All Hail Opportunity Rover, Future Martian Terror

Back in 2010, XKCD's Randall Munroe devoted a surprisingly moving webcomic to Spirit, NASA's ill-fated and ultimately abandoned Mars rover. Today's comic is about Spirit's twin, the apparently indomitable Opportunity, and its tone is markedly less sentimental. » 3/27/15 4:40pm Friday 4:40pm

A Look at How Mini Helicopters Could Help NASA's Future Rovers

Making A Trip To Mars Cheaper & Easier: The Case For Ballistic Capture

When sending spacecraft to Mars, the current, preferred method involves shooting spacecraft towards Mars at full-speed, then performing a braking maneuver once the ship is close enough to slow it down and bring it into orbit. » 12/28/14 11:00am 12/28/14 11:00am

The Curiosity Rover Has Arrived At Its Primary Scientific Target!

It took a little more than 2 years and nearly 9 kilometers of driving, but NASA's Curiosity Rover has finally reached the base of Mount Sharp. » 9/11/14 7:00pm 9/11/14 7:00pm

NASA Wants Mars Curiosity Rover to "Drive Less And Do More Science"

NASA plans to extend seven of its ongoing planetary missions, a review panel announced yesterday. Two of the missions, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Mars rover Opportunity, were at risk of being shut down, but it was Mars rover Curiosity that drew the least-favorable reviews, and the harshest criticisms. » 9/04/14 9:20am 9/04/14 9:20am

Behold, "The Space Robot Equivalent Of An Owl Pellet"

NASA's Curiosity rover recently... erm... "unburdened" itself of a rock sample, then took a photo to mark the occasion. The small pile of Martian material was collected back in May at the Windjana drill site, the fourth location from which Curiosity has probed the planet's terrain. » 7/30/14 12:30pm 7/30/14 12:30pm

Humans Have Been Going to the Moon for Almost Half a Century

Forty-five years ago today, Apollo 11 launched from Kennedy Space Center on humanity's first crewed mission to the surface of the moon. This view of Earth was captured from Apollo soon after translunar injection, just as the spacecraft was breaking away from our planet's orbit. » 7/16/14 10:20am 7/16/14 10:20am

Curiosity Rover Finds A Huge Metal Meteorite

Talk about heavy metal! This shiny, lumpy rock spotted by NASA's Curiosity rover is likely made mostly of iron —andcame from outer space! It's an iron meteorite, similar to ones found in years past by Curiosity's forerunners Spirit and Opportunity, but is considerably larger than any of the ones the MER rovers came… » 7/15/14 7:00pm 7/15/14 7:00pm

Curiosity's Next Mission Looms Large in New Mars Panorama

NASA's Curiosity Rover spent 8 months traveling over 300-million miles to get to Mars. It spent another year getting its bearings, making several major discoveries along the way. Now it has its sights set on 18,000-foot Mount Sharp, its primary scientific target, which features prominently in this recently released… » 2/28/14 1:20pm 2/28/14 1:20pm

Curiosity Gives us a Rearward View of Its Dingo Gap Crossing

When NASA's Curiosity rover successfully navigated Dingo Gap, its cameras were rolling. These images show what the rover saw from its rear Hazard-Avoidance Camera as it spanned the treacherous sand dune. » 2/12/14 8:20am 2/12/14 8:20am

NASA Sued for Failing to Analyze 'Alien Life'

When NASA concluded that a "doughnut-sized" object that appeared mysteriously before its Opportunity rover on Mars was actually an errant rock, it left some people dissatisfied: A lawsuit brought against the Agency alleges NASA not only failed to adequately investigate the object, but that it is biological in nature. » 1/29/14 6:20am 1/29/14 6:20am

NASA's Opportunity Rover Celebrates a Decade on Mars

Ten years ago today, the Opportunity rover landed on Mars. In this newly released retrospective, NASA engineers reflect on the challenges they've faced keeping this intrepid little rover roving well beyond its original 90-day mission. » 1/25/14 8:40am 1/25/14 8:40am

Celebrating Ten Years on Mars with NASA's Spirit Rover

Friday, Jan. 3, marked the 10th anniversary since the safe landing of NASA's renowned Spirit rover on the plains of Mars on Jan. 3, 2004. » 1/04/14 12:00pm 1/04/14 12:00pm

See Mars through a rover's eyes with this interactive panorama

This newly released Mars panorama gives armchair explorers a 360°, rover's-eye view of the Red Planet, from a vantage point near the base of Aeolis Mons. Also known as Mount Sharp, the 18,000-foot mound of sedimentary layers forms the central peak of Gale crater, and is the Curiosity Rover's primary scientific target.… » 11/12/13 1:48pm 11/12/13 1:48pm

Ancient "supervolcanoes" lurk on Mars

Once-active “supervolcanoes” in northern Mars likely spewed ash and dust thousands of miles away, producing powdery deposits noticed by the NASA’s Curiosity and Opportunity rovers closer to the equator, a new study suggests. » 10/03/13 8:40am 10/03/13 8:40am

Here's why everybody is freaking out about methane on Mars

After almost a year of searching, NASA's Curiosity rover has turned up no traces of the four-pronged hydrocarbon known as methane. This special molecule is regarded by many as a chemical signature of past or present life on the red planet. That means there's no life on Mars, right? Wrong. » 9/20/13 10:04am 9/20/13 10:04am

Curiosity Rover's first year on Mars, distilled down to two minutes

Tuesday, August 6th will mark the one-year anniversary of Curiosity's epic arrival on the surface of Mars. To celebrate, here now is a rover's-eye-view of the Mars Science Laboratory's first twelve months on the Red Planet – full of scooping, drilling, laser-ing and plenty of driving. » 8/01/13 1:32pm 8/01/13 1:32pm

Go check out this Q&A session on the Mars Curiosity Rover right now!

Next Tuesday, NASA's Mars Curiosity rover will have been on the surface of Mars for one year. To celebrate, a team of scientists and engineers from the Mission just hosted an epic AMA over on Reddit. Go check it out. » 7/30/13 2:04pm 7/30/13 2:04pm

Mars’ Once Thick Atmosphere Now Kaput

At one time, Mars had a thick, protective atmosphere — possibly even cushier than Earth’s — but the bubble of gases mostly dissipated about 4 billion years ago and has never been replenished, new research shows. » 7/19/13 9:40am 7/19/13 9:40am

NASA is getting ready to search for signs of life on Mars

The goal of NASA's Curiosity rover is to determine if Mars was ever capable of supporting life. But the Agency's next rover, set to launch in 2020, could take things one giant step further. Given recent findings, says Jack Mustard, chairman of the Agency's Science Definition Team, "past Martian life seems possible,… » 7/10/13 12:17pm 7/10/13 12:17pm