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6 May 2022
Tanya Harrison never thought she was going to be an astronaut. But she was determined to go to space. And she did just that – through satellites, first to Mars, and now looking back at our own third rock from the Sun as she uses satellites to map places near and far. We talked with her about what it’s like to be a Martian, making science more accessible to those …
22 April 2022
Third Pod from the Sun is back, and we’re going weekly! Join us as we combat misconceptions about sharks, learn how to lasso lizards, hear from a Martian here on Earth, spark science joy via Tiktok, journey to Antarctica, and fight over food with some capuchins!
20 September 2021
More than 50 years of missions to Mars paint a clear picture of a cold, dry, desert planet. And at the same time, photographs, minerals, and other data tell scientists that Mars once had as much water as Earth, or even more. Why are the two planets so different today?
27 April 2021
If someone offered you the chance to drop everything, fly to Hawaii, and spend four months trapped in a dome with seven strangers in the name of science, would you do it? For writer Kate Greene, the answer to that question was a resounding “yes.” Greene was one of eight people selected to crew the very first HI-SEAS Mars analogue mission in 2013.
24 December 2020
As we look back on 2020, we wanted to share some of the top news and views coming out of AGU.
17 December 2020
Even though it was the second-to-last day at #AGU20, Wednesday was still very busy!
27 April 2020
Planetary scientists are using a volcanic flow field in New Mexico to puzzle out how long past volcanic eruptions on Mars might have lasted, a finding that could help researchers determine if Mars was ever hospitable to life. People don’t usually think of New Mexico as a volcanically active place, but it has some of the youngest (geologically speaking) large lava flows in the continental United States.
23 April 2020
New research indicates river delta deposits within Mars’ Jezero crater – the destination of NASA’ Perseverance rover – formed over time scales that promoted habitability and enhanced preservation of evidence.
15 January 2020
New research on microbial lifeforms living in nearly barren volcanic landscapes in Iceland may help scientists understand how best to search for life on other planets. Researchers with NASA’s FELDSPAR project are studying the distribution of life in these harsh Icelandic environments to inform the search for hidden life signs on planets like Mars. So far, they have found that microbes at their study sites are often isolated in “hot spots” and that microbial communities are distributed differently in areas subjected to different geological processes, such as wind or glaciation.
12 December 2019
A type of Martian aurora first identified by NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft in 2016 is actually the most common form of aurora occurring on the Red Planet, according to new results from the mission. The aurora is known as a proton aurora and can help scientists track water loss from Mars’ atmosphere.
10 December 2019
NASA has big plans for returning astronauts to the Moon in 2024, a stepping stone on the path to sending humans to Mars. But where should the first people on the Red Planet land? A new paper published in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters will help by providing a map of water ice believed to be as little as one inch (2.5 centimeters) below the surface.
12 November 2019
For the first time in the history of space exploration, scientists have measured the seasonal changes in the gases that fill the air directly above the surface of Gale Crater on Mars. As a result, they noticed something baffling: oxygen, the gas many Earth creatures use to breathe, behaves in a way that so far scientists cannot explain through any known chemical processes.
11 November 2019
Rafael Loureiro may confess to being an introvert, but he has no fear of people.
7 November 2019
Nina Lanza is a member of a research team hunts for meteorites in Antarctica. In this bonus clip from Episode 23, Between a Varnished Rock and a Hard Place, Nina describes the remote location where they set up camp, being holed up while the howling katabatic winds battered her tent and her brain, and explains the strategies and techniques for searching for and collecting space rocks that are lost bits of asteroids …
29 October 2019
Longitudinal ridges: a new study (Magnarini et al. 2019) of a massive landslide on Mars provides insights into the movement mechanisms of rock avalanches
5 October 2019
Communicating with Curiosity requires creating a plan and transmitting it through various networks, including the Deep Space Network. Sometimes, one of these networks is down, and our plan does not get to the rover.
2 October 2019
Curiosity is continuing through its list of analysis details that take place after taking a drill sample. Today’s main activity is a SAM gas chromatograph column clean-up. Meanwhile, there is time to take environmental observations and more remote-sensing data.
30 September 2019
Curiosity’s late afternoon view: This image was taken by the Front Hazard Avoidance Camera onboard NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2536 (2019-09-25 00:12:06 UTC). It shows the same view as the image in the sols 2538-2539 blog, just in a very different light!
This image shows nine laser pits forming a line down the “Glen Etive 2” drill hole. Shock waves from the laser impact at the lowest point cleared debris that had settled at the bottom of the hole to allow analysis of the hole wall at that depth.
26 September 2019
Today started off with the news that yestersol’s plan did not fully complete. There was an issue in the set of planned SAM activities that resulted in those activities not completing. While we diagnose the issue, we are taking a break from drill activities and filling the plan with lots of remote science.