Four billion years ago, Mars may have looked completely different. Water could have flowed across the planet's surface. There might have been life. To support these conditions, the planet's atmosphere must have been very different.
A NASA mission to investigate that atmosphere – and why it changed – is about to enter orbit around the Red Planet. Led by scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder, the mission, called MAVEN (short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN), consists of a satellite that will orbit the planet.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 5:19 pm
When the Mars Curiosity made its dramatic and first-of-its-kind landing on Mars in August of 2012, the hope was that the $2.5-billion rover could confirm what scientists had suspected: that there was life on Mars.
Today, in a paper released in the journal Science, researchers explain that if the Red Planet is harboring life, the instruments on the rover have been unable to sniff it out.
NPR's Joe Palca filed this report for our Newscast unit:
Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 2:27 pm
After several months of freeze-dried food, even the most committed carnivores would probably reach for the fresh produce.
So it's no surprise that the six explorers who were cooped up studying space-friendly foods on a simulated mission to Mars for the past four months went right for the mangoes and pineapple during their first meal outside their habitat Aug. 13.