Mars

Curiosity spitting odd findings after Mars dust feast

Curiosity spitting odd findings after Mars dust feast

NASA's Curiosity rover has been busy with its drill again, and analysis of the second sample of Martian rock is already turning up some unexpected conditions back when the red planet supported liquid water. Curiosity put its low-percussion-level drill into play for the first time last week, carving a chunk out of a site known as "Mojave 2" at the base of Mount Sharp, and feeding it in powder form into its Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument. Turns out, even though the analysis isn't finished yet, there are already signs of a surprising amount of jarosite, to a degree that suggests Mars was - at least in parts - a whole lot more acidic than predicted by earlier testing.

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NASA eyes using small helicopters to help Mars rovers

NASA eyes using small helicopters to help Mars rovers

Mars might very soon have its own version of a drone to patrol its skies. NASA is considering creating a Mars Helicopter, an addon to future rovers that will become the advance party of these roaming laboratories. These vehicles will become the eyes of scientists on earth that will help them better determine where to direct rovers to, making each trip more efficient and focusing primarily on more "exciting" parts of Martian landscape, increasing the distance traveled up to three times.

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Opportunity abound: walking on Mars virtually with NASA

Opportunity abound: walking on Mars virtually with NASA

NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover has been rolling around the surface of the red planet for 11 years. To celebrate, the craft has sent back a panorama image viewable by you in full definition right this minute. To get up close and personal with the surface of Mars, NASA has also been collaborating with Microsoft over the past few weeks and months, having an early peek at their new Windows Holographic system with Microsoft HoloLens - making walking on the planet's surface much more of a "real" experience than ever before.

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Microsoft HoloLens will take NASA scientists to Mars — virtually

Microsoft HoloLens will take NASA scientists to Mars — virtually

Microsoft’s HoloLens is a pretty neat concept, and already showing a lot of promise. Via a headset and virtual environment, we’d be able to do all kinds of things like assemble or design something to be 3D printed, and it certainly has a lot of gaming angles. As far as virtual environments go, there might be no cooler one than mars, and that’s what NASA and Microsoft have in mind. Using HoloLens, NASA wants to let Earth-bound scientists work in space — virtually.

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Elon Musk shares details of Internet satellite swarm dream

Elon Musk shares details of Internet satellite swarm dream

"One giant global Internet service provider." That is how Elon Musk, who seems to have a lot of time and money in his hands, describes his plans of building swarm of low-flying satellites that will carry the Internet anywhere and everywhere, daring to go where no Project Loon balloon has gone before. But Musk's dream of building the world's fastest and most expansive Internet network isn't limited to just that. And in the long run, it isn't going to be limited to Earth either.

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NASA plans lobotomy for forgetful Mars rover

NASA plans lobotomy for forgetful Mars rover

One of NASA's Martian rovers is facing the indignities of old age, with the hard-working explorer suffering robot amnesia that has led to data loss and even persistent system crashes. The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has put in more than a decade of overtime on the red planet, well-exceeding the initial project goals. However, vital components like the flash memory used to store mission data are feeling their age, forcing NASA to think creatively to stop the rover from forgetting entirely why it's on Mars and blacking out completely.

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MAVEN nears solving mystery of Mars’ disappearing atmosphere

MAVEN nears solving mystery of Mars’ disappearing atmosphere

Even while the Mars rover Curiosity continues to discover the secrets of Martian water billions of years ago, a somewhat unsung hero silently orbits the planet searching for clues on why that water disappeared over time. The MAVEN orbiter, short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, continues to sample and analyze the tenuous atmosphere of the red planet in order to solve the mystery of its thinning atmosphere, that will eventually lead to more clues as to what befell this planet that could have very well supported organic life in the past.

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A huge ice reservoir could be hiding inside Mars

A huge ice reservoir could be hiding inside Mars

A vast cache of water or ice could be lurking just beneath the surface of Mars, scientists claims, using meteorite research to figure out where the "missing Martian water" might have actually ended up. While signs of the historic effects of subsurface and ground ice have been observed in previous orbital surveys, evidence for a lingering supply of water has proved troublesome to pin down, even though the red planet's history is believed to have seen it wet and warm. By looking at the make-up of Martian meteorites found on Earth, however, connections have been spotted between them and a possible surface reservoir.

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Curiosity Rover discovers ancient Martian organic molecules

Curiosity Rover discovers ancient Martian organic molecules

NASA has just reached another breakthrough in its exploration of Mars' landscape and history. Barely two weeks after revealing their findings and theories about the Gale Crater, the scientists are now announcing that the Mars Rover has found two things: a tenfold spike in methane gas as well as organic molecules in rock-powder drilled by the robot. These two organic materials could help in learning more about Mars and its history as well as helping predict its viability as a habitat in the future.

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NASA image shows bizarre circular mound on Mars

NASA image shows bizarre circular mound on Mars

We've seen quite a few pictures snapped beyond our own world -- there's the recent Europa image, for example -- and the newest shot from Mars is no different. What is unique is the natural structure it shows: a circular mound in an otherwise smooth landscape. NASA posted the image yesterday with a statement pondering what the feature might be, and it is leaning toward volcanism as being the cause. As always, we've the rest of the details available after the jump.

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