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Celebrate Curiosity with a “Party on Mars!” Saturday night!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/07/30 08:16 CDT | 1 comment

Join me and Bill Nye to blow off some steam on Saturday night as we anticipate Curiosity’s landing! In the spirit of such nerdtacular gatherings as W00tstock and LeetUp, we’re having a big party at the Paseo Colorado here in Pasadena to celebrate Curiosity!

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When will we see Curiosity's first images?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/07/23 03:37 CDT | 5 comments

Enough people have asked me when we'll see Curiosity's first images from the surface of Mars that I sought out an answer. The short version: it depends.

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Curiosity's seventeenth camera: MARDI

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/07/20 02:21 CDT | 4 comments

Curiosity is equipped with seventeen cameras. One of them, the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) will capture a movie as the rover descends to the surface.

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Got questions about Curiosity? I've got answers for you

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/07/19 02:35 CDT | 18 comments

Whether you are a scientist or a layman, if you have ever asked yourself any question about Curiosity, I strongly suggest that you read the newly published press kit!

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A plea to Mars Science Laboratory team members: write your experiences down

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/07/17 10:04 CDT | 2 comments

In which I beg the people working on Curiosity to write about what happens in the coming weeks, even if you never share those writings publicly.

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How Curiosity Will Land on Mars, Part 3: Skycrane and landing

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/07/06 07:01 CDT | 6 comments

The final phase of Curiosity's landing on Mars involves the "skycrane maneuver" and will leave the rover on its wheels ready for its mission on Mars to begin.

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How Curiosity Will Land on Mars, Part 2: Descent
staff-blog-post

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/06/29 07:04 CDT | 6 comments

When people first hear about how Curiosity will land on Mars, their first question always is: are they nuts? This is the second in a multi-part series describing how -- and why -- Curiosity will land this way, in excruciating detail.

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How Curiosity Will Land on Mars, Part 1: Entry

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/06/22 07:19 CDT | 14 comments

When people first hear about how Curiosity will land on Mars, their first question always is: are they nuts? This is the first in a multi-part series describing how -- and why -- Curiosity will land this way, in excruciating detail.

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Cosmoquest Science Hangout Wednesday June 20 2300 UTC: Ravi Prakash, Curiosity engineer

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/06/18 05:32 CDT | 1 comment

This Cosmoquest Science Hangout featured Ravi Prakash, Curiosity Entry, Descent, and Landing Systems Engineer. He explained how Curiosity will land on Mars, and why they've changed things since Spirit and Opportunity landed.

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Curiosity's shrinking landing ellipse

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/06/11 12:32 CDT | 6 comments

There was good news and bad news in this morning's press briefing about Curiosity rover's upcoming landing on Mars, just eight weeks from now. First, the good news: the landing ellipse has shrunk. The bad news: there's a contamination problem with the drill, and the Odyssey orbiter is in safe mode.

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Build your own papercraft Curiosity rover

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/06/08 02:01 CDT | 1 comment

Glen Nagle pointed me to two awesome papercraft models of the Curiosity rover that you can download and -- assuming you have a LOT of patience and a steady hand -- assemble.

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Rovers in the desert

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/05/14 03:02 CDT | 5 comments

I took a field trip to watch scientists and engineers play in the sand with Mars rover models, and got a bonus tour of some evidence for the "Snowball Earth" hypothesis.

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A Tale of Two Martians

Posted by Jim Bell on 2012/01/09 11:15 CST

It's the best of times for Mars exploration because we've got three orbiters and a rover studying the Red Planet. It's also the worst of times for my Russian, European, and Chinese colleagues who were part of the Phobos-Grunt mission.

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Curiosity, from a 1935 perspective

Posted by Jason Davis on 2011/12/03 01:49 CST

With a new rover, Curiosity, on its way to Mars, Jason Davis takes a look at what we knew - or thought we knew - about the planet back in 1935.

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Bye-bye, Curiosity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/29 09:35 CST

A few fortunate (and forward-thinking) skywatchers looked upward in the hours after Curiosity's launch and were able to see the spacecraft leaving Earth.

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How did they make the nuclear power source for the Curiosity rover?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/28 03:07 CST

Maybe it's because I was a kid during the Cold War; I always assume that information about anything nuclear only comes out on that "need-to-know basis."

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Curiosity is on its way to Mars!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/26 09:09 CST

It was a textbook launch for the Atlas V 541 today at 15:02 UTC, and within an hour after liftoff, the Centaur second stage had sent Curiosity on its way for an 8.5-month journey to Mars.

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Mars Exploration Family Portrait

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/23 12:26 CST | 1 comment

Jason Davis put together this neat summary of the checkered history of Mars exploration.

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Curiosity in context: Not exactly "Viking on wheels," but close

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/21 06:51 CST

As I was beginning my research for my two magazine articles on the Curiosity rover's upcoming mission to Mars, I needed to figure out for myself how exactly this gigantic, ungainly machine fit in to the context of past Martian missions.

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Curiosity stacked for launch, still waiting for plutonium power source installation

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/04 12:43 CDT

It's still three weeks until Curiosity's launch date, but the spacecraft has already been placed on top of its rocket. The Kennedy Space Center's Curiosity photo album now has lots of pictures of the spacecraft being enclosed inside the payload fairing (the rocket's "nose cone") and hoisted to the top of the Atlas V.

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