Observing

Planets Mars and Uranus meet in the evening sky

11 March 2015 Ade Ashford

Exactly a week after its close encounter with dazzling Venus, outer planet Uranus lies close to Mars on the evening of Wednesday, March 11th — but you’ll need to time your observation carefully in the dusk twilight twilight to ensure success.

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Mars lost an ocean’s worth of water

6 March 2015 Astronomy Now

NASA scientists have determined that a primitive ocean occupying almost half of Mars’ northern hemisphere once held more water than Earth’s Arctic Ocean and that the Red Planet has lost 87% of that water to space.

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Engineers assess short circuit on Mars rover

5 March 2015 Stephen Clark

A short circuit that halted movement of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is not expected to keep the mobile robot stationary for long, but engineers want to know whether the problem will restrict some future science operations.

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Curiosity rover drills rock sample at Mount Sharp

28 February 2015 Astronomy Now

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has used its drill to collect sample powder from inside a rock target called “Telegraph Peak.” Examining rock samples like these will help scientists understand how the ancient wet environment of Mars dried up.

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Ageing Mars rover could be shut down

4 February 2015 Stephen Clark

NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, working well past their expected lifetimes, could be shut down in fiscal year 2016 as the agency tries to balance funding for older missions and development of modernised new space probes, officials said Monday.