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Curiosity

  1. NASA Offers Up $20,000 If You Can Think of a Use for 660 Pounds of Dead Weight on Mars Lander

    It's a major award!

    The ballast on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory entry-descent-landing (MEDLI) system is very important for science in that, without it, the spacecraft wouldn't be able to put robots and other heavy objects safely on the surface of another planet. However, it's not actually very useful to science in that it's a bunch of extra weight on a spacecraft that could be better used for scientific equipment. That's where you and your brilliant idea come in.

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  2. NASA’s MAVEN Is Now in Orbit Around Mars to Study Its Atmosphere and Climate Change

    Your carbon footprint is off the hook for this one.

    Studying Earth's climate has grown too contentious, so NASA's brilliant scientists sent a satellite to orbit Mars and study its less politically divisive atmosphere. Or they just really want to learn more about how Mars works, since they're getting kind of tired of just sending robots there and sending people is dangerous.

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  3. Neil deGrasse Tyson and Felicia Day Narrate a Video About the Mars Curiosity Rover

    More space videos narrated by these two please.

    Need some inspiration for why it's worth doing things like landing SUV-sized robots on other planets? Watch this video about the Mars Curiosity rover from Caltech. It's narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Felicia Day, and it tells what we really sent to Mars—our curiosity.

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  4. Could Plants Grow on Mars? Proposed Mission Wants to Find Out

    "Bring me a shrubbery!" —Mars Curiosity Rover... probably.

    Just because no life has been found on Mars, doesn't mean life couldn't survive there—right? That's the thought behind a proposed mission that would attempt to grow a plant on the Martian surface when the next rover lands there in 2021. Besides sprucing up the place, this could pave the way for long-term settlements.

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  5. LEGO’s Mars Curiosity Rover Set Is Now Available, but It’s Already out of Stock

    Please make a Bobak Ferdowsi minifig to go with this.

    The LEGO Mars Curiosity Rover set is finally available for sale, or was, briefly, before it sold out. We haven't seen any on eBay yet either, but when they do appear, they'll probably be somewhere between the $29.99 LEGO price, and the $2.5 billion price of the actual Curiosity mission.

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  6. It’s Raining Mars – Hallelujah! But Seriously, Bits Of Mars Are Falling to Earth As Meteorites

    We're all really sorry for that terrible headline.

    It's been speculated for decades that little bits of Mars have been raining down on the Earth, but Mars rover Curiosity has finally proven it: we're basically being aggressively assaulted by the red planet, and Martian rocks are just about everywhere.

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  7. Curiosity Has Found Water Bound Up in the Soil of Mars

    We want to go to Mars and give Curiosity a high five.

    The Curiosity rover has found water on Mars, or rather in Mars. The rover analyzed a soil sample and found it to be made up of about two percent water. It's not exactly an ocean, but it's significant. Curiosity was sent to Mars to find out if the planet could have once supported life, and water is a big component in that.

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  8. Curiosity Rover Basically Gets Its Learner’s Permit, Drives Itself With New Autonomous Navigation System

    No one likes a backseat driver. Not even robots on Mars.

    The Curiosity Rover tried out a new feature yesterday when it successfully tested out an automatic navigation system that let it decide for itself how to safely drive on Mars. Curiosity doesn't seem old enough to drive, but I guess it's ruled by Martian law at this point.

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  9. Rover Watches Mars’ Moons Pass One Another In The Night For First Time Ever [Video]

    Man, I wish we had two moons...

    Today, NASA demonstrated just how neat it would be if the Earth had two moons. This video, stitched together from numerous stills captured by the Mars Curiosity rover's Mast camera, offer the first look at Mars' larger moon, Phobos, passing in front of and blotting out the planet's smaller moon, Deimos.

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  10. New Study Suggests Snowfall on Mars

    Snowsuits that the little green men might have worn as of yet unconfirmed.

    While scientists are now certain that there was once water on Mars, there are still many questions about what that means. Questions linger over how much water there was, what form it may have taken, and what role it had in the Martian ecosystem. Researchers at Brown University have been studying some of these questions, and have found evidence to support the theory that the water regularly precipitated on Mars, suggesting a history of snowy seasons on the Red Planet.

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  11. Stop What You’re Doing and Look at This Billion-Pixel Panorama of Mars

    In case you were wondering what your next desktop background should be...here you go. You're welcome.

    No, seriously, check it out. This is the first gigapixel image produced from almost 900 images snapped by the Curiosity Rover, and all billion-plus pixels of it are totally amazing. The clarity with which you can see the rocky landscape of the Red Planet, looking south from the it's perch at the so-called Rock Nest, is unmatched by any images we've seen. It's like being there. You can almost feel the Martian wind blowing crimson sand past you. You can see the amazing panorama courtesy of NASA right here, along with the option to view the image on a cylinder, look at raw and color-corrected versions, and of course zoom in to get a better look at the details of what certainly seems like every rock on the planet.

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  12. “Mars Rat” is Just a Rock on Mars, Not a Rat, Because Apparently People Need to Hear That

    Just because a rock looks like an animal doesn't mean that there's a rat on Mars, so everybody relax.

    I've seen this story popping up a few places, and it's been getting on my nerves. What you see in that picture is not some kind of Martian rat or lizard. It is a rock. It's not even a rock that looks that much like a rat or a lizard. Our brains are wired for us to recognize familiar shapes and see faces. That's all this is.

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  13. Buggy Curiosity Rover Retreats Back Into Safe Mode

    Following last week's momentous discovery that the chemistry of Mars could have once supported life, the Curiosity rover is on the fritz again. Engineers at NASA returned the rover to safe mode after noting a malfunction in its software, marking the second time in recent memory that the rover has needed to take a break and get its act together. In all fairness to Curiosity, though, finding evidence that an alien planet could once have supported life is probably tiring work, and we're not inclined to begrudge it a little nap in the wake of its biggest news yet. Little guy is all tuckered out!

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  14. NASA Reveals Contents Of Martian Rock Analyzed By Curiosity, Watch It Live Here

    Just what was in that sample of rock the Curiosity rover drilled out of Mars? We don't know yet, but we'll find out later this afternoon, and we'd love for you to join us. Watch with us live at 1:00 pm EST as NASA announces the contents of the rock sample and explains why those results are important. Chances are this won't be the end of the story on whether or not Mars was once capable of supporting life, but it has the potential to be a major piece of that puzzle, and you can watch its reveal live below thanks to the magic of NASA TV.

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  15. Curiosity Rover Leaves Safe Mode, Comes Back Online

    This morning, we tip our hats to NASA's hardware gurus, who have successfully rebooted the computer that runs the Curiosity rover, letting it get back to work after a few long, nail-biting days operating in 'safe mode' on it's second computer system. While the backup kept the rover running, it was essentially on life support, an unable to do the science we've come to treasure from it. So here's hoping you had a nice nap, Curiosity. Now get back to work -- this ain't no union shop.

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  16. Curiosity Rover Gets Latest Taste Of Martian Bedrock, Chemical Analysis Underway

    The Curiosity Rover got its latest taste of Martian bedrock drilled from the planet's surface this week, and we are left to assume that it tasted like victory. Victory and sand, sure, but mostly victory. After penetrating the surface of the planet earlier this month, yesterday saw Curiosity ingest samples into its internal chemistry labs, meaning new analysis of previously untouched Martian soil is officially under way.

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  17. NASA Hosting Curiosity Rover Teleconference at 3pm ET, Watch It Live Here

    This afternoon NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be hosting a live teleconference to update everyone on how the Mars Curiosity rover is doing. It seems like things are going well. Earlier today the team behind the rover confirmed that Curiosity collected the first ever sample from the interior of a Martian rock. The teleconference will start at 3pm ET, and we have the live feed right here for your convenience.

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  18. Scientists Say Europa, Not Mars, Is Best Place To Search For Life

    Searching for life on Mars is all the rage right now. We've covered the Curiosity rover mission quite a bit here at Geekosystem, because NASA shot a robot at a planet, landed it safely on the surface, and now that robot is drilling and sending back data. That's amazing. As amazing at it is, though, some scientists think we should be using our resources to look for life in a more likely spot -- Jupiter's moon Europa.

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  19. Curiosity Rover Gently Penetrates Martian Surface for the First Time

    After celebrating their six month anniversary earlier this week, the Curiosity rover has finally consummated its relationship with the planet Mars by drilling its first hole into the rocky surface. Curiosity and Mars have been fooling around for a while now, with the rover analyzing samples and sending photos of the planet's mounds and craters to all its friends, but the two finally went all the way this weekend. Curiosity's next step is to further probe the hole to search for evidence of a once wet environment.

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  20. You Can See Curiosity’s Tracks On Mars From Orbit

    See that newly formed set of tracks in Mars' Gale Crater? Those are the tracks left behind by the Curiosity rover, which can apparently be seen from orbit. Well, from orbit around Mars and with about a bazillion dollars worth of camera equipment, we mean. Still, it's pretty cool to see the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's latest shot of the rover's... rovings, I guess? It's good to know that there's a backup plan in place on the chance that NASA loses contact with the rover, even if being able to see where it's tracks suddenly end seems like a pretty low-tech solution to a potential problem. Keep reading for a bigger photo with more Mars goodness.

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