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Mars

The Mars helicopter is solar powered (Image; NASA)

The next big discovery is always beyond the next hill, but what if you can't see over it? That's the problem facing NASA with its Mars rovers, so the space agency is looking into how robotic helicopters could help scout the land ahead and give engineers back on Earth data to help plot the best route.  Read More

NASA's Opportunity rover captures a stunning panorama to celebrate its 11th anniversary on...

NASA's Mars Opportunity rover recently celebrated its 11th anniversary on the Martian surface, marking the milestone with a stunning panorama that doubles as a moving tribute to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York. Over the course of its tenure on the Red Planet, the tenacious explorer has broken the record for the longest distance traveled on another world, making countless groundbreaking discoveries along the way.  Read More

OnSight will use holographic computing to overlay visual information and data into the use...

Years before the first astronauts set foot on Mars, scientists will already be there – virtually. Thanks to a collaboration between NASA and Microsoft aimed at advancing human-robot interactions, the space agency's OnSight software will allow researchers to explore a virtual Martian landscape created from data sent back by the Curiosity rover.  Read More

Artist's impression of the Beagle-2 spacecraft fully deployed on the surface of Mars (Imag...

Lost since 2003, the UK-led Beagle-2 Mars lander has finally been discovered on the Martian surface by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Analysis of the images revealed that the lander survived its Dec. 25, 2003 touchdown, partially deploying on the surface of the Red Planet. No signal was received from the lander following its expected landing time, and the robotic explorer was feared destroyed.  Read More

The Southampton #LettuceOnMars experiment

When the first living visitor from Earth lands on Mars we might well expect it to be a man or a woman, but if students from the University of Southampton Spaceflight Society have their way, it could be one small step for a lettuce. That may seem more than a bit mad, but its part of an experiment to see if crops can grow in the Martian environment as a prelude to colonization.  Read More

Artist's concept of the Opportunity rover (Image: NASA)

NASA's Opportunity rover landed on Mars in 2004 and its 90-day mission has now lasted almost 11 years. Unfortunately, its age is beginning to show with the unmanned robotic explorer beginning to display signs of memory loss. Mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory reports that Opportunity's computers have been resetting as its flash memory banks suffer fits of "amnesia," which engineers back on Earth are trying to repair.  Read More

The first flight of NASA's Orion capsule was one of a number of 2014 space firsts (Image: ...

It's been a busy year in space. In a mixture of triumph and tragedy, space exploration reached new horizons, tested new technologies, and pushed the limits of the possible in 2014. So as the old year draws to close, Gizmag looks back on the space highlights of the past twelve months.  Read More

Artist's concept of the MAVEN spacecraft (Image: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

Mars is regarded as the most Earth-like of the planets in the Solar System, but its atmosphere is only 0.6 percent as dense as Earth's and is constantly leaking what little air it has into space. NASA'S Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) Mars orbiter is providing new insights into the loss of the Martian atmosphere by discovering how the solar winds penetrate to surprisingly low altitudes.  Read More

Self-portrait of the Curiosity rover (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

The hunt for present or past life on Mars got a boost as NASA's Curiosity rover records spikes in atmospheric methane ten times greater than previously measured by the unmanned probe. Though the levels are far below those found on Earth, methane is a key indicator that life may be or may once have been present. In addition, the nuclear-powered explorer has also detected the first confirmed organic compounds in drill samples taken from Martian rocks.  Read More

Mars One's vision of a Martian base

The race to reach Mars is more like a decades-long marathon, but in the short term the latest space race involves inventing ways that might make setting up shop on the Red Planet possible. In the past few months alone, three teams have unveiled their visions of how humans might breathe on the fourth planet from the sun.  Read More

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