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August 31, 2014: Diving Deep For Bioluminescence, Mixing Climate Change With Music and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they dodge whales and pirates on the Indian Ocean, track poachers in Africa, find lost societies in Orkney, shed light on glowing sharks, harmonize with melting ice in Antarctica, live underwater for 31 days, follow in the pawprints of a lone wolf for 1,200 miles, and rove across the red planet.

Watch: Sneaky Octopus Dismantles Camera

Such behavior isn’t out of the ordinary for octopi, among the most clever—and mischievous—of the invertebrates, expert says.

Awesome First Snapshot of Earth From Curiosity Rover

Not much more than just a few pixels on the photo above, that bright dot in the twilight Martian sky is Earth, as seen by NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover. A first view of the rover’s picture of its home planet, taken from the surface of Mars, even shows Earth’s moon. And while NASA engineers say…

NASA: Shutdown Won’t Stop MAVEN Launch

The U.S. government shutdown won’t halt plans to launch NASA’s next Mars mission, scheduled for November 18, space agency officials have decided. The MAVEN (Mars Atmospheric and Volatile Evolution) spacecraft is required as a communications relay for NASA’s Mars rovers and therefore is exempt from the ongoing federal shutdown. The $485 million mission has only a…

Celebrating NASA’s Curiosity’s First Birthday (Live!)

The drama for Curiosity began with so-called “the seven minutes of terror,” landing operation that involved rocket burns to slow down Curiosity from its 13,000 mph (21,000 km per hour) interplanetary cruising speed to a harrowing sky crane maneuver that allowed the rover to be gingerly lowered to the surface. (Read: “Top 5 First Year…

How to Drive a Mars Rover

From 120 million miles away, a team at “drivers” must tell the Mars rover Curiosity where to go as it approaches a steep, rocky slope. They work their computer screens with an arcade-like intensity—you almost expect them to reach for the joystick. But that’s not how you drive on Mars. It’s much more complicated than that, and the stakes could hardly be higher.

Scene of a Martian Landing

It has the feel of a crime scene shot—a grainy black-and-white photo with arrows pointing to where the salient evidence was found. But the absorbing image is instead a marvel of space science, an actual photo that shows where the five portions of the now celebrated Mars Science Lab/Curiosity descent capsule landed.

Mission to Mars: Why Curiosity’s Landing is a Moment to Savor

By dropping the one-ton rover Curiosity into a Martian crater (with a three-mile high mountain nearby!), and equipping it to search over two years for the building blocks of possible extraterrestrial life; humans are once again at a great moment of adventure and exploration to savor.

July 29, 2012: Adventures of “Jungle” Jack Hanna, Forest Fires Threaten Homes, and More

This week on “National Geographic Weekend,” join host Boyd Matson as we pepper spray a bear in Glacier National Park, survive Colorado’s largest forest fire, ride along America’s “Enchanted Highway”, dive for three thousand year old wrecked ships in Turkey, meet Botswana’s Unlikely Leopard, park a $2.5 billion vehicle at 13,000 miles per hour on Mars, eat red beans and rice in New Orleans, and learn America’s dying languages.

All Eyes on Mars

Near midnight of August 5, the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft will enter the Martian atmosphere at some 13,200 miles per hour. It has at most seven minutes to lose all that speed or the Curiosity rover it’s carrying will face a very hard landing. Millions of people will be holding their collective breaths as the moment of entry arrives. Why all the sudden interest in Mars? Three basic reasons.

Mars Science Lab ISO Best-fitting Site

One of the perks of coming to a scientific meeting is that, in addition to press briefings and poster sessions, you get to sit down and just chat with some of the bright minds working on solving the mysteries of the universe. In my case, I ran into planetary scientist James Wray of Cornell University…

NASA to Broadcast Mars Lander Descent

Curiosity, as compared with the Mars rover Spirit. —Image courtesy NASA/JPL No matter where you stand on the future of human space flight, if you want to visit other worlds, you are probably a fan of robotic exploration. Still, there’re a lot of hurdles to putting even a robot on another planet: budget, scientific squabbling,…

Will “Curiosity” Kill the Mars Science Program?

—Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech Today NASA announced that its next flagship Mars rover has been granted a name: Curiosity. Sixth-grader Clara Ma of Lenexa, Kansas, penned an essay about the concept of curiosity that won her the right to name the new probe, an SUV-size rover that will be the largest, most technically capable craft yet…