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MISSION CRITICAL

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Planetary Science

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Mars ice

LOOK OUT BELOW  Erosion is revealing vast ice deposits in cliffs on Mars. The ice (white streaks in this image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) is buried under just a meter or two of soil, meaning it could be relatively easy to access on future missions.

illustration of Jupiter and Europa

LITTLE MOON, BIG WORLD  Watching the tiny ice moon Europa cross in front of Jupiter helped astronomers reveal Europa’s watery plumes. This artist’s impression superimposes real visible images of Jupiter and Europa with ultraviolet data from the Hubble Space Telescope showing the plumes (blue).

illustration of astronauts on Mars

MUCKING UP MARS  Scientists are racing to figure out how to keep astronauts and potential life on Mars safe from one another before humans arrive at the Red Planet.

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