Inside "The Domes," Where NASA Drives the Spacecraft of the Future

Deep in the belly of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, lie "The Domes." Step into one of them and suddenly you're standing on the surface of Mars, or you're flying high above the Earth, looking out from the International Space Station. This is the Systems Engineering Simulator, where we learned to fly,… » 11/19/14 12:16pm 11/19/14 12:16pm

Seven Reasons Curiosity Is the Baddest Rover Ever

While Curiosity was still flying through space, way before it landed on Mars, scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory were busy working with a clone rover back on earth. In a simulation area called the Mars Yard, scientists put the duplicate Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) through a series of experiments to… » 8/07/12 11:00am 8/07/12 11:00am

The Beautiful Video Game That Drives NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover

So MSL Curiosity has landed. It survived the seven minutes of terror and safely touched down on the surface of Mars. A miracle in its own right. Now that it's there, it needs a way to move around. Anyone who played Lunar Lander and Moon Patrol already knows how they're going to do this: Video games. » 8/06/12 11:00am 8/06/12 11:00am

How NASA Solved a $100 Million Problem for Five Bucks

A few years ago, back when the Constellation Program was still alive, NASA engineers discovered that the Ares I rocket had a crucial flaw, one that could have jeopardized the entire project. They panicked. They plotted. They steeled themselves for the hundreds of millions of dollars it was going to take to make… » 1/31/12 3:20pm 1/31/12 3:20pm