'Cauliflower' Silica Formations on Mars: Evidence of Ancient Life?

Image of "cauliflower" silica formations found by the Spirit rover in 2008 near Home Plate in Gusev crater. Do they hold clues to ancient life on Mars? Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Image of “cauliflower” silica formations found by the Spirit rover in 2008 near Home Plate in Gusev crater. Do they hold clues to ancient life on Mars? Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Was there ever life on Mars? That is one of the longest-running and most debated questions in planetary science, and while there have been […]

2015 in Review: A Year of Spectacular Planetary Missions and Discoveries

High-resolution view of Pluto from New Horizons, showing rugged mountains and vast icy plains. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

High-resolution view of Pluto from New Horizons, showing rugged mountains and vast icy plains. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

To say that 2015 has been a great year for planetary exploration would be an understatement, with fantastic new discoveries from around the Solar System. From our first ever close-up look at Pluto and its moons, to […]

Vacuum Leak Discovered in Key Science Instrument for InSight Mission to Mars

Artist's conception of the InSight lander on Mars. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artist’s conception of the InSight lander on Mars. The SEIS instrument is the dome-shaped object in the foreground. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

One of the science instruments being installed on the InSight lander is experiencing a vacuum leak, according to an update posted Dec. 3¬†on the JPL website. The leak is in the vacuum container […]

Drones on Mars? Small 'Helicopter-Like' Scout Could Be Added to Mars 2020 Rover Mission

Artist's conception of the helicopter-like drone which could accompany the Mars 2020 Rover. Image Credit: NASA

Artist’s conception of the helicopter-like drone which could accompany the Mars 2020 rover. Image Credit: NASA

Over the past few years, numerous orbiters, landers, and rovers have been sent to Mars, revealing the world as never before. There is, however, something else which hasn’t been done yet: a helicopter, airplane, or balloon. An airborne […]

NASA Developing New 'Chemical Laptop' to Search for Evidence of Alien Life

The "Chemical Laptop" being designed by NASA to help search for evidence of alien life elsewhere in the Solar System. Photo Credit: NASA

The “Chemical Laptop” being designed by NASA to help search for evidence of alien life elsewhere in the Solar System. Photo Credit: NASA

One of NASA’s primary objectives, and the one which most excites the general public, is the search for evidence of life elsewhere, whether in our own Solar System or on some […]

NASA's Curiosity Rover Approaching Active Martian Sand Dunes After Latest Drilling Completed

The edge of a dark sand dune field can be seen in this false-color Curiosity image from sol 1115. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The edge of a dark sand dune field can be seen in this white-balanced Curiosity image from sol 1115 (Sep. 25, 2015). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Mars is often referred to as a desert world, being bone-dry for the most part, with dust and sand blanketing most of the surface. Some regions are covered in vast […]

Data From Spirit Rover Provides Evidence for Acid Fog on Ancient Mars

False-color mosaic of Cumberland Ridge, with pie charts representing iron-bearing mineralogy. Image Credit: S. Cole, PhD thesis; background image: NASA/JPL/Cornell/Arizona State University; Moessbauer values from Morris et al. 2008 (doi: 10.1029/2008JE003201)

False-color mosaic of Cumberland Ridge, with pie charts representing iron-bearing mineralogy. Image Credit: S. Cole, PhD thesis; background image: NASA/JPL/Cornell/Arizona State University; Moessbauer values from Morris et al. 2008 (doi: 10.1029/2008JE003201)

The various rover and lander missions on Mars have provided unprecedented glimpses into the planet’s past, including geological history and environmental conditions. In […]

NASA Seeks Public's Help Designing Ways for Astronauts to Live off the Land on Mars

As part of its research and development efforts on in-situ resource utilisation, NASA has recently announced the In-Situ Materials Challenge which seeks proposals from the public on converting in-situ extraterrestrial materials into structural elements that would be useful for human deep space missions. Image Credit: NASA

As part of its research and development efforts on in-situ resource utilisation, NASA has recently announced the In-Situ Materials Challenge which seeks proposals from the public on converting in-situ extraterrestrial materials into structural elements that would be useful for human deep space missions. Image Credit: NASA

In the much-advertised Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster movie ‘The […]

Curiosity Rover Confirms Ancient Lake(s) in Gale Crater on Mars

Sedimentary strata at the base of Mount Sharp as seen at the Kimberly location. The strata in the foreground dip toward Mount Sharp, providing evidence of the former lake-filled depression that used to exist before most of the mountain formed. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Sedimentary strata at the base of Mount Sharp as seen at the Kimberly location. The strata in the foreground dip toward Mount Sharp, providing evidence of the former lake-filled depression that used to exist before most of the mountain formed. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Last week there was the exciting news that Mars still has […]

The Saline Slopes of Mars: NASA Confirms Evidence for Flowing Liquid Water

False color image of RSL on slopes in Hale crater. The blue color is thought not to be related to their formation, but instead are from the presence of the mineral pyroxene. The image is produced by draping an orthorectified (Infrared-Red-Blue/Green(IRB)) false color image (ESP_030570_1440) on a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the same site produced by High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (University of Arizona). Vertical exaggeration is 1.5.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

False-color image of RSL on slopes in Hale crater. The blue color is thought not to be related to their formation, but instead are from the presence of the mineral pyroxene. The image is produced by draping an orthorectified (Infrared-Red-Blue/Green(IRB)) false color image (ESP_030570_1440) on a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) of the same site […]