Viking Remembered: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the First Search for Life on Mars

Painting of a Viking lander on Mars, prior to launch. Image Credit: Charles Bennett/Lockheed Martin (Martin Marietta)

Iconic painting of a Viking lander on Mars, prior to launch. The sampling arm reaches into the foreground. Image Credit: Charles Bennett/Lockheed Martin (Martin Marietta)

July 20, 1976, will be forever remembered by space enthusiasts. On that day, Viking 1 became the first U.S. spacecraft to land on another planet—in this case, Mars (the USSR Venera […]

Ten Years at Mars: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Celebrates a Decade of Discovery

Illustration of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) as it entered orbit ten years ago. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

Illustration of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) as it entered orbit ten years ago. Image Credit: NASA/JPL

The Martian rover Opportunity has become famous for its amazing longevity, but it is not the only one; orbiting spacecraft also usually enjoy long lifespans, and today the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is celebrating its 10th year exploring Mars from […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Testing Panspermia: Searching for 'Bubbles of Life' in the Galaxy

Does life spread through the galaxy like an infectious disease, with "bubbles" of inhabited planets? Image Credit: Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

Does life spread through the galaxy like an infectious disease, with “bubbles” of inhabited planets? Image Credit: Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

We still don’t know if there is life elsewhere in the universe, but scientists are working on techniques to better understand how it may have originated anyway, in the event that such alien biology is […]

Curiosity Finds First Evidence For Possible 'Continental Crust' on Mars

View of an igneous clast named Harrison which is embedded in a conglomerate rock in Gale crater, and features elongated light-toned feldspar crystals. This mosaic is a combination of an image from Mastcam with higher-resolution images from ChemCam’s Remote Micro-Imager. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/IRAP/U. Nantes/IAS/MSSS

View of an igneous clast named Harrison, which is embedded in a conglomerate rock in Gale crater, and features elongated light-toned feldspar crystals. This mosaic is a combination of an image from Mastcam with higher-resolution images from ChemCam’s Remote Micro-Imager. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/IRAP/U. Nantes/IAS/MSSS

The Curiosity rover, still roaming in Gale crater, has discovered […]

Flying the Friendly Martian Skies: NASA to Test Mars Airplane Prototype

Artist's conception of the Prandtl-m airplane flying above the surface of Mars. Image Credit: NASA Illustration/Dennis Calaba

Artist’s conception of the Prandtl-m airplane flying above the surface of Mars. Image Credit: NASA Illustration/Dennis Calaba

For several decades, Mars has been a busy place, with orbiters, landers, and rovers providing unprecedented views of the Red Planet. Another exciting possibility which has yet to be realized is an airplane, which could soar through […]