Viking Remembered: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the First Search for Life on Mars

Iconic painting of a Viking lander on Mars, prior to launch. The sampling arm reaches into the foreground. Image Credit: Charles Bennett/Lockheed Martin (Martin Marietta)

July 20, 1976, will be forever remembered by space enthusiasts. On that day, Viking 1 became the first U.S. spacecraft to land on another planet—in this case, Mars (the […]

'Cauliflower' Silica Formations on Mars: Evidence of Ancient Life?

Image of “cauliflower” silica formations found by the Spirit rover in 2008 near Home Plate in Gusev crater. Do they hold clues to ancient life on Mars? Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Was there ever life on Mars? That is one of the longest-running and most debated questions in planetary science, and while there have been […]

New 2016 NASA Budget Fully Funds Europa Mission, Including Lander

A view many have been waiting for – artist’s concept of the surface of Europa. The new NASA budget brings this closer to reality, with funding for not only a flyby probe, but also a lander. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This was an exciting and very important week for NASA and planetary exploration: the new […]

Drones on Mars? Small 'Helicopter-Like' Scout Could Be Added to Mars 2020 Rover Mission

Artist’s conception of the helicopter-like drone which could accompany the Mars 2020 rover. Image Credit: NASA

Over the past few years, numerous orbiters, landers, and rovers have been sent to Mars, revealing the world as never before. There is, however, something else which hasn’t been done yet: a helicopter, airplane, or balloon. An airborne […]

Back to the Ice Giants: Proposed New Mission Would Re-Visit Uranus or Neptune (or Both!)

Uranus (left) and Neptune (right). These two ice giants and their many moons are awaiting further exploration. Image Credit: NASA

The outer Solar System has been a busy place lately, with the ongoing Cassini mission at Saturn and New Horizons’ recent spectacular flyby of Pluto. Literally in-between those two worlds, however, it has been […]

Potential Landing Sites for Mars 2020 Rover Narrowed Down to Eight Locations

Map of the eight proposed landing sites for the Mars 2020 Rover. Image Credit: NASA/MOLA Science Team

NASA’s next Mars rover is due to launch in July or August 2020, and the number of potential landing sites has now been narrowed down by scientists to eight locations. Out of an initial list of 21 […]

Huge Prospects for Science and Humans to Mars: Conversation With Hubble Astronaut/NASA Science Chief John Grunsfeld (Part 2)

Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on STS-125 and the final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope on May 11, 2009, from Launch Complex-39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer – kenkremer.com

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL — “A great path” lies ahead for “science and launching humans to Mars,” says […]

Mars 2020 Rover Instrument Suite Chosen by NASA to Search for Past Life and Prepare for Human Explorers

NASA manager Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, outlines science instrument suite selected for NASA’s next generation 2020 Mars rover at media briefing held at NASA Headquarters on July 31, 2014. Credit: NASA

The advanced science payload package that will launch on NASA’s next car-sized rover to the Red Planet in […]

NASA Solicits Commercial Mars Telecom Relay Proposals to Avoid Science Transmission Gap

Artist rendering of commercial Mars satellites providing communications back to Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL

Facing the undeniable reality of a looming communications gap in the 2020s in getting gigabits of precious data back from NASA’s highly productive science armada exploring Mars, the agency is now soliciting information on the potential for utilizing commercial Mars-orbiting telecommunications […]