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Life on Mars? Full Red Planet Coverage

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Orbiting satellites, two hardy rovers, and a lander near the north pole have been sending back exciting evidence that the red planet may have once hosted oceans, rivers, and lakes of liquid water.

Get the latest news and images from this suite of Mars-based missions, and catch up on the compelling evidence for the planet's watery history—including hints that life may still be lurking below the surface.

PHOTOS:

Mars picture   Mars Lander Finds Ice, NASA Says (June 20, 2008)
It's a first. "Perfect evidence" of water ice—a key ingredient for life—has been found on Mars, NASA says.


Mars picture   PHOTOS: Mars Lander Takes First ''Self Portraits'' (May 27, 2008)
See historic photos transmitted by the Mars Phoenix Lander from the red planet.


Mars picture   Panorama Marks Mars Rover's 4th Year (January 30, 2008)
Colorful mosaics from inside Victoria Crater herald the four-year anniversary of the rover Opportunity's arrival on the red planet.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Ice Lake Found on Mars (August 2, 2005)
Life on Mars? Who knows? Ice on Mars? Most definitely—and now we've got more cold, hard evidence.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   "Frozen Sea" Seen on Mars (February 23, 2005)
Martian pack ice is clearly visible for the first time, scientists say. It may be the best evidence yet of past seas, and it adds credence to the idea of life on Mars.



NEWS:

Mars picture   Mars Lander Stymied by Ice; Like "Scraping a Sidewalk" (July 11, 2008)
The Phoenix Mars lander is finding it difficult to break ice for analysis and has a worrying short circuit.


Mars picture   Mars Soil Resembles Veggie-Garden Dirt, Lander Finds (June 26, 2008)
"You might be able to grow asparagus in it," said one scientist, based on preliminary findings of soil composition and pH from the Phoenix Mars lander.


Mars picture   On "Dream" Terrain, Mars Lander Readies for Experiments (May 26, 2008)
After the Phoenix Mars Lander's ideal touchdown, researchers are preparing its many instruments for the first surface-based study of the red planet.


Mars picture   Phoenix Lander Touches Down Near Mars's North Pole (May 25, 2008)
The craft is now the first to successfully land near a Martian pole and should soon begin collecting samples to determine whether the red planet was once habitable.


Mars picture   Early Mars Had Floods, Yellowstone-Like Hot Springs (May 22, 2008)
The formation of an Idaho canyon thousands of years ago, along with recent discoveries of ancient hot springs and geysers on Mars, has given scientists a clearer picture of how water sculpted the surface of the red planet.


Mars picture   Any Possible Mars Water or Life Is Deep Below Surface (May 15, 2008)
Mars's ice caps are about five million years old, and its bedrock is puzzlingly cold and thick, reducing the boundary where liquid water may have formed.


Mars picture   Hundreds of Salt Deposits Spotted on Mars (March 20, 2008)
The first evidence of chloride minerals on the red planet could lend new vigor to the search for salt-loving life on Mars, a new study says.


Mars picture   Melting Snow Created Mars Gullies, Expert Says (March 19, 2008)
Features on Mars that appear to have been carved by fluid were most likely created when recurring climate changes caused snow to fall and then melt.


Mars picture   River-Size "Flash Floods" May Have Carved Mars Craters (February 20, 2008)
Puzzling terraced craters may have been carved into by short-lived flows of water the size of the Mississippi or Rhine Rivers, a new study says.


Mars picture   Early Mars Too Acidic, Salty for Life, Experts Say (February 17, 2008)
Early Mars was probably a wet world but not a habitable one because of high concentrations of dissolved minerals, scientists have announced.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Alien Life May Be "Weirder" Than Scientists Think, Report Says (July 6, 2007)
Scientists need to rethink what constitutes life in their search for ETs and seek out so-called weird life-forms that could thrive in extreme environments, a new report says.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Mars Once Had Oceans, New Evidence Suggests (June 13, 2007)
A large basin on Mars's northern plains really did once hold a giant ocean, suggests new research into the planet's shifting poles.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Mars Rovers Find "Best Evidence Yet" of Water (May 23, 2007)
An accidental skid by the Mars rover Spirit turned up what experts say is proof that the red planet was once quite wet.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Mars's Ice Patchy, Water Cycle Quite Active, Study Reveals (May 2, 2007)
Detailed new scans show that the depth of the red planet's underground ice layer is extremely variable, coming within an inch (2.5 centimeters) of the surface in some places.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Mars Water Traces Left by Springs, Not Seas, Experts Say (March 7, 2007)
Curious deposits on Mars that originally appeared to be signs of an ancient ocean were instead produced by water emerging from underground, a new study finds.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   New Mars Pictures Show Signs of Watery "Aquifers" (February 16, 2007)
Stunning color images offer new evidence that plentiful water once percolated through Martian bedrock—and new hints as to where life might be hiding.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Mars Life May Be Too Deep to Find, Experts Conclude (February 2, 2007)
If life as we know it exists on the red planet, it would have to be deeper under the surface than current probes are able to detect, a European team concludes.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Mars's Water Could Be Below Surface, Experts Say (January 25, 2007)
Mars may still house large reservoirs of the water and carbon dioxide that once formed the planets ancient atmosphere, new research suggests.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Mars Scientists Intensify Search for Water (December 15, 2006)
Spurred on by new evidence of water, experts announced plans to use powerful cameras to seek rock-solid proof that the liquid hasn't stopped flowing on Mars.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Mars Has Liquid Water, New Photos Suggest (December 6, 2006)
NASA released images today that reveal water likely flowed through Martian gullies within the past few years, providing a "squirting gun" of liquid water's presence on the red planet.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Viking Mission May Have Missed Mars Life, Study Finds (October 23, 2006)
The Viking landers may have missed signs of life on Mars in 1976, according to new research, leading scientists to call for amped-up technology on future missions.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Mars's Peroxide Snow Would Kill Any Surface Life (August 7, 2006)
Dust devils on the red planet help spin off poison precipitation that makes life on the surface impossible, scientists say.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Young Mars Was Wet, Mineral Map Shows (April 20, 2006)
Mars was once wet, many scientists say. Now it's dry. For the first time, a geological map of the entire planet is revealing the history of its dessication.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Lunar Photos Cast Doubt on Recent Mars Water, Astronomers Say (March 21, 2006)
Scientists studying Martian formations that suggest water recently flowed on the red planet might have to curb their enthusiasm—reexamination of lunar photos from 1969 shows similar features on the moon.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   THOR Spacecraft to Hammer Out Huge Crater on Mars (January 30, 2006)
NASA's THOR mission may blast an enormous crater on Mars in the hopes of unearthing evidence of water-ice in the red planet's potentially habitable zones.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Does Mars Methane Indicate Life Underground? (October 7, 2004)
New methane readings from a space probe raise the possibility that microbial life could exist on Mars. Some scientists, though, remain skeptical.


Phoenix Mars lander launch gallery picture   Mars Had Ocean, Controversial New Theory Says (September 22, 2004)
A controversial new study suggests Mars had an acidic ocean. The strange brew, spiked with sulfates and iron, could still have harbored life, scientists say.
 

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