Science Daily: Mars

Mars volcano, Earth's dinosaurs went extinct about the same time

Arsia Mons produced one new lava flow at its summit every 1 to 3 million years during the final peak of activity, about 50 million years ago. The last volcanic activity there ceased about 50 million years ago -- around the time of Earth's Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction, when large numbers of our planet's plant and animal species (including dinosaurs) went extinct.

Does Mars have rings? Not right now, but maybe one day

Researchers have developed a model that suggests that debris that was pushed into space from an asteroid or other body slamming into Mars around 4.3 billion years ago and alternates between becoming a planetary ring and clumping up to form a moon.

NASA Mars Orbiter tracks back-to-back regional storms

A regional dust storm currently swelling on Mars follows unusually closely on one that blossomed less than two weeks earlier and is now dissipating, as seen in daily global weather monitoring by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Paleolake deposits on Mars might look like sediments in Indonesia

A new article details the clay mineralogy of sediment from Lake Towuti, Indonesia, using a technique called visible to near-infrared (VNIR) spectroscopy. VNIR measures the signature of reflected light from a sample across a larger wavelength range than just visible light. At Lake Towuti, the spectral record shows distinct variations in clay mineralogy over the past 40,000 years.

Mars More Earth-like than moon-like

Mars' mantle may be more complicated than previously thought, report researchers. Their report documents geochemical changes over time in the lava flows of Elysium, a major martian volcanic province.

Evidence of 2 billion years of volcanic activity on Mars

Analysis of a Martian meteorite found in Africa in 2012 has uncovered evidence of at least 2 billion years of volcanic activity on Mars. This confirms that some of the longest-lived volcanoes in the solar system may be found on the Red Planet.

Bursts of methane may have warmed early Mars

The presence of water on ancient Mars is a paradox. There's plenty of geographical evidence that rivers periodically flowed across the planet's surface yet Mars should have been too cold to support liquid water at that time. Now, researchers suggest that early Mars may have been warmed intermittently by a powerful greenhouse effect. They found interactions between methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen in the early Martian atmosphere may have created warm periods when the planet could support liquid water on the surface.

Looking for life in all the right places, with the right tool

Researchers have invented a range of instruments from giant telescopes to rovers to search for life in outer space, but so far, these efforts have yielded no definitive evidence that it exists beyond Earth. Now scientists have developed a new tool that can look for signs of life with 10,000 times more sensitivity than instruments carried on previous spaceflight missions.

Mars rock-ingredient stew seen as plus for habitability

NASA's Curiosity rover is climbing a layered Martian mountain and finding evidence of how ancient lakes and wet underground environments changed, billions of years ago, creating more diverse chemical environments that affected their favorability for microbial life.