Get a head start building your very own 1970s-style Mars orbiter by snapping up an engine built for NASA’s Viking project.
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A few weeks ago NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover found a bright, shiny object and everyone was excited! Then it turned out to be a piece of the rover that fell off and everyone was heart broken and started to sing “Bye, Bye Miss American Pie.”
Curiosity took a few scoops of Martian soil from a patch called “Rocknest.” That activity uncovered a bright particle in the pit it created. Unlike the earlier object, NASA has confirmed the new piece is of Martian origin. There are others like it scattered around.
NASA’s Curiosity rover has found definitive proof that water once ran across the surface of Mars, the agency announced today. NASA scientists say new photos from the rover show rocks that were smoothed and rounded by water. The rocks are in a large canyon and nearby channels that were cut by flowing water, making up an alluvial fan.
NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is set to make its first test drive today, then head out toward a spot called Glenelg in the coming days. Curiosity’s drivers will guide the six-wheeled robot on the 1,300-foot (400-meter) trek to Glenelg — not with a joystick, but via commands uploaded on a daily basis.
"The rover may be powered off while we’re actually doing our planning, and so we’ll have eight or more hours to do our sequencing," said Jeff Biesiadecki of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Then we’ll send up a command load to the rover and tell it step-by-step what it needs to do."
Since 2004, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has captured stunning images from the surface of the red planet. The solar-powered vehicle has been in continuous operation for years and serves as NASA’s “ground team” for Martian exploration.