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Spotlight
read the article 'Alignment on December 24, 2007'
December 20, 2007

This is a special day that happens only every 26 months when Earth is exactly between the Sun and Mars. Find out more about opposition and experiment with Mars and Earth in their orbits.
read the article 'Alignment on December 24, 2007' Read More
Spotlight
read the article 'Selecting the Next Off-Road Tour of Mars'
October 24, 2007

Because Earthlings only get one chance every 26 months to send a spacecraft to Mars, it's important to make the most of every opportunity and to get there safely.

Explore landing sites at the THEMIS site


read the article 'Selecting the Next Off-Road Tour of Mars' Read More
Spotlight
read the article 'A Colorful Marriage of Old & Young'
September 19, 2007

More at the THEMIS Instrument site



Primordial and prehistoric come together in a lasting bond of something old, something new, something orange, and something blue. In this false-color image, blue signals cooler sand or dust around an ancient crater, which dates back to a violent time of cataclysmic collisions about 4 billion years ago, shortly after Mars formed. Later, sheets of lava streamed across the surface and lapped against the crater walls. These younger lava rocks "glow" orange and yellow since they retain more heat at night than the sand and dust.
read the article 'A Colorful Marriage of Old & Young' Read More
Spotlight
read the article 'Mars Science Laboratory Project Changes Respond to Cost Increases, Keep Mars Program On Track'
September 17, 2007

In early June 2007, the Mars Science Laboratory project completed its project-wide Critical Design Review (CDR), which marks the completion of the project's design phase and transition into the build up of flight hardware.
read the article 'Mars Science Laboratory Project Changes Respond to Cost Increases, Keep Mars Program On Track' Read More
Spotlight
read the article 'In Search of Landing Sites on Mars'
August 20, 2007

Planetary scientists have long been excited about the prospect of one day exploring the "grand canyon" of Mars. Valles Marineris is a chasm vastly larger than Earth's Grand Canyon that also has many layers of rock that serve as windows into the past. A corner of Valles Marineris known as Melas Chasma is one of 36 potential landing sites being considered for the next robotic wanderer to the red planet, the Mars Science Laboratory, to be launched in 2009.

But because Mars exploration is risky, NASA's planetary explorers are very careful about selecting a safe place to land. The proposed site is perched in a basin that rises above the canyon floor as high as a 4,000-foot mountain on Earth. Images such as this one from NASA's Odyssey orbiter help mission planners get a closer look.
read the article 'In Search of Landing Sites on Mars' Read More
Spotlight
read the article 'THEMIS Monitors Dusty Martian Atmosphere'
July 20, 2007

More at the THEMIS Instrument Site



From orbit around Mars, Odyssey is monitoring a gigantic dust storm that is sweeping the planet. In mid-June, the Martian sky was pink with a usual amount of dust. By July, dust in the atmosphere stretched around the planet, in a band near the equator where the two rovers Spirit and Opportunity are hunkered down, waiting out the storm. While all missions are waiting for the dust to settle, this storm has given orbital science teams a terrific opportunity to understand how regional dust storms can go global on Mars.
read the article 'THEMIS Monitors Dusty Martian Atmosphere' Read More
Spotlight
read the article 'One Image Planned During Descent of Phoenix'
July 5, 2007

Extensive testing of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander in preparation for an August launch has uncovered a potential data-handling problem in time to modify plans for use of a camera during the final minutes of arrival at Mars.
read the article 'One Image Planned During Descent of Phoenix' Read More
Spotlight
read the article 'Odyssey Views A Surface Changed by Floods'
June 29, 2007

Channels scoured by ancient outbursts of flood waters are seen in this orbital view from Odyssey's Thermal Emission Imaging System. The channels are billions of years old and have likely been affected by multiple processes over time. Here, two channels, Tiu Vallis on the left and Ares Vallis on the right, flow northward from the highlands of the southern hemisphere.

The stark difference between today's cold, dry Mars and the evidence of flood waters in the past tells scientists that the Martian climate has seen great changes. Unraveling the workings of that climate history is one of the major challenges in Mars science.
read the article 'Odyssey Views A Surface Changed by Floods' Read More
Spotlight
read the article 'Shutterbugs Shoot 'Scarecrow''
June 27, 2007

On June 19, 2007, media visited JPL's newly expanded outdoor Mars Yard where rovers train for future planetary missions. Visitors were treated to a test drive of the "Scarecrow" rover.
read the article 'Shutterbugs Shoot 'Scarecrow'' Read More
Spotlight
read the article 'Extreme Planet Takes Its Toll'
June 12, 2007

Like Sun Belt retirees who complain about cold weather, NASA's Mars rovers are becoming less tolerant of temperature changes with age.
read the article 'Extreme Planet Takes Its Toll' Read More
Spotlight
read the article 'Materials Move Downslope on Mars'
May 15, 2007

New images from the Odyssey spacecraft show material moving downslope near the south pole of Mars. This view of dark material arranged in intricate, leaflike patterns on a lighter surface was taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System.
read the article 'Materials Move Downslope on Mars' Read More
Spotlight
read the article 'Depth-to-Ice Map of a Southern Mars Site Near Melea Planum'
May 2, 2007

Odyssey Provides Detailed View of Ice on Mars


The THEMIS camera has provided scientists with the most detailed view yet of water ice at small scales on the Red Planet. They suggest that when NASA's next Mars mission, the Phoenix Mars Lander, starts digging to icy soil on an arctic plain in 2008, it might find the depth to the ice differs in trenches just a few feet apart.
read the article 'Depth-to-Ice Map of a Southern Mars Site Near Melea Planum' Read More
Spotlight
read the article 'Through a Telescope Darkly'
April 4, 2007

Mars scientist Diana Blaney studies the Red Planet from Hawaii.
read the article 'Through a Telescope Darkly' Read More
Spotlight
read the article 'Mars Technology Is Now Benefiting Earth'
March 21, 2007

Just as Earth-bound humans wear protective lotion to prevent sunburn, future Mars explorers will need to shield themselves against high-energy radiation from the sun and the rest of the cosmos.
read the article 'Mars Technology Is Now Benefiting Earth' Read More

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