'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 […]

Incredible Opportunity: '90-Day Rover' Celebrates 12th Anniversary on Mars

Opportunity examining the rock outcrop called "Private John Potts" on the southern side of Marathon Valley. The rover has just passed its 12th anniversary milestone and is still going strong. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Opportunity examining the rock outcrop called “Private John Potts” on the southern side of Marathon Valley. The rover has just passed its 12th anniversary milestone and is still going strong. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

We’ve all seen the commercials for the Energizer Bunny, which keeps going and going and going. … It just never seems […]

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 […]

NASA's InSight Mission to Mars Suspended Due to Vacuum Leak in Critical Seismometer Instrument

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

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

NASA officially announced at a media teleconference yesterday that the InSight mission to Mars has now been postponed, for at least two years, due to a leak in a seismometer instrument which cannot be repaired in time for the planned launch in March 2016. The […]

NASA's InSight Lander Arrives at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Prepares for Launch to Mars

A crate containing the InSight lander is loaded onto a C-17 cargo aircraft at Buckley Air Force Base, Denver. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin

A crate containing the InSight lander is loaded onto a C-17 cargo aircraft at Buckley Air Force Base, Denver. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin

Update: Just after this article was published, it was announced that there may be a launch delay due to the problem with a vacuum leak in the seismometer instrument. Today, NASA […]

Welcome to Bagnold: Curiosity Rover Reaches Massive Dark Sand Dunes Near Mount Sharp

View overlooking part of High Dune, which is covered in smaller sand ripples. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

View overlooking part of High Dune, which is covered in smaller sand ripples. The image is white-balanced, to show how the scene would look under more Earth-like conditions. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Since landing in 2012, the Curiosity rover has seen a lot of varied terrain within Gale crater, including ancient riverbed gravel, sandstone and […]

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 […]

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 […]