Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Mars

  • Curiosity rover begins climb up ‘Vera Rubin Ridge’

    Jim SharkeySeptember 17th, 2017

    NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has started the steep climb up an iron-oxide bearing ridge on the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp that has long been of interest to researchers. "Vera Rubin Ridge", also known as "Hematite Ridge", was informally named in early 2017 in memory of pioneering astrophysicist Vera Cooper Rubin, whose research provided evidence for the existence of dark matter.

  • Highlights from 20th Annual International Mars Society Convention

    Paul KnightlySeptember 15th, 2017

    IRVINE, Calif. — The 20th Annual International Mars Society Convention happened at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), during September 7–10, 2017. A variety of presentations were made by keynote speakers regarding various aspects of the exploration of Mars.

  • NASA’s InSight lander to study interior of Mars

    Jim SharkeyAugust 30th, 2017

    NASA's next robotic mission to Mars, a lander called InSight, is on schedule to launch next May from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. InSight will be the first interplanetary mission launched from the West Coast of the United States. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is currently testing and assembling the spacecraft in a cleanroom facility near Denver, Colorado. 

  • Mars 160: Crew returns to ‘Earth’

    Paul KnightlyAugust 21st, 2017

    The Mars Society's Mars 160 mission simulation has concluded and the six members of the international crew have started making their way home to “Earth”. The simulation in the Canadian high Arctic ended on Aug. 14, 2017, and the crew was flown out from the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Aug. 16.

  • Curiosity spots clouds drifting across Martian sky

    Jim SharkeyAugust 15th, 2017

    Wispy clouds resembling Earth's ice-crystal clouds move across the Martian sky in new images from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. The clouds are the most clearly visible so far from Curiosity, which landed on Mars in Gale Crater five years ago this month. Clouds in the Martian sky have been previously observed by Curiosity and other missions to the Martian surface, including NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander.

  • NASA contracts energy firm to refine nuclear thermal propulsion concepts

    Collin SkocikAugust 14th, 2017

    As the U.S. government continues to pursue plans for a crewed mission to Mars, NASA has contracted with BWXT Nuclear Energy Inc. of Lynchburg, Virginia, to advance concepts in Nuclear Thermal Propulsion, which could drastically reduce travel times to Mars.

  • Mars 160: Study evaluates crew performance, EVA procedures for future missions

    Paul KnightlyAugust 14th, 2017

    Over the last week, a break in the weather allowed the crew of the Mars Society's Mars 160 mission to conduct multiple science extravehicular activities (EVAs). The six-person crew wrapped up its last full week in simulation, capping off a shortened "Mars" mission at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) in the Canadian high Arctic.

  • Mars 160: EVA’s traverse nearly 500 million years of geological history

    Paul KnightlyAugust 5th, 2017

    The crew of Mars 160 continued to carry out its science research objectives despite poor weather as the second part of the Mars Society's twin analog Mars 160 mission wrapped up its third of five weeks in the Canadian high arctic. The shortened mission timeline, caused by lingering snow melt at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS), has meant expediting the research schedule.

  • Mars 160: Crew enters simulation, conducts first EVA’s

    Paul KnightlyJuly 31st, 2017

    The Mars 160 mission entered into simulation on July 20, 2017. It has since had a busy week in the arctic with its six crew members carrying out their science and research goals for the mission. Mars 160 is a two-phase Mars analog mission sponsored by the Mars Society.

  • Opportunity rover takes ‘Sprained Ankle’ Panorama

    Jim SharkeyJuly 26th, 2017

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover "Opportunity" recently recorded a panoramic view before entering the "Perseverance Valley", which descends the inner slope of Endeavour Crater's rim. The valley is a major destination for the rover's extended mission.

  • Giant asteroid crashed into Mars billions of years ago, study suggests

    Tomasz NowakowskiJuly 24th, 2017

    The complex geology of Mars and the origin of its two small irregular moons has mystified planetary scientists for some time. A new study, published in June in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, reveals that the Red Planet had suffered a giant asteroid collision nearly four-and-a-half billion years ago which could account for some of Mars' geological oddities.

  • Mars 160: 6-person crew arrives at Arctic station

    Paul KnightlyJuly 22nd, 2017

    The second phase of the Mars Society’s Mars 160 mission began at the end of June 2017 in the Canadian high Arctic. A six-person crew is staying at the organization's Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) for several weeks. However, due to inclement weather, the crew was unable to make it to FMARS until July 17.

  • NASA prepares its Martian explorers for solar conjunction radio silence

    Curt GodwinJuly 16th, 2017

    For more than twenty years, NASA has had explorers surveying the Red Planet. Dutifully, the stalwart robotic travelers have followed commands beamed from their Earth-bound handlers and returned gigabytes of information of their Martian observations.

  • NASA scientists designing Martian dust filter

    Collin SkocikJuly 7th, 2017

    One of the challenges that astronauts will face on Mars is the presence of the fine Martian dust. Not only can the dust get into equipment and cause damage, but also it is extremely toxic with perchlorates.

  • New driving algorithm helps protect Curiosity rover’s wheels

    Jim SharkeyJuly 4th, 2017

    The six wheels of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover have experienced considerable wear and tear since the one-ton rover landed on Mars on August 6, 2012. However, a new algorithm is helping the rover drive more carefully over rocks on the Martian surface to reduce wheel wear.