Mars

  • NASA’s Opportunity Rover Completes a Martian Marathon
    NASA’s Opportunity Rover Completes a Martian Marathon Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    Only 11 years and two months after it began, NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover has completed a marathon across the planet’s barren red desert. “It’s historic,” said John Callas, a NASA astronomer who manages the Mars Exploration Rover project, in an interview. “This is the first time any human enterprise has exceeded a marathon somewhere other than Earth.” Opportunity was designed to drive a distance of only one kilometer. More »

  • Mars has nitrogen, key to life: NASA
    Mars has nitrogen, key to life: NASA Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    NASA's Curiosity rover has found nitrogen on the surface of Mars, a significant discovery that adds to evidence the Red Planet could once have sustained life, the space agency said. More »

  • More Ingredients for Life Identified on Mars
    More Ingredients for Life Identified on Mars Mon, Mar 23, 2015

    The more scientists learn about Mars, the more intriguing the Red Planet becomes as a potential haven for primitive life in the ancient past ... and perhaps even the present. An unrelated study suggests that atmospheric carbon monoxide has been a feasible energy source for microbes throughout the Red Planet's history. Both papers were published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). "It's more support for this environment that would have had the ingredients that life would have needed," said Jennifer Stern of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, lead author of the nitrogen study. More »

  • The Mission to Mars is a complete sham…
    The Mission to Mars is a complete sham… Tue, Mar 17, 2015

    … according to the Irish physicist who was selected to take part. More »

  • Fan's LEGO International Space Station on Mission for 10,000 Votes
    Fan's LEGO International Space Station on Mission for 10,000 Votes Sat, Mar 14, 2015

    It took 200 astronauts and cosmonauts some 13 years to create the International Space Station. "This space station is out of this world!" LEGO told the model's creator, Christoph Ruge, in a comment posted to the LEGO Ideas website on Thursday (March 12). Ruge, who goes by the username XCLD on LEGO Ideas, first submitted his toy brick-version of the orbital complex in March 2014. As LEGO noted, "in last few months, there has been a huge upswing in support," in part due to social media mentions by both NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). More »

  • Mars Rover Curiosity Hits the Road Again After Short Circuit
    Mars Rover Curiosity Hits the Road Again After Short Circuit Fri, Mar 13, 2015

    NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is back in action for the first time after suffering a glitch late last month. The 1-ton Curiosity rover transferred powdered rock sample from its robotic arm to an analytical instrument on its body on Wednesday (March 11), and then drove about 33 feet (10 meters) toward the southwest on Thursday (March 12), NASA officials said. Curiosity had been stationary since Feb. 27, when it experienced a short circuit while attempting to transfer the sample, which the rover had collected from a rock dubbed Telegraph Peak. "That precious Telegraph Peak sample had been sitting in the arm, so tantalizingly close, for two weeks. More »

  • Blast Off! Apollo-Inspired Art Takes Over Times Square Screens
    Blast Off! Apollo-Inspired Art Takes Over Times Square Screens Fri, Mar 13, 2015

    The last Apollo mission launched by NASA was Apollo 17, in 1972 — but an art exhibit called "Apollo XVIII" is launching from Times Square all this month. For three minutes, dozens of the screens collectively display an art piece called "Apollo XVIII" created by Marco Brambilla that was inspired by space exploration and the work of NASA. "The space age represented a landscape of optimism, capturing the imagination of the public," Brambilla said in a statement from Times Square Arts, which coordinated the work's display. "Apollo XVIII" is a nonlinear video piece, composed of archival footage from NASA mission launches mixed with new, digital images by the artist. More »

  • Mars rover moving robotic arm again after electrical short Thu, Mar 12, 2015

    PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — NASA says the robotic arm on the Curiosity rover is moving again after a short circuit temporarily halted its work on Mars. More »

  • How Smart Can Robotic Space Explorers Get?
    How Smart Can Robotic Space Explorers Get? Tue, Mar 10, 2015

    These were problems puzzling Yogesh Girdhar who, as a part of his doctorate dissertation at McGill University in Montreal, redid the "brains" of an undersea robot called Aqua. An underwater robot is somewhat analogous to a space-bound robot, as both face the difficulties of communication. "Mars is [situated] at the limit of where humans can directly control a robot to do these kinds of research," said Girdhar, who is now a postdoctoral scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. More »

  • NASA Finds Likely Source of Mars Rover Curiosity's Short Circuit
    NASA Finds Likely Source of Mars Rover Curiosity's Short Circuit Mon, Mar 9, 2015

    The short circuit that has stalled some of the science work by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity apparently originated in the robot's rock-boring drill, mission team members say. Those diagnostic tests have been productive, Curiosity Project Manager Jim Erickson, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said Friday (March 6). A brief short occurred during a test on Thursday (March 5) that used the drill's percussive action, NASA officials explained. Curiosity may start moving its arm again as early as next week, NASA officials said. More »

  • Med on Mars: Ocean covered 20% of Red Planet surface long enough for life to …
    Med on Mars: Ocean covered 20% of Red Planet surface long enough for life to … Thu, Mar 5, 2015

    Mars once had an ocean covering 20% of the planet's surface which was a similar depth to the Mediterranean, scientists have discovered. Using data gathered with powerful ground-based telescopes, researchers from Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centre were able to create maps of the atmospheric water across the Red Planet. They discovered this by measuring maps of atmospheric water and its deuterated form (where the hydrogen atom is replaced with heavy hydrogen atom). "The researchers found that the ratio of deuterated water to regular water in some regions is higher - perhaps sevenfold higher than in the Earth's oceans, for instance - than previously thought," a statement said. More »

  • Mediterranean on Mars: Ocean covered 20% of Red Planet surface long enough for …
    Mediterranean on Mars: Ocean covered 20% of Red Planet surface long enough for … Thu, Mar 5, 2015

    Mars once had an ocean covering 20% of the planet's surface which was a similar depth to the Mediterranean, scientists have discovered. Using data gathered with powerful ground-based telescopes, researchers from Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Centre were able to create maps of the atmospheric water across the Red Planet. They discovered this by measuring maps of atmospheric water and its deuterated form (where the hydrogen atom is replaced with heavy hydrogen atom). "The researchers found that the ratio of deuterated water to regular water in some regions is higher - perhaps sevenfold higher than in the Earth's oceans, for instance - than previously thought," a statement said. More »

  • NASA to produce breathable air on Mars in 2020
    NASA to produce breathable air on Mars in 2020 Thu, Mar 5, 2015

    Machine will produce air for astronauts - and rocket fuel for a return trip to Earth More »

  • NASA's Curiosity Rover on Mars Sidelined By 'Short Circuit' Gli …
    NASA's Curiosity Rover on Mars Sidelined By 'Short Circuit' Gli … Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    NASA's Mars rover Curiosity experienced an electrical problem last week, and the robot will stay put for a few days while mission engineers try to figure out exactly what happened. The car-size Curiosity rover suffered a "transient short circuit" on Feb. 27 while it was transferring sample powder from its robotic arm to instruments on its body, NASA officials said. Curiosity halted the activity in response, as it was programmed to do in such situations. "We are running tests on the vehicle in its present configuration before we move the arm or drive," Curiosity Project Manager Jim Erickson, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement Tuesday (March 3). More »

  • Mars Curiosity Rover Has A Broken Arm
    Mars Curiosity Rover Has A Broken Arm Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    The Mars Curiosity Rover has lost the use of one of its arms after a short circuit. The electrical problem was discovered at the weekend when Curiosity tried to transfer powder from a drilled rock to its on-board analysis tools. "A transient short in some systems on the rover would have little effect on rover operations. Curiosity landed on Mars in 2012 and since then it has uncovered evidence of an environment that could have supported life early in the planet's history. More »

  • NASA investigating short circuit on Mars rover Curiosity Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — The Curiosity rover has temporarily stopped work on Mars while NASA engineers investigate a short circuit. More »

  • What Would It Be Like to Live on Mars?
    What Would It Be Like to Live on Mars? Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    The idea of living on Mars has been a staple of science fiction since the 19th century, when American astronomer Percival Lowell speculated that the channels on the Red Planet were really ancient canals built by intelligent extraterrestrials. In 1965, NASA's Mariner 4 spacecraft completed the first Martian flyby, and six years later, the Soviet Union's Mars 3 lander became the first spacecraft to land softly on Mars. Since then, there have been numerous successful missions to the Red Planet, including the deployment of four Mars rovers — the now-defunct Sojourner and Spirit, and the still-active Opportunity and Curiosity — and NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft, which produced a map of the entire planet. NASA is now planning for a manned mission to Mars, which is slated for the 2030s. More »

  • Artist's 'Apollo 18' Moon Mission Launching Onto Times Square B …
    Artist's 'Apollo 18' Moon Mission Launching Onto Times Square B … Sun, Mar 1, 2015

    The countdown is on to the launch of Apollo 18 and you're invited to witness it from New York City's Times Square. "Apollo XVIII," created by artist Marco Brambilla, weaves archival footage from real NASA missions with computer-generated imagery to form a countdown to a fictional flight to the moon. It will be shown on Times Square's electronic billboards from 11:57 p.m. to midnight each night in March as part of "Midnight Moment," a presentation by the Times Square Advertising Coalition and Times Square Arts. More »

  • Curiosity Rover Drills into Mars Mountain Again (Photo)
    Curiosity Rover Drills into Mars Mountain Again (Photo) Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has bored into rocks at the base of the towering Mount Sharp for the third time. The car-size Curiosity rover drilled into a rock called Telegraph Peak on Tuesday (Feb. 24), collecting sample powder for analysis by its onboard instruments. The action marked the third drilling operation at an outcrop at the base of Mount Sharp called Pahrump Hills, which Curiosity reached in September 2014 after more than a year of driving. Mission team members decided to drill Telegraph Peak after Curiosity's Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer instrument detected some interesting chemistry in the rock, NASA officials said. More »

  • Mars Rover Curiosity Snaps Amazing Selfie at Latest Drilling Site (Photo)
    Mars Rover Curiosity Snaps Amazing Selfie at Latest Drilling Site (Photo) Wed, Feb 25, 2015

    A new selfie taken by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows just where the six-wheeled robot has been working for the last five months. Curiosity's latest Mars photo, which was released today (Feb. 24), is a composite of dozens of images taken in late January by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on Curiosity's robotic arm. The 1-ton Curiosity rover has been studying Pahrump Hills terrain since September 2014 and has performed two sample-collecting drilling operations there, on rocks dubbed Confidence Hills and Mojave 2. Curiosity landed inside the 96-mile-wide (154 km) Gale Crater in August 2012 on a $2.5-billion mission to determine if Mars has ever been capable of supporting microbial life. More »

  • NASA Europa Mission May Search for Signs of Alien Life
    NASA Europa Mission May Search for Signs of Alien Life Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    A potential NASA mission to Jupiter's moon Europa may end up hunting for signs of life on the icy, ocean-harboring world. NASA officials have asked scientists to consider ways that a Europa mission could search for evidence of alien life in the plumes of water vapor that apparently blast into space from Europa's south polar region. These plumes, which NASA's Hubble Space Telescope spotted in December 2012, provide a possible way to sample Europa's ocean of liquid water, which is buried beneath the moon's icy shell, researchers say. "This is our chance" to investigate whether or not life exists on Europa, NASA science chief John Grunsfeld said here Wednesday (Feb. 18) during a Europa plume workshop at the agency's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. More »

  • Boeing, ULA Break Ground on New Astronaut Access Tower for Atlas Launches
    Boeing, ULA Break Ground on New Astronaut Access Tower for Atlas Launches Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    Fifty-three years to the day after John Glenn ascended an access tower to become the first U.S. astronaut to ride an Atlas rocket into orbit, officials with United Launch Alliance and Boeing broke ground for the next gantry that will support Atlas crewed launches. The groundbreaking ceremony on Friday (Feb. 20) marked the beginning of construction on the first new crew access structure at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in decades. The tower will enable the Atlas V pad at Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) to host astronauts and their support personnel for flight tests and missions to the International Space Station. "Fifty-three years ago today, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, launching on an Atlas just a few miles from here," Jim Sponnick, the vice president of ULA's Atlas and Delta rocket programs, said at Friday's event. More »

  • The Search For Volcanic Eruptions On Mars Reaches The Next Level
    The Search For Volcanic Eruptions On Mars Reaches The Next Level Tue, Feb 17, 2015

    Researcher and co-author Geronimo Villanueva says the next logical step in the research is getting up close to Mars to do a lengthy search. Fortunately for Villanueva, he has use of an instrument approved on a forthcoming European spacecraft to do that very thing. Telescope time only gives you a particular time or instance and you don't have the whole picture," said Villanueva, a research assistant professor at Catholic University of America in residence at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. More »

  • How Can We Protect Mars from Earth Germs, While Searching for Life?
    How Can We Protect Mars from Earth Germs, While Searching for Life? Wed, Feb 11, 2015

    The search for life on Mars presents us with many challenges – not the least of which is microbial contamination. How do we ensure that microbes from Earth don't hitchhike all the way to the Red Planet and spread there? As biologist John Rummel recalls, the lesson of the H.G. Wells book "The War of the Worlds," a fictional book about a Martian invasion,is that even microbes can be deadly. "The important thing about planetary protection is it's a two-way affair," said Rummel, who was with East Carolina University as a biologist when he led the team that published a recent study on the possibilities of the growth of Earth life on or under the surface of Mars. More »

  • NASA Probe Spies Mars Rover Curiosity from Space (Photo)
    NASA Probe Spies Mars Rover Curiosity from Space (Photo) Mon, Feb 9, 2015

    Call it a Red Planet two-for-one. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spied the agency's Curiosity rover and snapped the newly released image on Dec. 13, 2014. At the time the picture was taken, Curiosity was examining the "Pahrump Hills" outcrop at the base of Mount Sharp in Gale Crater, according to NASA. MRO's high Resolution Imagining Science Experiment (HiRISE) took the picture, which covers an area of approximately 360 yards (330 meters), NASA officials added. More »

  • Curiosity Rover Drills Into Mars Mountain, Tastes Acidic Rock
    Curiosity Rover Drills Into Mars Mountain, Tastes Acidic Rock Mon, Feb 9, 2015

    A NASA rover on Mars is getting another taste of an ancient Martian mountain. The space agency's Curiosity Mars rover arrived at Mount Sharp in Gale Crater about five months ago, and since then, the 1-ton robot has successfully drilled two samples from the tall mountain, according to NASA. According to an initial analysis, Mojave 2 has a lot of jarosite — an "oxidized mineral containing iron and sulfur that forms in acidic environments," NASA officials said. The acidic sample may have been created by ancient water that was more acidic than the earlier sample drilled at the first Mount Sharp target called Confidence Hills, NASA added. More »

  • LEGO Passes on Fan-Voted Hubble Space Telescope Model
    LEGO Passes on Fan-Voted Hubble Space Telescope Model Thu, Feb 5, 2015

    The Hubble Space Telescope's 25th anniversary celebration won't include a LEGO model of the orbiting observatory, despite the support of 10,000 fans. LEGO on Wednesday (Feb. 4) revealed the outcome of its most recent review of fan-suggested model kits submitted through its LEGO Ideas website. "We reviewed eight amazing projects that reached 10,000 supporters between June and September," Signe Lonholdt with the LEGO Ideas team said in a video announcing the results of the evaluation. The LEGO Hubble Space Telescope, which was designed by fan Gabriel Russo, reached 10,000 votes last August. More »

  • Nasa Mission To Find Life On Jupiter's Moon
    Nasa Mission To Find Life On Jupiter's Moon Wed, Feb 4, 2015

    Nasa is planning to send a spacecraft to one of Jupiter's moons which may hide a vast ocean under its icy surface. The White House has proposed an $18.5bn (£12.2bn) budget for Nasa in 2016, including $30m (£19.8m) to go towards the Jupiter mission. More »

  • The Hunt for Alien Extremophiles is Taking Off (Kavli Q+A) Mon, Feb 2, 2015

    Lindsay Borthwick, writer and editor for The Kavli Foundation, contributed this article to Space.com's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Jocelyne, how have those boundaries shifted in recent years? More »

  • Mars Fossils? Curiosity Rover Team Questions Report on Potential Microbe Tr …
    Mars Fossils? Curiosity Rover Team Questions Report on Potential Microbe Tr … Sat, Jan 31, 2015

    Scientists on the Curiosity team have brought into question a recent report about potential trace fossils in the NASA Mars rover's images of the Gillespie rock outcrop. Astrobiology Magazine reached out to the team and to the study's author for further comments. In a paper published last month in the journal Astrobiology, geobiologist Nora Noffke drew attention to features in Martian rocks that she suggested bore striking resemblance to trace fossils of microbial mats on Earth. As Curiosity's project scientist Ashwin Vasavada explained to other news outlets (including Space.com), the team had evaluated the features as non-biological, likely having been shaped by erosion or the transport of sand in water. More »

  • Mars Moon Double-Take: What Would Martian Skywatchers See?
    Mars Moon Double-Take: What Would Martian Skywatchers See? Wed, Jan 28, 2015

    If you could look up at the night sky from the surface of Mars, what would you see? More »

  • Walking on Mars: NASA, Microsoft Explore Red Planet with Wearable HoloLens
    Walking on Mars: NASA, Microsoft Explore Red Planet with Wearable HoloLens Sun, Jan 25, 2015

    Humans on Earth could soon plan a route on Mars for a rover by strapping on a virtual-reality headset. NASA is planning to do science operations with the Curiosity rover using software co-developed with Microsoft for its new wearable technology, the HoloLens. The software, which is called OnSight, will simulate the environment that Curiosity sees using data that the rover gathered on Mars. This will allow program scientists to examine the environment as if they were standing alongside the rover, NASA said. More »

  • Hands-on with Microsoft's hologram device
    Hands-on with Microsoft's hologram device Fri, Jan 23, 2015

    Microsoft didn't use skydivers or stunt cyclists to introduce what it hopes will be the next big leap in computing technology. Instead, with its new HoloLens headset, the company is offering real-world ... More »

  • NASA's New Curiosity Rover Science Chief Takes Charge On Mars
    NASA's New Curiosity Rover Science Chief Takes Charge On Mars Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    Ashwin Vasavada knows he has some pretty big shoes to fill. Vasavada is the newly appointed project scientist for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, in charge of a team of nearly 500 researchers spread around the globe. He succeeds John Grotzinger, who steered Curiosity to some big finds over the past few years — including the discovery that Mars could have supported microbial life in the ancient past. More »

  • Microsoft springs hologram surprise, but long way to reality
    Microsoft springs hologram surprise, but long way to reality Thu, Jan 22, 2015

    By Bill Rigby SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp surprised the tech world on Wednesday with a prototype hologram visor that can bring the Minecraft video game, Skype calls and even the landscape of Mars to three-dimensional life. The ageing tech pioneer, which long ago lost the mantle of the world's most inventive company, is making a bold play to regain that title in the face of stiff competition from Google Inc and Apple Inc. Virtual or enhanced reality is the next frontier in computing interaction, with Facebook Inc focussing on its Oculus virtual reality headset and Google working on its Glass project. Microsoft said its wire-free Microsoft HoloLens device will be available around the same time as Windows 10 this autumn. "That was kind of a 'Oh wow!' moment," said Mike Silver, an analyst at Gartner who tried out the prototype on Wednesday. More »