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.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/11 11:27 CDT
Kennedy Space Center has recently created a photo album collecting their photos from the clean rooms where technicians are working madly to prepare the Curiosity Mars rover for launch.
Posted by Ryan Anderson on 2011/07/06 10:40 CDT
Well, after three days of fascinating science and heated discussion, the fifth and final MSL landing site workshop has come to a close, and the consensus is -- that all of the sites are pretty darn interesting.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/23 12:08 CDT
Nature News is reporting that the Mars Science Laboratory mission has made its recommendation for the landing site for the next great Mars rover, and it's Gale crater.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/17 09:02 CDT
It's not easy to wrap a ginormous rover for shipping. I was glued to the feed from the Curiosity Cam all day yesterday, as they prepared Curiosity for shipping to Kennedy Space Center. Here's a low-budget time-lapse of the rover being wrapped.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/06/01 01:32 CDT
This week two cool new views of the next Mars rover appeared in the Jet Propulsion Lab's image database, the Planetary Photojournal. One was real, and one simulated; I've been waiting to see both for many months.
Posted by Ryan Anderson on 2011/05/27 09:01 CDT
Laser beams and space exploration are perfect for each other, and not just because all self-respecting starship captains know their way around a blaster. It turns out that zapping rocks with a laser is not only fun, it also can tell you what they're made of!
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/18 01:20 CDT
I've been attending the final Mars Science Laboratory Landing Site Community Workshop meeting this week, taking copious notes for a future article in The Planetary Report, some of which I'll post here when I get a chance. But I just had to write a brief post about the totally crazy role reversal that is going on at this meeting.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/08 12:03 CDT
The photo I took of Curiosity's "face" and posted on Monday seems to have tickled a lot of people. I understand it's the subject of a "Photoshop this Mars rover" challenge at Fark, and a couple of the guys over at unmannedspaceflight.com have been having a field day with it.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/04 04:54 CDT
I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity today for a face-to-face visit with one of the biggest celebrities in my world: Curiosity, the next Mars rover. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory gave members of the media a chance to suit up in the white coveralls known as "bunny suits" and enter the Spacecraft Assembly Facility, the clean room in which Curiosity is being assembled and prepared for launch.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/23 05:05 CDT
I hate being the bearer of bad news, but here it is. Amid all the building excitement for Curiosity -- the successes in testing, the delivery of the instruments, the fun of tuning in to Curiosity Cam to peek in on engineers doing their work in preparing the next rover for launch -- I've learned that a much-anticipated (but not required) feature is not going to make it on to the rover.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/21 01:37 CDT
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has posted a short video showing some recent testing of an engineering model of the Mars Science Laboratory in their outdoor Mars Yard; they're testing the performance of the rover's driving capability over slopes of varying steepness and covered with bedrock, compacted sand, and very loose sand.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/12 10:32 CST
Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, Unmanned Space Exploration in 2011, about what to look forward to in solar system exploration this year.
Posted by Alan Stern on 2009/05/18 03:56 CDT
Today, I'm kicking the week off with a look at the unusually intense confluence of far flung planetary exploration that's just around the corner, starting the middle of next year.