Mars 'jelly doughnut' mystery finally solved

A mystery rock which seemed to appear out of nowhere on Mars last month stirred up much speculation among alien enthusiasts, but it appears the mystery is solved. The answer is more simple than sci-fi.

NASA said Friday that the mysterious rock, which resembled a jelly doughnut, is actually just a piece of a larger rock that the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity drove over in January. … Read more

Curiosity rover snaps its first Earth photo from Mars

Put yourself in Curiosity's wheels for a moment. You're 99 million miles from where you were born. You can never go back. The only other creatures like you are somewhere else on a big planet, and you're unlikely to ever meet. You're doing amazing things for science and you're adored by millions. Still, you might want to take a picture of home for posterity.

That's just what Curiosity did, snapping its first picture of Earth and the moon from the surface of Mars. Though the two heavenly bodies are just pinpoints of light, they are still much brighter than any star seen through the Martian twilight.… Read more

NASA sued: Mars 'jelly doughnut' clearly alien fungus

That martian "jelly doughnut" rock that shook a solar system when it appeared before the Mars rover Opportunity in a spot where days before there had just been dirt? It's going to court... kind of.

Self-described astrobiologist and author Rhawn Joseph (one of his writings is titled "Biological UFOs. Evidence for Extraterrestrial Extremophiles. Life in Space") is asking a federal judge to force NASA to more closely examine the rock that suddenly appeared on Mars rover Opportunity's field of vision earlier this month because, well... it's clearly alive.… Read more

China's moon rover breaks down, mission in jeopardy

Technical malfunctions are the bane of space missions, and China's lunar rover is not immune to these mission-snagging bugaboos. Xinhua, China's official press agency, reports that a current breakdown is a "mechanical control abnormality" caused by the "complicated lunar surface environment."

The successful soft-landing of the Chang'e-3 lunar probe in the Bay of Rainbows on December 14 of last year was a celebratory event in the history of China's space program. The rover, nicknamed "Jade Rabbit," was scheduled to gather data and operate for three months, but the technical problems could put a premature end to the work.… Read more

Mars rover spies mysterious 'jelly doughnut' rock

Mars is full of surprises, like misinterpreted photographs of Elvis' face in a rock formation and the discovery of conditions that may have been suited to ancient life on the planet.

Now the Opportunity rover has stumbled on something else weird: a rock shaped like a jelly doughnut. This might not be strange in itself, except that the rock just sort of popped up. It wasn't there and then it was.… Read more

Mars Curiosity rover transforms into an official Lego model

The world oohed and ahhed as NASA's Mars rover hurtled through the Red Planet's atmosphere, surviving "seven minutes of terror" and safely touching down on the barren landscape last year. Now, people can replay the death-defying feat with Legos.

The Danish toy company announced Thursday that on January 1 it will debut a new Lego set based on the Mars rover named Curiosity.

Just like the real spacecraft, the 1:20 scale Lego set comes with a 6-wheel rocker-bogie suspension, articulated robotic arm, and multiple camera sets. It also comes with a display plate and Lego … Read more

2013 Car Tech Awards: And the winner is...

CNET Tech Car of the Year for 2013

2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 It came, we saw, and it conquered. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 shows forward thinking in every aspect of its being, and highlights the kind of technical advancement that gave the world adaptive cruise control. The new S-Class is everything Mercedes-Benz needed it to be to stay at the forefront of luxury sedans, but what really swayed us was its near-self-driving capability. Its advanced adaptive cruise control system works in stop-and-go traffic, and Mercedes-Benz added the new steering-assist system, which can drive the car hands- and feet-free in slow traffic. The rollout of these types of technologies is what will ultimately lead us to fully self-driving cars.

Other technical achievements include a powerful V-8 engine making use of direct injection and turbochargers, a comfortable air suspension, and one of the least annoying idle-stop features extant. The fact that the new S-Class does away with incandescent lighting completely in favor of LEDs is another step forward. A 3G data connection comes built into the car, and Mercedes-Benz has begun to bring well-known apps on board. The Burmester audio system is audiophile-quality, and topping the whole thing off is a built-in aromatherapy system.… Read more

Crave Ep. 147: 3D-print yourself with Shapify

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This week on Crave, we check out the latest in robot cattle technology, so giddy up! Learn how to 3D print your very own selfie action figure with, and the Nintendo cartridge flask gives new meaning to "drinking game." Read more

The Range Rover Hybrid is like a Range Rover, but greener

I make no secret of my love for the Range Rover. It's a "do anything" car -- you can take it through a desert or take the vicar to tea in utter comfort. It's not out of place anywhere it goes and looks immaculate covered in filth or shiny clean. It's ace.

Land Rover has been busy making sure the Range Rover is up to snuff on the eco front and has just launched a hybrid version. It offers the performance you usually get from a diesel V-8, but economy that's verging on quite … Read more

Mars rover fine after space version of Control-Alt-Delete

A glitch forced NASA's Mars rover Curiosity to perform a software reboot, known as a "warm reset," last week, but now the rover is running like normal again.

NASA said the successful reboot took place November 7, roughly four-and-half hours after administrators temporarily loaded new flight software into the rover's memory. For the next three days, Curiosity was put into what NASA called "safe mode." NASA said commands recovering the spacecraft were uplinked to Curiosity early Sunday morning.

The unexpected reset by caused by an error in existing onboard software, NASA said Tuesday, which … Read more