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What's up in planetary missions in 2014

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2013 • 4

With the New Year upon us, what can we look forward to in 2014? For me, the main event of 2014 is that ESA's Rosetta mission finally -- finally! -- catches up to the comet it has been chasing for a decade. We will lose LADEE, gain two Mars orbiters, and launch Hayabusa2. The year begins with an amazing 24 spacecraft exploring or cruising toward various planetary destinations.

Habitability, Taphonomy, and Curiosity's Hunt for Organic Carbon

John Grotzinger • December 21, 2013 • 4

Lots of people ask questions about how the Curiosity mission, and future missions, will forge ahead to begin with looking for evidence of past life on Mars. There is nothing simple or straightforward about looking for life.

Curiosity update, sols 465-487: Wheel inspection, software upgrade, Cumberland dump

Ken Herkenhoff • December 19, 2013

Curiosity activities over sols 465 to 487 included monitoring the condition of the wheels; a flight software upgrade; and dumping the Cumberland drill sample. Curiosity put approximately 200 meters on the odometer during this period.

Curiosity results at AGU: Gale crater rocks are old, but have been exposed recently

Emily Lakdawalla • December 09, 2013 • 4

In a Martian first, the Curiosity science team has measured the age of a Martian rock, in two totally different ways. They presented the result at the 2013 meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Mars' chemical history: Phyllosian, Theiikian, Siderikian, oh my

Emily Lakdawalla • December 05, 2013 • 4

I'm returning to the deep dive into the literature that began with articles about lunar basins and then explored the geologic time scales of Earth, Moon, and Mars. Now it's time to catch up to the last decade of Mars research and learn what "phyllosian", "theiikian", and "siderikian" eras are.

Curiosity update, sols 453-464: Electrical problem causes delays; rover back to work

Ken Herkenhoff • November 25, 2013 • 1

An electrical problem frustrated progress on the Curiosity mission this week, but the problem is now understood and the rover back to work.

A post for Reading Rainbow

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2013

My brother and I enjoyed watching Reading Rainbow as kids, so it's a delight for me to have had a guest post published on their blog last week. I wrote for them about how kids (with the help of their parents) can follow the adventure of the Curiosity mission through the release of their raw images.

Features at both rover field sites on Mars named for Bruce Murray

Emily Lakdawalla • November 14, 2013

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced today that the geologists on both Mars rover teams -- Opportunity and Curiosity -- have named landmarks at their field sites after the late Bruce Murray.

Curiosity Update: A stop at Cooperstown and a warm reset, sols 433-451

Ken Herkenhoff • November 14, 2013

Having racked up several kilometers in the drive to Mount Sharp, Curiosity paused for a second science stop at an outcrop called "Cooperstown." While there, the rover performed a software upgrade and then lost a few days to a software anomaly. The rover has now resumed normal science operations.

Will We Lose Cassini’s "New" Mission at Saturn to Budget Cuts?

Van Kane • November 12, 2013 • 5

NASA’s shrinking budgets for planetary exploration may force it to decide between continued funding for the Saturn Cassini mission and the continued funding for its Mars missions.

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