Ten Years on Mars for NASA Rovers Spirit and Opportunity!

Ten years ago this month, NASA Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars for 90 day missions. Much to the surprise of everyone, Spirit’s mission lasted nearly seven years, and Opportunity is still operational and making scientific discoveries to this day!

NASA Mars Opportunity Rover Surveys Endurance Crater

NASA Mars Opportunity Rover Surveys Endurance Crater

On June 10th and July 7th 2003, Spirit and Opportunity each rode their Delta II rockets into space and started their seven month journey to mars!

A Delta II Rocket Launches NASA's Spirit Rover into Space!

A Delta II Rocket Launches NASA’s Spirit Rover into Space!

Continue reading “Ten Years on Mars for NASA Rovers Spirit and Opportunity!”

Love Space Exploration? Watch this Documentary!

PBS Nova has an awesome documentary about NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. I embeded it here but it is also available on Netflix and the PBS website.

Click below for Chapters 1-4

Continue reading “Love Space Exploration? Watch this Documentary!”

Chinese Lunar Rover Lands on Moon! Begins Exploration!

The Chinese lunar rover, Yutu (or, “Jade Rabbit” in English), has embarked from the Chang’e 3 spacecraft. The Chinese Chang’e 3 made a sucessful “soft landing” on Saturday (video and images below). The Chinese rover will be the first lunar rover to operate on the Moon in over 40 years. The last rover to operate on the Moon was the Soviet Lunokhod 2, in May of 1973. Will this ignite a new space race?

Chinese Moon Rover Yutu on Lunar Surface

Chinese Moon Rover Yutu on Lunar Surface

The Jade Rabbit will begin its mission to learn more about the composition of the lunar surface. The mission includes plans for the rover to drill 30 meters into the Moon’s surface! A return mission for the lunar samples is scheduled around the year 2020.

The solar-powered, radioisotope-heated Rover has six wheels, panoramic cameras, alpha and X-ray particle detection, two spectrometers, ground-penetrating radar, a robotic arm, and the ability to transmit video in real-time. It is slightly smaller than NASA’s Mars rovers, Spirit and Oppertunity, and weighs about 260lbs (120kg).

Chinese Lunar Rover Launch

Chinese Lunar Rover Launch

Below is a video of the rover separating from the Chang’e lander.

A video of the Chang’e 3 landing on the moon:

Google Aquires Boston Dynamics, Makers of “Big Dog” Robot

Google announced Friday (December 13th 2013) that it has completed the aquisition of Boston Dynamics, a robotics company well known for its Big Dog robot. Google has aquired at least seven other robotics companies over the last year, a clear sign of the company’s intent to become a leader within the industry.