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Curiosity Rover

Curiosity's robot arm touches the rock 'Jake Matijevic' (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover reached another pair of milestones over the past week. Last Saturday, the 4x4-sized lander touched its first rock with the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) mounted on its seven-foot (2.1 m) robotic arm. Then on Wednesday, 50 Martian days into the mission, Curiosity took its longest drive yet as it rolled 160 feet (48.9 meters) eastward toward the Glenelg area. It also took the opportunity to show off the American flag.  Read More

Curiosity's self-portrait (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has limbered up its robotic arm, taken a good look at itself and has been given a clean bill of health. It’s now on the move as it starts its two-year mission of discovery on the Red Planet. On Thursday, it traveled 105 feet (32 m) as it seeks out its first rock for serious investigation. Meanwhile, the nuclear-powered explorer sent back images of Mars’s moon Phobos as it passed in front of the Sun.  Read More

Curiosity's arm close up (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

On Wednesday, NASA’s unmanned Mars rover Curiosity passed another milestone. Having traversed 358 feet (109 m), the 4X4-sized, nuclear-powered explorer is one-quarter of the way from Bradbury landing to it’s first major destination, Glenelg. Now that Curiosity’s mobility system has had the bugs shaken out of it, it’s the arm’s turn to take center stage. Curiosity will spend the next six to ten days testing its 7-foot (2.1 m) arm and the set of tools that make up its “hand.”  Read More

Curiosity's track marks spelling out 'JPL' in Morse code (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The NASA Mars rover Curiosity began its mission of exploration this week and as it rolled out, it wrote the place of its birth on the Martian surface. The 4x4-sized unmanned explorer will travel a quarter of a mile (400 m) to an area where it will test its robotic arm and may use its sample-collecting drill for the first time. As it goes along, the treads on Curiosity’s six wheels spell out “JPL” (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) over and over in Morse code.  Read More

A chapter of the layered geological history of Mars is laid bare in this postcard from NAS...

For the very first time in human history, a human voice was streamed from the surface of another planet and traveled some 168 million miles (267 million km) into space before it was heard on Earth. The audio was a pre-recorded message from NASA administrator Charles Bolden, who sent a congratulatory message to the engineers involved in the US$2.5 billion mission to safely land the Mars Science Laboratory – better known as the Curiosity rover – on the surface of Mars.  Read More

Artist's concept of Curiosity on the move (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The Curiosity rover has taken its first drive today on Mars. It wasn’t much of a road trip. The unmanned craft went about 15 feet (4.57 m), turned 120 degrees and then reversed about 8 feet (2.43 m). Curiosity is now about 20 feet (6.09 m) from its landing site, now named Bradbury Landing after the late author Ray Bradbury. That may not seem like much, but it was a successful test of Curiosity’s mobility and takes it a step (or a roll) closer to beginning its two-year mission to look for areas where life may have or does exist on the Red Planet.  Read More

Artist's concept of Curiosity using laser (Image: NASA)

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has fired its laser for the first time. Its target wasn’t attacking Martians, but a 7 cm (2.75 inch) wide rock called “Coronation” (AKA N165) about 10 feet (3 m) from the rover. Curiosity’s laser fired 30 pulses over a ten-second interval, hitting Coronation with one million watts for five-one billionths of a second. As tiny bits of Coronation vaporized into a glowing plasma, Curiosity's ChemCam analyzed the stone’s makeup by means of a telescope and three spectrometers.  Read More

Gale Crater's rim as sen from Curiosity (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is changing its mind – or rather, NASA is changing Curiosity’s mind for it. The 4X4-sized robot explorer is spending its first weekend on the Red Planet installing a major software update that NASA calls a “brain transplant.” This new software replaces that which Curiosity ran while in transit from Earth and will prepare the rover for exploring the Martian surface.  Read More

First color image from Curiosity showing the  north wall and rim of Gale Crater (Image: NA...

After a successful landing on Sunday, the NASA rover Curiosity has begun sending back images of the planet including the first color pictures and 3D stereographs. In addition to images from the surface of the red planet, the lander has also sent back images captured by onboard cameras during the craft’s dramatic descent through the Martian atmosphere and landing. Meanwhile, an orbiter from an earlier NASA mission sent back images of Curiosity’s descent.  Read More

NASA's Mars lander Curiosity has landed safely on Mars (Image: NASA)

NASA's Mars lander Curiosity has landed safely on Mars. After a 253-day voyage punctuated by a dramatic plunge through the Martian atmosphere, the nuclear-powered rover has reported to mission control that it is on the ground and systems are nominal. The landing occurred at 10:31 p.m. U.S. PDT (August 6, 05:31 GMT) plus or minus a minute. The landing site was near the base of Mount Sharp inside Gale Crater, 4.6 degrees south latitude, 137.4 degrees east longitude. This marks the beginning of a two-year mission to seek out places where life may have existed on Mars – or may yet exist today.  Read More

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