In a perfect world, or in this case two perfect worlds -- Earth and Mars, the first of NASA's two robot geologists will bounce over rocks and roll to a safe stop on the martian surface shortly after 8:35 p.m. PST this Saturday, January 3, 2004.
NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey missions have provided evidence of a relatively recent ice age on Mars. In contrast to Earth's ice ages, a Martian ice age waxes when the poles warm, and water vapor is transported toward lower latitudes. Martian ice ages wane when the poles cool and lock water into polar icecaps.
Two out of three missions to the red planet have failed. One reason there have been so many losses is that there have been so many attempts. "Mars is a favorite target," says Dr. Firouz Naderi, manager of the Mars Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The Martian radiation environment experiment on NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter has collected data continuously from the start of the Odyssey mapping mission in March 2002 until late last month. The instrument has successfully monitored space radiation to evaluate the risks to future Mars-bound astronauts. Its measurements are the first of their kind to be obtained during an interplanetary cruise and in orbit around another planet.
"Exploration is the life blood of a civilization," said Dr. Rice. "It provides new frontiers and challenges that stimulate both its people and technology. Exploration is crucial for a civilization's survival.
Today, 30 September 2003, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) team is pleased to announce the release of 10,232 newly-validated, archived images acquired between August 2002 and February 2003.
Two free public programs in Pasadena this week will offer an introduction to the challenges and excitement of NASA's project to examine two areas of Mars with robotic rovers that are currently flying to Mars.
The first in-flight checkouts of the science instruments and engineering cameras on NASA's twin Spirit and Opportunity spacecraft on their way to Mars have provided an assessment of the instruments' condition after the stressful vibrations of launch.
In May 2008, the progeny of two promising U.S. missions to Mars will deploy a lander to the water-ice-rich northern polar region, dig with a robotic arm into arctic terrain for clues on the history of water, and search for environments suitable for microbes.
While the ultimate field trip might someday be an actual journey to Mars, NASA is doing the next best thing - giving high school teams the opportunity to explore Mars by working on specific research projects during the Mars Exploration Rover missions, set to land on the red planet in January 2004.
A NASA robotic geologist named Spirit began its seven-month journey to Mars at 1:58:47 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (10:58:47 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time) today when its Delta II launch vehicle thundered aloft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Europe's first mission to the Red Planet, continues its successful mission with another successful 'high-risk' post-launch milestone. Mars Express engineers breathed a sigh of relief this morning at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), in Germany.
The first overview analysis of a year's worth of high-resolution infrared data gathered by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft is opening Mars to a new kind of detailed geological analysis and revealing a dynamic planet that has experienced dramatic environmental change.
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover project kicks off by launching the first of two unique robotic geologists on June 8. The identical rolling rovers can see sharper images, explore farther and examine rocks better than anything that's ever landed on Mars. The second rover mission, bound for a different site on Mars, will launch as soon as June 25.
What does Earth look like when viewed from Mars? At 13:00 GMT on 8 May 2003, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) had an opportunity to find out. In addition, a fortuitous alignment of Earth and Jupiter---the first planeary conjunction viewed from another planet---permitted the MOC to acquire an image of both of these bodies and their larger satellites.
Just before midnight on 2 June 2003 (23:45 local time, 19:45 CEST), a Soyuz rocket operated by Starsem will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and Mars Express will be on its way. The spacecraft was given the green light to launch following a successful flight readiness review on 3 May 2003.
Images from the visible light camera on NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft, combined with images from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, suggest melting snow is the likely cause of the numerous eroded gullies first documented on Mars in 2000 by Global Surveyor.
A 70.2 gram meteorite completely coated with fusion-crust found in Morocco in December 2001 is almost certainly paired with basaltic shergottite NWA 480 (acquired in November 2000 by Bruno Fectay and Carine Bidaut).
NASA hosts "Explore Mars!" - a Cape Canaveral-area community and family day focusing on the upcoming Mars Exploration Rover-2003 mission, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., at the Radisson Resort at the Port Convention Center, 8701 Astronaut Blvd., Cape Canaveral, Fla.