Mars Surface May Have Been Desolate for More than 600 Million Years

According to new sturdy the surface of Mars may have been parched for too long for any life-forms to exist on the planet today. A team of researchers spent three years meticulously examining individual particles of Martian soil collected during NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander mission in 2008. According to their observations, the surface of Mars may have been arid and desolate for more than 600 million years, despite the presence of ice and despite previous studies that indicate the planet may have experienced a warmer and wetter past more than 3 billion years ago. The researchers found that the soil on Mars had been exposed to liquid water for no more than 5,000 years since the planet formed billions of years ago. If this is the case, the water was likely on the surface for too short a time.

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Mars Rover Opportunity Begins 9 Year on Red Planet

A NASA rover celebrates eight years on the Martian surface on January 24, and the long-lived robot is still going strong. The Opportunity rover landed on the Red Planet at 9:05 p.m. PST Jan. 24, 2004 (12:05 a.m. EST Jan. 25), three weeks after its twin, Spirit, touched down. While NASA declared Spirit dead last year, Opportunity continues to gather data in its dotage, helping scientists understand more and more about Mars’ wetter, warmer past. Opportunity reached a multi-year driving destination, Endeavour Crater, in August 2011. At Endeavour’s rim, it has gained access to geological deposits from an earlier period of Martian history than anything it examined during its first seven years.

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Where Will Fall Russian Mars Probe?

A huge hunk of Russian space junk is set to crash to Earth in the next few days, but nobody knows exactly when or where it’s going to come down. According to the latest estimate of Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency the 14.5-ton Mars probe Phobos-Grunt, which got stuck in Earth orbit shortly after its November 8 launch, may re-enter the atmosphere at 11:22 a.m. EST (1622 GMT) on Sunday. If that projection is accurate, pieces of the failed spacecraft will splash into the Atlantic Ocean about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) south of Buenos Aires. According to Roscosmos the predicted time and place of re-entry could change in the future.

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