Space exploration is not just valuable to scientists; it is also popular with the public who pays taxes. And why not? The exploration of Mars is not only a search for signs of alien life. It is an exploration of the human future.
If you've been obsessively checking the Curiosity raw images websites for new pictures from Mars, you might have noticed something weird: a bunch of Mastcam images and a few from MARDI that are black-and-white instead of color, and which have a peculiar checkerboard pattern.
The top of the mountain has finally been filled in, and Damien Bouic has produced what I think is the definitive version of Curiosity's first color panorama.
Today, NASA announced the newest Discovery-class mission, a Mars lander called InSight. It's not a rover; it's a drill that will go down 5 meters and help us figure out what happens in the core of our neighboring terrestrial planet.