Mars

Diagram of mars showing areas with shallow ice beneath the surface or slopes that seem to show periodic flows of water are potential havens for terrestrial life.

Possible Underground Lake Discovered on Mars

A new study published on the journal Science suggests that there may be a liquid water lake below the ice on Mars’ south pole. While water is thought to have once been abundant on Mars, billions of years ago, this is the first to be found. Researchers used radar data from an instrument called MARSIS to look below the surface of Mars – MARSIS is on board a European Space Agency spacecraft called…
image of mars against black background

Mars is Ready for its Close-Up

Want to go to Mars? You may have to book a seat and wait a few years (or more). But here’s the good news: Mars is coming to you. Or at least, it’s getting closer to you … closer than it’s been since 2003. This is simply a consequence of the fact that Earth and Mars are on orbital racetracks around the Sun, and while the Red Planet paces down the course at 15 miles per second, Earth – which…
an 8-mile diameter crater bring infilled by the Medusae Fossae Formation on Mars. Image: European Space Agency

'alien spaceship' on Mars: What some say looks like a crash site is evidence of volcanism, not Vulcans.

Mars has long been everyone's hands-down favorite in the search for extraterrestrial life. It's got rocky landscapes, National Park-worthy canyons, and a general appearance that resembles Arizona stripped of vegetation and convenience stores. It's no wonder then that amateur explorers have spent years in front of their laptops scrutinizing this world for clues to life. The online photos they…

Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series: When Mars Was Like Earth: Five Years of Exploration with NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover

This Silicon Valley Astronomy Lecture Series event has passed, but a video of the lecture can be found here. Dr. Ashwin Vasavada, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will give a free, illustrated, non-technical talk. More than five years after its dramatic arrival at Mars, the car-sized Curiosity rover continues to reveal Mars as a once-habitable planet. Early in Mars' history, rivers and…

Spacefest IX: The Event for Space Enthusiasts

Spacefest is THE event for space enthusiasts of any stripe – Astronomy, Human Space Exploration, Robotic Space Exploration, Commercial Space Development or Space History Enthusiast. For the Professional and Amateur. Pascal Lee, SETI Institute Planetary Scientist: "Humans to Mars: From Vision to Reality" Seth Shostak, SETI Institute Fellow and Senior Scientist: "Light Signals from ET" Other…

What Are We Protecting Mars From — And Why Do We Bother?

Mars, the small, cold fourth rock from the Sun, is being given serious consideration by 21st century explorers. Entrepreneur Elon Musk has ambitious plans to send humans to the Red Planet within seven years (and bring them back again); NASA has flown both rovers and landers; and NASA, the European Space Agency, and China have announced plans to each add a rover to the mix in 2020. Even India has…

Join us for MarsFest, February 23 - 25, 2018

There are very few places in the world where the extreme environments of our planet can offer a look into what may be possible in our Solar System and beyond. Death Valley National Park hosts several planetary analog research sites within its rugged and otherworldly terrain and plays an important role in contributing to the scientific community preparing for the robotic and the human exploration…

Roving on Mars: Revving up for Future Exploration of the Red Planet

Orbiters, followed by rovers sent to Mars, have yielded a dramatic increase in knowledge about Mars over the past decade. Today thanks to several years of data collected in situ and remotely we have a better understanding of its geology and habitability potential. Three SETI Institute planetary scientists who have dedicated their career to the study of the red planet will tell us what we have…

Constraining the Evolution of a Delta Deposit on Mars from Orbit

Decades of planetary exploration have revealed widespread evidence for ancient fluvial activity on the surface of Mars, including deeply incised valleys, paleolake basins, and an extensive sedimentary rock record. Acquisition of high-resolution remote sensing data of the martian surface (e.g., images and topography) over the past 5-10 years have allowed for quantitative analysis of the large-…
Mars Polar Cap

CLUE TO MARS’ CLIMATE HISTORY: POLAR CAP SLOWLY BUILDING

MOUNTAIN VIEW – A science team led by Adrian Brown of the SETI Institute has measured the seasonal changes in Mars northern ice cap, and finds a net deposition each year that’s slightly more than the thickness of a human hair. This measurement will allow greater understanding of how much water is active (as opposed to being permanently frozen) in the martian water system today, and how future…