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Mars Rover: Dealing with Wheel Wear and Tear

Engineers on Earth are trying to get a little traction about wheels on Mars. NASA’s Curiosity rover is showing wheel “wear and tear” that engineers did not expect this early into the mission. Getting to Mount Sharp is a priority, but the robot has had to adjust its driving to compensate for the wheel damage. [...]

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The Ultimate “Take-out” Menu! Food for the First Mars Expedition

Question: How do you feed a six-person crew on a three-year mission to Mars? Answer: It’s not easy! That point was underscored during a June 23 panel discussion on living and working in extreme conditions at the 2014 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo held this week in New Orleans. A [...]

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New Report Explores Future of NASA Human Spaceflight

A new report from the National Research Council (NRC) — Pathways to Exploration – Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration – is slated for a June 4th release. Members of the authoring committee will present the report’s findings and recommendations and respond to questions at a public briefing beginning at [...]

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Greenhouses Headed for Orbit: Spin Control for Moon, Mars Tomatoes

It’s called the Euglena and Combined Regenerative Organic-Food Production in Space) mission – or Eu:CROPIS for short. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is readying two greenhouses for launch in 2016, both contained within a 250-kilogram lightweight satellite. Once in Earth orbit, the spacecraft is designed to rotate around its longitudinal axis In doing so, it [...]

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Drill Time on a Distant Planet

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is engaged in new sample-collection drilling. It performed a “mini-drill” operation on April 29, a preparatory step that created a hole about eight-tenths of an inch (2 centimeters) deep. Word is that the Curiosity team operating the mobile robot plans to proceed in coming days with the third-ever drilling into a [...]

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