World Bulletin / News Desk
The Mars rover Curiosity was due to wrap up an exhaustive, weeks-long instrument check on Thursday, clearing the way for its first lengthy drive to determine whether the Red Planet has ever been hospitable to life, NASA officials said.
The six-wheeled, nuclear-powered rover landed five weeks ago inside a giant impact basin called Gale Crater, near the Martian equator, to conduct NASA's first astrobiology mission since the 1970s-era Viking probes.
For its final equipment check, Curiosity will maneuver its robot arm so its close-up camera touches the tray where processed rock and soil samples will be analyzed.
The rover, equipped with an array of the most elaborate laboratory instruments ever sent to a distant world, also has a bit of sightseeing on its agenda. Scientists want to obtain video footage of the Martian moon Phobos passing by the sun.
Starting Friday evening, the plan is to "drive, drive, drive" until scientists find a suitable rock for the rover's first robotic "hands-on" analysis, mission manager Jennifer Trosper told reporters during a conference call on Wednesday.
It will stop when scientists find suitable soil to scoop up and run through Curiosity's onboard chemistry lab.
All the while, the rover will be heading toward a site scientists have labeled "Glenelg," where three different types of rock intersect. Glenelg, which lies about 1,312 feet (400 meters) away from Curiosity's current position, was named by mission geologists after a rock formation in northern Canada.
The overall purpose of the $2.5 billion Mars Science Lab mission is to search for places where microbial organisms could have evolved and been preserved. In addition to ferreting out the chemical and geologic footprints of water, Curiosity will hunt for organic compounds and other ingredients believed to be necessary for life.
Curiosity, which is designed to last two years, will venture about 4.3 miles (7 km) from its landing site to climb a 3-mile-high mound of layered rock rising from the floor of Gale Crater. Dubbed Mount Sharp, it is believed to be the remains of sediment that once filled the 96-mile wide (154-meter) basin.
The rover has racked up 358 feet (109 meters) on its odometer during test drives. Before setting out for Mount Sharp, scientists expect to drive Curiosity about 131 feet (40 meters) a day during its planned trek to Glenelg, with several stops for science observations.
Researchers havfe said that the flaw leaves data stored by apps vulnerable with almost every category of app considered vulnerable
SpaceX revealed Monday that it is building a test track for the Hyperloop, a concept for ultra-fast ground transport the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, unveiled.
Biologists have created chicken embryos with dinosaur-like faces by tinkering with the molecules that build the birds' beaks.
Product available for pre-order in nine countries but devices won’t ship for weeks.
Nobel Prize-winning scientists' discovery can be manufactured cheaper thanks to Nanografi process.
Most industry experts expect the first product of 5G technology in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
The slowdown in the rate of rising temperatures, from faster gains in the 1980s and 1990s, has puzzled scientists because heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions
The discovery challenges currently held theories that black holes and their host galaxies grew in relative lockstep over the eons.
Australian researchers are developing the new way to have a final product for Boeing Co, Airbus Group NV, very quickly than now. 3D printing can cut production times for components from three months to just six days.
Bogachev is charged in the United States with running a computer attack network called GameOver Zeus that allegedly stole more than $100 million from online bank accounts.
The account started sharing videos and photos of the militant group a few days ago
U.S., UK spies hacked SIM card maker Gemalto's system, Intercept says, giving spies ability to monitor calls on billions of phones
The next time an earthquake hits the Pacific Northwest, a handful of computers in offices across the region will have access to a software that will send out an alarm, alerting people before the earthquake strikes.
Researchers in Britain have discovered that limpet teeth exhibit a strength that is potentially higher than spider silk.
Epigenetic differences are one reason identical twins, who have identical DNA, do not always develop the same genetic diseases, including cancer.