Last week, NASA's Cassini spacecraft slammed into the day side of Saturn, the brief flash of its vaporisation marking the end of a 13-year mission. But it took people to turn this hunk of aluminium and silicon into an extension of our curiosity.
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Back in June, after installing a new lithium-ion battery into its ape-inspired RoboSimian and plugging it into charge, researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory had their lunches cut short when the battery suddenly exploded in a spectacular fireball that completely torched the bot.
More than just sharing the most detailed photo of Pluto we've ever seen, NASA's New Horizons probe has another mission: it's gathering data on the Plutonian surface on a flyby 12,600km above the dwarf planet, then continuing out further through the solar system to run more studies.
During Microsoft's demo of its fascinating holographic headset HoloLens today, the company barely mentioned the coolest way it's already using it: to develop software with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory that will let scientists explore and work on the Red Planet remotely.
With Rosetta hanging out so closely with an asteroid, we're getting better views than ever before of what the surface of an asteroid looks like. But compared to one another, how do the surfaces we've visited in our Solar System stack up?
NASA's Opportunity rover is still trundling across the surface of Mars, more than 11 years after its 90-day mission began. But its software is getting bogged down, so NASA's doing a full system backup, memory wipe and reboot. It's just like your routine computer clean-up, just from the next planet over.
This is NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, "a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle" designed to land huge payloads on Mars. So there — suck on that Martians, because after all these decades of sci-fi invasions, we are going to be the ones seizing your planet with our very own flying saucers.
PlanetQuest is NASA's effort to search for new Earths, exoplanets like ours that would probably contain life too. They're doing some really cool stuff, like this sunflower-telescope combo spaceship — "a cutting-edge effort to take pictures of planets orbiting stars far from the sun." Imagine that — seeing the actual planets!
Curiosity is the hip name in Mars-rovin, but the Opportunity rover was doing it long, long before. Just yesterday Opportunity hit its 10-year anniversary on Mars — it left Earth 10 years ago in July. Not bad for a mission intended to last a mere three (Earth) months. In celebration it sent back a selfie.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory drew some raised eyebrows when it first announced its latest hi-tech robot, based on primates, called Robosimian. But now it's being put into action — and it's amazing.