide was once a fresh water lake and may have been an ancient incubator of life on mars, a long island scientist has found in a new analysis of information gleaned from the red planet. joel hurowitz of stony brook university, who has been studying data beamed to earth from a nasa rover craft dubbed curiosity, has found that a martian region called gale crater was...






scientists crack mystery of disappearing minnesota waterfall


st. paul, minn. — scientists think they've solved the mystery of the devil's kettle waterfall at a state park in northeastern minnesota.the falls are on the brule river at judge c.r. magney state park near grand marais. the river splits at a rock outcropping. visitors see how the east side falls 50 feet into a pool like other waterfalls. but the water on the west side plunges into a hole in the rock and vanishes.the department of natural resources said tuesday that hydrologists believe that water re-enters the river from underground, not far downstream. they concluded that because the water volume flowing over the two falls is nearly identical to the flow below them, so the mystery water isn't flowing someplace else.they plan more tests this fall to confirm their findings.






mars crater or collapse? a photo mystery in martian 'swiss cheese'


scientists aren't sure if a big dimple on mars came from something smacking into the red planet's surface or if was simply caused by a collapse. a new image from nasa's mars reconnaissance orbiter (mro) shows several shallow pits among carbon dioxide ice, nicknamed "swiss cheese terrain" because it looks a bit like the famous cheese. but at upper right is a deeper pit that goes through the ice and dust, which nasa says could be an impact crater or some sort of collapse pit. [see more amazing mars photos by mro] the picture was taken in the southern hemisphere of mars late in the summer and unveiled friday (june 2). at the time the image was taken, the sun was low in the martian sky and the shadows it cast allowed for more "subtle" topography to show in the image, nasa officials. mro takes






enormous dust storms on mars highlight the red planet's weather mysteries


this nasa movie clip shows a global map of mars with atmospheric changes from feb. 18, 2017, through march 6, 2017, a period when two regional-scale dust storms appeared. nasa's mars reconnaissance orbiter captured these views.credit: nasa/jpl-caltech/msss last week, scientists were surprised to see a second regional dust storm on mars blooming only two weeks after another one in the same storm track. nasa's mars reconnaissance orbiter (mro) showed both storms generated in the acidalia area of northern mars, then moving to the southern hemisphere and expanding to sizes bigger than the united states. while the path is normal, the frequency of the storms is unexpected. "what we're trying to understand is the weather of mars," said richard zurek, chief scientist for the mars program at nasa's






how to mitigate the threat space junk on mars poses to future missions


the landscape of mars is predominantly shaped by winds these days, as its volcanoes appear dormant and the atmosphere is too thin to let water easily flow on the surface. but what sort of a risk would these winds pose to missions on the red planet if discarded hardware happens to be near a lander? it's common for mars missions — such as the 2012 curiosity rover and the upcoming mars 2020 rover — to have separate entry, descent, and landing (edl) systems from the surface hardware. a rover that makes it through the atmosphere and lands safely on the surface would have no further need of a heat shield or parachute or similar items to accomplish its mission, so such features are typically ditched. just before the curiosity rover landed on mars in 2012, for example, it jettisoned its parachute






lockheed martin’s mars base camp would stage mars surface missions


lockheed martin shared more information about its mars base camp (mbc) architecture and operation plans at this year’s international astronautical congress, as reported by space. the concept images shared by lockheed reveal a platform from which large interplanetary ships, as well as surface landers which can ferry passengers back and forth from the station.the mars base camp plan isn’t new, but we are learning more about it, including how it would act a staging ground for longer missions to mars’ surface, but first would focus primarily on short trips for small crews, before graduating to multi-week missions with larger, four-person crews. a reusable lanyard called the mars ascent/descent vehicle (madv) would bring cargo and personnel to and from the mbc to the red planet.lockheed martin






nasa proposes rapid mars sample return architecture


washington — nasa is studying a "lean" architecture for mars sample return that could allow the agency to bring back martian rocks as soon as the end of the 2020s. the concept, discussed at an aug. 28 meeting of a national academies committee performing a midterm review of the 2011 planetary science decadal survey, would focus on getting samples cached by the upcoming mars 2020 mission off the planet  and back to earth as soon as possible. "this is a much more lean architecture," said thomas zurbuchen, nasa associate administrator for science. "it goes straight for what i would consider the jugular issue, which is how to land and take off the planet." [pieces of heaven: a brief history of sample-return missions] the concept, which he said is just one of many the agency is looking into, wou






top microsoft execs weigh in on trump’s immigration ban


from: brad smith (cela)sent: urday, january 28, 2017 12:05 pmto: microsoft – all employeessubject: yesterday’s u.s. executive order on immigrationhello everyone,i wanted to reach out regarding the executive order signed yesterday in the united states relating to immigration. as you may have read in the press, this order applies an immediate 90-day moratorium on admissions and reentry into the united states of all individuals who are not already u.s. citizens from seven countries – syria, iraq, iran, libya, somalia, yemen, and sudan.our first priority whenever there is a change in immigration laws anywhere in the world is to address immediately the needs of our employees and their families. so most importantly, if you or a family member are a citizen of one of these seven countries and you’