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Curiosity update, sols 727-747: Beginning the "Mission to Mount Sharp"

Emily Lakdawalla • September 12, 2014

A lot has happened behind the scenes on the Curiosity mission in the last few weeks. The mission received a pretty negative review from a panel convened to assess the relative quality of seven different proposed extended planetary science missions. Then, just a week later, the mission announced big news: they have arrived at Mount Sharp.

Curiosity Rover Science Plan Slammed by NASA Review Panel

Casey Dreier • September 03, 2014

Senior review recommends continuing all major planetary exploration missions, but not without some changes.

Cool animations of Phobos transits from Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla • August 25, 2014

Shooting video of a lumpy moon crossing the Sun and turning it into a giant googly eye is not a new activity for Curiosity, but I get a fresh thrill each time I see one of these sequences downlinked from the rover.

Curiosity update, sols 697-726: Mars thwarts driving and drilling

Emily Lakdawalla • August 22, 2014

The Mars gremlins really had it in for Curiosity this month. A computer glitch and slippery sand conspired to delay the rover's progress toward Mount Sharp. And shifting rocks proved unsafe for drilling. The rover will continue driving toward Mount Sharp, departing Bonanza King without drilling, skirting Hidden Valley along a plateau to its north.

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.

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