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It would appear that Opportunity has stumbled upon another meteorite

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/10/02 12:58 CDT

I wonder if this came from the same original body as Block Island, or if Meridiani is the kind of slowly deflating landscape that accumulates meteorites at its surface, like the ANSMET meteorite hunting spots in Antarctica?

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Opportunity on the move

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/29 11:49 CDT

Opportunity rover is driving, driving, driving. It departed the meteorite named Block Island on sol 2,004 and has routinely clocked 70 meters per driving day (with drives every other day).

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Beautiful 3D animation of Spirit's environs in Gusev Crater

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/23 08:14 CDT

Doug Ellison has done it again: he's created a spectacular overflight of Gusev crater based upon digital elevation models of the terrain produced by the United States Geological Survey from HiRISE data.

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Opportunity's highway, and a tour of Block Island

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/15 12:35 CDT

Just a cool image to start the morning: after a 70-meter drive yesterday, Opportunity's following not one but two sets of its own tracks.

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Dust storm update: Skies clearing for Spirit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/09/02 12:25 CDT

For a while, Mars was beating Spirit while she was down, throwing a dust storm at the rover where it's bogged up to its hubcaps in fluffy soil When lots of dust is lofted into the sky, the hazard is that when it comes down, it may come down on the rover and its solar panels. But it appears things on Spirit are still pretty clean.

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A sunset into the dust

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/24 12:37 CDT

While Spirit has been stuck at Troy, it's been taking numerous opportunities to capture photos with dramatic twilight lighting. On sol 2,002 (three sols ago, or August 21), it gazed toward the setting Sun, snapping the shutter roughly once a minute.

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Triple asteroid 1994 CC rotation animation

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/06 10:39 CDT

From the "just plain cool" department. I love animations of planetary images and I love radar images of asteroids -- so this animation is doubly cool.

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What are the rovers up to?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/01/21 06:48 CST

Spirit's been getting some nice views of the spot it spent all of 2008 in, "Home Plate north." Meanwhile, Opportunity is motoring along.

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What do we know about Uranus' moons? Part 1

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/01/20 06:26 CST

I got an urge to dive in to the Voyager image archives and see what exactly we have here on Earth to base our understanding of the Uranian moons on.

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Opportunity and Spirit updates: Both are now driving

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/10/31 01:26 CDT

Another day, another drive: on sols 1,693 and 1,695 the Opportunity rover conducted two more lengthy drives to the south, totaling almost 200 meters. On the other side of the planet, Spirit is FINALLY in motion again.

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Opportunity is really hitting the highway

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/10/28 01:10 CDT

Victoria crater, the site of a Mars year's worth of study, is now far over the horizon, as Opportunity has lately completed a series of very long drives. Opportunity is once again sailing the sand seas of Meridiani Planum.

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Opportunity route map update

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/07/09 08:39 CDT

Eduardo Tesheiner was kind enough to send me an updated version of his route map for Opportunity so we can get a sense of just how close the rover is getting to Cape Verde.

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Beautiful mosaic of the Voyager mountains

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/07/06 04:15 CDT

One of my favorite amateur image magicians, Gordan Ugarkovic continues to play around with the amazing data recently released by the Cassini mission, covering the Iapetus encounter of last September. Here's a lovely mosaic he just put together of the Voyager Mountains.

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Yep, it's ice!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/06/20 04:43 CDT

The Phoenix mission confirmed it this morning: the disappearing act pulled by those chunks of bright material in the Dodo trench pretty much nails the identification of the bright material as ice, which is great news for the mission. Ice is what Phoenix went all the way to Mars to study; it's what the team has been aiming for all these years.

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Some beautiful video from the Spirit and Opportunity landing sites

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/05/12 06:02 CDT

A majority of the people who work in planetary geology are usually associated with one or maybe two missions, doing all their research on the results from one instrument on one mission. But there are a few people whose expertise cuts across many space missions, and an even smaller number of people who seem to work on almost everything. Randy Kirk is one of those people.

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A bit of fun with Mars Express images of Phobos

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/04/16 05:59 CDT

I recently found the focus to work on a big project: namely, downloading and examining every Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera image of Mars' two moons, Phobos and Deimos.

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Shadows cast from Victoria's capes and bays

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/04/14 03:51 CDT

This is from the "just plain cool" department: An animation of the shadows of Victoria Crater as seen by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, courtesy of Doug Ellison.

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Spirit, seen from space

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/03/24 05:46 CDT

The HiRISE instrument on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter really is a spy camera in space. Check out this sequence of nine images from the HiRISE archives, which Doug Ellison pulled together into an animation covering more than a year of Spirit's mission.

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Showing off Saturn's moons

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/02/19 04:40 CST

There was a press release from the Cassini mission today about a pile of papers (14 of them!) being published in the journal Icarus about Saturn's icy moons. I haven't had time to read more than the overview article yet, but I wanted to come up with a graphic for an overview of Saturn's moons, and I couldn't resist delving into the massive database of Cassini images to produce something new

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Opportunity watches the clouds drift by

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/02/12 04:11 CST

Opportunity is now following a rather leisurely autumn schedule, according to the latest update on the mission website. Some of the work Opportunity is doing involves staring skyward, looking for patterns in the clouds that pass overhead at this time of year. One of the guys at unmannedspaceflight.com has put together some nifty animations of the wispy cloud patterns.

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