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  • Martian south pole
  • Mars' southern polar ice sheets
  • Curiosity rover
Your search has returned 46 articles:
  • News

    What does Mars’ lake mean for the search for life on the Red Planet?

    The search for life on Mars just got a lot more interesting.

    For decades, scientists have looked at the dry and dusty planet and focused on finding regions where life could have taken root billions of years ago, when the Martian climate was warmer and wetter. But on July 25, researchers announced they had spotted signs of a large lake of liquid water hiding beneath thick layers of ice...

    07/27/2018 - 13:56 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • News

    Mars (probably) has a lake of liquid water

    A Mars orbiter has detected a wide lake of liquid water hidden below the planet’s southern ice sheets. There have been much-debated hints of tiny, ephemeral amounts of water on Mars before. But if confirmed, this lake marks the first discovery of a long-lasting cache of the liquid.

    “This is potentially a really big deal,” says planetary scientist Briony Horgan of Purdue University in...

    07/25/2018 - 10:00 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • News

    Curiosity finds that Mars’ methane changes with the seasons

    To Martian methane, there is a season.

    NASA’s Curiosity rover has found evidence that methane in Mars’ thin atmosphere varies during the year. Higher concentrations appear in late summer and early autumn in the northern hemisphere and lower concentrations in the winter and spring, researchers report in the June 8 Science.

    What’s more, Curiosity also spotted organic molecules...

    06/07/2018 - 14:00 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • News

    Another hint of Europa’s watery plumes found in 20-year-old Galileo data

    Jupiter’s icy moon Europa may have been spitting into space for at least 20 years. Analyzing old Galileo mission data suggests that the NASA spacecraft flew through a plume of water vapor from the moon during a 1997 flyby, researchers report May 14 in Nature Astronomy.

    “We now have very compelling support for the idea that Europa does possess plumes,” says study coauthor Xianzhe Jia, a...

    05/14/2018 - 11:00 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • News

    Lasers squeezed iron to mimic the conditions of exoplanet cores

    Physicists have simulated the cores of some large rocky exoplanets by pummeling iron with lasers. The resulting measurements give the first clue to how iron might behave inside planets outside the solar system that are several times the mass of Earth, researchers report April 16 in Nature Astronomy.

    “Until now, there’s been no data available on the state of these materials at the center...

    04/16/2018 - 12:49 Astrobiology, Planetary Science
  • News in Brief

    We probably won’t hear from aliens. But by the time we do, they’ll be dead.

    If signals from an alien civilization ever reach Earth, odds are the aliens will already be dead.

    In an effort to update the 1961 Drake Equation, which estimates the number of detectable, intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way, physicist Claudio Grimaldi and colleagues calculated the area of the galaxy that should be filled with alien signals at a given time (SN Online: 11/1/09)....

    03/12/2018 - 12:00 Astronomy, Astrobiology, Exoplanets
  • News

    A rare rainstorm wakes undead microbes in Chile’s Atacama Desert

    Chile’s Atacama Desert is so dry that some spots see rain only once a decade. Salt turns the sandy soil inhospitable, and ultraviolet radiation scorches the surface. So little can survive there that scientists have wondered whether snippets of DNA found in the soil are just part of the desiccated skeletons of long-dead microbes or traces of hunkered-down but still living colonies.

    A rare...

    02/27/2018 - 14:33 Microbiology, Astrobiology
  • News

    Americans would welcome alien life rather than fear it

    AUSTIN, Texas — If alien microbes crash-land on Earth, they may get a warm welcome.

    When people were asked how they would react to the discovery of extraterrestrial microbial life, they give generally positive responses, researchers reported at a news conference February 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    This suggests that if...

    02/16/2018 - 17:00 Astrobiology, Microbiology, Science & Society
  • News

    Massive dust storms are robbing Mars of its water

    Storms of powdery Martian soil are contributing to the loss of the planet’s remaining water.

    This newly proposed mechanism for water loss, reported January 22 in Nature Astronomy, might also hint at how Mars originally became dehydrated. Researchers used over a decade of imaging data taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to investigate the composition of the Red Planet’s frequent...

    01/22/2018 - 11:00 Planetary Science, Astrobiology
  • News in Brief

    Hubble telescope ramps up search for Europa’s watery plumes

    OXON HILL, Md. — Astronomers may soon know for sure if Europa is spouting off. After finding signs that Jupiter’s icy moon emits repeating plumes of water near its southern pole, astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope hope to detect more evidence of the geysers.

    “The statistical significance is starting to look pretty good,” astronomer William Sparks of the Space Telescope Science...

    01/11/2018 - 13:34 Planetary Science, Astrobiology