Mars Overview Updated September 22, 2022

Mars

"The red planet"

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67 'Mars' stories

February 2020 - September 2022

Mars, named after the Roman God of war, is the second-smallest planet in our solar system. Often referred to as “the red planet” due to its red appearance caused by the iron oxide on its surface. Features of the planet include impact craters, valleys, deserts, and large polar ice caps.

The planet has been explored by many unmanned spacecraft, including Mariner 4, Mars Pathfinder, Mars Express, and many more.

Traditional life here has been deemed as likely, even more so under the surface due to underground water.

Important Stats

Moons

Surface Photos

Space Explored Podcast 48: Space Coast weather is getting rough, more

This week Seth and Jared dive into the weather that has been and will affect Space Coast launches, especially now that we get into the thick of hurricane season. Starship is back in the news with a record-breaking static fire and organic material found on Mars?

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Perseverance rover finds organic matter in rock samples on Mars

Earlier today, NASA briefed the public on the Perseverance rover’s current status on Mars, discussed highlights from the mission so far, and announced the discovery of organic molecules that could be associated with life. But this discovery comes with an 82 million-mile caveat.

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NASA’s Mars Sample Return mission adds two helicopters after Ingenuity flights

NASA and the European Space Agency are on track to bring the first-ever Mars soil and atmosphere samples back to Earth. Today both space agencies shared an update on exactly how they plan to do that thanks to the Mars helicopter Ingenuity.

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Mars presence looms closer as NASA, SpaceX, and Relativity race toward new technologies

The race to developing a presence on Mars is long, but several players are already competing. From those who wish to explore and colonize the planet, Mars is a major focus more than ever right now. There are a few races happening to reach Mars with new technologies happening simultaneously. Which will be first is the question…

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A fleet of Ingenuity-like helicopters could come to Mars for sample return mission

It’s that time of year again (I feel like it is always that time of year) when drafts of NASA’s next fiscal year budget start to form. During this process, we gain insight into how Congress wants that money spent, which could include changes to existing programs. For example, this year, it looks like Congress was so impressed with Ingenuity’s success that it wants more helicopters (air spacecraft?) for NASA’s Mars Sample Return mission.

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Ingenuity makes flight 29 after fixing a dead sensor

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has been hunkering down to hopefully survive the cold Martian winter and to do so it made flight 29 to get closer to the Perseverance rover. This flight follows NASA’s need to push a fix to recover capabilities lost when a critical sensor died.

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NASA Ingenuity prepares for Martian winter as power levels dwindle

NASA is having Ingenuity prepare itself for winter on Mars as the little helicopter is slowly not retaining enough power to last the night. So for now, regular flight operations will cease until possibly mid-October.

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NASA InSight lander takes final ‘selfie’ before storing its robotic arm permanently

Last week NASA announced the Martian InSight lander’s mission would conclude by the end of this year due to low power. One of the first steps to get the lander ready for that will be placing the arm into its final resting position. So today, NASA shared InSight’s final selfie using the arm’s camera.

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NASA’s InSight lander dead by year’s end

NASA announced on May 17 that it expects the InSight lander mission to end this year. While it hasn’t gotten as much attention as the Perseverance rover, InSight has made some remarkable discoveries during its lifetime.

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What a solar eclipse looks like on Mars through the eyes of NASA’s Perseverance rover

You might have forgotten about Mars‘ two little moons. Smaller and not so circular, they aren’t as crazy as those found around Jupiter or Saturn. However, they are still special because we can see them pass in front of the Sun like our own, and through Perseverance, we can see Mars’ solar eclipses with better resolution than ever before.

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NASA’s Perseverance rover spots its own parachute on Mars

NASA’s flagship Mars rover Perseverance has been exploring Jezero Crater for over a year now. As it traveled to its newest destination, Perseverance spotted its own parachute that it used to descend towards Mars’ surface safely.

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Elon Musk says humans will be on Mars in 2029

In his latest prediction, SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter that he expects humans to land on Mars in 2029.

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Mars communication blackout period with rovers and spacecraft nears its end

NASA is anxiously awaiting the return of communication with Martian rovers and spacecraft after ceasing all communications on October 2.

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James Webb Space Telescope working towards December launch, new SpaceX Starship render & more top stories

This week, the target launch date for the James Webb Space telescope was announced, SpaceX released a new render of Starship Super Heavy, and Inspiration4 works toward launch.

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter sends back stunning new photos of Mars

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) sent back nearly 300 new photos of the Red Planet which were released September 1st.

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China working on Mars Helicopter similar to NASA’s Ingenuity

A press release from China’s National Space Science Center provided a first look at a prototype for their new Martian Helicopter.

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Mars Helicopter Ingenuity makes 13th flight on Mars

Ingenuity recently completed its 13th flight on Mars. Mars helicopter campaign extended from the initially planned 5 flights and is now serving as a valuable tool to assist with route planning for the Perseverance rover.

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Perseverance Mars sampling attempt not quite ‘hole-in-one’ as NASA works the problem

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover reached the Red Planet in February, and weeks of never-before-attempted Ingenuity helicopter flights followed. Now Perseverance is ready to knock out a major mission of its own: collect Mars samples.

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This Day In Space: Perseverance launches to Mars; NASA’s most advanced rover yet

The Mars 2020 mission consisted of two main payloads, the Perseverance rover and a technology demonstration helicopter called Ingenuity. Perseverance was the 6th rover ever sent to the Martian surface and was based on the successful design of the 2011 Curiosity rover. On this day, Mars 2020 launched to space.

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Check out this animation showing NASA Ingenuity’s 9th flight [Video]

At the beginning of this month, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter made a daring flight that would trek over 600 meters, at speeds of up to 5 m/s for just under 3 minutes. A user created an animation of the Ingenuity’s flight so you can see it from any angle.

Mars Helicopter Ingenuity completes 9th flight over Fourth of July weekend

Since we last covered Ingenuity, shortly after its sixth flight, it has been hard at work exploring the Martian surface. Ingenuity has certainly proved useful to Martian exploration, making these flights look routine.

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Mars Helicopter Ingenuity survives sixth flight despite in-flight anomaly

Mars Helicopter Ingenuity was originally expected to complete its campaign after just five flights. After extraordinary performance on in the initial flights, demonstrating the possibility of powered flight on Mars, NASA JPL decided to extend the campaign to gather more information.

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China becomes first nation since U.S. to land a rover on Mars

Perseverance, Ingenuity, and all the other American bots on Mars now have company. China became the second-ever country to successfully land a rover on the red planet today. Zhurong, named for the god of fire in Chinese folk tales, is roughly the size of NASA’s 2004 Spirit and Opportunity robots.

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’60 Minutes’ reviews first month of life on Mars for Ingenuity helicopter and Perseverance rover

We’ve been deep diving through Perseverance and Ingenuity since before the Mars 2020 mission lifted off from Cape Canaveral last year. Still, seeing NASA’s Mars rover and first-ever helicopter and their first month spent on the red planet still wows us.

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Mars Base Alpha makes sketch appearance during Elon Musk’s ‘SNL’ debut

This week’s Saturday Night Live was hosted by none other than SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. This lead to many references to all of Musk’s companies, one of the highlights of the night though was a skit showing off SpaceX’s future base on Mars.

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[Update: New flight time announced] NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter considered a full success, no fourth flight to celebrate with though

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter has wowed us from Earth with its first flights over the Red Planet. After just 3 flights the tech demo has completed all of its test objectives and will now push the envelope for what it can do.

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Mars Helicopter Ingenuity spots Perseverance Rover on Mars surface while in flight

Mars Helicopter Ingenuity completed its third flight on Sunday. Images and video have been arriving back on Earth since then, and on Tuesday a notable image arrived.

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NASA Ingenuity helicopter takes its second bigger and better flight on Mars

After the success of its first flight at the beginning of this week, Ingenuity took its second flight early this morning. This flight pushed the tech demo to do more challenging tasks as they step through their testing campaign this month.

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Google celebrates historic Mars Helicopter flight with a custom search page

After the announcement of the first successful flight of NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter people have taken to social media to share their excitement, including companies and celebrities.

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Mars Helicopter Ingenuity makes history, successfully taking first flight on another planet

On a livestream from mission control early this morning, the Ingenuity team received the very first data confirming the successful flight of Mars Helicopter Ingenuity.

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Mars Helicopter Ingenuity completes high-speed spin test after last week’s complications

After delays in the first flight of Ingenuity due to a failure to complete the first high-speed spin test, Ingenuity may be back on track. NASA shared today that Ingenuity has successfully completed a high-speed spin test; an important test before the first flight.

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[Update: Further Delays]Ingenuity Flight Delayed after high-speed spin test ends early

[Update Below] On April 10th, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory shared in a Status Update that the first flight of Mars Helicopter Ingenuity has been rescheduled to No Earlier Than April 14th. Ingenuity underwent a low-speed spin test of its rotor yesterday, reaching 50rpm. When the helicopter moved to begin the full-speed spin test of its rotors the watchdog timer expired.

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[Update: Blades Unlocked] How NASA’s Mars Helicopter Ingenuity will be deployed onto the surface

The Mars Helicopter Ingenuity is an exciting new development in planetary exploration. The ability to have powered, controlled flights on another planet opens up new possibilities for future robotic and, eventually, human missions. Years of work have led up to Ingenuitity’s first flight, no earlier than April 11th, and the teams at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) are currently working through the helicopter’s 10-day long deployment process.

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JPL gives Ingenuity helicopter a flight date and honors former engineer with spot on Mars

Today, during a press briefing on the first flight of Mars Helicopter Ingenuity, new information was revealed for the upcoming flight of Ingenuity. This first flight is currently targeting April 8th. When Perseverance first touched down, they determined that it landed right on the edge of an acceptable flight zone for Ingenuity.

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Perseverance rover releases debris shield covering Ingenuity Mars helicopter

Yesterday, NASA’s Perseverance rover released the debris shield which protected the Mars Helicopter, Ingenuity. This marks the beginning of the deployment for Ingenuity; which is expected to take 10 Martian days (sols). The next major step in the process will be Perseverance driving to the center of the helipad which has been selected.

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Elon Musk wants Mars Base Alpha within the decade

Today Elon Musk restated the goal of having an active city on Mars within the decade. Development of SpaceX’s Mars rocket, Starship, is underway in Boca Chica, Texas.

NASA Engineers have selected a location for the first Martian airfield

NASA’s Perseverance Rover landed on February 18th and recently began to move. Mounted on the belly of the rover is Ingenuity, a small, 1.8 KG helicopter. Ingenuity will attempt the first powered and controlled flight on another planet no earlier than the first week of April.

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NASA Releases the first video and sound from Perseverance’s entry landing and descent phase

After 3 days of downloading data from the rover via JPL’s Deep Space Network NASA finally shared with us the videos that documented the entry descent and landing process that took place on Mars last Thursday.

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First Martian helicopter in good health while NASA prepares the first video from Perseverance Monday

One of the craziest experiments a part of the Mars 2020 mission, Ingenuity the small helicopter attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover, has messaged home to controllers at JPL. It saying that it and its base station are in good health on Friday. This is the first transmissions teams have gotten of the helicopter since it landed on the surface of Mars the day before, an important step in getting the helicopter ready to fly.

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NASA shares a sneak peek of upcoming landing footage from Perseverance

With less than a day on its life on Mars Perseverance has already wowed us with its first still image during one of the most difficult and dangerous times of the descent. Like its twin rover Curiosity, cameras captured stop-motion video of the rover being lowered by the Skycrane. Today we get the first glimpse of what it will look like.

NASA successfully lands Perseverance in Jezero Crater

Almost a decade of development and waiting has finally led to the moment the world has been waiting for. NASA’s Mars 2020 mission was launched onto its journey to Mars back in July of 2020 and teams have monitored its safety all the way there. Now the rover and teams of researchers back on earth get to start looking for signs of life on Mars.

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Which rover has spent the most time on Mars?

Today officially marks the 3,000th day since the Mars rover Curiosity first arrived at the Martian planet. While this may be a long time by any measure, it got us wondering, what’s the longest period that any rover has spent on Mars?

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Looking back on the failed ‘Mars One’ project

Back in 2011, a company called Mars One was founded by a small private Dutch organization with a single bold claim — to land the first humans on Mars. Not only would it be landing humans on Mars, but it would have them “live, explore, and create a second home for humanity” there.

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New image of Mars’ Valles Marineris reveals its enormous scale

Valles Marineris, also known as Mariner Valley, is a vast, expansive canyon covering a quarter of Mars’ equator. The 2,500-mile-long canyon is so large that it has been deemed the largest canyon in our entire solar system.

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Au-Spot is a robotic dog designed to explore the harsh terrain of Mars

A large majority of the terrain on Mars is rather challenging to traverse, especially for our delicate and slow-moving rovers. Because of this fact, NASA/JPL-Caltech has been hard at work creating what may be the future of Mars exploration: an autonomous robot dog.

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Watch: NASA marks final phase of countdown to Mars with epic Perseverance mission trailer

The countdown to Mars kicked off earlier this year on July 30 when NASA’s Perseverance rover blasted off on a ULA Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA’s newest Martian rover will arrive in less than two months on February 18 to begin its search for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet.

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NASA is moving into the next phase of its Mars Sample Return mission

Today, NASA has announced that it will be moving into the next phase of its Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission. This move would bring the mission into “Phase A,” the phase in which many crucial decisions will be made.

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NASA wants to put a constellation of communication satellites in orbit around Mars

During a presentation to advisory committees, NASA discussed the idea of having a constellation of commercial communications satellites in orbit around Mars. The satellites could then serve as a data relay system for future missions to the Martian planet.

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