New Images of Mars from the ExoMars Orbiter Features Photo of InSight Lander Seen from Space

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has taken a wealth of new photographs of the Martian surface, including one showing the InSight lander, which recently touched down on the Red Planet. The images show the great geological diversity of Mars, as well as dunes and evidence of dust devils on the planet. Researchers hope to utilize these photographs during planning for future robotic missions.

Read More New Images of Mars from the ExoMars Orbiter Features Photo of InSight Lander Seen from Space
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Water, Water Everywhere — On Mars?

The Mars Express orbiter has taken photos of river valleys on the Red Planet, showing evidence that liquid water once flowed across the Martian landscape. Once thought to be completely dry, Mars is now known to have water ice beneath its surface, up to 100 meters, or 330 feet, in depth. Billions of years ago, Mars lost most of its atmosphere, and water on its surface disappeared. Astronomers are still uncertain what caused this dramatic climatic change on the Red Planet.

Read More Water, Water Everywhere — On Mars?

Saying Goodbye to Opportunity — Here’s the Last Image

The Opportunity rover on Mars has now been declared dead, the victim of a massive sandstorm which covered the planet in June 2018. The final image ever taken by the Opportunity rover on the Red Planet highlights the moment the spacecraft fell silent. The top of the image shows a darkened sky from the massive sand storm last June, and the bottom becomes completely dark, as the vehicle lost power forever. NASA officials tried for months to revive the rover, without success.

Read More Saying Goodbye to Opportunity — Here’s the Last Image

Why Europe is Naming Their Next Mars Rover After Biologist Rosalind Franklin

The European Space Agency announced they are naming their new Mars rover in honor of pioneering biologist Rosalind Franklin. The spacecraft is due for launch in July 2020, and should touch down on Mars in March 2021. The robotic explorer will investigate beneath the Martian crust, looking for evidence of life, past or present, on Mars. Franklin developed groundbreaking research into the study of DNA, work which was used, without credit, by other researchers.

Read More Why Europe is Naming Their Next Mars Rover After Biologist Rosalind Franklin

A Eulogy for the (Likely) Lost Opportunity Rover

After nearly 15 years exploring the surface of Mars, the Opportunity rover may be dead. Despite over 600 attempts, communication still has not been restored with the vehicle, following a loss of power caused by a sandstorm which engulfed the spacecraft last spring. Since 2004, Opportunity traveled 45 kilometers, or 28 miles, exploring the geology and climate of the Red Planet. The golf-cart-sized rover found some of the best evidence yet seen that Mars once had seas of liquid water. It survived an earlier sandstorm in 2014, but has been silent since June 10th.

Read More A Eulogy for the (Likely) Lost Opportunity Rover

Elon Musk Unveils Starship — and Marvin the Martian would be Proud

Elon Musk released the first photograph of the new Starship rocket, and it looks like it came straight out of a science fiction show from the 1950’s. Sporting a stout, silver body, the rocket sits on top of three over-sized fins. This test vehicle is scheduled to carry out vertical takeoff and landing tests, but will be unable to reach space. The orbital version of Starship, with a sleeker body and thicker skin, is due to begin testing in June 2019.

Read More Elon Musk Unveils Starship — and Marvin the Martian would be Proud

Mars InSight Lander Takes Selfie, Returning First Image from its New Home

The InSight lander on Mars just returned its first pictures from the Red Planet, including a selfie, showing itself on that world’s ruddy surface. The picture was taken using a robotic arm attached to the vehicle. Another photo shows the area immediately around the spacecraft, where the vehicle will place two instruments designed to measure marsquakes and temperatures beneath the surface of that world. The vehicle landed on November 26th, marking the eighth successful landing on Mars for NASA, out of nine attempts.

Read More Mars InSight Lander Takes Selfie, Returning First Image from its New Home