Feeds

Mars: a changing, dynamic world

They've got pictures to prove it

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

New features have been spotted on the surface of Mars by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft.

The orbiter has taken periodic photographs of the planet's surface since it began its mission in 1997. Snaps of the same sand dune in 2002 and 2005 clearly show new features have emerged. The gullies in the later photograph are thought to have been caused by boulders tumbling down the slope.

New gullies appear in a Martian dune

The orbiter was designed to carry out observations for one Martian year (nearly two Earth years), but it has lasted much longer than its designers anticipated. Its mission was extended in 2001, and scientists have been able to use it to track seasonal changes on the red planet, as well as to pick up changes like the appearance of new boulder tracks.

The surveyor has also picked up new impact craters formed since the 1970s, which may mean age-estimating models need to be revisited. In addition, scientists have watched carbon dioxide deposits at Mars' south pole shrink for three consecutive Martian summers. They suggest there may be a climate change in progress.

"Our prime mission ended in early 2001, but many of the most important findings have come since then, and even bigger ones might lie ahead," said Tom Thorpe, project manager for Mars Global Surveyor.

NASA scientists say that the discoveries prove Mars is a more active and dynamic planet than was suspected. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.