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Latest Climate of Mars Stories

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2009-11-07 07:15:00

Once upon a time "” roughly four billion years ago "” Mars was warm and wet, much like Earth. Liquid water flowed on the Martian surface in long rivers that emptied into shallow seas. A thick atmosphere blanketed the planet and kept it warm. Living microbes might have even arisen, some scientists believe, starting Mars down the path toward becoming a second life-filled planet next door to our own. But that's not how things turned out. Mars today is bitter cold and bone dry. The...

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2009-09-16 10:15:40

Wind speeds and directions were measured for the first time in the Mars polar region using the Phoenix lander's Telltale instrument. Astronomers recorded Easterly winds of approximately 15-20 kilometers per hour during the martian mid-summer. When autumn approached, the winds increased and switched round to come predominantly from the West. While these winds appeared to be dominated by turbulence, the highest wind speeds recorded of up to nearly 60 kilometers per hour coincided with the...

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2009-07-02 13:30:00

Four papers in the journal Science this week offer new details about the history of water on Mars, gleaned from the 2008 NASA Phoenix Mars Mission that was operated from The University of Arizona.Peter H. Smith, a scientist with the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and the mission's principal investigator, is the first author of "H2O at the Phoenix Landing Site" in Science. There are 35 co-authors from six countries on the paper. Smith and his group of scientists and students used the lander...

2009-06-17 10:50:26

U.S. scientists say they have detected the first direct evidence of lightning occurring on Mars. University of Michigan researchers said they found signs of electrical discharges during dust storms on the red planet. The bolts were dry lightning, Professor Chris Ruf said. What we saw on Mars was a series of huge and sudden electrical discharges caused by a large dust storm, Ruf said. Clearly, there was no rain associated with the electrical discharges on Mars. However, the implied...

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2009-04-16 07:15:00

Heading into a period of the Martian year prone to major dust storms, the team operating NASA's twin Mars rovers is taking advantage of eye-in-the-sky weather reports. On April 21, Mars will be at the closest point to the sun in the planet's 23-month, elliptical orbit. One month later, the planet's equinox will mark the start of summer in Mars' southern hemisphere. This atmospheric-warming combination makes the coming weeks the most likely time of the Martian year for dust storms severe...

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2009-03-06 10:50:00

ESA's Mars Express orbiter imaged the snow-laden region of Rupes Tenuis on the martian north pole on July 29, 2008. The images are centered around 81° north and 297° east and have a ground resolution of 41 m/pixel. They cover an area of about 44 000 km2, almost as large as the Netherlands.  Rupes Tenuis is located at the southern edge of the martian north polar cap, approximately 5500 km northeast of the Tharsis volcanic region. At present, polar caps contain the largest water...

2008-12-18 15:16:59

U.S. space agency scientists say they've discovered a mineral on the surface of Mars that indicates the Red Planet supported water many billions of years ago. Researchers using a powerful instrument aboard the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter found the long sought-after mineral -- carbonate -- that indicates Mars had neutral to alkaline water when the minerals formed more than 3.6 billion years ago. Carbonates, which on Earth include limestone and...

2008-12-16 14:43:39

The U.S. space agency says martian soil its Phoenix Mars Lander collected this year is very cold and dry, but during climate cycles it might become moist. Phoenix found clues increasing scientists' confidence in predictive models about water vapor moving through the soil between the atmosphere and subsurface water-ice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said, noting the models predict the vapor flow can wet the soil when the tilt of Mars' axis, the obliquity, is greater than it...

2008-09-30 09:00:11

By MARC KAUFMAN By Marc Kaufman The Washington Post WASHINGTON Icy snow falls from high in the Martian atmosphere and may even reach the planet's surface, scientists working with NASA's Phoenix Mars lander reported Monday. Laser instruments aboard the lander detected the snow in clouds about 2 1/2 miles above the surface and followed the precipitation as it fell more than a mile toward the ground. But because of limitations with the technology, it was unclear whether any of the...

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2008-09-29 14:25:00

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has detected snow falling from Martian clouds. Spacecraft soil experiments also have provided evidence of past interaction between minerals and liquid water, processes that occur on Earth. A laser instrument designed to gather knowledge of how the atmosphere and surface interact on Mars has detected snow from clouds about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) above the spacecraft's landing site. Data show the snow vaporizing before reaching the ground. "Nothing like this view...


Word of the Day
penuche
  • A fudgelike confection of brown sugar, cream or milk, and chopped nuts.
'Penuche' is a variant of 'panocha,' a coarse grade of sugar made in Mexico. 'Panocha' probably comes from the Spanish 'panoja, panocha,' ear of grain.
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