Mars in the News ...

There is water on Mars: Scientists say rocks on the red planet absorbed it under the crust ‘like a sponge’ killing all lifeforms and leaving the surface dry and desolate   Daily Mail - December 20, 2017
The last water on Mars was sucked up into the planet's surface like a sponge when it came into contact with absorbent rocks, a new study claims. Experts found that basalt minerals on the red planet, formed by volcanic activity, can soak up 25 per cent more water than those on Earth. As a result they drew water from the Martian surface into its interior, leaving the surface barren and desolate. This would have been devastating to any simple forms of life that might have evolved on the planet's surface around 3.5 billion years ago, researchers say.

NASA's MAVEN mission finds Mars has a twisted magnetic tail   Science Daily - October 19, 2017
NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) spacecraft is in orbit around Mars gathering data on how the Red Planet lost much of its atmosphere and water, transforming from a world that could have supported life billions of years ago into a cold and inhospitable place today. The process that creates the twisted tail could also allow some of Mars' already thin atmosphere to escape to space, according to the research team.

Team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history   PhysOrg - April 25, 2017

The new results reveal that Mars' impact history closely parallels the bombardment histories we've inferred for the Moon, the asteroid belt, and the planet Mercury. We refer to the period for the later impacts as the 'Late Heavy Bombardment.' The new results add credence to this somewhat controversial theory. However, the lull itself is an important period in the evolution of Mars and other planets. We like to refer to this lull as the 'doldrums.' The early impact bombardment of Mars has been linked to the bombardment history of the inner solar system as a whole. Borealis, the largest and most ancient basin on Mars, is nearly 6,000 miles wide and covers most of the planet's northern hemisphere. New analysis found that the rim of Borealis was excavated by only one later impact crater, known as Isidis. This sets strong statistical limits on the number of large basins that could have formed on Mars after Borealis. Moreover, the preservation states of the four youngest large basins - Hellas, Isidis, Argyre, and the now-buried Utopia - are strikingly similar to that of the larger, older Borealis basin. The similar preservation states of Borealis and these younger craters indicate that any basins formed in-between should be similarly preserved. No other impact basins pass this test.

Astronomers find orbit of Mars hosts remains of ancient mini-planets   PhysOrg - April 3, 2017

The planet Mars shares its orbit with a handful of small asteroids, the so-called Trojans. Now an international team of astronomers using the Very Large Telescope in Chile have found that most of these objects share a common composition; they are likely the remains of a mini-planet that was destroyed by a collision long ago.

Impact crater linked to Martian tsunamis   BBC - March 26, 2017

Scientists have located an impact crater linked to powerful tsunamis that swept across part of ancient Mars. The team believe an asteroid triggered 150m-high waves when it plunged into an ocean thought to have existed on northern Mars three billion years ago. Lomonosov crater in the planet's northern plains fits the bill as the source of tsunami deposits identified on the surface.

Mars volcano, Earth's dinosaurs went extinct about the same time   PhysOrg - March 20, 2017

Around the same time that the dinosaurs became extinct on Earth, a volcano on Mars went dormant, NASA researchers have learned. Arsia Mons is the southernmost volcano in a group of three massive Martian volcanoes known collectively as Tharsis Montes. Until now, the volcano's history has remained a mystery. But thanks to a new computer model, scientists were finally able to figure out when Arsia Mons stopped spewing out lava. According to the model, volcanic activity at Arsia Mons came to a halt about 50 million years ago. Around that same time, Earth experienced the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, which wiped out three-quarters of its animal and plant species, including the dinosaurs.

Indicators show potatoes can grow on Mars   PhysOrg - March 9, 2017

The Potatoes on Mars project was conceived by CIP to both understand how potatoes might grow in Mars conditions and also see how they survive in the extreme conditions similar to what parts of the world already suffering from climate change and weather shocks are already experiencing.

Alien Hunters Spot Trio Of Mile-High "Towers" On Mars   Mysterious Universe - December 10, 2016

A 3D interpretation of what the 'towers' might look like on the Martian surface. Aside from Google Mars, the raw images which depict the alleged 'alien megatowers' are published by Malin Space Systems can be seen on their website. Clearly, if the photos can be considered accurate, there are indeed three very similarly-shaped structures found in this particular region of the Marian landscape; whether or not they are of alien origin, however, remains a mystery. The towers could simply be naturally-occurring geological formations. Satellite images are notoriously difficult to use as proof for claims that structures seen in them might be artificially-constructed. Belt of Orion Correlation?

NASA's MAVEN mission gives unprecedented ultraviolet view of Mars   Science Daily - October 18, 2016

New global images of Mars from the MAVEN mission show the ultraviolet glow from the Martian atmosphere in unprecedented detail, revealing dynamic, previously invisible behavior. They include the first images of "nightglow" that can be used to show how winds circulate at high altitudes. Additionally, dayside ultraviolet imagery from the spacecraft shows how ozone amounts change over the seasons and how afternoon clouds form over giant Martian volcanoes. The images were taken by the Imaging UltraViolet Spectrograph (IUVS) on the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN).

A giant impact: Solving the mystery of how Mars' moons formed   Science Daily - July 5, 2016

Where did the two natural satellites of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, come from? For a long time, their shape suggested that they were asteroids captured by Mars. However, the shape and course of their orbits contradict this hypothesis. Two independent and complementary studies provide an answer to this question. One of these studies rules out the capture of asteroids, and shows that the only scenario compatible with the surface properties of Phobos and Deimos is that of a giant collision. In the second study, researchers used cutting-edge digital simulations to show how these satellites were able to form from the debris of a gigantic collision between Mars and a protoplanet one-third its size.

  How NASA Will Get Us to Mars - Three myths about the space agency's Martian ambitions.   NBC - June 3, 2016

The rise and fall of Martian lakes   PhysOrg - May 13, 2016

There is a wealth of evidence, collected over the past few decades, that suggests liquid water was abundant in the early history of Mars – one of our nearest and most studied neighbors. However, the size, evolution and duration of standing bodies of water, such as lakes, on Mars' surface are still a matter of great debate. A recent study, using data from several spacecraft operating at Mars, paints a detailed picture of the rise and fall of standing bodies of water in a region of Mars which once hosted one of its largest lakes.

Speed of solar wind stripped away Martian atmosphere   Science Daily - November 5, 2015

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission has identified the process that appears to have played a key role in the transition of the Martian climate from an early, warm and wet environment that might have supported surface life to the cold, arid planet Mars is today.

  'Streams and Lakes' in Gale Crater Tell Story of a Wet Mars   NBC - October 9, 2015
The Red Planet's past may be more blue than we thought. A new study based on data collected by the Curiosity Mars rover suggests that Gale Crater, where the rover landed in 2012, may have once been an immense lake fed by moving water.

Liquid water flows on today's Mars: NASA confirms evidence   Science Daily - September 28, 2015

New findings from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars. Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time.

Stonehenge-style rocks spotted on Mars   Daily Mail - September 24, 2015

Bizarre circular stone formation on the red planet resembles the iconic Pagan site. Alien hunters claim to have spotted a stone circle on the surface of Mars. They claim it resembles the famous Stonehenge formation in Wiltshire. However, experts have warned that stone circles can also form naturally. It is the latest in a long line of strange 'objects' spotted in images of Mars.

Mars crater wetter than thought, had water tracks in the last million years   PhysOrg - June 24, 2015
Mars is thought to have had a watery past, but when exactly it transitioned to its dry and dusty present is up for debate. Now, though, a team of scientists studying the marks on a young Martian crater has found signs that waterlogged debris flowed down the Red Planet's slopes surprisingly recently - within the last million years.

Nasa rover captures blue sunset on Mars   Times of India - May 11, 2015

Nasa's Mars rover Curiosity has captured stunning images of the Sun setting on the red planet, showing blue hues of the serene sundown over the Martian horizon. The Sun dips to the Martian horizon in a blue-tinged sky in images sent home to Earth last week from Curiosity. The sunset observations help researchers assess the vertical distribution of dust in the atmosphere.

Mars has belts of glaciers consisting of frozen water   PhysOrg - April 7, 2015

Mars has distinct polar ice caps, but Mars also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers, so they appear as surface of the ground, but radar measurements show that underneath the dust there are glaciers composed of frozen water. New studies have now calculated the size of the glaciers and thus the amount of water in the glaciers. It is the equivalent of all of Mars being covered by more than one meter of ice.

Ancient Martian lake system records two water-related events   PhysOrg - March 25, 2015

Researchers from Brown University have completed a new analysis of an ancient Martian lake system in Jezero Crater, near the planet's equator. The study finds that the onslaught of water that filled the crater was one of at least two separate periods of water activity in the region surrounding Jezero. The ancient lake at Jezero crater was first identified in 2005 by Caleb Fassett, a former Brown graduate student now a professor at Mount Holyoke College. Fassett identified two channels on the northern and western sides of the crater that appear to have supplied it with water. That water eventually overtopped the crater wall on the southern side and flowed out through a third large channel. It's not clear how long the system was active, but seems to have dried out around 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago.

  7 Photos From Mars That Will Make You Believe In Aliens - Or Rocks   Huffington Post - February 21, 2015

We already know that the spiders from Mars are real -- but has the NASA rover Curiosity picked up real evidence of extraterrestrial life on the Red Planet? Conspiracy theorists think so. Some of these photos -- taken by the Curiosity over the past year and on other missions to Mars - look a lot like rocks. Some of them look a lot more peculiar, like the "iguana" found earlier this month. All of them are the stuff of Internet legend, and many believe that NASA is hiding something. Take a look, and wage alien war on the topic in the comments below.

Why did NASA scientists name a geologic feature on Mars "Aztec"?   PhysOrg - December 10, 2014
Last week, NASA mission controllers for the Mars rover Curiosity spied a piece of rock outcropping with tiny holes, veins and fractures in the rocks. It's common practice for the science team to assign names to these targets to make communication easier among team members. This particular outcropping's name? Aztec.

Curiosity Mars rover 'solves mountain riddle'   BBC - December 9, 2014
Scientists working on Nasa's Curiosity rover think they can now explain why there is a huge mountain at the robot's landing site in Mars's Gale Crater. They believe it is the remains of sediments laid down in successive lakes that filled the deep bowl, probably over tens of millions of years. Only later did winds dig out an encircling plain to expose the 5km-high peak we see today. If true, this has major implications for past climates on the Red Planet.

Curiosity rover finds clues to how water helped shape Martian landscape   PhysOrg - December 8, 2014

Observations by NASA's Curiosity Rover indicate Mars' Mount Sharp was built by sediments deposited in a large lake bed over tens of millions of years. This interpretation of Curiosity's finds in Gale Crater suggests ancient Mars maintained a climate that could have produced long-lasting lakes at many locations on the Red Planet.

Warmth, flowing water on early Mars were episodic   Science Daily - November 18, 2014

There is ample evidence that water once flowed on the surface of ancient Mars. But that evidence is difficult to reconcile with the latest generation of climate models that suggest Mars should have been eternally icy. A new study suggest that warming and water flow on Mars were probably episodic and related to ancient volcanic eruptions.

Curiosity travels through ancient glaciers on Mars   Science Daily - June 25, 2014

Some 3,500 million years ago, the Martian crater Gale -- through which the NASA rover Curiosity is currently traversing -- was covered with glaciers, mainly over its central mound. Very cold liquid water also flowed through its rivers and lakes on the lower-lying areas, forming landscapes similar to those which can be found in Iceland or Alaska.

Rock appears mysteriously in front of Mars Opportunity rover   PhysOrg - January 20, 2014

The lead scientist for NASA's Mars rover exploration team (Steve Squyres) has announced that recent images beamed back by the Opportunity rover show a rock sitting in a place nearby where there wasn't one just twelve days prior. The image, he says, has caused quite a commotion with the rover team as possible explanations for the sudden appearance of the rock are bandied about.

Jelly Donut Shaped Rock Appears on Mars   NASA - January 29, 2014

What if a rock that looked like a jelly donut suddenly appeared on Mars? That's just what happened in front of the robotic Opportunity rover currently exploring the red planet. The unexpectedly placed rock, pictured above, was imaged recently by Opportunity after not appearing in other images taken as recently as twelve Martian days (sols) before. Given the intriguing mystery, the leading explanation is somewhat tame - the rock was recently scattered by one of the rover's tires. Even so, the rock's unusual light tones surrounding a red interior created interest in its composition - as well as causing it to be nicknamed Jelly Donut. A subsequent chemical analysis showed the rock has twice the abundance of manganese than any other rock yet examined -- an unexpected clue that doesn't yet fit into humanity's understanding of the Martian geologic history. Opportunity, just passing its 10-year anniversary on Mars, continues to explore the Murray Ridge section of the rim of 22-kilometer wide Endeavor Crater.

Mars: Gusev Crater once held a lake after all, scientist says   Science Daily - April 9, 2014
Evidence for an ancient 'Lake Gusev' on Mars has come and gone several times. That lake is looking pretty good today, thanks to new research. New research suggests floodwaters entered the crater through the huge valley that breaches Gusev's southern rim. These floods appear to have ponded long enough to alter the tephra, producing briny solutions. When the brines evaporated, they left behind residues of carbonate minerals. As the lake filled and dried, perhaps many times in succession, it loaded Comanche and its neighbor rocks with carbonates.

More Light Shed On Possibility of Life On Mars   Science Daily - December 9, 2013

Scientists have found evidence of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars well suited to support microbial life. The lake, located inside Gale Crater where the rover landed in August 2012, likely covered an area 31 miles long and 3 miles wide, though its size varied over time. Analysis of sedimentary deposits gathered by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows the lake existed for at least tens of thousands of years and possibly longer. Humankind is by nature inquisitive, especially about the prospect of life on other planets and whether or not we are alone. The aptly named Curiosity, a NASA Mars rover, has been scouring that planet's surface as a potential habitat for life, either past or present.

New Evidence Supports Asteroid Origin Of Martian Moon   Live Science - November 21, 2013
New research suggests that Mars' larger moon, Phobos, is likely an errant asteroid trapped by the planet's gravitational pull. Astronomers matched the chemical makeup of Phobos' surface to a meteorite that struck Canada, concluding that the Martian moon likely started out as a carbon-rich, "D-type" asteroid that drifted too close to the red planet. These new results are a step towards settling the mysterious origin of Mars' moons.

Secrets of Mars' Birth Revealed from Unique Meteorite   Science Daily - November 21, 2013
The work of Munir Humayun -- a professor in FSU's Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science and a researcher at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) -- is based on an analysis of a 4.4 billion-year-old Martian meteorite that was unearthed by Bedouin tribesmen in the Sahara desert. The rock (NWA 7533) may be the first recognized sample of ancient Martian crust and holds a wealth of information about the origin and age of the Red Planet's crust.

Curiosity Confirms Origins of Martian Meteorites   Science Daily - October 17, 2013

Scientists identified meteorites, such as this one nicknamed "Black Beauty," as Martian in origin. (Credit: NASA)
Earth's most eminent emissary to Mars has just proven that those rare Martian visitors that sometimes drop in on Earth -- a.k.a. Martian meteorites -- really are from the Red Planet. A key new measurement of Mars' atmosphere by NASA's Curiosity rover provides the most definitive evidence yet of the origins of Mars meteorites while at the same time providing a way to rule out Martian origins of other meteorites.

  Mars water surprise in Curiosity rover soil samples   BBC - September 27, 2013
There is a surprising amount of water bound up in the soil of Mars, according to an analysis done onboard the US space agency's (Nasa) Curiosity rover. When it heated a small pinch of dirt scooped up from the ground, the most abundant vapor detected was H2O. The revelation about the amount of water chemically bound into the fine-grained particles of the soil is just one nugget of information to come from a series of five papers in the respected journal describing the early exploits of the rover.

How Mars' Atmosphere Got So Thin: Reports Detail Curiosity Clues to Atmosphere's Past   Science Daily - July 19, 2013
A pair of new papers report measurements of the Martian atmosphere's composition by NASA's Curiosity rover, providing evidence about loss of much of Mars' original atmosphere. Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of laboratory instruments inside the rover has measured the abundances of different gases and different isotopes in several samples of Martian atmosphere. Isotopes are variants of the same chemical element with different atomic weights due to having different numbers of neutrons, such as the most common carbon isotope, carbon-12, and a heavier stable isotope, carbon-13.

Mars' Once Thick Atmosphere Now Kaput   Discovery - July 18, 2013
At one time, Mars had a thick, protective atmosphere -- possibly even cushier than Earth’s -- but the bubble of gases mostly dissipated about 4 billion years ago and has never been replenished, new research shows.

Zond 3: First to See Moon's Far Side on the Way to Mars   Discovery - July 18, 2013
It’s not one of the historic space missions we celebrate year after year, but on July 20, 1965, Zond 3 took some of the first high-quality images of the far side of the moon as it flew by on its way to Mars. The moon is tidally locked with the Earth, which means the same side faces us all the time. So ever since Earthly beings have looked skyward at our only natural satellite they’ve seen the same face we see nearly every day. No one knew what was on the other side. Until 1959.

Mars Had Oxygen-Rich Atmosphere 4,000 Million Years Ago   Science Daily - June 19, 2013
Differences between Martian meteorites and rocks examined by a NASA rover can be explained if Mars had an oxygen-rich atmosphere 4000 million years ago -- well before the rise of atmospheric oxygen on Earth 2500m years ago. Scientists from Oxford University investigated the compositions of Martian meteorites found on Earth and data from NASA's 'Spirit' rover that examined surface rocks in the Gusev crater on Mars. The fact that the surface rocks are five times richer in nickel than the meteorites was puzzling and had cast doubt on whether the meteorites are typical volcanic products of the red planet.

Pebbly Rocks Testify to Old Streambed On Mars   Science Daily - May 31, 2013
Detailed analysis and review have borne out researchers' initial interpretation of pebble-containing slabs that NASA's Mars rover Curiosity investigated last year: They are part of an ancient streambed. The rocks are the first ever found on Mars that contain streambed gravels. The sizes and shapes of the gravels embedded in these conglomerate rocks -- from the size of sand particles to the size of golf balls -- enabled researchers to calculate the depth and speed of the water that once flowed at this location.

Is Mars Infested With Pareidolia Rats?   Discovery - May 30, 2013

It has finally happened. Not content with (potentially) infecting the pristine Martian surface with our germs, it appears that we've sent a rat (yes, a whole rat) to the Red Planet. And this isn't some far-fetched hypothesis, there's photographic evidence! NASA's Mars rover Curiosity snapped this panorama (above) of the "Rocknest" site with its MastCam camera on sol 52 of the mission. Now, with a keen eye and fertile imagination, a UFO enthusiast realized there was a camouflaged rodent hiding in the rocks. Needless to say, there's no other evidence supporting this claim, it's just something that looks like a rodent.

Mars Rover Curiosity Finds Pebbles Likely Shaped by Ancient River - May 31, 2013
Smooth, round pebbles found by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity provide more evidence that water once flowed on the Red Planet, according to a new study. The Curiosity rover snapped pictures of several areas with densely packed pebbles, and by closely analyzing the rock images, researchers discovered that the shapes and sizes of the individual pebbles indicate that they traveled long distances in water, likely as part of an ancient riverbed.

Weather On Mars Surprisingly Warm, Rover Finds   Discovery - October 2, 2012
Curiosity's onboard weather station, which is called the Remote Environment Monitoring Station (REMS), has measured air temperatures as high as 43 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius) in the afternoon. And temperatures have climbed above freezing during more than half of the Martian days, or sols, since REMS was turned on, scientists said.

Are UFOs Stalking Mars Rover Curiosity?   Discovery - September 17, 2012

Ever since we launched planetary spacecraft beginning in the late 1950s, UFO-spotters have eagerly anticipated our running across alien spaceships flitting around. Rather than just accidentally crossing at a cosmic intersection, the legend is that extraterrestrials are watching us explore the solar system.

Strange Mystery Spheres on Mars Baffle Scientists   Live Science - September 17, 2012

A strange picture of odd, spherical rock formations on Mars from NASA's Opportunity rover has scientists scratching their heads over what exactly they're looking at. The new Mars photo by Opportunity shows a close-up of a rock outcrop called Kirkwood covered in blister-like bumps that mission scientists can't yet explain. At first blush, the formations appear similar to so-called Martian "blueberries" - iron-rich spherical formations first seen by Opportunity in 2004 - but they actually differ in several key ways, scientist said.

Mars Rover Curiosity - August 6-10, 2012

Mars Rover Curiosity Wikipedia

  Nasa's Curiosity rover successfully lands on Mars   BBC - August 6, 2012
Watch the video

Mars Rover Landing a Success - What Happens Now?   National Geographic - August 6, 2012
Now Curiosity's two-year search for signs of life begins, with the kind of extended stretch and warm-up you might expect after a cramped, yearlong flight - as detailed here in an excerpt for the new National Geographic e-book Mars Landing 2012.

Mars Rover's "Crazy" Landing, Step by Step (Great Pictures)   National Geographic - August 6, 2012

The First Color Panorama from Mars by Curiosity   NASA - August 11, 2012

Mars rover makes first color panorama   - August 9, 2012
Nasa's new Mars rover has returned its first 360-degree color panorama from the surface of the Red Planet. The Curiosity robot used its wideangle science camera placed high up on a mast to acquire the frames. The low-resolution vista shows at centre the big mountain that lies in the middle of Gale Crater, the deep depression in which the rover landed. Curiosity's ultimate goal is to drive towards this peak - informally known as Mount Sharp - to study its rocks.

Curiosity's mysterious Mars photo stirs speculation   PhysOrg - August 9, 2012
Seconds after the NASA robot's landing Sunday night, Curiosity managed to squeeze off a handful of fuzzy, black-and-white photographs. One, taken with a device on its rear known as a Hazcam, captured the pebble-strewn ground beneath the rover and one of its wheels - and a blotch, faint but distinctive, on the horizon. The images were relayed by a passing satellite. Two hours later, the satellite passed overhead again. This time, Curiosity sent home a new batch of higher-resolution photos. They showed the same horizon. The blotch was gone.

How Curiosity could prove we actually found life on Mars in the Seventies   Mail Online - August 10, 2012
The Curiosity Rover is not officially on Mars to search for signs of life, but one scientist hopes its findings will prove his claim to have found organic material there in nearly 30 years ago. Gilbert Levin - who led the 'labelled release' experiment on Nasa's 1976 Viking mission to the Red Planet - is hoping that Curiosity will find evidence proving his claim to have found carbon-based molecules there. If it does, he is ready to demand that his refuted discovery of life on Mars is reinstated.

Why Mars Rover Curiosity Is Likely to Find 'Martians'   Live Science - August 10, 2012
With the rover Curiosity now safely on Mars, the world will be seeing lots of video in the coming months and years from the planet's surface. The six-legged, nuclear-powered $2 billion robot has already sent back images of Gale Crater where it landed, and it's soon on its way toward a 3-mile-high mountain nearby. Scientists - and indeed the entire world - are watching with bated breath to see what Curiosity can find as it spends the next two years digging, sampling, probing, and analyzing on the Red Planet's rocky surface. Many will also be looking for evidence of life on Mars, and Curiosity may provide it - even if it's not there. NASA footage has long been fodder for UFO buffs and conspiracy theorists who comb through countless photos and hours of video looking for evidence of alien life (or evidence that NASA is covering up evidence of extraterrestrials).

Scientist Discovers Plate Tectonics On Mars   Science Daily - August 10, 2012
For years, many scientists had thought that plate tectonics existed nowhere in our solar system but on Earth. Now, a UCLA scientist has discovered that the geological phenomenon, which involves the movement of huge crustal plates beneath a planet's surface, also exists on Mars.

Mars orbiter catches twister in action   PhysOrg - March 8, 2012

An afternoon whirlwind on Mars lofts a twisting column of dust more than half a mile (800 meters) high in an image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Water supersaturation in the Martian atmosphere discovered   PhysOrg - September 29, 2011
New analysis of data sent back by the SPICAM spectrometer on board ESA's Mars Express spacecraft has revealed for the first time that the planet's atmosphere is supersaturated with water vapour. This surprising discovery has major implications for understanding the Martian water cycle and the historical evolution of the atmosphere.

Did an amateur spot secret Mars base?   MSNBC - June 6, 2011
A self-described "armchair astronaut" claims to have identified a human (or alien) base on Mars. David Martines noticed a mysterious rectangular structure that appears to be on the Red Planet's surface while trolling the planetary surface using Google Mars, a new map program created from compiled satellite images of the planet. This is a video of something I discovered on Google Mars quite by accident," said Martines, the armchair astronaut, in a now-viral YouTube video. "I call it Bio Station Alpha, because I'm just assuming that something lives in it or has lived in it. He zooms in the surface anomaly - a long, pixelated, white object - and lists the coordinates as 49'19.73''N 29 33'06.53''W. "It's over 700 feet long and 150 feet wide. It looks like it's a cylinder or made up of cylinders," he says. Has Martines really found evidence of alien life, or a secret space base, as he and some media sources are claiming? No, say experts: "Bio Station Alpha" is simply a glitch in the image caused by cosmic energy interfering with the camera.

Neighboring volcanoes on Mars   PhysOrg - April 4, 2011

ESA’s Mars Express has returned images of mist-capped volcanoes located in the northern hemisphere of the red planet. Long after volcanic activity ceased, the area was transformed by meteor impacts that deposited ejected material over the lower flanks of the volcanoes.

Comanche Outcrop on Mars Indicates Hospitable Past   NASA - August 30, 2010

Could life once have survived on Mars? Today, neither animal nor plant life from Earth could survive for very long on Mars because at least one key ingredient - liquid water - is essentially absent on the red planet's rusty surface. Although evidence from the martian rovers indicates that long ago Mars might once have had liquid water on its surface, that water might also have been too acidic for familiar life forms to thrive. Recently, however, a newly detailed analysis of an unusual outcropping of rock and soil chanced upon in 2005 by the robotic Spirit rover has uncovered a clue indicating that not all of Mars was always so acidic. The mound in question, dubbed Comanche Outcrop and visible near the top of the above image, appears to contain unusually high concentrations of elements such as magnesium iron carbonate. The above image is shown in colors exaggerated to highlight the differences in composition. Since these carbonates dissolve in acid, the persistence of these mounds indicates that water perhaps less acidic and more favorable for life might have once flowed across Mars. More detailed analyses and searches for other signs will surely continue.

Martian Face Turns Out to be a Rocky Mesa   PhysOrg - August 2, 2010

Technology has advanced a considerable amount since the original photo was taken, though. Now NASA has released a new image of the area - one that shows quite clearly that what looks like a face in the 1976 image is really just a rocky mesa.

Mars' entire surface was shaped by water   BBC - June 25, 2010
The whole of Mars' surface was shaped by liquid water around four billion years ago, say scientists. Signs of liquid water had been seen on southern Mars, but the latest findings reveal similar signals in craters in the north of the Red Planet. The team made their discovery by examining data from instruments on board Europe's Mars Express and Nasa's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Strange Martian Ice Spirals Explained   PhysOrg - June 16, 2010
They Were Created by Wind

Ancient Mars Had Vast Ocean, New Evidence Shows   National Geographic - June 14, 2010

Ancient Ocean May Have Covered Third of Mars   Science Daily - June 14, 2010
A vast ocean likely covered one-third of the surface of Mars some 3.5 billion years ago, according to a new study conducted by University of Colorado at Boulder scientists.

Planetary scientists solve 40-year-old mysteries of Mars' northern ice cap   PhysOrg - May 26, 2010

Scientists have reconstructed the formation of two curious features in the northern ice cap of Mars—a chasm larger than the Grand Canyon and a series of spiral troughs - solving a pair of mysteries dating back four decades while finding new evidence of climate change on Mars.

Lava, Not Water, Made Mars "Riverbed"   National Geographic - March 10, 2010

A channel in an ancient Martian "riverbed" wasn't carved by liquid water but was built by molten lava, according to a new study of surface features on Mars. Pictures of the red planet have long revealed features such as valleys and alluvial fans reminiscent of those seen around water bodies on Earth.

Layers in a Mars Crater Record a History of Changes   PhysOrg - February 11, 2010

Near the center of a Martian crater about the size of Connecticut, hundreds of exposed rock layers form a mound as tall as the Rockies and reveal a record of major environmental changes on Mars billions of years ago.

A Nasa probe has sent back photographs of what appears to be 'trees' on the planet's surface. - January 13, 2010

The "trees" are really trails of debris caused by landslides as ice melts in Mars' spring.
Enlarged Images   NASA - January 29, 2010

Ancient Mars lakes revealed in new images   MSNBC - January 5, 2010

Vast lakes of melted ice existed on Mars more recently than previously thought during a warm, wet spell on the red planet, new images suggest. The lakes might have been habitats for life, if there ever was life on Mars. So far, however, there is no firm evidence of any Martian biology, past or present
  Spectacular Mars images reveal evidence of ancient lakes   PhysOrg - January 4, 2010

Mars methane 'not from meteors'   BBC - December 9, 2009

Meteoritic material subjected to high temperatures did not release enough methane to account for the amount believed to be released on Mars. The researchers argue that the methane must therefore be created by geologic or chemical processes, or it is a by-product of microbial life.

Bacteria from Mars found inside ancient meteorite - November 26, 2009

Their fossilized remains have been found in the rock, which was blasted out of Mars 16 million years ago as the solar system was forming. The meteorite, called Allen Hills 84001, made headlines in 1996 after fossils were found in it. Scientists believed they were bacteria from Earth that contaminated the rock while it lay in the frozen wastes.

Water Ice Exposed by Meteor Strikes   National Geographic - September 24, 2009

A series of meteor strikes on Mars has uncovered pure water ice - and maybe liquid water - in the red planet's relatively balmy mid-latitudes. Sharp-eyed spacecraft discovered the ice when several meteors slammed into Mars's surface and created five craters some 1.5 to 8 feet (0.5 to 2.5 meters) deep and 26 feet (8 meters) in diameter. A single meteor shower created the craters, which revealed bright blue ice that vaporized in about 200 days. Above, the left column shows four separate craters right after the impact, and right, the same craters after the ice had mostly vaporized. If the instruments had photographed the same areas just a few months later, they would have missed the surprising discovery altogether.

"Diamond Dust" Snow Falls Nightly on Mars   National Geographic - July 3, 2009
Every night during Mars's winter, water-ice crystals fall from high, thin clouds over the north pole, new data from NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander have revealed.

New Explanation For Migration Of Volcanic Activity On Mars    Science Daily - December 18, 2008

Picture a ball. It's an ordinary ball in every way except that it is roughly 4,300 miles in diameter and is moving through the cold of space some 35 million miles from Earth, and hurtling around the sun in just less than two Earth years. This is Mars.

New minerals (opal) point to wetter Mars BBC - October 29, 2008
A Nasa space probe has discovered a new category of minerals spread across large regions of Mars. The find suggests liquid water remained on Mars' surface a billion years later than scientists had previously thought. The US Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft found evidence of hydrated silica, better known as opal. The discovery adds to the growing body of evidence that water played a crucial role in shaping the Martian landscape and - possibly - in sustaining life.

How to Mine Martian Water - August 20, 2008

The confirmation of Martian water ice by the Phoenix Mars Lander may hint at the planet?s potential for supporting life - or at least human life. NASA scientists have quietly developed technologies such as microwave beams for future explorers to extract water from the moon or Mars, even as the Phoenix team focuses on finding out more about the Martian climate and history of water. "If there is an outpost, there's a need for water, and we don't want to bring water from Earth," said Edwin Ethridge, a materials scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Water 'widespread' on early Mars BBC - July 17, 2008

Water was once widespread on Mars, data from a Nasa spacecraft shows, raising the prospect that the Red Planet could have supported life. Researchers found evidence of vast lakes, flowing rivers and deltas on early Mars, all of which were potential habitats for microbes. They also discovered that wet conditions probably persisted for a long time on the Red Planet.

Mars Was Warm, Wet, May Have Hosted Life, Study Says National Geographic - July 17, 2008

Martian soil 'could support life' BBC - June 27, 2008
Martian soil appears to contain sufficient nutrients to support life - or, at least, asparagus - Nasa scientists believe. Preliminary analysis by the $420m Phoenix Mars Lander mission on the planet's soil found it to be much more alkaline than expected. Scientists working on the spacecraft project said they were "flabbergasted" by the discovery. The find has raised hopes conditions on Mars may be favorable for life.

Mars Soil Resembles Veggie-Garden Dirt, Lander Finds National Geographic - June 27, 2008
Soil near the north pole of Mars is surprisingly Earthlike, with a pH not unlike many vegetable gardens, according to preliminary results from the Phoenix Mars Lander.

Mars probe makes 'ice' discovery BBC - June 20, 2008

Mars Lander Finds Ice, NASA Says National Geographic - June 21, 2008

Earth vs. Mars: Polar Opposites Live Science - May 23, 2008

The ends of the Earth and the ends of Mars are both extreme locations. While the poles of both planets are unique, they share some remarkable similarities.

Phobos: Doomed Moon of Mars NASA - April 14, 2008

Nasa probe pictures Phobos moon BBC - April 10, 2008
New Hi-Res Views of Mars' ''Fear'' Moon Unveiled National Geographic - April 10, 2008

Stickney Crater on Phobos NASA - April 10, 2009

Microscopic Fuzz May Be Best Evidence of Martians - March 31, 2008

If Martian life existed a few billion years ago, scientists think any plant-like microbes would have left behind a stringy fuzz of fibers. That's because here on Earth, researchers now say they have found such ancient fuzz, called cellulose, preserved in chunks of salt deposited more than 250 million years ago ? making it the oldest biological substance yet recovered. The announcement comes about a week after a team of planetary scientists announced discovering evaporated salt deposits on Mars and adds another element of hope to the search for alien life or signs of its past biology.

Hundreds of Salt Deposits Spotted on Mars National Geographic - March 20, 2008

Evidence of a dense brine that once oozed on Mars could bring new vigor to the search for salt-loving life-forms on the red planet. Mikki Osterloo of the University of Hawaii and colleagues have discovered hundreds of small depressions that appear to be filled with the kinds of salt deposits that form on Earth when water evaporates. Mars is 'covered in table salt' BBC - March 20, 2008

Avalanche on Mars Nasa - March 11, 2008

Avalanche Photographed on Mars - March 3, 2008
Mars Orbiter Photographs Avalanches on Mars NASA - March 3, 2008
First Mars Avalanches Seen In Action National Geographic - March 4, 2008

Mars May Have Hosted Potentially Habitable Lake National Geographic - March 10, 2008

3-D Mars Volcano, National Geographic - February 6, 2008

The solar system's tallest mountain - the Martian volcano Olympus Mons, which stands about three times as tall as Mount Everest, is seen here in unprecedented 3-D detail. The image is part of newly released data from the Mars Express orbiter's High Resolution Stereo Camera. Known as a digital terrain model, the information provides the first comprehensive topographical look at much of the red planet's surface. The data will allow scientists to simulate "standing" on Martian cliffs, hillsides, lava flows, and desert plains—a vital tool for figuring out Mars's complex geography and chemistry. "This data is essential for understanding how water or lava flowed across Mars," said Gerhard Neukum, a professor at Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany, in a press statement.

Why claims of life on Mars still capture the imagination BBC - February 6, 2008

"Life on Mars!" declared the headlines: an image showing a tantalizingly blurred Bigfoot-like figure, captured in a panorama by Nasa's robot geologist Spirit, spread round the world last month. First identified by a Japanese blogger, it didn't take long for the image to reach thousands upon thousands of people, appearing in newspapers and becoming one of the most emailed stories on the BBC News website. It is a rock, just a couple of centimetres tall, but it is easy to understand why some envisaged a humanoid figure there.

'Active glacier found' on Mars BBC - December 21, 2007

Sulfur Dioxide Kept Ancient Mars Ocean Flowing National Geographic - December 21, 2007

Life's Building Blocks Found in Mars Rock - December 11, 2007
Riddle of Mars's Mysterious "Spiders," "Fans" Solved National Geographic - December 13, 2007

New images from Mars have revealed startling details about "spiders" and "dark fans" - two of the bizarre features that the give the planet's so-called cryptic region its name. The formations appear during the spring in a region near the planet's south pole dense with unusual features.

Martian Global Warming Thunderbolts - October 23, 2007

Climate change on Mars may be happening more rapidly and dramatically than on Earth. As in the case of terrestrial "global warming," however, the electrical connection is still being ignored. According to NASA scientists, the planet Mars has been steadily warming for at least the past several decades - and this warming is occurring at a pace that could destroy the planet’s southern ice cap in the foreseeable future.

A Hole in Mars NASA - May 28, 2007

Black spots have been discovered on Mars that are so dark that nothing inside can be seen. Quite possibly, the spots are entrances to deep underground caves capable of protecting Martian life, were it to exist.

Mars Has Cave Networks, New Photos Suggest National Geographic - March 22, 2007

Seven circular pits on the surface of Mars appear to be openings to underground caverns, researchers have announced. The discovery of potential caves is exciting, the scientists said, because such underground formations may be the most promising places to look for signs of life.

Mars Melt Hints at Solar, Not Human, Cause for Warming, Scientist Says National Geographic - March 1, 2007

Simultaneous warming on Earth and Mars suggests that our planet's recent climate changes have a natural - and not a human-induced - cause, according to one scientist's controversial theory. Earth is currently experiencing rapid warming, which the vast majority of climate scientists says is due to humans pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. <

Rocks reveal Mars' watery past BBC - February 15, 2007

Exquisite color images of the Martian surface give a tantalising glimpse into the Red Planet's watery past. Shots of the deep valley Candor Chasma show light coloured areas of rock where water could have flowed. These "haloes" surround fractures in the martian bedrock which provide a promising target in the search for evidence of past life on the planet.

Night Clouds Warm Red Planet - February 6, 2007

Nighttime clouds detected for the first time on Mars help to keep the planet's surface warm after sunset when temperatures drop, a new study suggests. The nocturnal clouds are five times thicker than their daytime counterparts and hover close to the ground, almost like a fog.

Mars probe snaps dramatic new images of gullies New Scientist - February 1, 2007

Photos strengthen case for water on Mars - Includes Slideshow MSNBC - December 7, 2006

Water Flows Today on Mars Astrobiology Magazine - December 7, 2006

Water 'flowed recently' on Mars BBC - December 7, 2006

Ice geysers 'discovered on Mars' BBC - August 20, 2006

Geysers spewing sand and dust hundreds of feet into the "air" have been discovered on Mars, scientists say. Images from a camera orbiting Mars have shown the 100mph jets of carbon dioxide erupt through ice at the planet's south pole, Arizona State University says. The orbiting camera, called the Thermal Emission Imaging System (Themis), is on the Mars Odyssey probe. The geyser debris leaves dark spots, fan-like markings and spider-shaped features on the ice cap.

Study Reveals Young Mars Was A Wet World Suited For Life - April 21, 2006

The most comprehensive study ever conducted of minerals on Mars' surface reveals the planet has undergone three distinct geological eras throughout its history, with water playing a progressively lesser role in each.

Happy Face on Mars Exposed - April 12, 2006

With a few hills, some shadow, and a heavy dose of imagination, you can see a lot of things on Earth or in a space rock that are not there. In this realm of false sightings, Mars reigns. Mars has a heart, for one. And then there's the mile-long translucent worm. The most famous example is the Face on Mars, the one that some people believe to be the construct of an intelligent civilization

Knocked Off Its Axis? Astrobiology Magazine - April 19, 2005

Since the time billions of years ago when Mars was formed, it has never been a spherically symmetric planet, nor is it composed of similar materials throughout, say scientists who have studied the planet. Since its formation, it has changed its shape, for example, through the development of the Tharsis bulge, an eight kilometer [five mile] high feature that covers one-sixth of the Martian surface, and through volcanic activity. As a result of these and other factors, its polar axis has not been stable relative to surface features and is known to have wandered through the eons as Mars rotated around it and revolved around the Sun.

Mars pictures reveal frozen sea just below the surface of Mars BBC - February 21, 2005

A huge, frozen sea lies just below the surface of Mars, a team of European scientists has announced. Their assessment is based on pictures of the planet's near-equatorial Elysium region that show plated and rutted features across an area 800 by 900km. The team think a catastrophic event flooded the landscape five million years ago and then froze out. They tell a forthcoming edition of Nature magazine that sediments covered the ice, locking it in place. Large reserves of water-ice are known to be held at the poles on Mars but if this discovery is confirmed by follow-up observations, it would be a first for a region at such a low latitude.

Martian gases pose life question BBC - February 25, 2005
An Italian scientist working on the Mars Express probe says gases detected in the planet's atmosphere may indicate life exists on the Red Planet today. Vittorio Formisano told a Dutch space conference methane and formaldehyde could signify biological activity. But the cautious professor, from the Institute of Interplanetary Space Physics in Rome, said only soil analysis on the planet could prove it.

On Mars: Earth-Like Clouds and a New Type of Rock - December 13, 2004

NASA's Mars rovers have returned new evidence for past water, pictures of Earth-like clouds seen for the first time from the planet's surface, and a rock that doesn't look like anything scientists have ever seen.

Red Planet had 'recent' volcanism BBC - August 2004

Mars appears to have been volcanically active more recently than previously supposed, according to growing evidence from Europe's Mars Express orbiter. New estimates suggest volcanoes could have been active between one million years ago and 20 million years ago, but more work is needed to refine the dates Previous spacecraft data suggested that volcanism on Mars ceased some time around 600-500 million years ago.

Rover finds new Mars water signs - The Lion Stone BBC - May 18, 2004

The US space agency's robotic rover Opportunity has found initial evidence that rocks at a new Martian crater it is exploring were deposited in water. The rover has conducted tests on a 30-cm-long rock called Lion Stone, which was probably tossed out by the impact that excavated Endurance Crater. Lion Stone is peppered with spherical "concretions", exhibits fine layering and is rich in sulphur, Nasa says. The concretions probably formed when minerals precipitated out of water. These tiny spheres were found in the rock outcrops and soil in Eagle Crater, where Opportunity touched down

Blueberries On Mars (Agencies) China Daily - March 20, 2004

This false-color composite image, taken at the outcrop region dubbed 'Berry Bowl' near the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's landing site, released by NASA March 18, 2004, shows the sphere-like grains or 'blueberries' that fill Berry Bowl. Of particular interest is the blueberry triplet, which indicates that these geologic features grew in pre-existing wet sediments.

Close-ups of Mars BBC - January 23, 2004

This picture was taken on 15 January 2004, east of an area called the Hellas basin. It shows an area 100 km across, including a channel - Reull Vallis - once formed by flowing water. The landscape is seen in a vertical view, with north is at the top.

This picture, taken on 14 January 2004, shows a vertical view of a 7.6-km-wide mesa in the true colors of Mars. The summit plateau stands about 3 km above the surrounding terrain. The original surface was dissected by erosion - only isolated mesas have remained intact.

This image, taken on 14 January 2004 from a height of 275 km, shows an area 50 km across, containing features controlled by the action of tectonic plates. The location is south of Valles Marineris, a 4,000-km-long canyon running across the surface of the planet. North is at top.

Taken on 14 January 2004 in the huge canyon Valles Marineris, this picture shows cliffs, flatish highlands known as mesas, and features which indicate erosion caused by the action of flowing water. The landscape is seen in a vertical view, with north at the bottom.

'Martian features' found on Earth BBC - May 2003
Features in a Martian meteorite believed by some to be the fossilized remains of alien bacteria may have formed underwater. Researchers have found a "striking" match between microscopic features on underwater rocks and mineral deposits from Earth and microbe-like structures in the famous Martian meteorite ALH84001. The discovery could bring scientists closer to knowing whether the 3.9 billion-year-old meteorite contains fossilized alien life. The evidence comes from volcanic rocks and underwater geological formations called calcareous pinnacles found below the surface of Lake Van in Turkey, the world's biggest alkaline lak