Three Years on Mars – Curiosity Rover Report

Hi I’m Ashwin Vasavada, project scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory mission and this is your special edition, 3rd Anniversary Curiosity Rover Report. It’s a summer of milestones for Mars Exploration. Fifty years ago, Mariner 4 became the first spacecraft to take close-up pictures of Mars. Thirty-nine years ago, the…

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Inspects Unusual Bedrock

Approaching the third anniversary of its landing on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has found a target unlike anything it has studied before — bedrock with surprisingly high levels of silica. Silica is a rock-forming compound containing silicon and oxygen, commonly found on Earth as quartz. A rock outcrop dubbed…

Mars Rover’s Laser-Zapping Instrument Gets Sharper Vision

Tests on Mars have confirmed success of a repair to the autonomous focusing capability of the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. This instrument provides information about the chemical composition of targets by zapping them with laser pulses and taking spectrometer readings of the induced sparks….

Curiosity Sniffs Out History of Martian Atmosphere

NASA’s Curiosity rover is using a new experiment to better understand the history of the Martian atmosphere by analyzing xenon. While NASA’s Curiosity rover concluded its detailed examination of the rock layers of the “Pahrump Hills” in Gale Crater on Mars this winter, some members of the rover team were…

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds Biologically Useful Nitrogen on Mars

A team using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover has made the first detection of nitrogen on the surface of Mars from release during heating of Martian sediments. The nitrogen was detected in the form of nitric oxide, and could be released from the…