The Martian Chronicles

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The Martian Chronicles is written by three graduate students at Cornell University who are actively involved in exploring Mars. Like its namesake book by Ray Bradbury, the Martian Chronicles offers a glimpse into the exploration of the Red Planet and what it is like to be a “Martian”. Our posts focus on Mars, but also stray into other science and space news, reflections on graduate school and academia, and anything else that catches our interest. We hope that they will catch yours too.

Ryan
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  • January 24, 2011
  • 08:32 AM
  • 1,493 views

Rhea’s “Breathable” Atmosphere

by Ryan in The Martian Chronicles

Yesterday I came across this article, proclaiming to the world that "Saturn’s icy moon Rhea has an oxygen and carbon dioxide atmosphere that is very similar to Earth’s. Even better, the carbon dioxide suggests there’s life – and that possibly humans could breathe the air."

Say what? Ok. There's so much badness packed into those two lede sentences that I feel dirty just reprinting them here.... Read more »

Teolis BD, Jones GH, Miles PF, Tokar RL, Magee BA, Waite JH, Roussos E, Young DT, Crary FJ, Coates AJ.... (2010) Cassini finds an oxygen-carbon dioxide atmosphere at Saturn's icy moon Rhea. Science (New York, N.Y.), 330(6012), 1813-5. PMID: 21109635  

  • August 3, 2010
  • 12:18 AM
  • 639 views

by Ryan in The Martian Chronicles

The other day in Mars journal club, we took a look at a paper about the “fan” in Eberswalde crater. You may recognize this name: it is one of the four finalist landing sites for MSL. The site was chosen because at the western end of the crater, there is a feature that most Mars [...]... Read more »

  • July 19, 2010
  • 09:53 PM
  • 760 views

New Evidence for an Ocean on Mars?

by Ryan in The Martian Chronicles

There’s a new Nature Geoscience paper that has made a big splash in the Mars community, reviving interest in the possibility of a northern ocean. This news was making the rounds a couple weeks ago, but I decided to hold off because at last week’s Mars Journal Club we discussed the paper. The idea behind [...]... Read more »

  • December 1, 2009
  • 08:55 AM
  • 719 views

Life on Mars?!

by Ryan in The Martian Chronicles

On August 6, 1996 NASA announced that scientists at the Johnson Space Center had found evidence for life on Mars, and everybody went crazy.
Yesterday, NASA announced two new papers by the same scientists at the Johnson Space Center claiming that they have found strong evidence of life on Mars. For the most part, there hasn’t [...]... Read more »

Thomas-Keprta, K., Clemett, S., McKay, D., Gibson, E., & Wentworth, S. (2009) Origins of magnetite nanocrystals in Martian meteorite ALH84001. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 73(21), 6631-6677. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2009.05.064  

David S. McKay, Kathie L. Thomas-Keprta, Simon J. Clemett, Everett K. Gibson, Jr., Lauren Spencer, & Susan J. Wentworth. (2009) Life on Mars: New Evidence from Martian Meteorites. Instruments and Methods for Astrobiology and Planetary Missions XII. info:other/10.1016/j.gca.2009.05.064

  • February 16, 2009
  • 09:40 PM
  • 1,116 views

The MOC “book”: Dunes, Ripples and Streaks

by Ryan in The Martian Chronicles

This is the fourth in a series of posts about the huge paper by Malin and Edgett summarizing the results from the Mars Orbital Camera’s (MOC’s) primary mission. If you’re just tuning in, get caught up by reading the first three posts, and if you want to read along, download a pdf of the paper [...]... Read more »

  • February 15, 2009
  • 09:03 PM
  • 1,110 views

The MOC “Book”: Subsurface Patterns and Properties

by Ryan in The Martian Chronicles

The MOC paper saga continues. If you’re just tuning in, I’ve been writing a series of posts detailing a slow and detailed reading of the classic 2001 paper summarizing the results from the Mars Orbital Camera (MOC), the first high-resolution camera in orbit around Mars. Check out the previous posts here and here. Also, a [...]... Read more »

  • February 5, 2009
  • 05:22 PM
  • 1,232 views

The MOC “book”: Surface Patterns and Properties

by Ryan in The Martian Chronicles

Welcome to part 2 of our attempt at tackling The Beast. If you missed Part 1, check it out here. We are working our way, slowly but surely, through the monstrous 2001 Mars Orbital Camera paper by Malin and Edgett. This paper summarizes the results from MOC, which revolutionized the scientific community’s view of Mars. [...]... Read more »

M.C. Malin, & K.S. Edgett. (2001) Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera: Interplanetary cruise through primary mission. Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets, 106(10), 23429-23570.

  • January 29, 2009
  • 08:44 PM
  • 1,143 views

The MOC “Book”: Introduction

by Ryan in The Martian Chronicles

When the Mars Global Surveyor arrived at Mars in 1997, it brought with it the most powerful camera ever placed in orbit around another planet, the Mars Orbital Camera (MOC). In 2001, the principal investigators of MOC, Mike Malin and Ken Edgett, published a massive 134 page paper, summarizing the results of the mission and [...]... Read more »

M.C. Malin, & K.S. Edgett. (2001) Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera: Interplanetary cruise through primary mission. Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets, 23-23.

  • January 21, 2009
  • 09:45 PM
  • 1,367 views

Mars Methane: the Paper

by Ryan in The Martian Chronicles

After all the to-do about the confirmation of methane on Mars and its possible implications, I decided that I should take a look at the actual Science article and post a distillation of it here.

The paper that caused this uproar is called “Strong Release of Methane on Mars in Northern

Summer 2003″, by Mumma et al. [...]... Read more »

Michael J. Mumma, Geronimo L. Villanueva, Robert E. Novak, Tilak Hewagama, Boncho P. Bonev, Michael A. DiSanti, Avi M. Mandell, & Michael D. Smith. (2009) Strong Release of Methane on Mars in Northern Summer 2003. Science.

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