Introducing the Gizmag Store

Mars Science Laboratory

High-Resolution Self-Portrait by Curiosity Rover Arm Camera used by NASA engineers to docu...

NASA’s Curiosity rover has taken a whiff of Martian air at the "Rocknest" site in Gale Crater. The robot explorer's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments are now being used to measure the constituent elements of the atmosphere and their isotopes with the aim of providing insights into the history of the Red Planet and its chances of having once supported life.  Read More

X-ray diffraction image of first Martian soil sample showing presence of crystalline felds...

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has completed its first soil analysis of the Red Planet. The unmanned explorer used an advanced, miniaturized X-ray diffraction instrument that is part of the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument (CheMin) of its internal laboratory. The soil, collected at a site designated “Rocknest” in Gale Crater, reveals that Martian soil is a weathered volcanic type similar to soils found in the Hawaiian Islands.  Read More

The first three bite marks of Curiosity's robotic arm (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover took its first soil sample last week. The unmanned explorer used its robotic arm to scoop up a bit of the Martian surface, which it then sieved. A baby-Aspirin sized portion was subsequently deposited into its internal laboratory for analysis by the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument, to determine what minerals it contains.  Read More

ChemCam image of object found with outline added for identification (Image: NASA/JPL-Calte...

The object that NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover found on Sunday is probably a piece of plastic that fell off the unmanned exploration vehicle. According to mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at Pasadena, California, the object is “benign” and poses no likely threat to continuing the mission. However, the JPL rover team has not yet definitely identified the object and will continue investigating for another day.  Read More

Image from Curiosity showing the bright object in the foreground (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s unmanned Mars rover Curiosity took a pause in its activities after spotting a bright object. As yet unidentified, it was spotted while Curiosity was collecting its first soil samples. Fearing that the object might be a part of Curiosity itself that fell off, mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California has suspended Curiosity’s exploration until the object is identified.  Read More

Close up view of the Link outcropping (Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA’s unmanned Curiosity rover has found the most direct evidence to date that ancient Mars once had running water. The robot explorer discovered rock outcroppings thrusting from the Martian surface that are the remains of an ancient stream bed consisting of water-worn gravel that was washed down from the rim of Gale Crater where the nuclear-powered rover landed. This means that Mars was once a much wetter place and increases the chances that it once harbored life ... or still does.  Read More

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 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

Looking for something? Search our 26,501 articles