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Curiosity’s whole Mars mission is “history books” worthy clarifies NASA

Curiosity’s whole Mars mission is “history books” worthy clarifies NASA

NASA's teased data "for the history books" from the Curiosity Mars rover has all been a huge misunderstanding, the space agency now says, with the reference apparently encompassing the mission as a whole - not a specific finding. Anticipation was built earlier this month when principal investigator John Grotzinger told NPR that "this data is gonna be one for the history books" and that "it's looking really good"; his comments were interpreted as specific to a set of soil sample results Curiosity's onboard labs had just beamed back to Earth, but NASA says it was all a case of confusion.

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Curiosity finds “history book” worthy Mars data, but NASA won’t tell you yet

Curiosity finds “history book” worthy Mars data, but NASA won’t tell you yet

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has discovered "some exciting new results" during its exploration of the Martian surface, but the team behind the distant explorer can't yet spill the beans as the data must be re-checked. "This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good" principal investigator John Grotzinger teased NPR, with the full reveal potentially not taking place for several weeks. However, NASA has confirmed that it's data from the SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) tool.

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NASA Curiosity rover swallows first mouthful of Mars dirt

NASA Curiosity rover swallows first mouthful of Mars dirt

NASA's Curiosity rover has snatched a scoop of Martian soil for analysis, the culmination of years of planning as the robotic explorer begins the hunt for evidence that life might once have been supported on the red planet. The new milestone followed two test scoops Curiosity slowly gathered and discarded as part of its preparation for soil testing, with the final sample being roughly as much as a crushed baby asprin and even now running through the rover's onboard Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument.

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NASA’s Curiosity reveals surprises on Mars rock

NASA’s Curiosity reveals surprises on Mars rock

NASA's Curiosity robot, which has been rolling hither and yon on Mars in search of microbial life, has revealed some aspects of a rock that surprise scientists. The rock, named Jack Matijevic in honor of a NASA engineer who passed away shortly after Curiosity landed, contains a varied composition profile that was unexpected based on past missions. These newly discovered compositions give scientists a greater insight into the Martian planet's environment and processes.

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Why does NASA’s Curiosity want Mars dirt anyway?

Why does NASA’s Curiosity want Mars dirt anyway?

Mars explorer Curiosity is about to grab itself a scoopful of soil, the first time the sample gathering system has been used while the robotic rover has been on the red planet, but just what is the NASA 'bot hoping to find? According to NASA, the mission - which will see Curiosity flex its incredibly slow claw - is both a test of the rover's hardware and of the Martian surface itself, an important double-hit to help show whether Curiosity is made out for exploration, and whether Mars was once hospitable to life.

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NASA’s Curiosity expecting dust storms on surface of Mars soon

NASA’s Curiosity expecting dust storms on surface of Mars soon

The Curiosity rover was sent to Mars to document a lot of different things, but one of the things it will be examining on are the weather patterns on the surface of Mars. Today NASA tells USA Today that it's expecting mostly clear - if not a bit chilly - conditions on the red planet, with NASA scientist Manuel de la Torre saying that Curiosity can expect "balmy, minus-20-degree temperatures" during the day. At night, that already low temperature will plummet, eventually ending up around "minus-200 degrees Fahrenheit."

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NASA’s Curiosity beams back 3D photos of Mars

NASA’s Curiosity beams back 3D photos of Mars

NASA's Curiosity rover continues to send back images from Mars, including 3D shots that show the intimidating terrain, as the robotic explorer continues to ramp up to full functionality. The new photos use the multiple Hazcam cameras mounted at Curiosity's extremities, pairing multiple fames to give a red/blue anaglyph 3D shot; meanwhile, NASA has also released a video that shows exactly where the landing site fits into the overall context of Mars.

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NASA reveals Curiosity descent video and new Mars photos

NASA reveals Curiosity descent video and new Mars photos

NASA has released new photos of the surface of Mars as well as video of Curiosity's dramatic landing on the Martian surface, as the rover begins its long mission to explore for evidence of life. The video, pieced together from a photo sequence captured by the Hazcam cameras used for guidance and navigation, shows some of dusty descent from Curiosity's point-of-view, while the new gallery of stills helps confirm where, exactly, on the topography of Mars the rover has arrived.

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Curiosity landing photo from NASA’s Mars Orbiter revealed

Curiosity landing photo from NASA’s Mars Orbiter revealed

The first photo of the Curiosity lander making its final journey through the Martian atmosphere has emerged, a rare image of the huge parachute used to slow the Skycrane and its expensive cargo. The picture was captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and though low-resolution clearly shows the dangling cradle beneath the 16m wide "supersonic parachute" that slowed it from around 578 m/s to 100 m/s.

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NASA Curiosity sends back more detailed view of Mars

NASA Curiosity sends back more detailed view of Mars

Curiosity's main cameras may not be due to come online until they've unfurled later this week, but the Mars rover is already beaming back better shots now that it has whipped off the dust protection. The first batch of photos from the freshly-landed rover were fuzzy - thanks to a combination of dust whirls from the Skycrane lander and the protective covers on the cameras themselves - but as things settle and Curiosity whirs into life, the images are getting a lot clearer.

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