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Frost deposits in Louth Crater appears to remain through the year, as found in Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE photos of the region. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Frost deposits in Louth Crater appears to remain through the year, as found in Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE photos of the region. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Mars was once thought to be a fairly unchanging planet, similar to the Moon. But now we know it is a planet that was shaped by water and other forces in the past — and that these forces still come into play today.

Above is a picture of permafrost deposits just discovered in Louth Crater. This find comes from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) and you can see some of its latest water- and dust- shaped environments imaged below.

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Carnival of Space #376

Carnival of Space. Image by Jason Major.

Carnival of Space. Image by Jason Major.

This week’s Carnival of Space is hosted by Allen Versfeld at his Urban Astronomer blog.

Click here to read Carnival of Space #376.
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High resolution image pairs made with HiRISE camera on MRO during Comet Siding Spring's closest approach to Mars on October 19. Shown at top are images of the nucleus region and inner coma. Those at bottom were exposed to show the bigger coma beginning of a tail. Credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona

High resolution image pairs made with HiRISE camera on MRO during Comet Siding Spring’s closest approach to Mars on October 19. Shown at top are images of the nucleus region and inner coma. Those at bottom were exposed to show the bigger coma and the beginning of a tail. Credit: NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona

Not to be outdone by the feisty Opportunity Rover, the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) turned in its homework this evening with a fine image of comet C/2013 Siding Spring taken during closest approach on October 19.  [click to continue…]

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Water On The Moon Was Blown in by Solar Wind

Near-infrared image of the Moon's surface by NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper on the Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-1 mission     Image credit: ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Brown Univ./USGS

Near-infrared image of the Moon’s surface by the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-1 mission. Image credit: ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Brown Univ./USGS

When they first set foot on the Moon, the Apollo 11 astronauts painted a picture of the landscape as a bone-dry desert. So astronomers were naturally surprised when in 2009, three probes showed that a lot of water is locked up in minerals in the soil. There has been some debate as to where the water came from, but now two researchers with the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France, have determined that most of the water in the soil on the surface of the Moon was formed due to protons in the solar wind colliding with oxygen in lunar dust, rather than from comet or meteorite impacts.
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Video: Fly Over a Weird Landscape on Mars in 3-D

This isn’t quite like Luke’s trench run in the Battle of Yavin, but it’s waaay more awesome in that this is real.

Go grab your red–green or red–blue 3-D glasses (you always have a pair right by your desk, right?) and enjoy this great flyover video from ESA showcasing some very interesting landforms on Mars that planetary geologists refer to as ‘chaotic terrain.’ There’s nothing quite like this on Earth, and scattered throughout a large area to both the west and east of Valles Marineris are hundreds of isolated mountains up to 2,000 meters high. “Seen from orbit, they form a bizarre, chaotic pattern,” say scientists from the Mars Express orbiter.
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