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18 July 2018

Martian atmosphere behaves as one

New research using a decade of data from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission has found clear signs of the complex Martian atmosphere acting as a single, interconnected system, with processes occurring at low and mid levels significantly affecting those seen higher up.

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10 July 2018

Scientists discover “ghost dunes” on Mars

Scientists have discovered hundreds of crescent-shaped pits on Mars where sand dunes stood billions of years ago. The curves of these ancient dune impressions record the direction of prevailing winds on the Red Planet, providing potential clues to Mars’s past climate, and may hold evidence of ancient life.

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31 May 2018

Which Mars rocks are most likely to harbor signs of life?

Iron-rich rocks near ancient lake sites on Mars could hold vital clues that show life once existed there, research suggests. These rocks – which formed in lake beds – are the best place to seek fossil evidence of life from billions of years ago, according to the researchers.

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22 November 2017

Scientists discover evidence of recent water flows on Mars

Planetary scientists have discovered a rare ‘esker’ on Mars – a ridge of sediment deposited by meltwater flowing beneath a glacier in the relatively recent past (about 110 million years ago), despite the widely-held view that the recent climate was too cold for ice to melt.

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25 September 2017

New study may help identify areas with and without accessible water ice on Mars

New findings reveal deposits on Mars that could be interpreted to be ice-rich may contain little or no ice at all, based on an analysis of radar sounder data for Meridiani Planum—an area on the planet’s equator being explored by the Opportunity rover. This new insight into Meridiani Planum may help identify areas with and without accessible water ice, a resource critical to future human exploration and possible colonization of Mars.

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29 March 2017

New study shows how impacts generated Martian tsunamis

A study published last year interpreted images of the red planet and suggested the deposits were made by impact-generated tsunamis more than 3 billion years ago. In a new study, Costard and his colleagues independently build on that work by including the geological characteristics of the deposits and modeling how impact-generated tsunamis could have created them. They conclude the deposits may have come from asteroids slamming into a northern ocean billions of years ago, generating waves 300 meters (nearly 1,000 feet) high.

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24 January 2017

Bursts of methane may have warmed early Mars

In a new study, researchers suggest early Mars may have been warmed intermittently by a powerful greenhouse effect. They found interactions between methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen in the early Martian atmosphere may have created warm periods when the planet could support liquid water on the surface.

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14 December 2016

Finger-like structures on Mars could be the result of ancient microbes

Finger-like rock structures on Mars could harbor potential evidence of past life on the Red Planet, according to new research. In 2007, NASA’s Spirit rover landed on Mars’ “Home Plate,” a flat 90-meter-long area within the Gusev crater. Since then, researchers have been trying to make sense of finger-like rock structures splayed across the landscape. The working hypothesis at the time was that these rocks started out as continuous layers but eroded into odd shapes by the touch of wind and sand over the years.

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7 July 2016

Future astronauts might not be able to use water on Mars, study suggests

Last year, scientists made a splash with the news that dark streaks on the Martian surface were signs of flowing liquid water. So far, they have been unable to determine where the water is coming from, but a new study uses recently acquired data of a large canyon system on Mars to eliminate some of the possibilities.

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13 June 2016

NASA Mars orbiters reveal seasonal dust storm pattern

For six recent Martian years, temperature records from NASA Mars orbiters reveal a pattern of three types of large regional dust storms occurring in sequence at about the same times each year during the southern hemisphere spring and summer. Each Martian year lasts about two Earth years.

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