A Look at How Mini Helicopters Could Help NASA's Future Rovers

Driving on the surface of Mars pretty much sucks. Even though the Opportunity rover celebrated its 11th anniversary on the Martian surface today, that robust little craft has also ran into tricky sand dunes and other perplexing surface anomalies. It sure would be nice if some aerial reconnaissance could identified… » 1/25/15 7:00pm Sunday 7:00pm

NASA's Opportunity Has Now Explored the Martian Surface for 11 Years

Eleven years ago today—in fact, at this very minute (12:05 am ET)—NASA's Opportunity rover touched down on Mars for what was supposed to be a 90-day mission. Since then, Opportunity has proven to be an engineering marvel by traveling almost 26 miles on the Martian surface, more than any other off-Earth surface vehicle. » 1/25/15 12:05am Sunday 12:05am

What Would Happen If the Earth Stopped Its Orbit? (Nothing Good)

Welcome to Reading List. Another year and another week means another roundup of great stories that might have squeaked by during the holiday. We've got some speculative doom and gloom, a look into the future of one of NASA's Mars rovers, and a profile of a man who is clickbait personified. Happy New Year and happy… » 1/04/15 2:00pm 1/04/15 2:00pm

Amnesiac Mars Rover Is Getting Brain Surgery From Millions of Miles Away

NASA has had some truly bad luck lately, underscored by the cancellation of an ambitious balloon mission due to a leak last week. Even Opportunity, the decade-old Mars rover that has surprised everyone by exploring for more than a decade after its mission ended, is showing signs of slowing down. Now, NASA has a plan… » 1/02/15 11:50am 1/02/15 11:50am

We Found a New and Cheaper Way to Get to Mars

There are myriad reasons why getting from Earth to Mars is hard, but chief among them are two 1) the massive amount of fuel needed and 2) a launch window that is limited to every 26 months, when the two planets are in optimal alignment. A couple of mathematicians have calculated a new path to Mars that solves both—and… » 12/23/14 4:25pm 12/23/14 4:25pm

Curiosity rover snaps cool Mars shot through damaged wheel

Curiosity snapped this cool closeup of its wheel on Mars soil last week. You can see the bumps and damage the tire. Note: I have color corrected and enhanced the original image for clarity. Note 2: Jesuschrist, that's a photo of freaking Mars, people! It still amazes me that this is happening. » 12/22/14 7:41pm 12/22/14 7:41pm

This Documentary Explains the Crazy Reality of Living on Mars

Do you want to go to space? Of course you do, and the fun thing is you (probably) can—if you have a shitload of money. The good news is that space tourism is getting cheaper and easier, so it's entirely likely that you might be able to afford it one day. But you probably don't want to say goodbye to Earth quite yet. » 10/30/14 3:51pm 10/30/14 3:51pm

Watch Live As a Mountain-Sized Comet Zooms By Mars

Siding Spring sounds like such a tranquil name for a massive comet. After traveling millions of years at the leisurely pace of about 33 miles per second, the comet will fly by Mars at around 2:25pm EDT or so, passing only 138,000 kilometers from the red planet. This is a little bit more than one-third the distance of… » 10/19/14 1:35pm 10/19/14 1:35pm