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Curiosity update, sols 488-520: Steady driving while watching the wheels

Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2014/01/22 03:38 CST | 1 comments

In the last month, Curiosity put 222 meters on the odometer in 12 short drives, while regularly assessing the wheels for damage. The rover performed touch-and-go analyses of rocks including Oneida and Kodak, and also took some ChemCam RMI mosaics of rocks near the base of Mount Sharp.

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What's up in planetary missions in 2014

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/31 01:15 CST | 4 comments

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 Hayabusa 2. The year begins with an amazing 24 spacecraft exploring or cruising toward various planetary destinations.

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

Posted by John Grotzinger on 2013/12/21 08:47 CST | 4 comments

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.

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

Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2013/12/19 01:39 CST

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/09 08:31 CST | 4 comments

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/05 01:08 CST | 4 comments

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.

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

Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2013/11/25 02:38 CST | 1 comments

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

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A post for Reading Rainbow

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/19 11:03 CST

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.

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/11/14 11:51 CST

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.

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

Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2013/11/14 01:56 CST

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.

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

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/11/12 06:26 CST | 5 comments

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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Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 5: Blues for a Red Planet
Where Mars stubbornly refuses to be what we desire

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/11/12 02:24 CST | 12 comments

Episode 5 focuses on Mars, the planet that has stubbornly refused to conform to the wishes of humanity for hundreds of years, from Lowell to Sagan. Grab your cosmo and join our discussion of 'Blues for a Red Planet.'

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Curiosity update: Roving through the shutdown toward Waypoint 2, sols 388-432

Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2013/10/23 02:57 CDT | 1 comments

After a brief science stop at Darwin (formerly known as Waypoint 1), Curiosity has driven hundreds of meters toward Mount Sharp. Autumn has come to Curiosity's southern hemisphere location, bringing lower temperatures. That means more power is required to heat rover actuators, leaving less power for science along the drive.

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DPS 2013: Confusing Curiosity SAM results

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/15 03:47 CDT | 6 comments

What did I learn about Curiosity at last week's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting? There were a few talks, most of which concerned soil and atmsospheric chemistry. I can summarize their conclusions with one sentence: More data is needed.

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Curiosity: still roving

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/15 11:33 CDT | 2 comments

Every day, I get a question from somebody about whether Curiosity has been shut down. It hasn't, and here's the thing: you can determine that for yourself

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Yes, there seems to be a hole in Curiosity's left front wheel, and no, that's not a problem

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/02 11:22 CDT | 25 comments

Some brand-new images just arrived from Curiosity on Mars, and two of the most recent are Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) images of the wheels. Today's images contained two little surprises.

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Dawn on Mars: Waypoint 1 Mysteries

Posted by Dawn Sumner on 2013/09/24 06:38 CDT

Dawn Sumner describes the preparations for maximizing the science at Curiosity's short stop at "Waypoint 1" from sols 385 to 401.

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More fancy Phobos and Deimos photography by Curiosity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/24 10:19 CDT

Curiosity looked up after dark and captured more cool photos of Mars' moons. They include Phobos and Deimos passing in the night, and Phobos entering Mars' shadow.

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Mars' valley networks tell us of a dry, then wet, then dry Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/10 03:43 CDT | 1 comments

Was there rainfall on Mars? Recent work mapping valley networks suggests there probably was -- but only for about 200 million years. What does this mean for life, and the Curiosity mission?

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Curiosity update: AutoNav toward Mount Sharp, sols 373-383

Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2013/09/05 02:49 CDT

From sols 373 to 383 (August 23 to September 3, 2013), Curiosity traveled about 250 meters toward Mount Sharp over five drives, trying out her new AutoNav capability.

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