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 Hayabusa2. The year begins with an amazing 24 spacecraft exploring or cruising toward various planetary destinations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An electrical problem frustrated progress on the Curiosity mission this week, but the problem is now understood and the rover back to work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cosmos with Cosmos Episode 5: Blues for a Red Planet
Where Mars stubbornly refuses to be what we desire
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.'
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
United States Geological Survey scientist Ken Herkenhoff posts regular updates on the Curiosity science team's plans for the rover on Mars.