Sep 21, 2019

See an ice avalanche on Mars

Photo: NASA/JPL/UA

A photo taken in May by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows an avalanche of ice falling on the planet.

What they're hearing: "Every spring the sun shines on the side of the stack of layers at the North Pole of Mars known as the north polar layered deposits. The warmth destabilizes the ice and blocks break loose," NASA said in an image description.

  • "When they reach the bottom of the more than 500 meter tall cliff face, the blocks kick up a cloud of dust."

The MRO has been beaming back photos of Martian geology since its arrival in orbit around the planet in 2006.

The bottom line: A fleet of satellites orbiting Mars allows us to see the changing face of the Red Planet throughout the year, and sometimes its surface looks remarkably similar to Earth.

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NASA will send your name to Mars aboard its next rover

Tracks left by the Curiosity rover on Mars. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

There’s still time to send your name to Mars aboard a NASA rover expected to hunt for signs of past life on the Red Planet.

What’s happening: NASA is planning to send a computer chip stenciled with millions of names to Mars aboard the agency’s 2020 rover.

Go deeperArrowSep 24, 2019

The UAE's long view to Mars

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As the U.S., China and others focus on launching rockets and putting boots on the Moon, the tiny Gulf nation of the United Arab Emirates is set on building a settlement on Mars in 100 years.

Driving the news: Last week, the UAE sent its first astronaut, Hazzaa al-Mansoori, to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Go deeperArrowOct 1, 2019

NASA wants to build a new asteroid-hunting telescope

The asteroid Eros as seen by the NEAR mission in 2000. Photo: NASA/JPL/JHUAPL

NASA is planning to build a spacecraft designed to search the skies for asteroids not far from Earth.

Why it matters: The telescope will help NASA get a more complete sense of how many potentially dangerous asteroids there are near our planet and what harm they may pose.

Go deeperArrowSep 25, 2019