Mars

  • Japan is moving ahead with a first-of-a-kind mission to explore the two moons of the Mars system. All going to plan, the Martian Moon Exploration mission will return to Earth with the first ever samples of a Martian moon by the end of the decade.
  • Science stands still for no one, and with a new year comes a new calendar of exciting events in spaceflight and exploration. New Atlas rounds up some of the most important milestones to look forward to in 2020.
  • NASA has revealed the nine finalist names for the space agency's Mars 2020 rover – and none of them are "Rovy McRoverface." Selected from 28,000 essays submitted by US elementary and high school students, the nine names will now go to a public poll.
  • NASA's myco-architecture project at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley is exploring the possibility that future inhabitants of the Moon and Mars, not to mention the Earth, may live in homes grown from fungus.
  • The cosmic beauty of space never ceases to impress. New Atlas rounds up some of the most incredible space photos of 2019, including historic firsts, stunning starscapes, gorgeous galaxies and some new angles on our own solar system.
  • NASA's Mars 2020 rover has taken its first drive as part of preflight systems tests. On December 19, 2019, the unmanned explorer completed a 10-hour drive operating under its own weight and put its autonomous navigation system through its paces.
  • Intended as a potential aid to future space travelers, NASA has released a water map of Mars. Based on remote sensing data from the space agency's Mars orbiters, the new map shows areas where water ice may lurk within an inch (2.5 cm) of the surface.
  • ESA's Mars Express spacecraft has captured a rare movie of the Martian moon Phobos. The moon is set to be the target of an international mission to survey the Red Planet’s two natural satellites, and return a surface sample to Earth.
  • Research at the University of Edinburgh could make the search for life on Mars more efficient. Using a technique called "chemical gardening," astrobiologist Sean McMahon has demonstrated that some ancient fossils may be natural mineral deposits.
  • The 2018 global dust storm on Mars that killed the Opportunity rover is providing scientists with new insights into how the Red Planet may have lost its atmosphere over billions of years due to dust towers that storms push as high as 50 mi (80 km).
  • ESA is delving into how astronaut hibernation would affect space missions. The study suggests that using hibernation on a Mars mission would reduce the mass of the spacecraft by a third and cut the amount of consumables by about the same amount.
  • Has life ever existed on Mars? Humankind has sent more than a dozen spacecraft to investigate, with some built to dig into the surface and others to roam its dusty terrain. The ExoMars 2020 mission will be the first to do both.