On Monday, Sept. 17th), Elon Musk revealed new information about the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) and who its first passenger would be when it conducts its first lunar mission (which is planned for 2023). And on Friday, Sept. 21st, Elon Musk tweeted SpaceX could build a base on Mars (Mars Base Alpha) as early as 2028.
A ground-penetrating radar called ScanMars may help find water on Mars.
Italian scientists at the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) Planetologia Spaziali and the University of Perugia are developing the device. In February 2018 they tested ScanMars at the Dhofar region in Oman. The test was part of the AMADEE-18 Mission led by the Austrian Space Forum. Alessandro Frigeri of INAF presented the results of that test at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) in Berlin. The abstract of that presentation is here.
The SpaceIL lunar lander is a go for launch as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 toward the end of the year. If all goes well, the robotic lander, dubbed the Sparrow, will fly to the moon on a slow course that will gradually raise its orbit around the Earth before being captured by the moon’s gravity and hence to a landing on the lunar surface in the middle of February 2019.