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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
- 6 March 2014 1:04 pm , Vol. 343 , #6175
- About Us
Double Feature on Mars
10 August 2000 7:30 pm
Two failed missions in the past year triggered a scathing report about NASA's entire Mars program and led the agency to rethink future missions (ScienceNOW, 29 March). Today's announcement marks a renewed commitment to explore the planet. By sending two rovers, the agency hopes to hike its chances of success. Doubling up makes the mission more expensive--total cost is now estimated at $600 million--but not twice as expensive as sending just one craft, says NASA's space science chief Ed Weiler.
The rovers will have the same landing mechanism--a parachute and a cushion of air bags to break their fall--as the famous Mars Pathfinder mission, which captured the world's attention in 1997. But the new rovers will have greatly extended capabilities, says Cornell University researcher Steven Squyres, the principal investigator for the mission's science program. They are designed to travel 100 meters a day--about the total mileage of Pathfinder's rover. They will also carry a rack of new instruments, including a microscope and imager to study rocks up close, a device for grinding away the outer layers of rocks, and several spectrometers. Field tests in Nevada and the Mojave Desert have been successful, Squyres says.
NASA scientists have yet to decide on the exact landing sites, but Mars program scientist Jim Garvin says areas that might have contained large bodies of standing water--such as a crater called Holden--are strong candidates. "There's certainly no lack of good places to land," Squyres says.