New data collected by the Curiosity rover shows that Mars was once quite Earth-like, featuring river deltas, lakes, and a warm climate. What’s more, the Red Planet may have been able to sustain liquid water at the surface long enough for life to emerge and evolve. »
NASA’s Curiosity Rover is currently drilling holes on the lower slopes of Mount Sharp in a region called the Stimson Unit. It recently took a break from its duties to take some long-range photos of a hilly region that the rover will explore in the coming months and years. »
The Rosetta spacecraft has taken hundreds of stunning photographs of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko over the past year, but a portion of the comet was obscured due to its odd seasonal shifts. Now, thanks to a special camera aboard Rosetta, scientists have created a sketch of its elusive dark side. »
In another reminder that the Red Planet features a complex and active surface, the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured an image of a “dry ice avalanche” streaming down a cliff.
Thirty-six years ago this week, an American Vela Hotel satellite detected an atmospheric explosion over the southern Indian Ocean near the Prince Edward Islands. It was a strange event that remains controversial to this very day.
NASA’s next-gen spacecraft, Orion, was originally scheduled to launch with astronauts aboard in 2021, but owing to the space agency’s history of running into unexpected problems, it has decided to delay this important test flight by two years. »
BBC Future has an interesting overview on the efforts to get to space and how we might be on the verge of a sort of gold rush beyond Earth’s boundaries. »
India’s Mars Orbiter Mission has sent back a dramatic image of the Ophir Chasma terrain on Mars, giving us an unprecedented 3D look at one the Solar System’s largest canyons.
The Philae lander, the first probe to ever touch down on a comet, hasn’t made a peep in 11 days, prompting fears that it has shifted its position, and not for the better. »
Data is streaming in from New Horizons after yesterday’s historic flyby of Pluto — and it’s painting a picture of the dwarf planet that we could have scarcely imagined.
After nine years and over 3.26 billion miles, the New Horizons spacecraft made its closest approach to Pluto earlier today. Assuming it survived the encounter, the probe is now drifting away from the dwarf planet as it heads deeper into the Kuiper Belt. »
We all dream of journeying (or living) among the stars. But space is a spectacularly awful place for humans, and we’re not suited for life there at all. And yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are all the ways we’ll need to re-engineer the human body, in order to make space our home. »
This past weekend, the Philae Lander awoke from its 211-day hibernation on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The dramatic receipt of signals from the probe triggered renewed activity among mission planners who are now trying to figure out what to do next. Here’s how things could unfold.
While I talked with the legendary roboticist Red Whittaker in his lab at Carnegie Mellon, a half-moon shaped remnant of a Lifesaver was resting on his knee. He nibbled on it as we talked about sending autonomous robots to explore the Moon. That’s when he told me about the Moon caves that could be humanity’s future… »
After months of searching, the European Space Agency says it may have finally caught a glimpse of the missing Philae Lander on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. »
In less than five weeks, New Horizons will zip past the Pluto-Charon system in a brief but historic encounter. Given the huge interest in Pluto, it’s fair to ask: Why won’t mission planners let the probe hang out a while? »
Cornell University’s Institute for Pale Blue Dots has a new name. Now called the Carl Sagan Institute: Pale Blue Dot and Beyond, the multidisciplinary research institute is dedicated to investigating the life-harboring potential of other planets, and to acquiring a richer understanding of our own. »
NASA has chosen its next batch of proposals under its advanced concepts program, including the use of soft-robotic rovers for exploring gas-giant moons, and autonomous robots capable of crawling, hopping, and rolling around the surface of the Moon. »
If we’re going to venture out into the Solar System and beyond, we’re going to need versatile and reliable spaceships. One possible solution comes in the form of “spacecoaches” — reusable vessels that are self-sufficient and capable of carrying explorers to virtually any destination. Here’s how they’ll work. »