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28 September 2010

4th MSL Landing Site Workshop: Day 1

It has begun! Today was the first of a three day workshop in which the Mars science community (not just those directly involved in the MSL mission) gathers together and hashes out what we know and what we don’t know about the four finalist MSL landing sites. For me the week actually started yesterday at the MSL team meeting, where we got lots of updates on the various aspects of …


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24 September 2010

The 4th MSL Landing Site Workshop

Well folks, I’m off to Pasadena to help the Mars community decide where to send its next rover. Long-time readers will recall that i’ve been to a couple of these things before and they’re always fascinating. I was going to post a reminder of what the four finalist sites are, with pros and cons and all that, but it turns out I don’t have to! My friend Lisa Grossman, a …


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16 September 2010

Gale Crater Geomorphology Paper – Published!

Big news folks! The huge paper that I’ve been working on for the last couple years is finally, unbelievably, published! Even better for you, it is published at the Mars journal, which is an open-access journal. Just head on over and you can download all 53 pages of pure, distilled Science! In case you don’t want to wade through that many pages (and almost as many figures) of Mars geomorphology …


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3 August 2010

Is Eberswalde Really a Smoking Gun?

The other day in Mars journal club, we took a look at a paper about the “fan” in Eberswalde crater. You may recognize this name: it is one of the four finalist landing sites for MSL. The site was chosen because at the western end of the crater, there is a feature that most Mars scientists consider to be a delta, formed when sediment transported by rivers  encountered standing water …


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19 July 2010

New Evidence for an Ocean on Mars?

There’s a new Nature Geoscience paper that has made a big splash in the Mars community, reviving interest in the possibility of a northern ocean. This news was making the rounds a couple weeks ago, but I decided to hold off because at last week’s Mars Journal Club we discussed the paper. The idea behind the paper is deceptively simple. The authors, Gaetano DiAchille and Brian Hynek, searched all over …


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9 June 2010

Ice Caves on Mars!

Hey, guess what? There might be caves with ice in them on Mars! You should go check out my post about this cool new possibility over at Universe Today!


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4 June 2010

Spirit Rover Discovers Carbonates

Big news from Mars today, Spirit has found evidence for significant amounts of carbonates in the rocks of Gusev crater! Carbonates are really important for two reasons: first of all, Mars has a very thin CO2 atmosphere right now. Too thin for water to remain as a liquid on the surface: it would just boil away and freeze at the same time! But there is lots of evidence that water …


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26 April 2010

MarsSed 2010 Field trip – Day 1: Guadalupe Mountains and Evaporites

Hello everyone, I’m back from the MarsSed 2010 meeting in ElPaso! The meeting was great: it was small and focused on sedimentology and stratigraphy on Mars, with lots of room for discussion. Even better, there were plenty of terrestrial geologists attending, and their comments were extremely helpful for me, and probably many other Martians who lack a geology background. After two and a half days of presentations and discussion (and …


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25 March 2010

TED Talk: Why we need to go back to Mars

I recently started subscribing to the TED talk RSS feed, and I really love coming home every day after work and listening to smart people talk about cool ideas. If you aren’t familiar with TED, you should be. Most of the talks are fantastic and very thought-provoking. So you can imagine I was excited when I saw that today’s talk was about Mars! The talk was given by Joel Levine, …


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5 March 2010

LPSC 2010 – Day 3: Rover Update, Mafic Mars and Atmospheres

Wednesday started off with a summary of results from the Opportunity rover, given by Steve Squyres. He started off talking about the several iron meteorites discovered in the past year. I thought it was particularly interesting that there are hematite blueberries on top of some of the meteorites: the blueberries are way too big to be lifted by the wind, so that means the meteorite must have been buried and …


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