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Curiosity update, sols 1726-1813: Surveying Vera Rubin Ridge from below

Emily Lakdawalla • September 13, 2017

Curiosity had a productive three months driving along the front of Vera Rubin Ridge, gathering photos and data with its arm instruments, finally driving up on to the ridge on sol 1809.

Curiosity's balky drill: The problem and solutions

Emily Lakdawalla • September 06, 2017

Since December 1, 2016, Curiosity has been unable to drill into rocks because of a serious problem with one of the drill's motors. Emily Lakdawalla thoroughly explains the issues and the path forward for Curiosity.

Book Update: The Design and Engineering of Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla • September 01, 2017

Emily Lakdawalla's first book is now available for pre-order.

Five Earth Years on Mars

Casey Dreier • August 05, 2017

Five (Earth) years ago today, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity landed in a dramatic fashion on the surface of the Red Planet. We look back at a mission that advanced humanity's understanding of Mars and provided a priceless return on a modest investment.

Curiosity update, sols 1675-1725: Traverse to Vera Rubin Ridge

Emily Lakdawalla • June 13, 2017

Curiosity has had a busy eight weeks, driving south from the Bagnold Dunes toward Vera Rubin Ridge. The path has steepened and the rover is now rapidly climbing upward with every meter traveled. It's been a productive time for arm instruments, but the drill is still not working.

Geology on Mars: Using stratigraphic columns to tell the story of Gale Crater

Heidi Stauffer • May 15, 2017

Stratigraphic columns are a basic tool in geology, used on both Earth and Mars to tell the story of a location. But what are they really?

Curiosity update, sols 1600-1674: The second Bagnold Dunes campaign

Emily Lakdawalla • April 25, 2017

The four-stop dune science campaign offered the engineers some time to continue troubleshooting the drill without any pressure to use it for science. They scooped sand at a site called Ogunquit Beach but couldn't complete the planned sample activity because of new developments in the drill inquiry. The rover has now headed onward toward Vera Rubin Ridge.

MAVEN dodges Phobos, with (maybe) a little help from Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla • March 06, 2017

This week MAVEN had to execute a short rocket burn in order to prevent a future collision with Phobos. Curiosity (and other rovers) may have played a role in those trajectory predictions.

Curiosity update, sols 1548-1599: Serious drill brake problem as Curiosity drives through Murray red beds

Emily Lakdawalla • February 03, 2017

Since my last update, the Curiosity mission has developed a better understanding of the problem that prevented them from drilling at Precipice, but its intermittent nature has slowed the development of a workable solution that will allow them to use the drill again. In the meantime, the rover has driven onward, making good use of its other instruments.

Curiosity update, sols 1489-1547: Drilling at Sebina, driving up through Murray, drill problems at Precipice

Emily Lakdawalla • December 12, 2016

It's been a drive-heavy two months for Curiosity. Since my last update, the rover has drilled at a site named Sebina, then traveled about 500 meters to the south across increasingly chunky-looking Murray rocks to a new attempted drill site at Precipice. They were planning to attempt a new drilling technique at Precipice, but encountered a new problem with the drill instead.

Curiosity Update, sols 1428-1488: Through the Murray Buttes, drilling at Quela, and beyond

Emily Lakdawalla • October 13, 2016

In the two months since my last Curiosity update, the rover has traversed the scenic Murray Buttes, drilled at Quela, and driven another 300 meters southward.

How big is that butte?

Emily Lakdawalla • August 23, 2016

Whenever I share images from Curiosity, among the most common questions I’m asked is “what is the scale of this image?” With help from imaging enthusiast Seán Doran, I can answer that question for some of the Murray buttes.

Curiosity update, sols 1373-1427: Driving up to Murray buttes, drilling at Marimba

Emily Lakdawalla • August 11, 2016

Curiosity has now covered most of the flat ground that lay between the Naukluft plateau and the Murray buttes. The mission took only 11 days to complete drilling work at Marimba, despite a recurrence of a problematic short in the drill. The rover is ready to drive in among the buttes, shooting spectacular photos along the way.

What's up in the solar system, July 2016 edition: Juno to enter orbit, NASA missions all extended

Emily Lakdawalla • July 01, 2016

Highlights this month include the impending arrival of Juno at Jupiter, the approval of extended missions for all of NASA's solar system spacecraft, and public data releases from Rosetta, New Horizons, and Cassini.

Curiosity update, sols 1311-1369: Drilling at Lubango, Okoruso, and Oudam, and a turn to the south

Emily Lakdawalla • June 15, 2016

Curiosity is at a turning point in its mission to Mount Sharp, both literally and figuratively. Having drilled at three sample sites in 7 weeks, the rover took a left turn, changing its trajectory from a generally westward driving path to a southward one. It is now poised to cross the Bagnold dune field at Murray buttes.

Quick Curiosity update, sol 1320: "Lubango," the 10th drill site on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • April 25, 2016

Curiosity has drilled into Mars for the 10th time at a site named Lubango, on sol 1320 (April 23, 2016). Lubango is in a bright-toned halo around a crack in the Stimson sandstone unit on the western edge of the Naukluft Plateau.

Moonset over Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • April 21, 2016

Enjoy this serene image of a moonset on another world, captured by Curiosity's Mastcam in April 2014 and processed here by Justin Cowart.

Curiosity update, sols 1250-1310: Across the Naukluft Plateau

Emily Lakdawalla • April 13, 2016

Curiosity has driven onward from Namib dune across a highstanding unit of rock called the Naukluft Plateau. Despite some frustrating sols lost to a short circuit in the RTG and DSN troubles, the rover has made progress, and performed lots of 3D imaging of weirdly wind-eroded rocks.

LPSC 2016: Martian Geomorphology

Tanya Harrison • April 04, 2016

Scientists showcased a wide range of features and processes on Mars' surface at last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

A Sunset on Mars: Crafting a scene from archival data

Justin Cowart • March 08, 2016

Ever wanted to stand on Mars and watch a sunset? Unfortunately for many of us, it will never be something that we get to experience in person. But thanks to our robotic emissaries on Mars, and some careful processing of images from NASA's Planetary Data System, we can get a sense of what it’s like.

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