NASA's MRO Finds Water Flowed on Mars Longer Than Previously Thought

Mars once rippled with rivers and ponds billions of years ago, providing a potential habitat for microbial life. As the planet’s atmosphere thinned over time, that water evaporated, leaving the frozen desert world that NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) studies today.

It’s commonly believed that Mars’ water evaporated about 3 billion years ago. But two scientists studying data that MRO has accumulated at Mars over the last 15 years have found evidence that reduces that timeline significantly: Their research reveals signs of liquid water on the Red Planet as recently as 2 billion to 2.5 billion years ago, meaning water flowed there about a billion years longer than previous estimates.

mars.nasa.gov

Curiosity Rover Measures Intriguing Carbon Signature on Mars

After analyzing powdered rock samples collected from the surface of Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover, scientists have announced that several of the samples are rich in a type of carbon that on Earth is associated with biological processes.

While the finding is intriguing, it doesn’t necessarily point to ancient life on Mars, as scientists have not yet found conclusive supporting evidence of ancient or current biology there, such as sedimentary rock formations produced by ancient bacteria, or a diversity of complex organic molecules formed by life.

mars.nasa.gov

NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover Makes Surprising Discoveries

Scientists with NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover mission have discovered that the bedrock their six-wheeled explorer has been driving on since landing in February likely formed from red-hot magma. The discovery has implications for understanding and accurately dating critical events in the history of Jezero Crater – as well as the rest of the planet.

The team has also concluded that rocks in the crater have interacted with water multiple times over the eons and that some contain organic molecules.

mars.nasa.gov

NASA’s Perseverance Captures Challenging Flight by Mars Helicopter

Video footage from NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s 13th flight on Sept. 4 provides the most detailed look yet of the rotorcraft in action.

Ingenuity is currently prepping for its 16th flight, scheduled to take place no earlier than Saturday, Nov. 20, but the 160.5-second Flight 13 stands out as one of Ingenuity’s most complicated. It involved flying into varied terrain within the “Séítah” geological feature and taking images of an outcrop from multiple angles for the rover team. Acquired from an altitude of 26 feet (8 meters), the images complement those collected during Flight 12, providing valuable insight for Perseverance scientists and rover drivers.

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How NASA's Curiosity Rover Is Making Mars Safer for Astronauts

Could lava tubes, caves, or subsurface habitats offer safe refuge for future astronauts on Mars? Scientists with NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover team are helping explore questions like that with the Radiation Assessment Detector, or RAD.

Unlike Earth, Mars doesn’t have a magnetic field to shield it from the high-energy particles whizzing around in space. That radiation can wreak havoc on human health, and it can seriously compromise the life support systems that Mars astronauts will depend on, as well.

mars.nasa.gov

First Woman Graphic Novels and Interactive Experiences

First Woman tells the tale of Callie Rodriguez, the first woman to explore the Moon. While Callie is a fictional character, the first female astronaut and person of color will soon set foot on the Moon – a historic milestone and part of upcoming NASA missions. Through a series of graphic novels and digital platforms, First Woman aims to capture our attention and unite the next generation of explorers who will return to the Moon.

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