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Latest Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Stories

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2008-10-10 08:10:00

The longest-serving of six spacecraft now studying Mars is up to new tricks for a third two-year extension of its mission to examine the most Earthlike of known foreign planets. NASA's Mars Odyssey is altering its orbit to gain even better sensitivity for its infrared mapping of Martian minerals. During the mission extension through September 2010, it will also point its camera with more flexibility than it has ever used before. Odyssey reached Mars in 2001. The orbit adjustment will allow...

2008-09-30 09:00:11

By Alicia Chang Associated Press LOS ANGELES -- NASA's Phoenix spacecraft has discovered evidence of past water at its Martian landing site and spotted falling snow for the first time, scientists reported Monday. Soil experiments revealed the presence of two minerals known to be formed in liquid water. Scientists identified the minerals as calcium carbonate, found in limestone and chalk, and sheet silicate. But exactly how that happened remains a mystery. "It's really kind of all up in...

2008-09-29 16:05:00

The U.S. space agency's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured images of hundreds of small rock fractures on Mars' surface. National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists say the fractures that were created billions of years ago directed flows of water through underground Martian sandstone. NASA said the fractures are of type called deformation bands, caused by stresses below the surface in granular or porous bedrock. "Groundwater often flows along fractures such as these and...

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2008-09-25 14:58:52

PASADENA, Calif. "“ NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed hundreds of small fractures exposed on the Martian surface that billions of years ago directed flows of water through underground Martian sandstone. Researchers used images from the spacecraft's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, camera. Images of layered rock deposits at equatorial Martian sites show the clusters of fractures to be a type called deformation bands, caused by stresses below the...

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2008-09-24 11:40:00

About four billion years ago, there were lakes on Mars which may have been fed by short-lived rivers that were, in turn, fed by precipitation. These lakes filled craters that were formed by the impact of meteorites. Water accumulated in places where rivers broke through the crater rims. Deltas were formed at the mouths of the rivers, similar to how they are formed where rivers flow into lakes or seas on Earth. These are the findings of an international team of researchers led by Ernst Hauber...

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2008-09-22 14:50:00

NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity is setting its sights on a crater more than 20 times larger than its home for the past two years. To reach the crater the rover team calls Endeavour, Opportunity would need to drive approximately 7 miles to the southeast, matching the total distance it has traveled since landing on Mars in early 2004. The rover climbed out of Victoria Crater earlier this month. "We may not get there, but it is scientifically the right direction to go anyway," said Steve Squyres...

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2008-07-22 20:35:00

Phoenix early Tuesday finished its longest work shift of the mission. The lander stayed awake for 33 hours, completing tasks that included rasping and scraping by the robotic arm, in addition to atmosphere observations in coordination with simultaneous observations by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. "Our rasping test yesterday gave us enough confidence that we're now planning for the next use of the rasp to be for acquiring a sample to be delivered to TEGA," said Phoenix project manager...

2008-07-17 09:00:37

New findings show diverse, wet environments on ancient Mars WASHINGTON, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Mars once hosted vast lakes, flowing rivers and a variety of other wet environments that had the potential to support life, according to two new studies based on data from instruments on board NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). By combining data from these high-tech instruments, scientists have identified three principal classes of water-related minerals dating to the early history of...

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2008-07-16 15:05:00

WASHINGTON -- Two studies based on data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed that the Red Planet once hosted vast lakes, flowing rivers and a variety of other wet environments that had the potential to support life. One study, published in the July 17 issue of Nature, shows that vast regions of the ancient highlands of Mars, which cover about half the planet, contain clay minerals, which can form only in the presence of water. Volcanic lavas buried the clay-rich regions...

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2008-07-10 13:00:00

Scientists running the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, known as HiRISE, on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have processed more details in an amazing image their camera captured as the Phoenix spacecraft descended through Mars' atmosphere during its landing on May 25, 2008. New analysis has turned up what likely is Phoenix's heat shield falling toward Mars' surface, they conclude. HiRISE, run from The University of Arizona, made history by taking the first image of a spacecraft...