Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Mars Science Laboratory

Traveled and projected route of Curiosity to Mount Sharp (Image: NASA)

NASA took the metaphorical training wheels off the Mars rover Curiosity on Tuesday, as the unmanned explorer took its first drive using autonomous navigation. It used its onboard cameras and software to select and drive over an area of ground that mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California couldn't see and vet beforehand. This capability allows the nuclear-powered rover to negotiate the most direct route to Mount Sharp rather than having to detour to find routes that can be seen directly by Curiosity before entering, so they can be analyzed by mission control.  Read More

Artist's impression of the Curiosity landing (Image: NASA)

Today, NASA paid tribute to its Curiosity rover, which has completed its first year exploring the planet Mars. On August 6, 2012 (August 5, PDT), the unmanned explorer landed on the Red Planet as the start of a two-year mission to seek out areas where life might have once, or could still exist. To commemorate this event, the space agency broadcast reminiscences by Curiosity team members from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. What follows is our own look at the top 10 milestones of Curiosity’s first year.  Read More

Artist's impression of Curiosity (Image: NASA)

After over six months exploring the Glenelg area of Gale Crater on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover is on the move. The nuclear-powered robot began a months-long drive on July 4, which will take it to Mount Sharp to fulfill the major part of its its two-year mission to seek out areas where life could have, or still could, exist on the Red Planet.  Read More

The 1.3 gigapixel panorama made of over 800 individual images (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSS...

On Wednesday, NASA unveiled a rather large postcard sent back from Mars by the Curiosity rover. It’s in the form a panoramic image packing more than one billion pixels that was stitched together from 896 images. NASA sees the gigapixel image as a way for “armchair explorers” to take a close-up look at the Red Planet by means of an interactive webpage.  Read More

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

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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