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Mars Draws More UFO Claims With New Curiosity Photos

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Just after it landed on Mars, photos taken by Curiosity of a mysterious puff of smoke that appeared and then disappeared from the horizon caused a stir among the UFO community. NASA came out quickly enough and said that while it was a phenomenal grab by their cameras, the cloud was in all likelihood just the impact of the jettisoned sky crane system that delivered the rover to the surface of Mars. While an impacting sky crane was readily accepted as the obvious answer by just about everyone, that did not stop the efforts of some to scrutinize every photo coming back for signs of E.T. Now a video and a single frame of footage show what some claim to be Martian UFOs in action.

YouTube user StephenHannardADGUK recently posted this video of an image that he had to actively work with to bring out what looks like four strange floating objects above the surface of Mars…

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NASA Announces Its Next Mars Probe

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The Mars Science Laboratory has only been on Mars now for two weeks, but even as it tested out its robotic arm for the first time and zapped its first Martian rock, NASA has decided to announce its next big mission to the surface of Mars. Just don’t expect sky cranes or high quality promotion videos for this one. The NASA InSight mission won’t be a rover, it’ll be a stationary robotic probe that will be tasked with telling us more about the red planet’s interior.

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Read Carl Sagan’s Inspiring Message To Future Explorers Of Mars

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Mars. The Red Planet has inspired dreams of exploration for a hundred years, from the warrior kings of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter books, to Kim Stanley Robinson’s sprawling tales of colonization. The late Carl Sagan, aside from being a passionate proponent of space exploration in general, was one of those dreamers enamored with our crimson-hued neighbor. A few months before his death in 1996, Sagan recorded a message addressed to whichever humans finally crossed the void and left their footprints in Martian soil. As with all of Sagan’s writings, it is moving, it is passionate, it is inspiring, and it is grounded in a deep belief that we, as a species, have the capacity for greatness within us, if only we work to embrace it.

With Mars back in the news, the folks over at io9 have transcribed Sagan’s message. You can read the entire text below. Mr. Sagan…you are missed. I hope that one day we will become the people you dreamed we could.

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Curiosity Sends Back First Full-Color Panoramic Shot From Gale Crater

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In the few days since NASA’s Curiosity rover touched down in Gale Crater on Mars, we’ve already seen some truly amazing shots from the surface of our ruddy celestial neighbor. Now NASA has upped the bar yet again by releasing the first full-color panorama taken of Curiosity’s landing site.

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India Planning Unmanned Mars Mission Next Year

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NASA’s Curiosity rover has managed to briefly drag the 24-hour news cycle away from the sex lives of people who are famous for no good reason, and even if it accomplishes nothing else we can be thankful for that small miracle. But while the NASA folks are deserving of every high five thrown their way, we aren’t the only players in the space race these days. India has announced that it plans to launch an unmanned mission to Mars next year, hoping to drop a probe into orbit to study the Red Planet’s climate and geology.

Indian Space Research Organization director Deviprasad Karnik told AFP that they “will embark on the Mars mission after the Department of Science gives the green signal and decides the schedule early next year.” The mission will utilize India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, lifting off from the ISRO’s launch facility in Andhra Pradesh.

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Gorgeous Interactive Panorama Of The Martian Surface

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Mars is on everybody’s minds these days, and rightly so what with the frankly thrilling touchdown of the Curiosity rover only a few days ago. Curiosity has already been sending back images of its Martian surroundings, but of course this latest rover isn’t the first Earth native to trek across the red planet on our behalf. Back in 2004, we dropped twin rovers called Spirit and Opportunity onto Mars, and Opportunity is still trucking along to this day, gathering data and sending back footage. Around a month ago, on July 5th, NASA released a new panoramic shot of the rover’s surroundings at Greeley Haven. You can see part of the panorama below.