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?
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
The Opportunity rover on Mars fell silent on June 10th following a massive dust storm on the Red Planet. Now, as the storm begins to clear, NASA officials hope to once again hear from the intrepid robotic explorer. The space agency will listen in for 45 days after the storm clears, hoping to receive a signal. The spacecraft landed on Mars in 2004, and has been exploring the alien landscape for nearly 15 years.Read More The Plan to Rescue the Opportunity Rover from a Deep Slumber on Mars
Liquid water has been found on Mars for the first time. The underground lake is 20 kilometers in diameter, and lies 1.5 kilometers beneath the south pole of the Red Planet. This finding greatly increases the chance of finding primitive life on Mars, although complex life is unlikely to be found there, due to the harsh conditions.Read More Eureka! Liquid Water Discovered on Mars!