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Mars

Artist’s concept of Curiosity (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has discovered a rock outcropping that may have been a suitable habitat for microbes in ancient times. Based on a sample collected by unmanned rover’s drill at the John Klein area in Gale Crater and analyzed using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) and Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instruments, the findings contribute to Curiosity's primary mission of seeking out areas of the Red Planet where life may have once or still could exist.  Read More

The scans were made by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbitor (Image: NASA)

While you may be aware of NASA's historic Curiosity mission (and the current problems it's facing), you might not have heard of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO. The craft has been in orbit around the Red Planet since 2006 and its latest research, a 3D scan of a huge underground channel system, has provided researchers with an insight into the planet's recent hydrologic activity.  Read More

Comet West (C/1975 V1) as seen on March 9, 1976 (Photo: NASA)

The first comet discovered this year, Comet C/2013 A1, is currently projected to pass within about 23,000 miles (37,000 km) of the surface of Mars late in 2014. While this event in itself promises spectacular views for astronomers, the uncertainty of the comet's orbit includes a significant chance of an impact on Mars. If this happens, the impact would be hundreds of times more powerful than the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs on Earth.  Read More

Inspiration Mars, a nonprofit foundation established by Dennis Tito, has announced plans f...

Dennis Tito, the man who in 2001 became the first space tourist by shelling out a reported US$20 million to hitch a ride on the Russian Soyuz TM-32 spacecraft to the International Space Station, has now announced plans for a manned mission to Mars – and back. Tito won’t be going himself, but has established Inspiration Mars, a new nonprofit foundation that will oversee the mission in the hope of spurring “growth, national prosperity, knowledge and global leadership” through space exploration.  Read More

The panoramic selfie made up of 130 images captured by Curiosity's MAHLI and Mastcam (Imag...

We already know that NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover isn’t averse to displaying a touch of vanity by snapping high-definition self-portraits using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). Curiosity’s latest selfie is even more impressive, combining 130 images taken in the first week of February to provide a 360-degree panorama of the Red Planet.  Read More

First sample of powdered rock extracted by the Curiosity's drill (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/...

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity sent back images on Wednesday that confirm it has obtained its first Martian drilling sample. This is not only the first sample drilling ever performed on the Red Planet, but also the first by a rover anywhere off of Earth.  Read More

First sample drill hole made by Curiosity (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity collected its first drilling sample on Saturday. The 4x4-sized robot used the drill in its hand to collect samples from the interior of a flat, veiny sedimentary bedrock that was formed by ancient Martian water.  Read More

”Mini drill” test by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity made the historic first drilling ever attempted on the Red Planet on February 6. The drilling, at a patch of flat, vein-bearing rock called "John Klein" at Gale Crater, was the 4X4-sized robot’s first full use of its drilling unit and a major test before it uses the drill to collect pulverized rock samples for analysis in its internal laboratories.  Read More

Test drilling carried out on the rock called “John Klein” on February 2nd (Image:  NASA/JP...

NASA’s Curiosity rover recently took a step closer to its historic first drilling on Mars, as it tested its drilling system. Last Saturday, the nuclear-powered explorer conducted a "drill-on-rock checkout" on a rock designated “John Klein” in Gale Crater. The brief test of the drill’s percussive action in a back and forth motion was part of a series of tests to determine if the rover’s drill is ready for full operation.  Read More

MAHLI's first night imaging of Martian rock called 'Sayunei' under ultraviolet lighting (I...

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has taken to working the night shift lately. This week, on the Martian night of January 22, the nuclear-powered explorer used its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) instrument under ultraviolet light to examine a rock called "Sayunei” as part of its two-year mission to seek out areas of the Red Planet where life may once or could still exist.  Read More

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