You start with a puzzle, an idea and some sketches. Then what? We hear from the principal investigator on NASA’s successful InSight mission about what it’s like to send a craft to another planet. Bruce Banerdt has the job he’s been dreaming of since he was a child growing up in the California desert, watching … Continue reading What’s it like to go to Mars?
Albatross marriages in hot water Monogamous albatrosses don’t stay together for the kids when things aren’t working, and warming waters could increase pressure to ‘divorce’, according to a study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. International researchers studied a wild population of albatrosses in the Falkland Islands for 15 years and found that … Continue reading You may have missed…
Where do Martian meteorites come from? This seems like a tautological question, but in order to learn more about the geology of Mars, it’s important to find out where on the red planet these rocks originated before they ended up on Earth. “The only rocks we get from Mars are Martian meteorites,” says Dr Anthony … Continue reading Which craters spat out Martian meteorites?
If we ever want to move to Mars, we’ll need to learn how to grow food right there on the Red Planet. But the soil there is harsh and unsavoury for most plants. Well, somebody call Matt Damon because astroagriculturalists have found a way to give clover plants a microbial “buddy” that will help fill … Continue reading How to grow plants on Mars
After succeeding in a bold attempt to brush dangerous amounts of dust from its solar panels, NASA’s InSight Mars lander has hit two major milestones: 1,000 sols (Mars days) on the surface, and the detection of the three largest marsquakes ever recorded. Earlier this year, says the mission’s principal investigator, Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s Jet … Continue reading Rejuvenated Insight ‘hears’ three strong marsquakes
NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars has at last found a rock that’s a hard place. After an initial failed attempt last month, the robotic prospector has successfully drilled two core samples from a Martian rock and stowed them away for eventual return to Earth. An unexpected failure occurred in early August when Perseverance attempted to … Continue reading Plucky Mars rover’s perseverance rewarded
The Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) has released the first sounds and new video recorded by its Mars rover, Zhurong, as part of its Tianwen-1 mission. The 240-kilogram Zhurong rover landed on the surface of Mars on 14 May, and CNSA previously released footage of its descent. The newly released audio reveals the noises that … Continue reading China releases first sounds of Zhurong’s Mars mission
Much of what NASA’s achieving through the Mars 2020 mission – including the historic flights of tiny helicopter Ingenuity – will likely inform future explorations. It was a display of… well, ingenuity. A tiny, 1.8kg helicopter called Ingenuity hitched a ride to Mars on the Perseverance rover. On April 21, it flew – the first … Continue reading Just a little Perseverance
In March, Curiosity sent back 21 individual images that show some very high-altitude clouds. The NASA team has stitched them together to make one big image and has also pieced together some time-lapse images taken from Curiosity’s Mastcam. Surprisingly, the clouds are shiny! This GIF shows clouds drifting over Mount Sharp on Mars, as viewed … Continue reading This week on Mars
This week has been a busy one on the Red Planet – last Saturday morning, Australian time, China became the third country to land a rover on Mars. The six-wheeled robot, Zhurong, soon sent back its first images and will now embark on 90 days of exploration of a gigantic icy region known as Utopia … Continue reading This week on Mars
The landing capsule moves away from the orbiter, a precursor to the first pictures Zhurong will send from the surface. Credit: China National Space Agency. Just a few days after landing on Mars, China’s Zhurong rover – named after the god of fire in Chinese folk tales – has sent back two images from the … Continue reading Zhurong rover sends first pictures of Mars
The fifth flight of tiny Mars helicopter Ingenuity – the one that flew it above mission expectations – took place on Friday 7 May. The robot craft took off at ‘Wright Brothers Field’ – the same spot where the it had risen and landed on all its other flights – but landed at an airfield … Continue reading Last week on Mars