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Our Favorite Martian Mysteries & Discoveries of 2015

posted: 09/25/15
by: Discovery.com Staff

Mars is the gift that keeps on giving, and the past year has been rife with Maritan mysteries and revelations. From mysterious Buddha statues and inexplicable floating spoons to flowing water, Mars took us on quite a journey this year.

As 2015 draws to a close, look back on some of our favorite Red Planet stories:

Mystery Solved: Water DOES Flow on Mars

Scientists have their first evidence that trickles of liquid water play a role in sculpting mysterious dark streaks that appear during summertime months on Mars, a finding that has implications for potential life on Mars, as well as planning for future human expeditions. CONTINUE READING

Curiosity Finds a 'Floating Spoon' on Mars

This latest Mars oddity was spotted by members of the UnmannedSpaceflight.com forum in an image captured by Curiosity's Mastcam on sol 1089 of the mission (Aug. 30). Once you spot it, it becomes obvious; it really does look like a spoon hanging in the air, just above the surface of some layered rock. CONTINUE READING

The effect of the winds of Mars
ESA/DLR/FU Berlin

What Are These Blue Splotches on Mars?

Satellite imagery from the Red Planet reveals an unexpected topographical feature: seemingly blue pools of blue liquid, situated defiantly in stark contrast to the dusty red surface of Mars. CONTINUE READING

There's Glass on Mars -- Here's Why It's Important

An impact crater containing deposits of glass could hold clues for understanding life on Mars. Discovered by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the glass is believed to be the byproduct of the intense heat from a violent impact. CONTINUE READING

Taking advantage of Mars's closest approach to Earth in eight years, astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have taken the space- based observatory's sharpest views yet of the Red Planet. The telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 snapped these images between April 27 and May 6, when Mars was 54 million miles (87 million kilometers) from Earth.
NASA

Mars' Glaciers Could Cover the Red Planet with Three Feet of Ice

Glaciers beneath the dusty sands of Mars contain enough water to coat the planet with more than three feet of ice, a new study shows.

"We have calculated that the ice in the glaciers is equivalent to over 150 billion cubic meters of ice -- that much ice could cover the entire surface of Mars with 1.1 meters (3.6 feet) of ice," Nanna Bjornholt Karlsson, a post-doctoral researcher the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, said in a statement. CONTINUE READING

Prominent Veins at 'Garden City' on Mount Sharp, Mars
NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Encounters Curious Mineral Veins on Mars

Mineral veins on Mars are helping explain the mystery behind fluid movement on the Martian surface. The multicolored veins are located in an area of Mars known as "Garden City", and they have remained standing throughout the erosion of the bedrock in which they formed. CONTINUE READING

Mars Phoenix spacecraft digging
NASA

Briny Water May Pool in Mars' Equatorial Soil

Mars may be a frigid desert, but perchlorate salts in the planet's soil are lowering the freezing temperature of water, setting up conditions for liquid brines to form at equatorial regions, new research from NASA's Curiosity rover shows. CONTINUE READING

NASA Rover
NASA

Mars Rover Opportunity is Officially a Marathoner

Mars Rover Opportunity is officially the first entity, man or machine, to travel a marathon-length distance on another planet. After 11 years and two months of exploration, Opportunity logged 26.219 miles of travel across the Martian surface. CONTINUE READING

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