With a broken wind sensor the only problem of any note aboard the Curiosity Mars rover, engineers plan to uplink commands overnight for an initial test drive, a short 10-foot move and a turning reverse maneuver to check out the robotic science lab's ability to roam its Gale Crater landing site, project managers said today.
In two major milestones, engineers successfully tested the six-wheeled rover's steering system, commanding the four corner wheels to turn in place, and erected the lab's complex 7-foot-long robot arm and tool turret to test the appendage's drive motors and joints.
"… Read more
NASA plans to launch a relatively modest Mars lander in 2016 that will make a rocket-powered descent to the surface to study whether the red planet's core is solid or liquid and whether the planet has tectonic plates that slowly move like continents on Earth, agency managers said Monday.
The primary goals of the cost-capped Discovery-class mission are to learn more about what shaped Mars' evolution and why the planet turned out so similar, and yet so different, than Earth.
"This has been something that has interested the scientific community for many years," NASA science chief John … Read more
When the Curiosity rover landed on Mars earlier this month, the world couldn't get enough of the six-wheeled dynamo.
Mass adoration for the roving Martian also successfully propelled a pet project by mechanical engineer Stephen Pakbaz, who submitted a miniature version of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover last November to Cuusoo, a site officially created by Lego that lets fans vote on brick-based concepts (similar to Kickstarter). If a proposition gets 10,000 votes, then "a Lego jury evaluates the idea's feasibility as a product and makes a decision." … Read more
Any objection to Monday's top tech headlines is overruled:
The Apple vs. Samsung trial is almost at a close. The jury is expected to begin deliberations Tuesday. The two tech giants spent three weeks battling over patents and accusations of copying.
OnLive is facing some rough days ahead. The cloud-based gaming service sold its assets to an investor Friday and laid off employees, but said it will rehire many back as the newly restructured company (which will still be called OnLive). The company says subscribers shouldn't see any problems or interruptions in service during this restructuring.
College students … Read more
The Curiosity rover successfully test fired a powerful laser at a nearby rock Sunday, blasting it with rapid-fire million-watt pulses that vaporized the outer layers for spectroscopic analysis.
The Chemistry and Camera instrument, known as ChemCam, hit the target rock, dubbed "Coronation," with 30 pulses of laser light over 10 seconds, according to a NASA update. Each pulse lasted about five one-billionths of a second.
The laser beam created a visible spark of electrically charged plasma that was then observed by the instrument's telescope. The telescope, mounted on Curiosity's camera mast, fed the light through optical … Read more
The Curiosity rover likely will spend the rest of the year monitoring the Martian weather, collecting radiation data and analyzing rock and soil samples near its landing site in Gale Crater. Only then will it head for its ultimate target, the rugged foothills of Mount Sharp just four-and-a-half miles -- but many months -- away, the project scientist said Friday.
John Grotzinger told reporters the nuclear-powered rover continues to sail through its initial test and checkout phase with no major problems or anomalies. The latest successes to report include activation of a neutron generator in a Russian instrument known as … Read more
If there was anything Curiosity fans wanted to know about Mars, the rover, and the scientists behind the Martian landing, they were able to ask it today.
Dozens of topics were covered, from whether there is life on Mars to how far Curiosity will roam within the Gale Crater to specifications of the equipment on the rover. At the time of this writing, there is a … Read more
When NASA's Mars rover Curiosity began its entry, descent and landing sequence two weeks ago, the success of the mission hinged on what was known as the "7 minutes of terror" -- a period during which NASA was out of touch with the vehicle, relying on its autonomous landing sequence to successfully touch down on the surface.
That mission has been an outstanding success thus far, and today NASA announced another successful landing. The Mighty Eagle lander -- equipped with next-generation automated rendezvous and capture technology that contains a camera -- allows the vehicle to locate its … Read more
The photos and videos coming from NASA and the Curiosity Rover on Mars are truly stunning. It's fun, exciting, and even a little puzzling at times to see the landscape and how another planet so far away compares to Earth.
Both the official NASA and Mars Curiosity Twitter accounts are great sources to keep up on the latest news and photos coming from the brave little rover so far from home. But, we can't sit and watch Twitter all day long, making the chance of missing a photo a real possibility.
While browsing If This Then That shared … Read more