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Mars Current Events and Mars News from Brightsurf



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A mineral blueprint for finding Burgess Shale-type fossils

Fri, 16 Feb 18 00:00:40 -0800

Scientists have identified a mineral signature for sites that are more likely to contain rare fossils that preserve evidence of soft tissue -- essential information to understanding ancient life.



ASU professor Davies addresses why we have yet to find extraterrestrial life

Fri, 16 Feb 18 00:01:50 -0800

Are we alone in the universe? Few questions have captured the public imagination more than this. Yet to date we know of just one sample of life, that which exists here on Earth. Arizona State University Regents Professor and noted cosmologist Paul Davies will talk about efforts to identify extraterrestrial life at a press briefing Feb. 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Austin, Texas.



Soft tissue fossil clues could help search for ancient life on Earth and other planets

Thu, 15 Feb 18 00:11:50 -0800

Fossils that preserve entire organisms (including both hard and soft body parts) are critical to our understanding of evolution and ancient life on Earth. However, these exceptional deposits are extremely rare. New Oxford University research suggests that the mineralogy of the surrounding earth is key to conserving soft parts of organisms, and finding more exceptional fossils. Part-funded by NASA, the work could potentially support the Mars Rover Curiosity in its sample analysis, and speed up the search for traces of life on other planets.



Interdisciplinary approach yields new insights into human evolution

Tue, 13 Feb 18 00:02:20 -0800

The evolution of human biology should be considered part and parcel with the evolution of humanity itself, proposes Nicole Creanza, assistant professor of biological sciences. She is the guest editor of a new themed issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B that takes an interdisciplinary approach to human evolution.



NASA leverages proven technologies to build agency's first planetary wind lidar

Thu, 08 Feb 18 00:08:50 -0800

NASA scientists have found a way to adapt a handful of recently developed technologies to build a new instrument that could give them what they have yet to obtain: never-before-revealed details about the winds on Mars and ultimately Titan, Saturn's largest moon.



HKU scientist makes key discoveries in the search for life on Mars

Tue, 06 Feb 18 00:10:10 -0800

Dr. Joseph Michalski and his colleagues have published papers recently that cast increased doubt on the idea of surface life evolving on Mars.



Research reveals more about TRAPPIST-1 planets, and the possibility of life

Mon, 05 Feb 18 00:13:10 -0800

A series of four studies have shed new light on the properties of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, currently our most optimal hope for evidence of biological life beyond the solar system.



Scientists present new long-term ecological research

Fri, 02 Feb 18 00:02:30 -0800

Mars developed in as little as two to four million years after the birth of the solar system, far more quickly than Earth, according to results of a new study published in this week's issue of the journal Nature.



Research boosts efficiency and stability of optical rectennas

Fri, 26 Jan 18 00:05:00 -0800

The research team that announced the first optical rectenna in 2015 is now reporting a two-fold efficiency improvement in the devices -- and a switch to air-stable diode materials. The improvements could allow the rectennas -- which convert electromagnetic fields at optical frequencies directly to electrical current - to operate low-power devices such as temperature sensors.



European-Russian space mission steps up the search for life on Mars

Wed, 24 Jan 18 00:04:00 -0800

In 2013, the European Space Agency and Roscosmos -- the Russian governmental body responsible for space research -- agreed to cooperate on ExoMars, the first joint interplanetary mission between ESA and Russia. This project now involves scientists from 29 research organizations, including MIPT and the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which is the leading contributor of hardware and equipment on the Russian side.



New technique for finding life on Mars

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:14:40 -0800

Miniaturized scientific instruments and new microbiology techniques successfully identified and characterized microorganisms living in Arctic permafrost -- one of the closest analogs to Mars on Earth. By avoiding delays that come with having to return samples to a laboratory for analysis, the methodology could also be used on Earth to detect and identify pathogens during epidemics in remote areas.



Viruses are everywhere, maybe even in space

Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:05:50 -0800

Viruses are the most abundant and one of the least understood biological entities on Earth. They might also exist in space, but as of yet scientists have done almost no research into this possibility. Portland State University biology professor Ken Stedman and colleagues are trying to change this through their article



Scientist's work may provide answer to martian mountain mystery

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:12:50 -0800

By seeing which way the wind blows, a University of Texas at Dallas fluid dynamics expert has helped propose a solution to a Martian mountain mystery. Dr. William Anderson, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, co-authored a paper published in the journal Physical Review E that explains the common Martian phenomenon of a mountain positioned downwind from the center of an ancient meteorite impact zone.



Multiple sites rich in water ice found on Mars

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:15:20 -0800

Erosion on Mars is exposing deposits of water ice, starting at depths as shallow as one to two meters below the surface and extending 100 meters or more.



UC biologists peek into the past to see the future through tiny spider eyes

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:00:20 -0800

Biologists at UC look to the past for early genetic development of tiny spider and insect eyes to find potential for research into human visual challenges.



Extra-terrestrial Hypatia stone rattles solar system status quo

Tue, 09 Jan 18 00:00:30 -0800

Analyses on a small pebble found in south-west Egypt cast significant questions on a widely-held view about the primitive pre-solar dust cloud which our Sun, Earth and other planets were formed from. Researchers found exotic micro-mineral compounds in the 'Hypatia' stone that are not known to occur on Earth, elsewhere in our solar system, or in known meteorites or comets.



Mars' surface water: We finally know what happened--SFU study

Thu, 21 Dec 17 00:09:30 -0800

An international study co-led by SFU researcher Brendan Dyck has revealed that the sun may not have evaporated away all of Mars' surface water after all.



Powerful new tool for looking for life beyond Earth

Wed, 20 Dec 17 00:01:30 -0800

NASA has developed an innovative new spectroscopy instrument to aid the search for extraterrestrial life. The new instrument is designed to detect compounds and minerals associated with biological activity more quickly and with greater sensitivity than previous instruments.



Mars: Not as dry as it seems

Wed, 20 Dec 17 00:02:40 -0800

Two new Oxford University papers have shed light on why there is no life on Mars. Although today's Martian surface is barren, frozen and inhabitable, a trail of evidence points to a once warmer, wetter planet, where water flowed freely -- and life may have thrived. The conundrum of what happened to this water is long standing and unsolved. However, new research published in Nature suggests that this water is now locked in the Martian rocks.



A model of Mars-like protoplanets shed light on early solar activity

Thu, 14 Dec 17 00:12:50 -0800

A scientist from Siberian Federal University (SFU) and his colleagues from Austria and Germany constructed a physical and mathematical model of Mars- and Venus-sized planet formation. The team concluded that Mars had no chances to develop a thick atmosphere and biosphere. In the case of Venus it depended on solar activity: according to the scientists, it managed to keep its atmosphere due to the fact that young Sun was not very active. The study was published in Icarus.



Spanning disciplines in the search for life beyond Earth

Wed, 13 Dec 17 00:15:20 -0800

Following a gold rush of exoplanet discovery, the next step in the search for life is determining which of the known exoplanets are proper candidates for life -- and for this, a cross-disciplinary approach is essential.



Mars mission sheds light on habitability of distant planets

Wed, 13 Dec 17 00:15:10 -0800

Insights from NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission about the loss of the Red Planet's atmosphere can help scientists understand the habitability of rocky planets orbiting other stars.



NASA shows new Tongan island made of tuff stuff, likely to persist years

Mon, 11 Dec 17 00:15:40 -0800

In late December 2014, a submarine volcano in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga erupted, sending a violent stream of steam, ash and rock into the air. The ash plumes rose as high as 30,000 feet (9 kilometers) into the sky, diverting flights. When the ash finally settled in January 2015, a newborn island with a 400-foot (120-meter) summit nestled between two older islands -- visible to satellites in space.



Insights on fast cockroaches can help teach robots to walk

Fri, 08 Dec 17 00:14:40 -0800

A study scientists from the University of Cologne have published in Frontiers in Zoology shows for the first time that fast insects can change their gait -- like a mammal's transition from trot to gallop. These new insights could contribute to making the locomotion of robots more energy efficient.



Space program should focus on Mars, says editor of New Space

Thu, 07 Dec 17 00:07:30 -0800

The US space exploration program should continue to focus on robotic sample recovery and human missions to Mars, says Scott Hubbard, Editor-in-Chief of New Space.



Clay minerals on Mars may have formed in primordial steam bath

Wed, 06 Dec 17 00:16:10 -0800

New research suggests that the bulk of clay minerals on Mars could have been formed as the planet's crust cooled and solidified, not by later interactions with water on the surface as has long been assumed.



Reading on electronic devices may interfere with science reading comprehension

Wed, 06 Dec 17 00:00:30 -0800

People who often read on electronic devices may have a difficult time understanding scientific concepts, according to a team of researchers. They suggest that this finding, among others in the study, could also offer insights on how reading a scientific text differs from casual reading.



Scientists developed a new sensor for future missions to the Moon and Mars

Wed, 29 Nov 17 00:14:30 -0800

A team of scientists from the Faculty of Physics of Lomonosov Moscow State University and their colleagues developed a compact spectral polarimeter for carrying outmineralogical investigations on the surface of astronomical bodies. The description of the device and the results of prototype testing were published in Optics Express.



Scientists identify key factors that help microbes thrive in harsh environments

Mon, 27 Nov 17 00:09:40 -0800

Three new studies by University of Maryland School of Medicine scientists have identified key factors that help microbes survive in harsh environments.



This week from AGU: Scientists counter threat of flooding on coral reef coasts

Wed, 22 Nov 17 00:00:40 -0800

This week from AGU: Scientists counter threat of flooding on coral reef coasts, and more.



Ice shapes the landslide landscape on Mars

Tue, 21 Nov 17 00:07:30 -0800

How good is your Martian geography? In a new research paper published in EPJ Plus, Fabio De Blasio and colleagues from Milano-Bicocca University, Italy, explain the extent to which ice may have been an important medium of lubrication for landslides on Mars.



Unexpected atmospheric vortex behavior on Saturn's moon Titan

Tue, 21 Nov 17 00:12:40 -0800

A new study led by a University of Bristol earth scientist has shown that recently reported unexpected behavior on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is due to its unique atmospheric chemistry.



Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

Mon, 20 Nov 17 00:12:40 -0800

Dark features previously proposed as evidence for significant liquid water flowing on Mars have now been identified as granular flows, where sand and dust move rather than liquid water, according to a new article published in Nature Geoscience by the USGS. These findings indicate that present-day Mars may not have a significant volume of liquid water. The water-restricted conditions that exist on Mars would make it difficult for Earth-like life to exist near the surface.



Salt pond in Antarctica, among the saltiest waters on Earth, is fed from beneath

Wed, 15 Nov 17 00:14:20 -0800

One of the saltiest bodies on Earth, an analog for what water might look like on Mars, is just one piece of a larger aquifer.



WSU researcher sees huge carbon sink in soil minerals

Wed, 08 Nov 17 00:02:40 -0800

A Washington State University researcher has discovered that vast amounts of carbon can be stored by soil minerals more than a foot below the surface. The finding could help offset the rising greenhouse-gas emissions helping warm the Earth's climate.



MSU biologists have found out how long can microorganisms live on Mars

Wed, 08 Nov 17 00:10:50 -0800

Researchers from Lomonosov MSU, Faculty of Soil Science, have studied the resistance microorganisms have against gamma radiation in very low temperatures. The results have been published in the Extremophiles journal



Study unveils changes in the brain during extended missions in space

Wed, 01 Nov 17 00:12:00 -0700

MUSC neuroradiologist Donna Roberts conducted a study titled 'Effects of Spaceflight on Astronaut Brain Structure as Indicated on MRI,' the results of which will be featured in the Nov. 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.



NASA investigates use of medical-like tools to study samples of the solar system

Tue, 31 Oct 17 00:14:50 -0700

A diagnostic tool, similar in theory to those used by the medical profession to noninvasively image internal organs, bones, soft tissue, and blood vessels, could be equally effective at 'triaging' extraterrestrial rocks and other samples before they are shipped to Earth for further analysis.



Winters on Mars are shaping the Red Planet's landscape

Fri, 27 Oct 17 00:16:00 -0700

Winter temperatures on the Red Planet sublimate carbon dioxide from a gas to a solid. These solid carbon dioxide blocks are then thought responsible for making gullies and furrows on Mars' landscape based on innovative lab experiments.



September 2017's intense solar activity viewed from space

Fri, 27 Oct 17 00:05:50 -0700

September 2017 saw a spate of solar activity, with the Sun emitting 27 M-class and four X-class flares and releasing several powerful coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, between Sept. 6-10. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation, while coronal mass ejections are massive clouds of solar material and magnetic fields that erupt from the Sun at incredible speeds.



Scientific evaluation of rhino diets improves zoo

Thu, 26 Oct 17 00:00:00 -0700

A recently published study in the journal Pachyderm highlights the ongoing effort of accredited zoos to address challenges and improve the sustainability of endangered species populations in their care. The study, co-authored by scientists from San Diego Zoo Global and Mars Hill University, evaluated fertility issues in captive-born southern white rhinos and determined that diets including soy and alfalfa were likely contributors to breeding challenges.



NASA's MAVEN mission finds mars has a twisted tail

Thu, 19 Oct 17 00:05:50 -0700

Mars has an invisible magnetic 'tail' that is twisted by interaction with the solar wind, according to new research using data from NASA's MAVEN spacecraft.



A mission to Mars could make its own oxygen thanks to plasma technology

Wed, 18 Oct 17 00:05:00 -0700

Plasma technology could hold the key to creating a sustainable oxygen supply on Mars, a new study has found. It suggests that Mars, with its 96 per cent carbon dioxide atmosphere, has nearly ideal conditions for creating oxygen from CO2 through a process known as decomposition.



Solar eruptions could electrify martian moons

Wed, 18 Oct 17 00:10:40 -0700

Powerful solar eruptions could electrically charge areas of the Martian moon Phobos to hundreds of volts, presenting a complex electrical environment that could possibly affect sensitive electronics carried by future robotic explorers, according to a new NASA study. The study also considered electrical charges that could develop as astronauts transit the surface on potential human missions to Phobos.



Microbes leave 'fingerprints' on Martian rocks

Tue, 17 Oct 17 00:02:10 -0700

Scientists around Tetyana Milojevic from the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna are in search of unique biosignatures, which are left on synthetic extraterrestrial minerals by microbial activity. The biochemist and astrobiologist investigates these signatures at her own miniaturized 'Mars farm' where she can observe interactions between the archaeon Metallosphaera sedula and Mars-like rocks. These microbes are capable of oxidizing and integrating metals into their metabolism.



Study shows how water could have flowed on 'cold and icy' ancient Mars

Tue, 17 Oct 17 00:06:30 -0700

Research by planetary scientists at Brown University finds that periodic melting of ice sheets on a cold early Mars would have created enough water to carve the ancient valleys and lakebeds seen on the planet today.



Mimetic Martian water is under pressure

Fri, 13 Oct 17 00:04:10 -0700

Researchers investigating whether liquid water could exist on Mars have provided new insight into the limits of life on the red planet.



Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

Fri, 13 Oct 17 00:05:20 -0700

While it's true that space radiation is one of the biggest challenges for a human journey to Mars, it's also true that NASA is developing technologies and countermeasures to ensure a safe and successful journey to the red planet.



Debate over Mars exploration strategy heats up in astrobiology journal

Tue, 10 Oct 17 00:16:10 -0700

Current robotic missions to Mars that have not been appropriately cleaned and sterilized must steer clear of designated Special Regions to avoid introducing Earth-borne biological and organic contaminants.



Team led by UCLA astrophysicist observes primitive comet 1.5 billion miles from the sun

Thu, 05 Oct 17 00:13:50 -0700

Astronomers report a 'special comet' currently beyond Saturn's orbit -- the farthest active inbound comet ever seen, at an extraordinary 1.5 billion miles from the sun.