Can Technology Open Spaceflight to Disabled Astronauts?

What would it be like to have a spaceship with a truly diverse crew—not the mix of alien species seen in so many sci-fi series, but human beings with all kinds of bodies? The European Space Agency announced in early February that it is recruiting a new pool of four full-time and 20 reserve astronauts […]

A Very Technical—and Emotional—Journey to Mars

Hey, did you know that the new Mars rover is really cool? Its eyes see crazy different colors! It shoots out a helicopter drone! It can vaporize rocks with a laser! Plus, Perseverance traveled more than 292 million miles through space, so that makes it just about the best gadget ever. This week on Gadget […]

Perseverance’s Eyes See a Different Mars

For identifying actual elements—and, more importantly, figuring out if they might have once harbored life—you need even more colors. Some of those colors are even more invisible. That’s where x-ray spectroscopy comes in. Specifically, the team running one of the sensors on Perseverance’s arm—the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry, or PIXL—is looking to combine the […]

The Mars Landing Was the Best Thing on TV This Week

The Monitor is a weekly column devoted to everything happening in the WIRED world of culture, from movies to memes, TV to Twitter. Look, it’s been a god-awful week. Winter storms have caused power outages and chaos from Oregon to Texas. Reply All cohost PJ Vogt and others stepped down following accusations of a toxic […]

NASA Lands the Perseverance Rover on Mars

Then the skycrane, a sort of hovercraft hooked to the top of the rover, would fire up its eight downward-pointed rockets, which would guide Perseverance to the right spot, while continuing to slow it. The skycrane would gently lower the rover, attached to it by bridle cords, to solid ground, like a stork depositing a […]

How to Watch NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Landing

On Thursday afternoon, Perseverance, NASA’s most ambitious self-driving rover, will attempt the agency’s most challenging Mars landing. Perseverance is carrying a suite of science experiments that will search for signs of life, launch a drone helicopter, and record the planet’s audio for the first time. But conducting those experiments relies solely on whether “Percy” can […]

The LA Musician Who Designed a Microphone for Mars

It’s called the “seven minutes of terror.” As the 2,300-pound, six-wheeled, nuclear-powered Perseverance rover approaches Mars on Thursday, a supersonic parachute will slow the descent vehicle to 200 mph. About 70 feet above the landing site, retrorockets will settle it into a hover, then a “sky crane” will lower NASA’s newest rock-crawler to the rust-colored […]