Science & Astronomy

Photos: The Search for Water on Mars

This image shows a raw view of the rock Jake and the science target Jake_M taken by the Mars rover Curiosity in Gale Crater. The solid red circles labeled JM1 and JM2 indicate the locations where the rover used its APXS instrument, while the yellow spots indicate ChemCam laser targets. Image released Sept. 26, 2013. Original Image
Credit: Science/AAAS

Mars Rover Curiosity on Sol 85

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is a mosaic of photos taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lends Imager taken on Sol 85, the rover's 85th Martian day, as Curiosity was sampling rocks at a stop dubbed Rocknest in Gale Crater. Image released Sept. 26, 2013. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has discovered that dirt covering a portion of its Gale Crater landing zone is 2-percent water. [Read the Full Story Here]

Science Target Jake_M

This image shows a raw view of the rock Jake and the science target Jake_M taken by the Mars rover Curiosity in Gale Crater. The solid red circles labeled JM1 and JM2 indicate the locations where the rover used its APXS instrument, while the yellow spots indicate ChemCam laser targets. Image released Sept. 26, 2013. Original Image
Credit: Science/AAAS

This image shows a raw view of the rock Jake and the science target Jake_M taken by the Mars rover Curiosity in Gale Crater. The solid red circles labeled JM1 and JM2 indicate the locations where the rover used its APXS instrument, while the yellow spots indicate ChemCam laser targets. Image released Sept. 26, 2013.[Read the Full Story Here]

Mars Rover Curiosity's CheMin Result

This image depicts the science result from the Mars rover Curiosity's CheMin instrument, showing an X-ray diffraction of the rover's fifth scoop of Martian dirt. The black semi-circle at the bottom is the shadow of the beam stop. Image released Sept. 26, 2013. Original Image
Credit: Science/AAAS

This image depicts the science result from the Mars rover Curiosity's CheMin instrument, showing an X-ray diffraction of the rover's fifth scoop of Martian dirt. The black semi-circle at the bottom is the shadow of the beam stop. Image released Sept. 26, 2013.[Read the Full Story Here]

Mars Rock Target Rocknest

At left, a closeup view of the Mars rock target Rocknest taken by the Curiosity rover showing its sandy surface and shadows that were disrupted by the rover's front left wheel. At right, a view of Mars samples from Curiosity's third dirt scoop after it was seived. Image released Sept. 26, 2013. Original Image
Credit: Science/AAAS

At left, a closeup view of the Mars rock target Rocknest taken by the Curiosity rover showing its sandy surface and shadows that were disrupted by the rover's front left wheel. At right, a view of Mars samples from Curiosity's third dirt scoop after it was seived. Image released Sept. 26, 2013.[Read the Full Story Here]

Views of Rocknest Rock Target on Mars

This image from the Mars rover Curiosity shows several views of the crust formation and texture of the Rocknest rock target on the Martian surface. The top two views are context images, with closeups below. Image released Sept. 26, 2013. Original Image
Credit: Science/AAAS

This image from the Mars rover Curiosity shows several views of the crust formation and texture of the Rocknest rock target on the Martian surface. The top two views are context images, with closeups below. Image released Sept. 26, 2013.[Read the Full Story Here]

Microscopic View of Martian Soil Targets

This image from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows a microscopic view of Martian soil targets studied by the rover. Image released Sept. 26, 2013. Original Image
Credit: Science/AAAS

This image from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows a microscopic view of Martian soil targets studied by the rover. Image released Sept. 26, 2013.[Read the Full Story Here]

McLaughlin Crater on Mars (3D View)

This color image draped onto digital topography shows McLaughlin Crater in a 3D perspective, looking toward the east. Light-toned deposits on the crater floor contain alteration minerals that are overlayed by debris flows from Keren Crater, present on the south rim. McLaughin Crater once contained a lake that was likely fed by groundwater. Original Image
Credit: High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC)/Mars Express/Freie Universität Berlin

This color image draped onto digital topography shows McLaughlin Crater in a 3D perspective, looking toward the east. Light-toned deposits on the crater floor contain alteration minerals that are overlayed by debris flows from Keren Crater, present on the south rim. McLaughin Crater once contained a lake that was likely fed by groundwater.

Signs of Possible Water on Mars at Newton Crater

This image combining orbital imagery with 3-D modeling shows flows that appear in spring and summer on a slope inside Mars' Newton crater. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This image combining orbital imagery with 3-D modeling shows flows that appear in spring and summer on a slope inside Mars' Newton crater.

Oblique View of Newton Crater

These slopes on Mars, as photographed by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRise) on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, may have been carved by saltwater that could run down the Martian surface each spring. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona]

These slopes on Mars, as photographed by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRise) on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, may have been carved by saltwater that could run down the Martian surface each spring.

Potential Water Ice and Salt Map of Mars

This map of Mars shows relative locations of three types of findings related to salt or frozen water, plus a new type of finding that may be related to both salt and water. Blue boxes are caches of water ice; white boxes are fresh craters that exposed water ice; red boxes are salt deposits that may be from salt water evaporation. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/UA/LANL/MSSS

This map of Mars shows relative locations of three types of findings related to salt or frozen water, plus a new type of finding that may be related to both salt and water. Blue boxes are caches of water ice; white boxes are fresh craters that exposed water ice; red boxes are salt deposits that may be from salt water evaporation.

Oblique View of Newton Crater with Synthetic Sky

The slopes on Mars that might host liquid runs of saltwater are seen here with a synthetic Mars-like sky in the background. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona]

The slopes on Mars that might host liquid runs of saltwater are seen here with a synthetic Mars-like sky in the background.

Mystery Lines on Mars Crater Might Reveal Water

This composite image shows odd lines on slopes of Mars' Horowitz Crater, which scientists say suggest the presence of liquid salt water. These images show the central structure of Horowitz Crater, including central peaks and pits. The arrows mark locations of the odd slope features. Original Image
Credit: Science/AAAS

This composite image shows odd lines on slopes of Mars' Horowitz Crater, which scientists say suggest the presence of liquid salt water. These images show the central structure of Horowitz Crater, including central peaks and pits. The arrows mark locations of the odd slope features.

Recurring Slope Lines on Horowitz Crater

These slopes carved in Horowitz crater on Mars suggest the Red Planet might current host liquid water. Colors have been strongly enhanced to show the subtle differences, including light orange streaks (black arrows) in the upper right that may mark faded lines. Original Image
Credit: Science/AAAS

These slopes carved in Horowitz crater on Mars suggest the Red Planet might current host liquid water. Colors have been strongly enhanced to show the subtle differences, including light orange streaks (black arrows) in the upper right that may mark faded lines.

Impact Crater in Mars' Newton Basin

An impact crater in Mars' Newton basin shows lines that appear to have been carved by salt water. Four side panels show these lines in the late summer on Mars (B), then faded by the next very early spring (C), then gradually darkening and reforming in the spring (D) and summer (E). Original Image
Credit: Science/AAAS

An impact crater in Mars' Newton basin shows lines that appear to have been carved by salt water. Four side panels show these lines in the late summer on Mars (B), then faded by the next very early spring (C), then gradually darkening and reforming in the spring (D) and summer (E).

Color-Coded Clues to Composition Superimposed on Martian Seasonal-Flow Image

This image combines a photograph of seasonal dark flows on a Martian slope with a grid of colors based on data collected by a mineral-mapping spectrometer observing the same area. Image released Feb. 10, 2014. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/JHU-APL

This image combines a photograph of seasonal dark flows on a Martian slope with a grid of colors based on data collected by a mineral-mapping spectrometer observing the same area. Image released Feb. 10, 2014. [Read the Full Story Here]

Gully Gazing: Scientists Search for Flowing Water on Mars

Crater edge in Terra Sirenum has been imaged by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Gully watching thanks to repeat sweeps over the same landscape by orbiting spacecraft could catch gullies in action, if they are active today. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Crater edge in Terra Sirenum has been imaged by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Gully watching thanks to repeat sweeps over the same landscape by orbiting spacecraft could catch gullies in action, if they are active today.

Mars Once Shuffled Its Icy Poles

Pockets of water ice on the southern pole of Mars, such as these, have been stopped from their once-routine migration by a cap of dry ice, or frozen carbon dioxide. Planetary scientists think the migrations was fueled by an eccentric wobble in Mars'tilt. Original Image
Credit: ESA

Pockets of water ice on the southern pole of Mars, such as these, have been stopped from their once-routine migration by a cap of dry ice, or frozen carbon dioxide. Planetary scientists think the migrations was fueled by an eccentric wobble in Mars'tilt.

Hidden Glaciers Are Common on Mars

The Shallow Radar instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has detected widespread deposits of glacial ice in the mid-latitudes of Mars. This map of a region known as Deuteronilus Mensae, in the northern hemisphere, shows locations of the detected ice deposits in blue. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/University of Rome/Southwest Research Institute

The Shallow Radar instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has detected widespread deposits of glacial ice in the mid-latitudes of Mars. This map of a region known as Deuteronilus Mensae, in the northern hemisphere, shows locations of the detected ice deposits in blue.

McLaughlin Crater on Mars (Annotated)

An annotated look at the huge McLaughlin Crater on Mars, showing locations of minerals and clays created by water in the ancient past. The region may have once been a groundwater lake billions of years ago. Image released Jan. 20, 2013. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

An annotated look at the huge McLaughlin Crater on Mars, showing locations of minerals and clays created by water in the ancient past. The region may have once been a groundwater lake billions of years ago. Image released Jan. 20, 2013.

NASA Gives Frozen Mars Lander Last Chance to Phone Home

Stages in the seasonal disappearance of surface ice from the ground around the Phoenix Mars Lander are visible in these images taken on Feb. 8, 2010, (left) and Feb. 25, 2010, during springtime on northern Mars, by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Stages in the seasonal disappearance of surface ice from the ground around the Phoenix Mars Lander are visible in these images taken on Feb. 8, 2010, (left) and Feb. 25, 2010, during springtime on northern Mars, by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Mars Craters Tell Story of Water and Ice

Tongue-shaped features called lobate flows were seen on the wall of a 37-mile (60-km) diameter crater on the Martian surface. (Image taken with the Mars Oddysey THEMIS VIS camera.) Original Image
Credit: NASA.

Tongue-shaped features called lobate flows were seen on the wall of a 37-mile (60-km) diameter crater on the Martian surface. (Image taken with the Mars Oddysey THEMIS VIS camera.)

Giant Pool of Water Ice at Mars' South Pole

This radar map shows the thickness of the south polar layered deposits of Mars (purple represents the thinnest areas and red the thickest). The dark circle is the area poleward of 87 degrees south latitude, where MARSIS can’t collect radar data. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL/ASI/ESA/University of Rome/MOLA Science Team/USGS

This radar map shows the thickness of the south polar layered deposits of Mars (purple represents the thinnest areas and red the thickest). The dark circle is the area poleward of 87 degrees south latitude, where MARSIS can’t collect radar data.

Rivers Might Have Flowed Recently on Mars

In this perspective view looking at the inside rim of Lyot Crater on Mars, a broad lobate debris apron (left) (thought to be a debris-covered glacier) is found amongst water-carved channels. The authors argue that these ice-rich units underwent melting in the relatively high-pressure environment provided by Lyot Crater, the deepest point in the northern hemisphere of Mars. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL/GSFC/Malin Space Science Systems

In this perspective view looking at the inside rim of Lyot Crater on Mars, a broad lobate debris apron (left) (thought to be a debris-covered glacier) is found amongst water-carved channels. The authors argue that these ice-rich units underwent melting in the relatively high-pressure environment provided by Lyot Crater, the deepest point in the northern hemisphere of Mars.

Flashback: Water on Mars Announced 10 Years Ago

The floor and banks of a Mars gully on the northwest wall of a crater in Terra Sirenium changed between December 2001 and April 2005 due to a distinct light-toned material that flowed down the slope and formed a deposit (top). The same change occurred in a crater in the Centauri Montes region (bottom). Original Image
Credit: Science

The floor and banks of a Mars gully on the northwest wall of a crater in Terra Sirenium changed between December 2001 and April 2005 due to a distinct light-toned material that flowed down the slope and formed a deposit (top). The same change occurred in a crater in the Centauri Montes region (bottom).

Water Flowed on Mars More Recently Than Thought

Melting glaciers spawned rivers on Mars as recently as several hundred million years ago. This image shows a river that sprang from a past glacier from an unnamed crater in Mars’ middle latitudes. Full Story. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS

Melting glaciers spawned rivers on Mars as recently as several hundred million years ago. This image shows a river that sprang from a past glacier from an unnamed crater in Mars’ middle latitudes. Full Story.

Young Mars Crater Contains Water Ice, Photo Shows

At the center of this view of an area of mid-latitude northern Mars, a fresh crater about 6 meters (20 feet) in diameter holds an exposure of bright material, blue in this false-color image. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona [<a href=http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/nasa-spacecraft-finds-young-mars-crater-100827.html>Full Story</a>]

At the center of this view of an area of mid-latitude northern Mars, a fresh crater about 6 meters (20 feet) in diameter holds an exposure of bright material, blue in this false-color image.

Oceans of Ancient Mars May Have Sprung From Slow Leaks

The ancient oceans or seas thought to have covered ancient Mars 3 billion years ago, as shown in this artist's rendition based on actual topography of Mars from NASA Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, may have sprung up through surface cracks. Original Image
Credit: G. Di Achille

The ancient oceans or seas thought to have covered ancient Mars 3 billion years ago, as shown in this artist's rendition based on actual topography of Mars from NASA Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter, may have sprung up through surface cracks.

Mystery Solved: Mars Had Large Oceans

A view of Mars as it might have appeared more than 2 billion years ago, with an ocean filling the lowland basin that now occupies the north polar region. Original Image
Credit: Taylor Perron/UC Berkeley

A view of Mars as it might have appeared more than 2 billion years ago, with an ocean filling the lowland basin that now occupies the north polar region.

New Evidence Suggests Icebergs in Frigid Oceans on Ancient Mars

Chains of crater marks on Mars such as these could have been made by icebergs rolling across ancient Martian ocean floors, researchers suggest. Original Image
Credit: HiRISE [<a href=http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/ancient-icebergs-mars-oceans-101001.html>Full Story</a>]

Chains of crater marks on Mars such as these could have been made by icebergs rolling across ancient Martian ocean floors, researchers suggest.

New Map Bolsters Case for Ancient Ocean on Mars

This is a global map depicting the dissection density of valley networks on Mars, in relation to the hypothesized northern ocean. Two candidate sea levels are shown: contact 1 with mean elevation at -1,680 meters and contact 2 with mean elevation of -3,760 meters. Original Image
Credit: Wei Luo, Northern Illinois University

This is a global map depicting the dissection density of valley networks on Mars, in relation to the hypothesized northern ocean. Two candidate sea levels are shown: contact 1 with mean elevation at -1,680 meters and contact 2 with mean elevation of -3,760 meters.

Hope for Water on Mars Dims with Sharp New Images

Boulders over northern lowland terrains on Mars. Original Image
Credit: Science

Boulders over northern lowland terrains on Mars.

Study Suggests It Rained on Ancient Mars

The picture shows a topographic map of a crater in the Xanthe highlands, which held a lake 3.8 to 4 billion years ago. Sediments were deposited in the lake, forming a distinctly shaped delta. The lake was fed by a river that flowed through the Nanedi valley and into the crater from the south. Original Image
Credit: ESA/DLR (E. Hauber)

The picture shows a topographic map of a crater in the Xanthe highlands, which held a lake 3.8 to 4 billion years ago. Sediments were deposited in the lake, forming a distinctly shaped delta. The lake was fed by a river that flowed through the Nanedi valley and into the crater from the south.

Signs of Underground Plumbing Seen on Mars

Dense clusters of crack-like structures called deformation bands form the linear ridges in this Mars image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Dense clusters of crack-like structures called deformation bands form the linear ridges in this Mars image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Study: Mars Had Drizzle and Dew

Cracks caused by the contraction of sulfate are evident in this image of the surface of Mars' Meridiani Planum site by NASA's Opportunity Rover. Original Image
Credit: NASA

Cracks caused by the contraction of sulfate are evident in this image of the surface of Mars' Meridiani Planum site by NASA's Opportunity Rover.

McLaughlin Crater on Mars by MRO Spacecraft

This view of layered rocks on the floor of McLaughlin Crater shows sedimentary rocks that contain spectroscopic evidence for minerals formed through interaction with water. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recorded the image. Image released Jan. 20, 2013. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

This view of layered rocks on the floor of McLaughlin Crater shows sedimentary rocks that contain spectroscopic evidence for minerals formed through interaction with water. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recorded the image. Image released Jan. 20, 2013.

Dark Flows on Mars: NASA Images

Dark, seasonal flows emanate from bedrock exposures at Palikir Crater on Mars in this image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Three arrows point to bright, smooth fans left behind by flows. This image was taken on June 27, 2011 and released on Feb. 10, 2014. Original Image
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Dark, seasonal flows emanate from bedrock exposures at Palikir Crater on Mars in this image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Three arrows point to bright, smooth fans left behind by flows. This image was taken on June 27, 2011 and released on Feb. 10, 2014. [Read the Full Story Here]

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