Plutonium has long been described as the most lethal radioactive substance. And the plutonium isotope used on the Curiosity rover is significantly more radioactive than the type of plutonium used in nuclear weapons or built up as a waste product in nuclear power plants.
The Mars race is about human survival and understanding our place in a vast and terrifyingly beautiful universe. And the stories of its athletes (mathletes?) should be world-class, because they accomplish near-impossible tasks on a cosmic scale -- the hardest sport you could ever compete in.
About eight months ago, a NASA Atlas V rocket launched the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity toward its August 5 encounter with the Red Planet. Now, just a few weeks before the rover is set to land, people are starting to get nervous and excited.
"What's anything without a trip to Mars?," asked NASA's Eric De Jong Tuesday night on stage at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sc...
The time has come, from both a scientific and exploration standpoint, for NASA to embark on a robotic mission to bring rock and soil samples back from Mars, but the Agency -- and the administration -- appear to be shying away from the challenge.
I recently came across an old copy of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, and its famous opening line -- "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" -- made me think about Mars.
The excitement engendered by exploration, innovation and science is tremendous -- and rarely quite as evident as when a rocket launches, bound for another planet.
The journey to the launch pad is over, but Curiosity's mission is just beginning. In August, she will arrive at Gale Crater, and I know I'll be watching as she descends through the Martian atmosphere.
By Dr. Cynthia B. Phillips Research Scientist, SETI Institute The final mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis has spawned a whole series of perspective ...
Don't be alarmed, they weren't robots from other planets sent to conquer Earth. In fact, it's the other way around.
"Postcards from Mars" were taken with an eye for lighting, framing, color, depth of focus -- the same kinds of factors that Earth-bound landscape photographers routinely consider.
By Gail Jacobs Keen to achieve a wide picture of where life and its signatures for life are most successfully distributed, concentrated, preserved, a...
This weekend JPL has opened their house to the public. Their casa es tu casa. It's like a science Disneyland, complete with all the long lines and crappy food.
When I was younger, or so the legends go, the wars here were more robust. They used to come once a decade or so, coherent, conventional, with a clear ...