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Life on Mars?
In Summer 2003, three probes headed off to look for signs of life on Mars. NASA's Spirit rover touched-down on 4 January, but is behaving badly. Its sister rover Opportunity touched down 24 January, and the high-profile British lander Beagle 2 is still missing in action. Here, Nature continues its ongoing reporting of stories from the red planet.
Updated 28 January.


NEWS
Prospects brighten for the red planet
Nature 427, 382 (29 Jan 2004)

Opportunity lands on Mars
A quick guide to the Mars missions.
Nature Science Update (26 Jan 2004)

Mars rover rolls out
NASA�s craft Spirit has hit the dirt and is set to go
Nature Science Update (15 Jan 2004)

Rover barks before Beagle as Mars success lifts NASA's spirits
Nature 427, 89 (8 Jan 2004)

Mars satellite flies into hunt for Beagle 2
Nature 427, 5 (1 Jan 2004)

EDITORIAL
The red planet's big picture
Let's not get carried away with the images from NASA's Spirit rover, nor despair of Britain's silent Beagle 2. The best way to explore Mars is through a programme that builds patiently on each mission's successes and failures.
Nature 427, 87 (8 Jan 2004)





INTERACTIVE GRAPHICS
Fantastic journeys
Interactive graphic explaining the process of touchdown onto the Mars surface, as well as art and music from the red planet's surface.

Exploration areas
Sites of specific scientific interest on the fourth rock from the sun, from landing zones to crash sites.

NEWS FEATURES
Mars attracts!
Interest in the red planet is about to peak, as three missions prepare to join the hunt for water and life on one of our closest neighbours.

Are you on board?
The Beagle 2 Mars lander has had some unusual backers – including British pop stars and artists. Declan Butler finds out how one researcher's drive, and his flair for publicity, got the project off the ground.

The Comeback Kids
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory practically invented planetary exploration. Then in 1999, it lost two craft in quick succession. Tony Reichhardt talks to the staff behind two new Mars rovers, which could restore the lab's reputation.


NATURE SCIENCE UPDATE
Beckham in for a surprise on Mars

Mars gets new icing

Odyssey finds widespread water

Height ices Mars on top

Robots to scrutinize Mars' rocks


NEWS & FEATURES
The outrageous hypothesis

For over a quarter of a century, planetary scientists have believed that water helped to shape the surface of Mars. Now one geophysicist is trying to prove them wrong. Larry O'Hanlon reports.
Nature 413, 664 - 666 (18 Oct 2001)

The stowaways
Over the coming decade, exploration of Mars may reveal whether or not life ever existed on the red planet - but only if the missions can avoid detecting any microbes they bring with them, says Tom Clarke.
Nature 413, 247 - 248 (20 Sep 2001)

France purges space programme in bid to survive budget crisis
Nature 423, 103 (08 May 2003)

NASA homes in on sites for Mars exploration
Nature 422, 653 (17 Apr 2003)

Mars rock samples condemned to quarantine
Nature 411, 625 (07 Jun 2001)



Mars: a series of specially commissioned review articles on the evolution of the red planet over geological timescales, from the differentiation and solidification of the martian core to the dynamics of its atmosphere.
Nature 412, No. 6843 (12 July 2001)


RESEARCH
Formation of recent martian gullies through melting of extensive water-rich snow deposits
Philip R. Christensen
Nature 422, 45-48 (06 Mar 2003)

Spectral evidence for weathered basalt as an alternative to andesite in the northern lowlands of Mars
Michael B. Wyatt & Harry Y. McSween
Nature 417, 263-266 (16 May 2002)

Evidence for recent climate change on Mars from the identification of youthful near-surface ground ice
John F. Mustard, Christopher D. Cooper & Moses K. Rifkin
Nature 412, 411-414 (26 Jul 2001)

Orbital forcing of the martian polar layered deposits
Jacques Laskar, Benjamin Levrard & John F. Mustard
Nature 419, 375-377 (26 Sep 2002)

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