Latest Martian soil Stories

2010-09-03 14:35:00

NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander discovered a surpise chemical in 2008, which suggests that carbon-based chemicals found in 1976 by Viking Mars landers could be from the Martian soil and not from cleaning fluids, according to a NASA statement released on Friday. "This doesn't say anything about the question of whether or not life has existed on Mars, but it could make a big difference in how we look for evidence to answer that question," said Chris McKay of NASA's Ames Research...

2010-06-11 06:30:00

The ongoing search for evidence of past or present life on Mars includes efforts to identify organic compounds such as proteins in Martian soil, but their absence to date remains a mystery. A new theory to explain what happens to these carbon-based molecules is presented in an article published in Astrobiology, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. "There may be no 'safe haven' for these organic molecules on Mars," conclude Ilya Shkrob, Sergey Chemerisov, and Timothy...

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...

2009-09-18 10:55:00

The widespread idea that Mars is red due to rocks being rusted by the water that once flooded the red planet may be wrong. Recent laboratory studies show that the red dust may be formed by ongoing grinding of surface rocks and liquid water need not have played any significant role in the red dust formation process. These findings, which open up the debate about the history of water on Mars and whether it has ever been habitable, have been presented at the European Planetary Science Congress...

2009-07-07 16:20:00

The U.S. space agency says it's using a test rover placed in a sandbox to simulate how best to get the rover, Spirit, extracted from loose Martian soil. Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said they are using a special soil that simulates Spirit's predicament on Mars to assess possible maneuvers for getting Spirit onto firmer ground. They began Monday with the simplest maneuver on their list of options: driving forward with all five operable wheels. The engineers said the wheels...

2009-06-25 19:00:00

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars rover Spirit, lodged in Martian soil that is causing traction trouble, is taking advantage of the situation by learning more about the Red Planet's environmental history. In April, Spirit entered an area composed of three or more layers of soil with differing pastel hues hiding beneath a darker sand blanket. Scientists dubbed the site "Troy." Spirit's rotating wheels dug themselves more than hub deep at the site. The rover team has spent weeks studying...

2009-06-25 15:48:59

The U.S. space agency's Mars rover Spirit is still stuck in loose Martian soil, but it's providing scientists data on the planet's environmental history. Spirit became stuck in April in an area composed of layers of soil with differing pastel hues hiding beneath a darker sand blanket, NASA said. Scientists dubbed the site Troy. But while Spirit awaits extraction instructions, the rover is keeping busy examining Troy, which is next to a low plateau called Home Plate, approximately 2 miles from...

2009-05-19 10:15:00

The U.S. space agency says it's considering the best maneuvers for freeing the Mars rover Spirit, which has become immobilized in soft martian soil. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said a diagnostic test conducted Saturday provided favorable indications about Spirit's left middle wheel. NASA engineers said the weekend test showed electrical resistance in the left middle wheel is within the expected range for a motor that has not failed. This is not a full exoneration of the...

2009-05-18 18:30:00

NASA's rover project team is using the Spirit rover and other spacecraft at Mars to begin developing the best maneuvers for extracting Spirit from the soft Martian ground where it has become embedded.A diagnostic test on May 16 provided favorable indications about Spirit's left middle wheel. The possibility of the wheel being jammed was one factor in the rover team's May 7 decision to temporarily suspend driving Spirit after that wheel stalled and other wheels had dug themselves about...

2009-03-25 10:45:00

Researchers at the 40th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in the Woodlands, Texas have been discussing the possibility that water may actually exist on Mars. It was previously assumed that water existed on the Red Planet only in the form of ice or vapor due to the low temperatures and atmospheric pressure. However, the recent discovery by NASA's Phoenix probe showing that perchlorate salts exist within the soil of Mars adds credence to the idea of liquid water on the planet. Some...

Word of the Day
  • A goblin in English folklore, often appearing in the shape of a large dog and believed to portend imminent death or misfortune.
  • A ghost, wraith, hobgoblin, elf, or spirit.
The origin of 'barghest' is not known, but it may be from perhaps burh-ghest, town-ghost, or German Berg-geist (mountain spirit) or Bär-geist (bear-spirit).