If soil from Phobos were analyzed in labs on Earth, it could reveal key information about the evolution of the Martian atmosphere, researchers say. Mars once had an atmosphere thick enough to support liquid water on its surface; today, it's less than 1% as dense as Earth's.
A new study led by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, shows that exhaust from a mid-sized lunar lander can quickly spread around the Moon and potentially contaminate scientifically vital ices at the lunar poles.
Cosmic rays are the bane of astronauts. They come from deep space, energetic particles hurled in all directions by supernova explosions and other violent events. No amount of spacecraft shielding can stop the most energetic cosmic rays, leaving astronauts exposed whenever they leave the Earth-Moon system.