Japan's Decade-Long Mission to Mine an Asteroid

1999 JU3: It doesn't sound like a very noteworthy name. It's just one of more than 5,000 Apollo-class asteroids. But 1999 JU3 could become a household name if Japan succeeds in mining it—a mission that JAXA has struggled with for decades, often disastrously. And on Sunday, it revealed the probe that could redeem it. » 9/02/14 5:45pm 9/02/14 5:45pm

NASA Envisions Robot Future That's More Wall-E Than Phoenix Lander

When the Mars Phoenix Lander touched down on the Martian soil, discovered water ice and microbe-friendly acidic alkaline soil last month, it was quite a feat-for a human-controlled robot. But what if the robots sent to distant worlds could think for themselves, a la Wall-E and his Apple-esque main squeeze, EVE? NASA's… » 7/06/08 1:00pm 7/06/08 1:00pm