India has successfully launched a controversial space rocket which it hopes to use to reach Mars.
Mars has been identified as the "best bet" for human life when soaring temperatures on Earth make it inhabitable.
The Mars One venture has attracted more than 165,000 people around the world who are interested in going on a one-way trip to to the planet.
Life on Earth may have started on Mars, a major science conference has heard.
An element believed to be crucial to the origin of life would only have been available on the surface of the Red Planet, Geochemist Professor Steven Benner claims.
Professor Benner argues that the "seeds" of life probably arrived on Earth in meteorites blasted off Mars by impacts or volcanic eruptions.
He points to the oxidised mineral form of the element molybdenum, thought to be a catalyst that helped organic molecules develop into the first living structures, as evidence of his theory.
A NASA timelapse video shows its Curiosity rover's first year on Mars compressed into two minutes.
The robotic space vehicle, which began its Martian mission on 6 August 2012, is seen scooping up soil samples and drilling into rock on the Red Planet.
New research from NASA indicates that chunks of dry ice, frozen carbon dioxide, may glide down sand dunes on Mars, plowing furrows in the process. The evidence suggests that the blocks flowed down the Martian surface on cushions of carbon dioxide gas.
The long thin grooves, called gullies, were discovered on images from Nasa's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Some of the gullies were as long as 2.5km, according to researchers.
NASA's Curiosity rover is soon to begin conducting science experiments again after a quiet period known as 'solar conjunction'.
This happens when Mars and Earth are on opposite sides of the sun. To avoid communications between NASA and the rover being interrupted, Curiosity was put into a kind of standby mode.
Just before this happened, around 11 days ago, the rover's Twitter account reported:
@brandonrosum I'm in Gale Crater -- it's pretty big (~96 miles, 154 km). I'm staying put during solar conjunction, then back to science
In the last few minutes, it was reported that the Curiosity rover is now ready for new commands:
I'm healthy & almost ready to resume science ops. With solar conjunction nearly over, my team plans to send new commands May 1
@ii_islander_ii Still clear, cold & dry on the Red Planet. I've continued to take weather readings during solar conjunction
More signs of past water on Mars have been uncovered by NASA's Curiosity rover.
Powder drilled from a Martian rock last week revealed evidence of drinkable water and conditions that would once have been favourable to life on the Red Planet.
Now instruments on the rover have found more water-bearing minerals in the wider area around the rock.
The new discoveries were made using the infrared imaging capability of Curiosity's mast camera, and an instrument that shoots neutron particles into the ground to probe for hydrogen.
It is further evidence that the Yellowknife Bay area of Gale Crater that the rover is now exploring was once a river system or lake that could have supported life.
After seven months of searching, NASA's Mars rover has uncovered what scientists say is clear evidence of an environment that could have supported life.
ITV News Science Editor Lawence McGinty reports:
Scientists working on the Mars rover mission believe they have found evidence of conditions that could have supported life on the Red Planet.
The believe the Yellowknife Bay area, which the rover is currently exploring, was once a river system or lake bed that could have supported living microbes.
Analysis of rock samples indicate that the formerly wet environment was not overly acidic, salty or "oxidising" - conditions necessary for supporting life.
It is backed up by evidence gathered from the rover's first drilling sample which identified sulphur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon - some of the key chemical ingredients for life.
Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program, said: "A fundamental question for this mission is whether Mars could have supported a habitable environment.
"From what we know now, the answer is yes," he added.