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When the Opportunity rover landed on the red planet in 2004, NASA only intended to drive it for about 1 kilometer (0.62 miles) within 90 Martian days. But the rover turned out to be a hardy Mars explorer, and on its 10th year on the planet, it has finally broken the record for the longest distance...

July 29th 2014 at 3:50am 0 Comments
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Curiosity feted its first Martian year on the red planet (687 earth days) with a stiched-up selfie while NASA reflected on the Mars rover's triumphs and setbacks. So far, it has achieved most of its mission goals, particularly its quest for evidence that Mars could have supported life. Drilling sa...

June 25th 2014 at 6:12am 0 Comments
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We've built rovers to deal with arid planets like Mars, but what about trips to Titan's hydrocarbon puddles and Europa's ice lakes? NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is working on a robot that'll dive into the frozen water, riding along the underside of the surface of Jupiter's moon. BRUIE (Buoyant...

June 24th 2014 at 11:34am 0 Comments
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Any long-term human presence on Mars is going to require renewable food sources, and that likely involves plants. But how do we know that they'll flourish in the Red Planet's higher radiation and lower gravity? NASA may find out in the next several years. One of the proposed modules on its next Ma...

May 7th 2014 at 2:06pm 0 Comments
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Many kids want to become astronauts, but getting them to embrace day-to-day space science is tougher -- it's not as exciting as setting foot on Mars. NASA is all too aware of this challenge, so it has teamed up with LittleBits to create the Space Kit, a build-it-yourself bundle that should make th...

April 24th 2014 at 3:16pm 0 Comments
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We already know the radiation levels on Mars' surface are safe enough for us to go ahead and start building vacation homes. But, before we can finish our plans for the pool, there are still a few more tests that need to be done. There's just one problem: the planet has a way of destroying all of t...

April 10th 2014 at 3:01am 0 Comments
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NASA likes to pack light for extraterrestrial visits, so it has been developing a tensegrity rover -- a rod-based robot that uses cable tension to absorb blows and roll around, rather than a bulky chassis. Thanks to the agency's demo for IEEE Spectrum, we now know what a prototype of the explorer...

December 25th 2013 at 11:41pm 0 Comments
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China has just entered a very exclusive club -- it's now the third country to have soft-landed vehicles on the moon. Its Chang'e 3 lander and accompanying Jade Rabbit rover successfully reached our celestial neighbor's Bay of Rainbows on Saturday. Jade Rabbit will now spend months studying the lun...

December 14th 2013 at 10:01pm 0 Comments
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We already knew Mars was blanketed in ancient riverbeds, which points to the existence of water in the distant past. What we didn't know, however, is that H2O exists on Mars in the here and now -- albeit embedded in Martian soil. A paper recently published in the journal Science revealed that as m...

September 27th 2013 at 11:13am 0 Comments