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Comet Flyby Missions for Mars Rovers

Mark Lemmon • August 21, 2014

On October 19, the Mars rovers — like their orbiting cousins — will become comet flyby missions. Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will pass within 140,000 km of Mars.

Curiosity wheel damage: The problem and solutions

Emily Lakdawalla • August 19, 2014

Now that a Tiger Team has assessed the nature and causes of damage to Curiosity's wheels, I can finally answer your frequently-asked questions about what wheel damage means for the mission, and why it wasn't anticipated.

Join me on "Virtually Speaking Science" August 6

Emily Lakdawalla • August 05, 2014

On Wednesday's "Virtually Speaking Science" podcast, The Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla and Space.com contributor Rod Pyle look back at the first two years of the Curiosity Rover’s mission on Mars, and look ahead to the future of Mars exploration. NBC News science editor Alan Boyle is the host for the show, which airs at 5pm Pacific / midnight UTC.

8th Mars Report: Martian habitability

Valerie Fox • July 30, 2014

Valerie Fox reports from the 8th International Conference on Mars on the habitability of the Red Planet.

Curiosity update, sols 671-696: Out of the landing ellipse, into ripples and pointy rocks

Emily Lakdawalla • July 24, 2014

For the last four weeks, the name of the game for Curiosity has been driving. But these weeks of driving have been more challenging than they used to be.

Women Working on Mars: Curiosity Women's Day

Emily Lakdawalla • July 22, 2014

Just after completing the primary mission of 669 sols on Mars, Curiosity's managers planned a special day -- June 26, 2014 -- in which mostly women were assigned to the more than 100 different operational roles.

One Day on Mars

Bill Dunford • July 21, 2014

A single day's observations take us from orbital overviews all the way down to ground truth.

Curiosity update: One Mars Year! Sols 662-670

Emily Lakdawalla • June 25, 2014

On Monday JPL put out a press release marking one year since Curiosity landed -- one Mars year, that is! There was a new version of the Kimberley self-portrait, and a video update on wheel wear testing. While we've been celebrating on Earth, Curiosity has been driving, driving, driving, on a new "safe transit route" taking her southward toward the black sand dunes ringing Mount Sharp.

Book Review: Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account from Curiosity's Chief Engineer, by Rob Manning and William Simon

Emily Lakdawalla • June 20, 2014

I am both elated and relieved that Rob Manning and William Simon have written Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account from Curiosity's Chief Engineer. The book delivers on the promise of its title, in a slender volume that is full of great stories you'll read nowhere else.

Curiosity update, sols 645-661: Driving, driving, driving

Emily Lakdawalla • June 16, 2014

Curiosity has been busy. The rover has traveled more than half a kilometer since my last update, making steady progress beyond the Kimberley toward Murray Buttes. There hasn't been much time for science, but they sneaked in an observation of a Mercury transit across the sun, and a neat MARDI video of the rover driving.

Tracks in the Wilderness

Bill Dunford • June 03, 2014

Pioneer trails extend all the way to Mars.

Curiosity update, sols 631-644: On the road again

Emily Lakdawalla • May 30, 2014

The last couple of weeks have seen Curiosity return to the business of making steady headway toward Murray Buttes and, beyond them, Mount Sharp. Eight of the last 14 sols have seen drives ranging in length from 30 to 104 meters, racking up a total of more than half a kilometer. They are now occasionally working a shortened planning timeline that allows them to squeeze more drive sols into Curiosity's schedule.

New orbital images of Curiosity landing site from Mars Express and HiRISE

Emily Lakdawalla • May 23, 2014

Mars Express and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are keeping their eyes in the sky on Curiosity. There's a nice newly public color image of all of Gale Crater from HiRISE, and two new HiRISE images within the Curiosity landing site.

Dust on, dust off: Before-and-after comparisons of rover decks on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • May 19, 2014

Curiosity and Opportunity self-portraits show one rover accumulating dust, the other losing it. Check out these cool before-and-after comparisons.

Curiosity update, sols 610-630: Drilling work at Windjana

Emily Lakdawalla • May 15, 2014

Finally, a new drill site! For the first time in nearly a year, Curiosity has put drill bit to rock and acquired a new sample of Martian material for her analytical instruments to chew on. Scientific data collection at Windjana is now complete; Curiosity drove away last night, on sol 630.

Another Day in the Solar System

Bill Dunford • May 12, 2014

One day, five worlds.

Image processing trick: Removing interline transfer smear from Curiosity photos

Emily Lakdawalla • May 01, 2014

Curiosity took a new self-portrait on sol 613. This post contains a tip for would-be Curiosity image processors on how to make their Curiosity mosaics better: removing the smearing effect of bright objects in MAHLI photos.

Curiosity update, sols 597-610: Picking a drill site at the Kimberley

Emily Lakdawalla • April 24, 2014

After completing the initial reconnaissance of the Kimberley outcrop two weeks ago, Curiosity is, at last, moving toward a drill site. The science team selected the location last week: a spot near the base of Mount Remarkable, into what they have been calling the "middle unit" at the Kimberley.

Pretty picture: Sunset over Gale crater

Emily Lakdawalla • April 14, 2014

Imagine yourself on a windswept landscape of rocks and red dust with mountains all around you. The temperature -- never warm on this planet -- suddenly plunges, as the small Sun sets behind the western range of mountains.

Curiosity update: Initial reconnaissance of the Kimberley, sols 585-595

Emily Lakdawalla • April 11, 2014

Curiosity has been busy performing a survey of the Kimberley, walking the length of the outcrop and taking enormous quantities of photos. The team is now ready to go in for a closer look, and maybe even to drill.

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