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Curiosity, also known as the Mars Science laboratory, was launched from Earth in November last year and is now nearing the end of a 560-million-km journey across space

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Curiosity, the big robot rover NASA is sending to Mars, looks in excellent shape for its Monday (GMT) landing. Curiosity – also known as the Mars Science laboratory (MSL) – was launched from Earth in November last year and is now nearing the end of a 560-million-km journey across space. To reach its intended touch-down zone in a deep equatorial crater, the machine must enter the atmos...

Mars Curiosity rover has drilled into a rock that contains clay minerals, an indication of formation in, or substantial alteration by, neutral water

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NASA has reported that its Curiosity rover has made another significant discovery on Mars. Curiosity has drilled into a rock that contains clay minerals – an indication of formation in, or substantial alteration by, neutral water. Scientists say the find is one more step towards showing conditions on Mars in the distant past could have supported life. Many rocks studied previously were prob...

NASA Curiosity rover is very close to drilling into its first Martian rock

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NASA’s Curiosity rover is very close to drilling into its first Martian rock, with the set-up operation likely to begin next week. After breaking for the holidays, the mission team would be raring to undertake the task in the coming days, said lead scientist John Grotzinger. The robot has driven about 650 m from its landing site, dropping down into a depression known as Yellowknife Bay. It...

Curiosity rover is getting ready to zap its first Martian rock

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Curiosity rover is getting ready to zap its first Martian rock. A small stone lying just to the side of the vehicle at its landing site on the floor of Gale Crater has been selected as a test target for the ChemCam laser. The brief but powerful burst of light from this instrument will vaporize the surface of the rock, revealing details of its basic chemistry. Dubbed N165, the object is not expect...

NASA’s Curiosity rover has just landed on Mars

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NASA’s Curiosity rover has just landed on Mars. The one-ton vehicle was reported to have landed in a deep crater near the planet’s equator at 06:32 BST (05:32 GMT). It will now embark on a mission of at least two years to look for evidence that Mars may once have supported life. A signal confirming the rover was on the ground safely was relayed to Earth via NASA’s Odyssey satellite, w...

Curiosity rover has measured the Red Planet's atmospheric composition

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Curiosity rover has measured the Red Planet’s atmospheric composition. NASA’s robot sucked the air into its big Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument to reveal the concentration of different gases. It is the first time that the chemistry of the atmosphere has been tested from the surface of the planet since the Viking landers in the 1970s. The SAM analysis is ongoing but no major surpris...

Curiosity, the world's biggest extraterrestrial explorer has been launched today on a 354 million mile journey to Mars that hopes to discover whether the desolate planet was ever capable of supporting life

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Curiosity, the world’s biggest extraterrestrial explorer has been launched today on a 354 million mile journey to Mars that hopes to discover whether the desolate planet was ever capable of supporting life. NASA launched Curiosity rover – officially called the Mars Science Laboratory – at 10:02 am ET today into a cloudy Florida sky. Curiosity, described by one expert as a “Mars...

NASA has released the first spectacular images taken by the Mars rover Curiosity

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NASA has released the first spectacular images taken by the Mars rover Curiosity, detailing a mound of layered rock where scientists plan to focus their search for the chemical ingredients of life on the Red Planet. The stunning photographs reveal distinct tiers of near the base of the 3-mile-tall mountain that rises from the floor of the vast, ancient impact basin known as Gale Crater, where Cur...

NASA has reported its first setback in its Curiosity rover mission to Mars

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NASA has reported its first setback in its Curiosity rover mission to Mars. A sensor on the robot’s weather station that takes wind readings has sustained damage. The mission team stresses this is not a major problem and will merely degrade some measurements – not prevent them. It is not certain how the damage occurred but engineers suspect surface stones thrown up during Curiosity...

The Curiosity rover currently scanning the Red Planet has not detected any methane, a gas that is produced by living things

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NASA has failed to find any evidence that Mars’ atmosphere is supporting life after a year roaming the surface of the Red Planet, it was revealed today. The Curiosity rover currently scanning the Red Planet has not detected any methane, a gas that is produced by living things. Since landing in Gale Crater last year, every morning and evening Curiosity has analyzed Mars’ air and scanned it w...

NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars has finally drilled deep enough into a rock to acquire a powdered sample for analysis

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NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars has finally drilled deep enough into a rock to acquire a powdered sample for analysis. The fine grey tailings from the 6cm-hole will be sieved and inspected before being delivered to the robot’s onboard labs in the coming days. It will represent a historic first in planetary exploration – never before has the interior of a rock on another world bee...

NASA’s Curiosity robot, which is analyzing rock samples on Mars, is now running from a back-up computer

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Curiosity Mars rover has been put into “safe mode” after a computer glitch caused by corrupted files. NASA’s Curiosity robot, which is analyzing rock samples on Mars, is now running from a back-up computer. NASA scientists are looking into possible causes for the files on the robot’s flash memory being damaged. The fault means the rover’s work has been put on temporary hol...

The Curiosity rover remains perfectly on course to make its Monday (GMT) landing on the Red Planet

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The Curiosity rover remains perfectly on course to make its Monday (GMT) landing on the Red Planet, NASA says. The NASA robot’s flight trajectory is so good engineers cancelled the latest course correction they had planned. To be sure of touching down in the right place on the surface, the vehicle must hit a box at the top of the atmosphere that is just 3 km by 12 km. “Our inbound tra...

Pictures from the Mars Descent Imager (Mardi), even in their thumbnail form, have now allowed engineers to work out Curiosity's precise position on the planet

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Images of the surface of Mars taken by the Curiosity rover as it made its historic descent yesterday have now been released. NASA has provided almost 300 thumbnails from a sequence of pictures that will eventually be run together as a color hi-def movie. Visible in the timelapse is the heatshield discarded by the vehicle as it neared the ground. It was the crane that finally settled the robot on...

Curiosity rover has already turned up evidence of past flowing water on Mars

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Curiosity rover has only been on the surface of Mars seven weeks but it has already turned up evidence of past flowing water on the planet. The robot has returned pictures of classic conglomerates – rocks that are made up of gravels and sand. Scientists on the mission team say the size and rounded shape of the pebbles in the rock indicate they had been transported and eroded in water. Resea...

Curiosity rover on Mars has returned black and white images that capture part of its own body, its shadow on the ground and views off to the horizon

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NASA’s Curiosity rover has lifted its mast and used its high navigation cameras for the first time. The robot vehicle has returned black and white images that capture part of its own body, its shadow on the ground and views off to the horizon. Spectacular relief – the rim cliffs of the crater in which the rover landed – can be seen in the distance. Curiosity – also known as the...

NASA’s Curiosity rover is preparing to scoop its first sample of Martian soil

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NASA’s Curiosity rover is preparing to scoop its first sample of Martian soil. The vehicle, which landed on the Red Planet in August, has driven up to a pile of sandy material that mission scientists have dubbed “Rocknest”. This weekend, the robot will dig into the ground with its clamshell-shaped trowel, with the aim first of cleaning the mechanism of earthly contamination. Later, it...

Jake Matijevic rock found on Mars by Curiosity rover

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It was expected to be just another lump of dull basalt, but the first rock examined up close by NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars proved to be a little more interesting. The pyramidal object, nicknamed “Jake Matijevic” after a recently deceased mission engineer, had a composition not seen on the planet before. Scientists have likened it to some unusual but well known rocks on Earth...

Curiosity rover has completed its first close-contact science on Mars

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...images have indicated is a junction between three types of geological terrain. It is at Glenelg that Curiosity will likely use one of its key arm tools – its drill – for the first time. Even before the rover gets to the junction, it will look for some suitable soil to scoop and deliver to its onboard laboratories for analysis. NASA’s $2.6 billion mission touched down on the Red P...

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity has zapped its first Martian rock

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NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity has zapped its first Martian rock. Curiosity rover fired its ChemCam laser at a tennis-ball-sized stone lying about 2.5 m away on the ground. The brief but powerful burst of light from the instrument vaporized the surface of the rock, revealing details of its basic chemistry. This was just target practice for ChemCam, proving it is ready to begin the...

NASA’s Curiosity rover turned its six wheels briefly on Wednesday to satisfy engineers that its locomotion system was in full working order

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NASA’s Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars two weeks ago, turned its six wheels briefly on Wednesday to satisfy engineers that its locomotion system was in full working order. Curiosity is a sophisticated mobile science laboratory. It has been built to drive at least 20 km across the Martian landscape to investigate whether the planet ever had the conditions necessary for life. Wednesday’...

NASA has released the first full color mosaic from its Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars

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NASA has released the first full color mosaic from its Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. Scientists have remarked that the rover’s surroundings resembled parts of the southwestern US. Curiosity’s ultimate goal is to drive towards a peak – informally known as Mount Sharp – to study its rocks. NASA has released the first full color mosaic from its Curiosity rover on t...

Curiosity rover has returned its first 360-degree color panorama from the surface of Mars

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Curiosity rover has returned its first 360-degree color panorama from the surface of Mars. The robot used its wideangle science camera placed high up on a mast to acquire the frames. The low-resolution vista shows at centre the big mountain that lies in the middle of Gale Crater, the deep depression in which the rover landed. Curiosity rover has returned its first 360-degree color panorama from...

Curiosity soil samples showed that Mars' dusty red covering holds about 2 percent by weight of water

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According to an analysis done onboard NASA’s Curiosity rover, there is a surprising amount of water bound up in the soil of Mars. When it heated a small pinch of dirt scooped up from the ground, the most abundant vapor detected was H2O. Curiosity researcher Laurie Leshin and colleagues tell Science Magazine that Mars’ dusty red covering holds about 2% by weight of water. This could be a use...

Mars valleys, channels and deltas viewed from orbit have long been thought to be the work of water erosion

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...that many of the landscapes seen on Mars were indeed cut by flowing water. The valleys, channels and deltas viewed from orbit have long been thought to be the work of water erosion, but it is NASA’s latest rover, Curiosity, that has provided the “ground truth”. Researchers report its observations of rounded pebbles on the floor of the Red Planet’s 100 mile-wide Gale Crater....