NASA officials are set to reveal a major science finding about Mars during a news conference in Washington DC on Monday, September 28, at 11:30 a.m. EDT.
The conference will be streamed live by NASA TV.
NASA described the discovery in a media advisory as a “Mars mystery solved”.
The space agency currently operates five spacecraft around and on Mars – the rovers Opportunity and Curiosity, which landed in 2004 and 2012, respectively, and the orbiters Mars Odyssey, MRO and MAVEN (which stands for Mars Environment and Volatile Evolution).
Mars Odyssey arrived at the Red Planet in 2001, and MRO got there in 2006. MAVEN just celebrated its one-year anniversary in Mars orbit last week.
Europe’s Mars Express spacecraft and India’s Mars Orbiter Mission probe are also still eyeing the Red Planet from above, bringing the number of currently functional Mars orbiters to five.
MRO’s HiRISE camera features a telescopic lens that can pick out features as small as 3.3 feet (1 meter) across on the Martian surface. The camera also collects images in near-infrared wavelengths, allowing researchers to learn about the mineralogy of Mars.