This piece of hardened lava came from Mars. After being knocked off the Martian surface by an asteroid or comet, it drifted in space for millions of years, until it reached Earth and fell to the ground as a meteorite.
Curiosity Mars Rover
The Curiosity rover is scheduled to launch Nov. 25, 2011 and reach Mars in August 2012. Essentially a roving laboratory, Curiosity has the power to explore for years and drive for miles over rugged rocks. It can pick up samples and bring them onboard for testing, fire a laser at objects 30 feet (nine meters) away to see what they’re made of—and it even contains a small weather station.
BioSuit, a form-fitting next generation spacesuit prototype by MIT aeronautics and astronautics professor Dava Newman, is on view in the exhibition Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration at the American Museum of Natural History. These suits are made up of a tight, stretchy fabric made of spandex, nylon, and a new, patented polymer that replaces compressed air, making them lighter and more maneuverable. The suits maintain pressure even when torn and are custom-fitted using a laser scanner.