This Chart Shows Every Space Exploration Rover Ever Launched

Maybe it's been the exciting, messiah-like death-and-rebirth of China's lunar rover, Jade Rabbit, but I've been thinking a lot about robotic space rovers lately. There haven't really been all that many — just eight have actually made it to either the moon or Mars. And now, for your use, are all eight collected on this … » 2/20/14 3:23pm 2/20/14 3:23pm

It's Been a Full Decade Since We Landed the Spirit Rover on Mars

On January 4, 2004, the first of two identical robotic exploratory rovers, NASA's Spirit, snapped this stunning 360 degree image of its surroundings, moments after setting down on Mars. In the years to follow, both Spirit and its sister Opportunity helped revolutionize our understanding of the Red Planet. » 1/04/14 1:00pm 1/04/14 1:00pm

10 Years Ago, Opportunity Rover Began a 90-Day Mission That Never Ended

When NASA's Opportunity rover launched on July 7th, 2003, expectations were modest. It would spend 90 Martian days exploring soil and rock samples and taking panoramas of the Red Planet; anything else would be a bonus. Nearly ten years after its initial shift was up, Opportunity is still going strong. » 7/07/13 2:00pm 7/07/13 2:00pm

NASA's Student-Designed Explorer Launches Today

Whether you think it's our fault or not, the simple fact of the matter is that the Earth is heating up—so much so that last summer's heat caused surface melting along an unprecedented 97 percent of the Greenland ice sheet. Now, researchers are turning to an ever-ready solar rover to survey the damage. » 5/03/13 11:30am 5/03/13 11:30am

A Fantastical Look at Fixing the Curiosity Rover

After spending roughly $2.5 billion to build the Curiosity rover and deliver it to Mars, there's no way NASA would let something as trivial as a mechanical breakdown or software glitch stop its journey—not when we could just send up a repair-bot to fix it. Nicolas Hommel and Matthieu Findinier produced this bubbly… » 3/11/13 1:20pm 3/11/13 1:20pm

Battery-Powered Yeti Guides Antarctic Explorers Past Concealed…

Moving people and supplies across the Great White South is treacherous, difficult, and expensive with logistical costs constituting as much as 90 percent of an expedition's budget—about $125,000 a trip on average. And that's assuming the convoy isn't swallowed by an ice crevasse en route. But a new radar-equipped rover … » 3/11/13 11:30am 3/11/13 11:30am

Meet ATHLETE, NASA's Next Robot Moon Walker

To build and supply a lunar base, astronauts will need heavy-duty space trucks for transporting gear. There's just one problem: no roads. That's why NASA engineers designed the rover they call ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer)-to handle any terrain, whether dusty, rocky, or crater-y. » 1/23/13 12:40pm 1/23/13 12:40pm

Meet Trilobot, the Mars Spirit's Long Lost, Endearingly Stupid Third…

Just seeing the serious-looking picture above, you'd be forgiven for thinking the solar-powered Trilobot had crawled out of some Caltech basement lab, or shared a desert proving ground with a certain recently-immobilized Martian rover. Nope! It's art. Goofy art. » 5/28/09 6:40pm 5/28/09 6:40pm

NASA Releases Dirty Photos of Spirit Rover Solar Panels

Hey Pig Pen. Yeah, you, the Mars Spirit Rover with the red Martian dust all over your solar panels. We're filing a post on a bathtub later today, so why don't you take the hint and use one? What's that? You're millions of miles away and potable water may or may not be somewhere on the planet you're currently exploring? … » 4/27/08 4:00pm 4/27/08 4:00pm