Mars in opposition (NASA graphic). The Fourth Rock comes closer to us on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, than it has for the past seven years. Not only is the Red Planet in opposition—-directly in line with both earth and the sun—but the opposition is “favorable.” Mars has a slightly elliptical orbit and it will be
Owing to the fact that it is far easier for a chunk of Mars to travel to Earth than the other way around, it is likely that certain elements necessary to catalyze the formation of biological molecules (like RNA and DNA) came from our neighboring Red Planet. The vehicle for this interplanetary catalytic “seeding” was
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has provided scientists with the clearest evidence to date of carbon-dioxide snowfalls on Mars, revealing the only known example of carbon-dioxide snow falling anywhere in our solar system. Frozen carbon-dioxide is better known here on Earth as dry ice, and requires temperatures of around minus minus 125 Celsius (193 degrees Fahrenheit), much, much colder than what
A team of scientists, led by Alfred S. McEwan of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, may have identified the tell-tale signs of “seasonal flows” (small channels attributable to downhill water movements) on certain Martian slopes. The potentially game-changing discovery, which was enabled by an analysis performed by an undergraduate student, has got the astronomy, planetary and astrobiology science communities rather excited.