Mars Science Laboratory

  • The six aluminum wheels that support the unmanned explorer are starting to show significant signs of wear, with two new small breaks in the metal treads of the left-side middle wheel. However, NASA expects the wheels will go the distance to allow the rover to complete its planned mission.
  • There's plenty to suggest that water exists in various non-liquid forms on the Red Planet, as well signs that liquid water existed in the past, but now scientists have unearthed the first evidence that pools of water are developing and evaporating on a regular basis.
  • Another hopeful sign that Mars was once habitable has been discovered by Curiosity, with the detection of nitrogen in soil samples. While NASA doesn't think that the compounds are biological in origin, they are still significant to Mars having been more favorable to life in the ancient past.
  • NASA is putting its Curiosity Mars rover on hold for a few days as engineers try to determine the cause and severity of a recent short circuit. The space agency says that the unmanned explorer suffered a transient short circuit that activated an automatic shutdown by the rover's computers.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • At a press conference on Monday, NASA revealed that data from its Curiosity Mars rover indicates that the Gale Crater area that the robotic explorer has been traversing for over two years may once have been a circular lake that filled and refilled over a period of tens of millions of years.
  • NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft has used a special radio apparatus to relay 550 megabits of data from the Curiosity rover to NASA’s Deep Space Network back on Earth.
  • After over two years on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover has reached its primary objective, Mount Sharp. Located in the center of Gale Crater, this will be the centerpiece of a new program of study to locate areas where could or once could have supported microbial life.
  • At the start of its third year on the Red Planet, NASA’s Curiosity rover was slated to head for the "Pahrump Hills" for its fourth rock drilling exercise, but after encountering unexpectedly hazardous terrain, it’s making a detour to a similar site called "Bonanza King" to carry on its mission.
  • Break out the party hats because NASA’s Curiosity rover is celebrating its second anniversary on Mars. Two years ago today, the unmanned spacecraft touched down at Bradbury Landing in Gale Crater on the start of a multi-year mission to study the Red Planet.
  • In October, Mars will encounter comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring, which will come closer to the Red Planet than any recorded comet has passed to Earth. NASA is taking steps to protect its Mars-orbiting spacecraft from damage by the cosmic visitor.
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