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

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 […]

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

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 […]

First Successful Mars Landing Mission: 40 Years Since the Launch of Viking 1

 

The first “clear” image of the surface of Mars, captured by Viking 1 in July 1976. The lander and its orbiter were launched 40 years ago, today, on 20 August 1975. Photo Credit: NASA

In the second decade of the 21st century, we have grown accustomed to a steady output of scientific data […]

Potential Landing Sites for Mars 2020 Rover Narrowed Down to Eight Locations

Map of the eight proposed landing sites for the Mars 2020 Rover. Image Credit: NASA/MOLA Science Team

NASA’s next Mars rover is due to launch in July or August 2020, and the number of potential landing sites has now been narrowed down by scientists to eight locations. Out of an initial list of 21 […]

Researchers Develop New Technique to Search for Chemical Evidence of Life on Mars

Despite decades of searching, definitive evidence for life on Mars, past or present, has still remained elusive and controversial. Confirmation of such a finding would need to be thoroughly tested and documented, and now researchers at the University of Kansas have developed a new technique that they hope would help to do just that, […]

Buried Glaciers Have Enough Ice to Cover Entire Surface of Mars, According to New Study

Image of dust-covered glaciers on Mars from the High Resolution Stereo Camera on Mars Express. The glaciers are composed of water ice. Image Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin

When the topic of ice on Mars comes up, the first thing that usually comes to mind are the polar ice caps which are prominent even in small […]

Cool New Technology Will Allow Scientists to Work Virtually on Mars in 3-D

A screen view from OnSight, showing how scientists can meet together in a virtual 3-D simulation on the Martian surface. Such technology will allow scientists to better study features of interest and plan rover or lander activities. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The rover and lander missions on Mars have been cool enough with their high-tech […]

Taking Aim With ExoLance: A New Way to Search for Life on Mars

“Got Life?”—the ExoLance logo. Image Credit: Explore Mars

Is or was there life on Mars? That is one of the biggest and most hotly debated questions in planetary science. The manner in which the evidence has been searched for is also a topic of much discussion. The Viking landers in the 1970s were the […]

Wolf V. Vishniac, The First Human to Walk on Mars

An image from one of the first interplanetary explorers, the Viking 2 lander. Dr. Wolf Vishniac was one of Viking’s team members, and he pioneered the search for life in alien worlds. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

He may not be a household name, but remember the name of Dr. Wolf V. Vishniac. A microbiologist by […]

NASA Selects Four Potential Mars Landing Sites for InSight Mission

NASA has selected four landing sites for the upcoming InSight mission to the Red Planet. Image Credit: NASA

In late November, NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft is expected to thunder away from Earth on a one-way trip to study the thin atmosphere of Mars, but the next mission to land on the Red Planet’s surface […]