17 Stories

NASA Sends Rover Its Final Wake-Up Song, Gets Silence

Billie Holiday can't rouse the Mars rover Opportunity

(Newser) - NASA's Opportunity, the Mars rover that was built to operate for just three months but kept going and going, was pronounced dead Wednesday, 15 years after it landed on the red planet. The six-wheeled vehicle that helped gather critical evidence that ancient Mars might have been hospitable to life...

Mars Opportunity Rover May Have Died 'Honorable Death'

It hasn't been heard from since massive dust storm over the summer

(Newser) - "This could be the end" for NASA's Mars Opportunity rover, the principal investigator for the mission, Steven W. Squyres, tells the New York Times . The rover marked the 15th anniversary of its touchdown on the red planet Thursday—silently, the AP reports. It hasn't been heard from...

Martian Storm Unlike Any Seen This Decade

It now encircles the whole Red Planet

(Newser) - The oldest operating rover on Mars will have to hunker down a bit longer. The dust storm whomping the Red Planet since May 30, which covered a quarter of its surface a week ago, now circles the entire sphere. NASA's solar-powered Opportunity rover powered down in Mars' Perseverance Valley...

Why NASA Is Closely Watching a Gargantuan Dust Storm

The Opportunity rover is stuck in it on Mars

(Newser) - To call the Martian dust storm gargantuan wouldn't be an overstatement: As of Tuesday, it covered a quarter of the planet, making it the size of North America and Russia combined, per Space.com . And the Opportunity rover is in the middle of it. That's of concern. The...

NASA Lays to Rest Mars' Rock Mystery

Rover kicked it into camera's view, says NASA

(Newser) - Remember when the weird "jelly doughnut" object on Mars made news last month? NASA scientists were happily baffled after it suddenly appeared in images taken by the Opportunity rover. They're baffled no more: Scientists today said they're sure that the object is indeed a rock that got...

NASA Sued Over Mystery Mars Rock

Critic thinks it's a sign of life, wants a more thorough investigation

(Newser) - NASA says it's a rock, a weird one for sure, but "clearly a rock." One critic, however, thinks it just might be evidence of life on Mars, and he's sued the space agency to demand a closer investigation, reports the Houston Chronicle . The strangeness began last...

Aging Mars Rover May Have Made Its Best Find

Rocks full of likely clay minerals point to water

(Newser) - It's been more than nine years, but the Mars rover Opportunity just made a discovery that ranks among its biggest. The rover has discovered rock in the Endeavour Crater that's full of what appear to be clay minerals—suggesting it had extended contact with water, the BBC reports....

Mars Missions Slow in April, Thanks to Sun's Position

Interference means rovers pretty much get the month off

(Newser) - It's the Martian version of spring break: Curiosity and Opportunity , along with their spacecraft friends circling overhead, will take it easy this month because of the sun's interference. For much of April, the sun blocks the line of sight between Earth and Mars. This celestial alignment—called a...

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...

New Mars Sample Astounds Scientists, Hints at Water

Rocks may contain clay minerals that form in wet conditions

(Newser) - Scientists are marveling over the latest discovery by the Mars rover Opportunity, which seems to suggest that the red planet may be more hospitable to life than previously believed. The venerable robot—now 7.5 years into its exploration of the planet—has found a lighter-colored rock that “is...

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, Space.com 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. “...

7 Minutes of Danger in Mars Quest

Probe makes risky landing Sunday in hunt for water

(Newser) - The latest NASA mission searching for signs of life on Mars comes to a heart-pounding climax Sunday as the Phoenix Lander attempts to touch down at the red planet's pole in a hunt for water. The lander must perform complex maneuvers in which the whole mission is at risk for...

Mars Rovers Dodge NASA Cuts
 Mars Rovers Dodge NASA Cuts 

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...

$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...

Opportunity Knocks on Mars
Opportunity Knocks on Mars

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...

Mars Rover Steps Into Crater
Mars Rover Steps Into Crater

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...

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...

17 Stories