What created such enormous craters on the Moon's nearside?

Earth's moon has been blasted by a lot of space rocks in its 4.5-billion-year history. While these impacts have left a near-uniform distribution of craters across our satellite's surface, planetary scientists have shown that one of its sides – the side that faces Earth – bears significantly larger scars than the other. … » 11/07/13 12:58pm 11/07/13 12:58pm

Nobody knows how these mysterious ridges formed on the surface of Mars

Planetary scientists studying photos of Mars's ever-changing landscape have discovered a stunning formation of bedrock ridges near the planet's equator, inside Schiaparelli Crater – but how they formed remains a mystery. » 9/17/13 1:20pm 9/17/13 1:20pm

The most beautiful images of Mars you've ever seen

Using two high-resolution photographs of the same surface, geologists can produce Digital Terrain Models (DTMs). DTMs are hugely useful to researchers looking to measure and model geological processes on other worlds. These DTMs of Mars are also absolutely gorgeous to look at. » 7/02/13 8:00am 7/02/13 8:00am

NASA's Curiosity Rover prepares to drill, baby, drill

Rovers, landers and satellites have been turning up evidence of a wet Martian history for years. Now, NASA's recently landed Curiosity rover has happened upon even more signs of the planet's watery past: veins of hydrated calcium sulfate (visible in the outrcrop pictured above) stretching across the planet's surface —… » 1/16/13 8:20am 1/16/13 8:20am

New Images Show a “Living” Mars

Over the years, scientists have found evidence revealing that an ocean may have covered parts of the Red Planet billions of years ago. Others suggest that a future terraformed Mars could be lush with oceans and vegetation. In either scenario, what would Mars look like as a planet alive with water and life? By combining … » 1/03/13 8:00am 1/03/13 8:00am

NASA’s 2020 Plan for Mars Makes the Old New Again

The Curiosity rover is just four months into its primary two-year mission on Mars, and already NASA is planning sequels. The Agency announced yesterday plans for a series of Martian missions that will culminate in 2020 with the launch of a new robotic science rover based largely on Curiosity's design. » 12/05/12 1:40pm 12/05/12 1:40pm

In (Partial) Defense of Overzealous Scientists: A Reflection on…

Right before Thanksgiving, Curiosity project scientist John Grotzinger told NPR that NASA's rover had discovered something earthshaking on the Red Planet. "This data is going to be one for the history books," he crowed, declining to say more until results from the rover's SAM instrument — an onboard chemistry lab… » 11/29/12 8:45am 11/29/12 8:45am

NASA spots Cookie Monster on Mercury

Clusters of craters can resemble all kinds of everyday objects. On the surface of giant asteroid Vesta, for example, three craters positioned in a line give rise to a terrestrial formation commonly known as "Snowman". In the photo featured up top, three craters in "superposition" bear a striking resemblance to one… » 10/16/12 10:40am 10/16/12 10:40am

Curiosity has acquired its first scientific targets!

It's been just shy of two weeks since Curiosity's wheels touched down on the surface of Mars, and things are looking excellent. Since landing, the rover has been busy stretching out, extending its mast cam to its full height, snapping photos of its surroundings and running its impressive suite of scientific instruments … » 8/17/12 5:00pm 8/17/12 5:00pm

Gorgeous new photos show Curiosity, as viewed from Mars orbit, six…

These are the first color images of NASA's Curiosity rover and its immediate surroundings on the Red Planet, released just hours ago. The photographs were recently acquired by HiRISE, the most powerful camera we've ever sent to another planet, and holy crap are they stunning. » 8/14/12 12:51pm 8/14/12 12:51pm

And now, Curiosity's Myspace-inspired self portrait

If the Curiosity rover had a Myspace page, this would be its main photo. Black and white, taken from a slightly elevated angle... and while I'm not 100% certain on this, it looks as though Curiosity may be flashing the one-ton-rover equivalent of a duck face. » 8/09/12 1:40pm 8/09/12 1:40pm

The biggest avalanches in the solar system happen on Saturn's moon…

Iapetus, already one of the strangest moons in our solar system, just got a little weirder. Images from the Cassini space mission reveal that the mysterious moon is home to massive ice avalanches second in size only to landslides seen on Mars. Studying them, say researchers, could help us better understand geological… » 7/30/12 7:25am 7/30/12 7:25am

This summer, NASA's Curiosity rover will attempt the most ambitious…

NASA has upped the ante on the August landing of Curiosity, the largest, most scientifically capable planetary rover ever built. By shrinking the size of its target landing zone, the Agency hopes to place Curiosity closer to its experimental target, while saving it months of travel time. » 6/12/12 8:25am 6/12/12 8:25am

This gorgeous patch of Mars would be a great place to send future…

One of the best ways to learn about a planet's history is to examine its geology, so one of the things scientists look for when sending rovers to Mars is areas on the planet's surface that allow access to multiple layers of diverse and interesting rock types. » 5/03/12 1:52pm 5/03/12 1:52pm