We've Observed Mars for Decades, But Still Have No Big Theories

Mars geologist Phil Christensen says we're still short on understanding the red planet. "The devil continues to be in the details," he said at this week's Eighth International Conference on Mars. Astrobiologist David Des Marais said Mars research today adds up to "lots of observations but no overarching… » 7/26/14 1:00pm 7/26/14 1:00pm

What created such enormous craters on the Moon's nearside?

Earth's moon has been blasted by a lot of space rocks in its 4.5-billion-year history. While these impacts have left a near-uniform distribution of craters across our satellite's surface, planetary scientists have shown that one of its sides – the side that faces Earth – bears significantly larger scars than the… » 11/07/13 12:58pm 11/07/13 12:58pm

NASA's Curiosity Rover prepares to drill, baby, drill

Rovers, landers and satellites have been turning up evidence of a wet Martian history for years. Now, NASA's recently landed Curiosity rover has happened upon even more signs of the planet's watery past: veins of hydrated calcium sulfate (visible in the outrcrop pictured above) stretching across the planet's surface —… » 1/16/13 8:20am 1/16/13 8:20am

New Images Show a “Living” Mars

Over the years, scientists have found evidence revealing that an ocean may have covered parts of the Red Planet billions of years ago. Others suggest that a future terraformed Mars could be lush with oceans and vegetation. In either scenario, what would Mars look like as a planet alive with water and life? By… » 1/03/13 8:00am 1/03/13 8:00am

NASA’s 2020 Plan for Mars Makes the Old New Again

The Curiosity rover is just four months into its primary two-year mission on Mars, and already NASA is planning sequels. The Agency announced yesterday plans for a series of Martian missions that will culminate in 2020 with the launch of a new robotic science rover based largely on Curiosity's design. » 12/05/12 1:40pm 12/05/12 1:40pm

In (Partial) Defense of Overzealous Scientists: A Reflection on Martian…

Right before Thanksgiving, Curiosity project scientist John Grotzinger told NPR that NASA's rover had discovered something earthshaking on the Red Planet. "This data is going to be one for the history books," he crowed, declining to say more until results from the rover's SAM instrument — an onboard chemistry lab… » 11/29/12 8:45am 11/29/12 8:45am

Curiosity has acquired its first scientific targets!

It's been just shy of two weeks since Curiosity's wheels touched down on the surface of Mars, and things are looking excellent. Since landing, the rover has been busy stretching out, extending its mast cam to its full height, snapping photos of its surroundings and running its impressive suite of scientific… » 8/17/12 5:00pm 8/17/12 5:00pm

The biggest avalanches in the solar system happen on Saturn's moon…

Iapetus, already one of the strangest moons in our solar system, just got a little weirder. Images from the Cassini space mission reveal that the mysterious moon is home to massive ice avalanches second in size only to landslides seen on Mars. Studying them, say researchers, could help us better understand geological… » 7/30/12 7:25am 7/30/12 7:25am