The Inside Story of the Crazy Rocket Research at Jet Propulsion Labs

Everybody knows the cowboy reputation associated with early astronauts, the test-pilot swagger immortalized by Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff. But the rockets that took those astronauts to space were built by a group with an equally cinematic image: the nearly-unhinged, completely unfettered mad scientists at Jet… » 3/29/14 8:00pm 3/29/14 8:00pm

NASA's prettiest spaceship yet will take actual photos of alien worlds

PlanetQuest is NASA's effort to search for new Earths, exoplanets like ours that would probably contain life too. They're doing some really cool stuff, like this sunflower-telescope combo spaceship—"a cutting-edge effort to take pictures of planets orbiting stars far from the sun." Imagine that—seeing the actual planets! » 3/21/14 11:36am 3/21/14 11:36am

What a Rover Looks Like After a Decade on Mars

Curiosity is the hip name in Mars-rovin, but the Opportunity rover was doing it long, long before. Just yesterday Opportunity hit its ten-year anniversary on Mars—it left Earth ten years ago in July. Not bad for a mission intended to last a mere three (Earth) months. In celebration it sent back a selfie. » 1/26/14 7:19pm 1/26/14 7:19pm

Watch NASA’s Amazing Monkey Robot Walk, Climb and Clear Obstacles

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory drew some raised eyebrows when it first announced its latest hi-tech robot, based on primates, called Robosimian. But now it's being put into action—and it's amazing. » 1/14/14 8:10am 1/14/14 8:10am

NASA's Rock Climbing Robot Could Tackle Everest With Ease

Last year NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory revealed a Spiderman-inspired grippy claw that would let spacecraft easily grab onto passing asteroids and comets. Since then the technology has been further refined and now integrated into a rock-climbing robot called the LEMUR IIB that could put Sir Edmund Hillary to shame. » 11/06/13 10:20am 11/06/13 10:20am

Oculus Rift & NASA’s Simple VR Rig Can Let You Explore Mars from Home

Elon Musk wants to live on Mars, but he probably won't have the pleasure. And you aren't likely to either. But here's the next best thing, thanks to the help of the Oculus Rift and Virtuix Omni. Walk the red planet, without giving up the rest of your life to do it. » 8/06/13 2:40pm 8/06/13 2:40pm

A Moon With The Most Volcanic Activity Of Anything In The Solar System

This moon looks even more like it's made from green cheese than ours does, but it's not. Lame. Io, the innermost moon of Jupiter, is the most volcanically active body in our solar system because of gravitational "tides" exerted by Jupiter and its other moons. And the constantly flowing lava gives Io's surface frequent… » 8/04/13 5:06pm 8/04/13 5:06pm

Curiosity's First Year on Mars In a Whirlwind Two Minute Timelapse

It's hard to believe it, but Curiosity has been out there roving the Red Planet for almost a year already. And like any good space vehicle, it has been meticulously documenting its every step(?). That's a lot of documentation, so here's the quick version: 12 months in two minutes. Ready? Go. » 8/01/13 1:14pm 8/01/13 1:14pm

Robosimian: NASA’s New Monkey Robot Designed for Search & Rescue

Researchers at Boston Dynamics have designed one of the most advanced humanoids ever to compete in DARPA's upcoming Robotics Challenge. But NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is taking a decidedly different, and more primitive, approach. Like with the country's first space explorers, NASA is once again turning to… » 7/18/13 10:36am 7/18/13 10:36am

NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Lab Can Fill 9 Olympic Swimming Pools

One does not simply build an International Space Station. It takes years of planning and, for the astronauts charged with its assembly, months of training and Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) practice in a simulated micro-gravity environment—that also happens to be the world's largest indoor body of water. » 3/07/13 11:30am 3/07/13 11:30am

NASA's Developing Robotic "Hedgehogs" to Explore a Martian Moon

Exploring micro-gravity climates like Mars, which has just 38 percent of the Earth's force, or its moon, Phobos, which has 1000 times less gravity than that, can be a challenge for rovers that rely on wheels or skittering legs for traction. That's why Stanford researchers plan to survey the Martian moon with an fleet… » 1/02/13 4:40pm 1/02/13 4:40pm

You Can Listen to the Same Songs Mars Curiosity Wakes Up To

Every morning, when Mars Curiosity opens her amazing eyes, mission control plays a motivating, inspiring song to start the new sol, or martian day. Each track is delightful, and even though you're not a part of the ground team, they're wonderful ways to kickstart yourself out of bed. Here's the full list from the JPL,… » 8/28/12 12:15pm 8/28/12 12:15pm

Watch Mars Curiosity Wiggle Its Wheels in the Gravel

This futuristic black and white image was taken today by one of the navigation cameras on NASA's Curiosity rover. Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab are wiggling front left wheel in the Mars gravel as vehicle gets ready to start out on its first drive soon. The dots on the wheel stand for JPL, because NASA won't… » 8/21/12 1:45pm 8/21/12 1:45pm

Seven Years In the Life of One of the Engineers of the Mars Curiosity…

With all the excitement of the seven minutes of terror and glory, it's easy to forget that there were seven years of suffering and hard work to make it all happen. Seven years of the life of people like Adam Steltzner or our friend Mark Rober, the iPad costume guy. » 8/16/12 4:40pm 8/16/12 4:40pm

Mars Curiosity Brain Transplant Complete

The Mars Curiosity Rover has completed its brain transplant, upgrading its operating system and apps. Now it's ready to start her exploration journey across the Gale Crater, en route to slice and dice Mount Sharp on a search to find life in the Red Planet. » 8/14/12 6:40pm 8/14/12 6:40pm

Talk to the Man Who Led Curiosity to the Surface of Mars: Adam…

By now you probably know his story: he's the man who went from sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll to science'n'engineering, from playing the bass guitar in the Bay Area to the genius who led Curiosity to the surface of Mars, turning seven minutes of terror into total triumph. » 8/14/12 12:40pm 8/14/12 12:40pm