A team using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover has made the first detection of nitrogen on the surface of Mars from release during heating of Martian sediments.
An ankle- or hip-deep stream once flowed with force across the surface of Mars in the very spot where the Curiosity rover is currently exploring. The finding provides new information about a once wet environment in Gale Crater.
Several hypotheses have been proposed to explan how clay minerals detected on the surface of Mars were formed. Now, publishing in the journal Nature Geoscience, a team of French and American scientists including Caltech's Bethany Ehlmann, has suggested a new possibility. The Los Angeles Times recently spoke to Ehlmann about the paper and its implications.
Since Curiosity touched down safely on Mars, most of her time has been taken up by a series of checkouts, but she has relayed hundreds of images back to Earth, giving the science team plenty to study and discuss.
The mood at JPL late Sunday night was overwhelmingly, almost deliriously, celebratory. The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, touched down safely on Mars and minutes later relayed its first images back to Earth.
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)—the most capable robotic mission ever sent to the Red Planet—is quickly approaching its destination. A feature-length story about this Mission to Mars appears in the Summer issue of E&S magazine.
Mike Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor and professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), has been named a co-winner of the 2012 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics for his efforts to understand the outer solar system—work that led to the demotion of Pluto.
Last year, images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured sand dunes and ripples moving across the surface of Mars. Now, technology developed by a team at Caltech has allowed scientists to measure these activities for the very first time.