Mars Mystery Pit With A Side Of Swiss

I could click on photos taken NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and never get to the end. The trusty spacecraft has taken nearly 50,000 images since it first entered orbit around the Red Planet in March 2006. The photos show us how similar Mars and Earth really are.  While our planet has few well-preserved craters, we share river valleys,…
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What’s That Bright Star At Dawn?

Several people have asked me in recent days what that bright “star” is shining near the sun at dawn. It’s Venus, brightest of the planets. Venus was in inferior conjunction with the sun on March 25, the date it wrapped up its evening sky run. During inferior conjunction, a planet passes between the Earth and sun…
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Fresh Look At A Martian ‘Hole-in-One’

A new photo taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captures the landing platform the rover Opportunity left behind in Eagle Crater more than 13 years and 27 miles (44 km) ago, the distance the rover has traveled since landing on Jan. 25, 2004.  The long-lived rover arrived bundled in an airbag-cushioned lander that bounced and…
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Now We Know How Mars Lost Its Atmosphere And Turned Nasty Cold

Mars would be much more clement if it still possessed a beefy atmosphere. Thanks to new measurements from NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft, we now have a definitive answer on why Mars evolved from relatively warm and benign place to today’s frigid desert where nighttime temperatures routinely plunge to –100°F (–73°C). Blame it on the sun! Solar wind…
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Trump’s NASA Budget: What It Cuts, What It Keeps

When it comes to space exploration, the White House budget ax does not bite as deeply as it might for other programs. The Trump administration requested $19.1 billion for NASA, a 0.8% decrease — about $200 million — from 2017. NASA’s cuts may look rosy at first glance, but that doesn’t mean a few key…
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