Mars Exploration: It's not rover yet

In this focus:

Current research | Image gallery | Archive

Half the spacecraft sent to Mars have crashed and burned. Not so NASA's twin Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, who have clocked up more than 1000 days of extraordinary geological exploration since their launch in January 2004.

In this web focus, Nature presents the latest peer-reviewed papers to come from analysis of the rovers' data. The science of wayward moons, salty rocks and a curious magnetic dust are revealed by the principal research teams behind the most successful missions ever launched to the red planet. Enjoy a FREE image gallery featuring exclusive new images alongside an archive of news & views, articles and letters.


Current research


Mars: Twin studies on Mars

The twin Mars Exploration Rovers don't themselves range widely, but the observations they make do. Information on partial solar eclipses, salty rocks and magnetic dust are among the latest highlights of the rovers' findings.

David C. Catling

Nature 436, 42-43 (7 July 2005) doi:10.1038/436042a


Assessment of Mars Exploration Rover landing site predictions

M. P. Golombek et al.

Nature 436, 44-48 (7 July 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03600


An integrated view of the chemistry and mineralogy of martian soils

Albert S. Yen et al.

Nature 436, 49-54 (7 July 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03637


Solar eclipses of Phobos and Deimos observed from the surface of Mars

J. F. Bell et al.

Nature 436, 55-57 (7 July 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03437

Aeolian processes at the Mars Exploration Rover Meridiani Planum landing site

R. Sullivan et al.

Nature 436, 58-61 (7 July 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03641

Indication of drier periods on Mars from the chemistry and mineralogy of atmospheric dust

Walter Goetz et al.

Nature 436, 62-65 (7 July 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03807

Water alteration of rocks and soils on Mars at the Spirit rover site in Gusev crater

Larry A. Haskin et al.

Nature 436, 66-69 (7 July 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03640



Web Focus

Missions to Mars


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, 6843 (12 July 2001)

Missions to Mars special

news@nature.com, Jan 2004

In Focus - Mars


Discovery of an aurora on Mars

Jean-Loup Bertaux et al.

Nature 435, 790-794 (09 June 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03603

Albedo of the south pole on Mars determined by topographic forcing of atmosphere dynamics

Anthony Colaprete et al.

Nature 435, 184-188 (12 May 2005) doi:10.1093/nature03561

Palaeomagnetism of the Vredefort meteorite crater and implications for craters on Mars

Laurent Carporzen, Stuart A. Gilder and Rodger J. Hart

Nature 435, 198-210 (12 May 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03560

Evidence from the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera for a frozen sea close to Mars' equator

John B. Murray et al. and The HRSC Co-Investigator Team

Nature 434, 352-356 (17 Mar 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03379

Discovery of a flank caldera and very young glacial activity at Hecates Tholus, Mars .

Strassmann J.E., Zhu Y. & Queller D.C.

Nature 434 356-361 (17 Mar 2005) doi:10.1038/nature03423

Recent ice-rich deposits formed at high latitudes on Mars by sublimation of unstable equatorial ice during low obliquity .

Benjamin Levrard, Fran´┐Żois Forget, Franck Montmessin and Jacques Laskar

Nature 431, 1072-1075 (28 Oct 2004) doi:10.1038/nature03055

Jarosite as an indicator of water-limited chemical weathering on Mars

M. E. Elwood Madden, R. J. Bodnar and J. D. Rimstidt

Nature 431, 821-823 (14 Oct 2005) doi:10.1038/nature02971

Magnesium sulphate salts and the history of water on Mars

David T. Vaniman et al.

Nature 431, 663-665 (07 Oct 2004) doi:10.1038/nature02973

Inhibition of carbonate synthesis in acidic oceans on early Mars

Alberto G. Fairén et al.

Nature 431, 423-426 (23 Sep 2004) doi:10.1038/nature02911

Extraterrestrial meteors: A martian meteor and its parent comet

An image of an extraterrestrial meteor was captured as a strange streak in the sky over Mars last year.

Franck Selsis, Mark T. Lemmon, Jérémie Vaubaillon, James F. Bell

Nature 435, 581-581 (02 Jun 2005) Brief Communications doi:10.1038/435581a

Tropical to mid-latitude snow and ice accumulation, flow and glaciation on Mars

J. W. Head et al. and The HRSC Co-Investigator Team

Nature 434, 346-351 (17 March (2005) doi:10.1038/nature03359

Recent and episodic volcanic and glacial activity on Mars revealed by the High Resolution Stereo Camera

G. Neukum et al. and The HRSC Co-Investigator Team

Nature 431, 971-979 (23 Dec 2004) doi:10.1038/nature03231

Mars: The devil is in the dust

Mars is a highly dynamic planet — at least as far as dust is concerned. A better knowledge of how dust is lofted into the

Conway B. Leovy

Nature 424, 1008-1009 (28 Aug 2003) News and Views doi:10.1038/

Mars: Water, water everywhere

Mars is a very watery planet, but all the water seems to be frozen. Divining the amount and distribution of this water, past and present,

Timothy N. Titus

Nature 428, 610-611 (08 Apr 2004) News and Viewsdoi:10.1038/

Mars: Blueberry fields for ever

The Mars saga continues. The latest finds — wide areas covered in balls of haematite, or 'blueberries', and large sulphate deposits in rocks — enable

Jeffrey M. Moore

Nature 428, 711-712 (15 Apr 2004) doi:10.1038/428711a