First direct seismic measurements of mars reveal a geologically active planet

The first reports of seismic activity and ground vibrations on Mars are in. The red planet has a moderate level of seismic activity, intermediate between Earth and the Moon. An international team that includes University of Maryland geologists released preliminary results from the InSight mission, which landed a probe on Mars on November 26, 2018. … Read more

SwRI models hint at longer timescale for Mars formation

The early solar system was a chaotic place, with evidence indicating that Mars was likely struck by planetesimals, small protoplanets up to 1,200 miles in diameter, early in its history. Southwest Research Institute scientists modeled the mixing of materials associated with these impacts, revealing that the Red Planet may have formed over a longer timescale … Read more

CNRS: Mars’ water could disappear faster than expected

The small red planet is losing water more quickly than what theory as well as past observations would suggest. The gradual disappearance of water (H2O) occurs in the upper atmosphere of Mars: sunlight and chemistry disassociate water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen atoms that the weak gravity of Mars cannot prevent from escaping into space. … Read more

A thick crustal block revealed by reconstructions of early Mars highlands

The highlands of the southern hemisphere of the planet Mars are considered to be homogenous land whose origin dates back more than four billion years. A team of French and American planetary scientist led by Sylvain Bouley, (GEOPS – Université Paris-Saclay / CNRS), involving researchers from the University of Toulouse, the Paris Observatory, the University … Read more

Martian landslides not conclusive evidence of ice

Detailed three-dimensional images of an extensive landslide on Mars, which spans an area more than 55 kilometres wide, have been analysed to understand how the unusually large and long ridges and furrows formed about 400 million years ago. The findings, published today in Nature Communications, show for the first time that the unique structures on Martian … Read more

Atacama Desert microbes may hold clues to life on Mars

Microbial life on Mars may potentially be transported across the planet on dust particles carried by wind, according to a study conducted in the Atacama Desert in North Chile, a well-known Mars analogue. The findings are published in Scientific Reports. Armando Azua-Bustos and colleagues investigated whether microbial life could move across the Atacama Desert using on … Read more

A material way to make Mars habitable

People have long dreamed of re-shaping the Martian climate to make it livable for humans. Carl Sagan was the first outside of the realm of science fiction to propose terraforming. In a 1971 paper, Sagan suggested that vaporizing the northern polar ice caps would “yield ~10 s g cm-2 of atmosphere over the planet, higher … Read more

Meteors help Martian clouds form

Astronomers have long observed clouds in Mars’ middle atmosphere, which begins about 18 miles (30 kilometers) above the surface, but have struggled to explain how they formed. Now, a new study, which will be published on June 17 in the journal Nature Geoscience, examines those wispy accumulations and suggests that they owe their existence to a … Read more

The rheology and thermal history of Mars revealed by the orbital evolution of Phobos

The present-day surface of Mars is relatively well characterized, but the details of its evolution and internal structure remain, in comparison, poorly known. Evidence for recent volcanic activity suggests that Mars’ deep interior remains hot and convectively cooling. Mars’ cooling rate is related to its early thermal state, and to its rheology that determines its … Read more