Mars

Curiosity’s latest Mars find: “biologically useful” nitrogen

Curiosity’s latest Mars find: “biologically useful” nitrogen

Despite the recent resurfaced scandal surrounding Mars One, it's business as usual for those working on the real and present-day Mars. That doesn't mean, however, that NASA's scientists don't have anything just as spectacular but even more scientifically sound. From the results gathered by Curiosity Rover's "Sample Analysis at Mars" equipment, or SAM, researchers discovered the presence of nitrogen, quite a lot of them. While this alone might be boring, it's the nature of those nitrogen molecules that are more interesting. These particular molecules are a type of nitrogen that could have very well been useful to organic life.

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NASA hails successful test of Mars lander tech

NASA hails successful test of Mars lander tech

NASA is working on a new Mars lander technology that will allow scientists to place a spacecraft exactly where they want on the surface of the red planet. This lander tech is known as ADAPT. The test system is designed to help a spacecraft divert course and make a smooth pinpoint landing. By contrast, when Curiosity landed on Mars, NASA scientists had a massive landing area 12 miles by 4 miles as the location they wanted to hit.

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NASA’s Maven spacecraft discovers aurora and dust cloud around Mars

NASA’s Maven spacecraft discovers aurora and dust cloud around Mars

The NASA Maven spacecraft has been orbiting mars and performing its scientific duties and has made a couple interesting discoveries. Maven has discovered an unexplained high altitude dust cloud around Mars and an aurora that reaches deep into the Martian atmosphere. The dust cloud is at orbital altitudes 93 to 190 miles above the surface.

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Dear Mars, what’s that dust? MAVEN seeks answers

Dear Mars, what’s that dust? MAVEN seeks answers

NASA's MAVEN craft has sent back data on auroras and dust at high altitudes above Mars - the latter is a mystery to observers both amateur and professional. Back in February a couple of amateur stargazers first announced spotting this dust cloud (having spotted it all the way back in 2012). There was quite a bit of nay-saying at the time about the origin of said photos - and their resolution - so we explained why images of the dust were of such terrible quality. Now it's MAVEN's turn.

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Mars One finalist reveals concerns about “flawed” project

Mars One finalist reveals concerns about “flawed” project

In 2013, the world started dreaming big about travel to Mars when Mars One revealed its own big plan: to send people on a one-way trip to the red planet, something that horrified some and inspired others. The non-profit organization had a sensationalist way of going about things: it wanted video applications, and there were even rumbles about turning the project into a reality TV show. More than 200,000 applications were received, according to different sources that cropped up last year, but fast-forward into 2015 and the doubts have continued to grow.

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NASA says Mars once held more water than the Arctic Ocean

NASA says Mars once held more water than the Arctic Ocean

One of the reasons that NASA is so interested in Mars is to determine if the planet once had water on its surface. If there was water, there is a chance that the planet once had life of some sort as well. NASA has been studying the planet with rovers and orbiters for a long time and scientist have now made a new determination.

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Mars plumes: why the low resolution?

Mars plumes: why the low resolution?

Why are these "clouds" being viewed from Earth by telescope, instead of from mars, by the MGO? This was one of the more pointed questions we received when our first exploration of the "Mars plume" was released earlier this week. We decided to take a closer look at this seemingly obvious situation - why look at the planet from afar when we could be so much closer? Aren't there pieces of equipment on and around the planet that could have taken better photographs of this planetary phenomenon?

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What are these weird Mars clouds? Stargazers aren’t sure

What are these weird Mars clouds? Stargazers aren’t sure

A huge plume of haze extending more than 600 miles from the surface of Mars has stumped astronomers, with the cause of the unexpected extrusion still the cause of fierce speculation. Spotted for the first time in 2012, the high-altitude emissions were first tracked by amateurs who initially doubted their telescopes, so different from the usual clouds and aurora they were. Now, researchers from the European Space Agency have waded in, but while they may have far stronger telescopes (not to mention a bigger budget), they're still stuck at the theorizing stage.

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Curiosity spitting odd findings after Mars dust feast

Curiosity spitting odd findings after Mars dust feast

NASA's Curiosity rover has been busy with its drill again, and analysis of the second sample of Martian rock is already turning up some unexpected conditions back when the red planet supported liquid water. Curiosity put its low-percussion-level drill into play for the first time last week, carving a chunk out of a site known as "Mojave 2" at the base of Mount Sharp, and feeding it in powder form into its Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument. Turns out, even though the analysis isn't finished yet, there are already signs of a surprising amount of jarosite, to a degree that suggests Mars was - at least in parts - a whole lot more acidic than predicted by earlier testing.

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NASA eyes using small helicopters to help Mars rovers

NASA eyes using small helicopters to help Mars rovers

Mars might very soon have its own version of a drone to patrol its skies. NASA is considering creating a Mars Helicopter, an addon to future rovers that will become the advance party of these roaming laboratories. These vehicles will become the eyes of scientists on earth that will help them better determine where to direct rovers to, making each trip more efficient and focusing primarily on more "exciting" parts of Martian landscape, increasing the distance traveled up to three times.

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Opportunity abound: walking on Mars virtually with NASA

Opportunity abound: walking on Mars virtually with NASA

NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover has been rolling around the surface of the red planet for 11 years. To celebrate, the craft has sent back a panorama image viewable by you in full definition right this minute. To get up close and personal with the surface of Mars, NASA has also been collaborating with Microsoft over the past few weeks and months, having an early peek at their new Windows Holographic system with Microsoft HoloLens - making walking on the planet's surface much more of a "real" experience than ever before.

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Microsoft HoloLens will take NASA scientists to Mars — virtually

Microsoft HoloLens will take NASA scientists to Mars — virtually

Microsoft’s HoloLens is a pretty neat concept, and already showing a lot of promise. Via a headset and virtual environment, we’d be able to do all kinds of things like assemble or design something to be 3D printed, and it certainly has a lot of gaming angles. As far as virtual environments go, there might be no cooler one than mars, and that’s what NASA and Microsoft have in mind. Using HoloLens, NASA wants to let Earth-bound scientists work in space — virtually.

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