Mars

See the latest Mars panorama captured by NASA's Curiosity Rover

Last month, NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover captured a 360-degree panorama of its surroundings in the Vera Rubin Ridge on Mars.

What you'll see: NASA explains, "The panorama includes umber skies, darkened by a fading global dust storm. It also includes a rare view by the Mast Camera of the rover itself, revealing a thin layer of dust on Curiosity's deck. In the foreground is the rover's most recent drill target, named "Stoer" after a town in Scotland near where important discoveries about early life on Earth were made in lakebed sediments." According to Curiosity's project scientist, Ashwin Vasavada, "[t]he rover has never encountered a place with so much variation in color and texture."

SpaceX quietly hosted Mars exploration conference with NASA experts

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket sits on launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Elon Musk's SpaceX quietly held an inaugural "Mars Workshop" in Colorado this week with the goal of finding a way to land people on Mars — and soon, Ars Technica's Eric Berger reports.

The big picture: Musk is set on his goal of launching a 2022 uncrewed mission to the red planet, then the first with humans by 2024. With this meeting, SpaceX appears to be teaming up with NASA Mars exploration experts who were requested to join in "active discussions regarding what will be needed to make such missions happen," to make this goal a reality.