14 Stories

China's Moon Lander May Die in Lunar Night

Jade Rabbit hits snag thanks to 'complicated lunar surface'

(Newser) - China's moon rover Jade Rabbit has "experienced a mechanical control abnormality" that might scuttle its mission entirely. The problem came due to the "complicated lunar environment," the state-run Xinhua news service reported on Saturday, just before the rover went into sleep mode for the lunar night.... More »

China's Moon Rover Sends Back First Pics

Mission declared 'complete success'

(Newser) - China has declared the first rover mission to the moon in more than 40 years a "complete success," with the first photos sent back from its Jade Rabbit rover, the BBC reports. The rover—photographed by the lander after it separated from the vehicle yesterday —sent back... More »

And It's Off: Beijing's Moon Rover Sets Out

'Jade Rabbit' separates from landing vehicle, begins exploration

(Newser) - China's first moon rover has touched the lunar surface and left deep traces on its loose soil, several hours after the country successfully carried out the first soft landing on the moon in nearly four decades. The 300-pound "Jade Rabbit" rover separated from the much larger landing vehicle... More »

Scientists Want 'Space Boat' to Explore Titan's Lakes

Saturn's moon is full of lakes, rivers, seas

(Newser) - If you think the Mars rover is cool, wait until you hear this: Scientists want to send a "space boat" to explore Saturn's largest moon, Titan. The floating probe would land in one of the moon's many methane lakes and would explore its many lakes, rivers, and... More »

Curiosity Sends Back First Color Photo

Martian rover's key camera 'working and awesome,' team says

(Newser) - NASA's Curiosity rover is feeding scientists with a steady stream of images, including the first one in color. The color photo shows the north wall and rim of the ancient crater where the rover made its amazing landing earlier this week, Reuters reports. The image, which appears fuzzy because... More »

Mars Rover Moves for 1st Time in 5 Months

Had to weather Martian winter

(Newser) - The Mars rover Opportunity is on the go again. After spending nearly five months conducting experiments in one spot, the NASA rover moved for the first time this week, rolling off the rock outcrop where it hunkered down for the Martian winter. The mission team received confirmation late Tuesday that... More »

Built for 90 Days, Mars Rovers Mark 5 Years

Spirit, Opportunity brave adversity, and they're not done yet

(Newser) - NASA’s twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity are celebrating their fifth birthdays on Mars after surviving more than 20 times their expected lifespan, reports. The two probes were each built for a 90-day trek across the Red Planet but have survived computer glitches and blistering weather conditions. “... More »

Mars Rovers Dodge NASA Cuts

Budget called for 1 to hibernate, 1 to go part-time

(Newser) - NASA has spared its far-flung Mars rovers from budget cuts, reports the Washington Post, after its administrator got wind of the plan to hibernate Spirit and roll Opportunity back to part time. "Closing down either of the rovers is not on the table," his spokesman said, and underlings... More »

$4M NASA Cut May Strand Mars Rover

Shrinking budget could also leave 300 jobless

(Newser) - NASA confirmed and denied plans today to scuttle a Mars rover and fire 300 employees, CNN reports. The space agency first announced a $4 million cut to the Mars program's $20 million budget and vowed to unplug one of two rovers roaming the red planet. Then a NASA spokesman told... More »

Mars Was Too Salty for Life

Rock analysis shows even microbes couldn't have survived in planet's early history

(Newser) - Hopes that Mars may once have supported life have taken a blow with the discovery that the planet has been too salty for life for much of its history, the BBC reports. "It was salty enough that only a handful of known terrestrial organisms would have a ghost of... More »

Opportunity Knocks on Mars

NASA's rover explores bedrock that could be ancient Martian surface

(Newser) - NASA’s Martian explorer Opportunity reached its first destination inside the cavernous Victoria Crater yesterday and prepared to get to work drilling into bright rock layers to collect data. The six-wheeled robot last month began the precarious decline into the crater, headed for a shiny piece of bedrock that scientists... More »

Mars Rover Steps Into Crater

NASA vehicle got second chance, after withstanding a two-month dust storm

(Newser) - The dust has finally settled on Mars, and NASA's Mars rover Opportunity took its first steps Tuesday 13 feet into the half-mile-wide Victoria Crater—and then backed out after slipping beyond acceptable levels. With Opportunity's six wheels perched over the lip of the crater, researchers paused the operation in order... More »

Martian Dust Imperils Rover Mission

After 3 weeks with no solar power, fears of permanent damage

(Newser) - The violent dust storm that has immobilized NASA's Mars rovers for three weeks shows no signs of letting up, and is now threatening the future of the mission. "This is by far the worst storm the rovers have ever seen,"  the rovers project manager told reporters. ... More »

Mars Rover Crater Descent Delayed by Dust Storm

(Newser) - Mars Opportunity Rover has been perched on the edge of Victoria Crater on Mars for nine months waiting to descend and explore the crater. Then, this week, when scientists were to send it down, a dust storm thousands of miles wide partially blocked the sunlight Opportunity needs to recharge its... More »

14 Stories