On May 22nd, 2021, the Zhurong rover – part of Tianwen-1, China’s first mission to Mars – descended from its lander and drove on the Martian surface for the first time. According to the mission’s official social media account, the rover drove down its descent ramp from the Tianwen-1 lander at 10:40 a.m. Beijing time (07:40 p.m. PDT; 10:40 p.m. EDT) and placed its wheels upon the surface of Mars.Continue reading “Zhurong is Rolling on Mars”
Rocks can tell us a lot about a planet. On Earth, the study of geology has been around for hundreds of years and has resulted in such scientific findings as the theory of plate tectonics and the discovery of dinosaur fossils. Geology on Mars has not had as long and storied a history, but with the rovers that have landed on the planet in the last few decades, Martian geology has started to bloom. Curiosity, one of those rovers, has done a particularly good job at documenting the rock formations in its neighborhood of Gale crater. Now researchers led by a team at Imperial College London have published a paper using data from Curiosity that detail a set of ancient dunes on Mars that provide some insight into the planet’s former habitability.Continue reading “Dune Fields in Gale Crater Tell the Story of Mars’ Shifting Climate Over Eons”
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The idea of somehow terra-forming Mars to make it more habitable is a visionary, sci-fi dream. But though global terra-forming of Mars is out of reach, the idea persists. But now, a material called silica aerogel might make make the whole idea of terra-forming Mars slightly less impossible.Continue reading “Blankets of Silica Aerogel Could Make Parts of Mars Habitable”