Europe’s Mars lander passes parachute test

Previous problems appear to have been ironed out in craft’s essential landing equipment. Ground tests designed to validate the deployment of the parachutes that will be used on the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars lander next year have started well at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. ESA’s ExoMars 2020 mission consists of the UK-built […]

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Rover Rounds Martian Dune to Get to the Other Side

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, partway through the first up-close study ever conducted of  extraterrestrial sand dunes, is providing dramatic views of a dune’s steep face, where cascading sand has sculpted very different textures than the wavy ripples visible on the dune’s windward slope. This Dec. 18, 2015, view of the downwind face of “Namib Dune” […]

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NASA Suspends 2016 Launch of InSight Mission to Mars

After thorough examination, NASA managers have decided to suspend the planned March 2016 launch of the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission. The decision follows unsuccessful attempts to repair a leak in a section of the prime instrument in the science payload. This artist’s concept from August 2015 depicts NASA’s […]

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Rocks Rich in Silica Present Puzzles for Mars Rover Team

In detective stories, as the plot thickens, an unexpected clue often delivers more questions than answers. In this case, the scene is a mountain on Mars. The clue: the chemical compound silica. Lots of silica. The sleuths: a savvy band of Earthbound researchers whose agent on Mars is NASA’s laser-flashing, one-armed mobile laboratory, Curiosity. This […]

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