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NASA's veteran Mars rover ready to start 10th year

As NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity neared the ninth anniversary of its landing on Mars, the rover was working in the 'Matijevic Hill' area seen in this view from Opportunity's panoramic camera (Pancam). (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.)

Jan. 22, 2013 — NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, one of the twin rovers that bounced to airbag-cushioned safe landings on Mars nine years ago this week, is currently examining veined rocks on the rim of an ancient crater.

Opportunity has driven 22.03 miles (35.46 kilometers) since it landed in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars on Jan. 24, 2004, PST (Jan. 25, Universal Time). Its original assignment was to keep working for three...

Mars' Reull Vallis: A river ran through it

Topographic view of Reull Vallis: This colour-coded overhead view is based on an ESA Mars Express HRSC digital terrain model of the Reull Vallis region, from which the topography of the landscape can be derived. The colour coding shows the depth of the main channel, coloured in blue, which contrasts clearly against the Promethei Terra Highlands and their smooth, soft and rounded mountain tops. Centred at around 41°S and 107°E, the image has a ground resolution of about 16 m...

Mars may have supported life: Martian underground could contain clues to life's origins

This view of layered rocks on the floor of McLaughlin Crater shows sedimentary rocks that contain spectroscopic evidence for minerals formed through interaction with water. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

Jan. 20, 2013 — Minerals found in the subsurface of Mars, a zone of more than three miles below ground, make for the strongest evidence yet that the red planet may have supported life, according to research "Groundwater activity on Mars and implications...

ChemCam follows the 'Yellowknife Road' to Martian wet area

The Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity Rover recently took this photo of the Martian landscape looking toward Mount Sharp while on its way toward Yellowknife Bay—an area where researchers have found minerals indicating the past presence of water. (Credit: NASA)

Jan. 15, 2013 — Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the French Space Agency have tracked a trail of minerals that point to the prior presence of water at the Curiosity rover site on...

NASA Mars rover preparing to drill into first Martian rock

'John Klein' Site Selected for Curiosity's Drill Debut: This view shows the patch of veined, flat-lying rock selected as the first drilling site for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. Image credit: (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Jan. 16, 2013 — NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is driving toward a flat rock with pale veins that may hold clues to a wet history on the Red Planet. If the rock meets rover engineers' approval when Curiosity rolls up to it in coming days, it will...

Asteroid deflection mission seeks smashing ideas

AIDA mission concept: The US-European Asteroid Impact and Deflection mission – AIDA. This innovative but low-budget transatlantic partnership involves the joint operations of two small spacecraft sent to intercept a binary asteroid. The first Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft, designed by the US Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory will collide with the smaller of the two asteroids. Meanwhile, ESA’s Asteroid Impact Monitor (AIM) craft will survey these...

NASA rules out Earth impact in 2036 for asteroid Apophis

Asteroid Apophis was discovered on June 19, 2004. (Credit: UH/IA)

Jan. 11, 2013 — NASA scientists at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., effectively have ruled out the possibility the asteroid Apophis will impact Earth during a close flyby in 2036. The scientists used updated information obtained by NASA-supported telescopes in 2011 and 2012, as well as new data from the time leading up to Apophis' distant Earth flyby Jan. 9...