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JPL Articles

Mars Rover Curiosity Drills a Rock, Makes History
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After months of careful planning and tests, Mars rover Curiosity has finally used its hammering drill to collect a bedrock sample on Mars. The event marks the first time any rover has drilled into a rock on the red planet. …

Comet ISON Spotted by NASA’s Deep Impact

NASA‘s Deep Impact spacecraft has snapped several images of the comet ISON (C/2012 S1). The images were obtained over 36 hours on January 17 and 18, from a distance of 793 million km (493 million miles). The comet is expected …

Mars Rover Curiosity Pounds a Rock

NASA today announced that Mars rover Curiosity is closer than ever to the first full use of its hammering drill. Over the weekend the rover completed a successful test of the drill’s percussive action. The “drill-on-rock checkout” left a mark …

NASA to Launch ISS Instrument to Monitor Ocean Winds

NASA announced this week that it will launch an instrument called the ISS-RapidScat to the International Space Station (ISS) next year to measure ocean winds. The instrument, originally built to test NASA;s QuikScat satellite, will measure the Earth’s ocean surface …

Mars Rover Curiosity Braces For Drilling

For over one month now, Mars rover Curiosity has been preparing to use its hammering drill for the first time. It now appears that the rover’s first drill test is now imminent. Researchers announced that they have placed the drill …

Mars Rover Curiosity Takes Nighttime Photos

NASA announced today that Mars rover Curiosity has used the camera on its arm to take pictures at night. The photos were of a rock named “Sayunei,” which Curiosity had purposely scuffed with its left-front wheel to uncover dust-free materials. …

Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 9 Years on Mars

Though the focus of 2012 was the new Curiosity rover, NASA’s Opportunity rover is still exploring the Martian landscape. The rover has now been examining the red planet for nine years. This week NASA revealed that Opportunity is currently examining …

Climate Change is Threatening the Amazon Rainforest, Says NASA

A NASA-led study has shown that a part of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California is still suffering from a “megadrought” that began in 2005. Researchers cited this and damage due to drought recurrences in the Amazon during …

NASA Looks For the Origin of Life at the Bottom of the Ocean

NASA this week revealed that it is simulating the conditions believed to have created the organic molecules that may have been the precursors to life on Earth. An experiment at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is mimicking the conditions observed …

Mars Rover Curiosity Drilling Rock Chosen

For more than a month now, Mars Rover Curiosity has been preparing to test its hammering drill on a Martian rock. The rover team took great pains to scan a low-lying area called “Yellowknife Bay” for the perfect rock specimen. …

“Doomsday” Asteroid Won’t Hit Earth in 2036
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Earlier this week, astronomers with the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that they were collecting data on the asteroid Apophis as it made its most recent approach to Earth. The data was, among other things, meant to narrow the prediction …

Mars Rover Curiosity Tidies Up a Rock

Though most of Mars rover Curiosity‘s on-board tools have already been used successfully, a few specific instruments remain to be tested. One of those instruments is the rover’s hammering drill, which it is preparing to test on a rock in …

Mars Rover Curiosity Resumes Mars Exploration

The Mars Rover Curiosity team stationed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) had a big year in 2012. Aside from nailing the rover’s landing, the researchers kept Mars hours for months while testing Curiosity’s capabilities. So, during the holidays the …

100 Billion Planets Populate the Milky Way Galaxy, Say Astronomers

For years now, NASA‘s Kepler mission has been confirming the existence of planets outside our solar system. Now, a new review of Kepler data suggests that there are billions upon billions of planets just in the Milky Way galaxy. “There …

Asteroid in 2040 Will Miss the Earth, Just Barely
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An asteroid discovered just last year and given tentative 1 in 500 odds of hitting the Earth in February 2040 is now no longer a danger to the planet, according to astronomers. Data gathered using the Gemini North telescope in …

Cassini to Track Venus Transit, Study Exoplanets

NASA announced today that it will begin using the Cassini probe’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) for uses other than studying Saturn and its moons. On Friday, from its vantage point in orbit around Saturn, the VIMS will be …

Mars Rover Curiosity Prepares to Drill a Rock

Nearly all of the instruments packed into Mars rover Curiosity‘s frame have been utilized, but once crucial test has yet to be performed. NASA scientists will soon use Curiosity’s percussive drill to powder the interior of a rock for analysis, …

NASA Looks Back on a Historic Year in Space [VIDEO]

This year, as usual, was a historic year for NASA, spaceflight, astronomy, and space exploration. Though NASA’s share of the U.S. federal budget has been falling for years now, the agency has an uncanny knack for stretching its budget and …

NASA Probes Smash Into Moon Mountain as Planned
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NASA’s GRAIL project spacecrafts, Ebb and Flow, crash-landed on the surface of the moon yesterday afternoon. The impact had been pre-planned, and occurred as predicted at 5:28 pm December 17, 2012. The landing site has been named in honor of …

NASA Probes Prepare to Slam Into the Moon
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NASA‘s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) probes today completed a burn that irreversibly altered their orbit and have begun skimming the surface of the moon. Over the weekend, the probes, named Ebb and Flow, will orbit ever closer to …

Mars Rover Curiosity to Drill Rocks in Yellowknife Bay

NASA reported this week that Mars Rover Curiosity recently drove 19 meters (63 feet) toward an area called “Yellowknife Bay. The drive represents the rover’s fourth consecutive driving day since leaving an outcrop called “Point Lake.” Curiosity has now driven …