The rover and NASA scientists are having a communication breakdown, of sorts. But, not to worry, no hurt feelings are involved. The issue is that the sun has got in the way.
Once every 26 months, as the Earth and Mars rotate around the sun, the two planets end up on opposite sides of the star in an event called the Mars solar conjunction. Because of the sun's massive size, any communication sent between the two planets can … Read more
A stunning 4-gigapixel panorama of Mars, compiled from images captured by two mast cameras aboard NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, could be one of the most detailed views of our distant neighbor yet.
The panoramic picture of Gale Crater derives from 295 images that were digitally stitched together by Estonian photographer Andrew Bodrov. In its final form, the mosaic stretches out to an astounding 90,000 by 45,000-pixel resolution. … Read more
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Backyard tinkerer Grant Thompson teaches us how to build a solar-powered death ray. A man gets a Netflix tattoo for life and only gets a measly one-year subscription for it. Plus, we meet Mr. Stubbs the alligator, the first reptile (that we know of, at least) to receive a prosthetic tail. Donation came from the Phoenix Herpetological Society and the Core Institute. … Read more
A "Veronica Mars" movie is nearly a reality, thanks to the Kickstarter campaign's rabid fans.
The TV show's creator, Rob Thomas, with the blessing of Warner Bros., opened a crowdsourcing campaign today and asked for $2 million dollars to shoot a "Veronica Mars" movie. Four-and-a-half hours later, the project hit the $1 million mark, and now it's a few hundred thousand shy of its goal.
It's the fastest-growing film campaign on the crowdsourcing site, and this is the first time a major movie studio has been connected to a Kickstarter project like this. Warner Bros., a studio that normally makes big budget films costing tens of millions of dollars, wasn't going to foot the bill for a lower budget film like "Veronica Mars," based on a canceled TV series focused on a high school girl who is also a private investigator. So, Thomas suggested Kickstarter and Warner Bros. gave him the green light. If the fans would help pay for production, the studio would take care of the costs associated with distributing the movie. … Read more
The sample contained traces of sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and carbon -- key chemical ingredients for life.
For astronomers, the news constitutes the latest clue in their pursuit of a scientific holy grail: Answering the big question about whether life ever existed on the Red Planet. Their challenge until now has been to confirm whether the Martian atmosphere could have supported a habitable environment. The preliminary evidence now suggests the answer is yes, with the rock samples pointing to evidence that conditions on Mars were once favorable for life. A couple of particularly intriguing clues: The presence of clay as well as the absence of "abundant salt" point to the likely existence of an ancient environment where there was fresh water, according to NASA.… Read more
Work to carry out what amounts to an electronic brain transplant aboard the Curiosity Mars rover -- a complex sequence of steps to switch operations to a backup flight computer -- is continuing this week amid ongoing analysis to figure out how to resolve memory corruption discovered last week in the rover's active computer.
The memory glitch interrupted science operations, forcing flight controllers to put the craft in a low-activity "safe mode" while the computer switch was implemented.
Richard Cook, the Mars Science Laboratory project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., told CBS News … Read more
Space radiation may be to blame for corrupted memory used by the Curiosity Mars rover's flight computer, resulting in software glitches that interrupted the flow of science data Wednesday and prompting ground controllers to switch over to a back-up computer Thursday, NASA officials said.
Engineers are reviewing telemetry and diagnostic tests using ground systems to figure out what went wrong and how to restore the original computer system to normal operation.
"We were in a state where the software was partially working and partially not, and we wanted to switch from that state to a pristine version of … Read more
A wealthy space tourist announced plans today to launch a high-risk manned flight to Mars in 2018, sending a man and a woman on a bare-bones 501-day round-trip flyby, passing just 100 miles above the Red Planet before heading back to Earth.
Dennis Tito, the first private citizen to fly aboard the International Space Station, said he will provide two years of funding to support the Inspiration Mars Foundation, a nonprofit he started to execute the proposed venture. Additional money will be raised from private sources.
"We have 50 years of experience," he told reporters during a news conference. "We can do things a lot faster, we just need a commitment. I'm not worried about getting this done from that standpoint. The vehicles are there, we have time to get it together."… Read more
Mars has established a pretty pervasive image for itself. It's the big Red Planet. It's the Clifford the Dog of space. You don't confuse it with all those other, less glamorous, planets. Still, Mars isn't all that it seems. Scratch the surface and it appears to have more in common with the skin tone of an elephant than the ruddy glow of a tomato.
The Curiosity Rover recently broke new ground by drilling into a rock sample, the first time such an activity has been accomplished on a planet other than Earth. What lay beneath wasn't the familiar rust color of the surface, but a decidedly dull gray.… Read more