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Mars Program Update from MEPAG

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/10/05 06:30 CDT | 1 comments

Bruce Betts reports on the status of the current and future Mars program and on acronyms from a meeting of NASA's MEPAG (Mars Exploration Analysis Program Analysis Group).

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Curiosity Update, sol 57: Digging in at Rocknest

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/04 03:27 CDT | 2 comments

Engineers requested that Curiosity be driven to a "nice sandbox" to play in for the first soil sample, and it appears that a sand drift named Rocknest satisfies that requirement.

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Curiosity catches sunspots along with Phobos and Deimos transits

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/03 07:15 CDT | 2 comments

Curiosity has been shooting photos of the Sun as Phobos and Deimos cross its face, and -- as far as I can tell -- captured sunspots as well.

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Beautiful rocks ahead at Glenelg, but first, Curiosity must dig in the sand

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/01 05:31 CDT | 4 comments

A beautiful panoramic view of the varied rocks of Glenelg has been transmitted from Curiosity on Mars. But before going any further, it's time to run the first Martian sand through the soil sampling system.

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What's Up in the Solar System in October 2012

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/28 05:27 CDT | 2 comments

Welcome to my monthly survey of the activities of robots across the solar system! Tomorrow is the equinox at Mars; both Curiosity and Opportunity will be spending the month actively analyzing Martian rocks. It'll be a less active month for Cassini, as Saturn passes through solar conjunction late next month.

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Curiosity Update, Sol 52: Glenelg Ho!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/28 02:28 CDT

Curiosity has pulled up to the edge of Glenelg, its first destination within Gale crater.

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An alien moon, photographed from the surface of an alien world

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/26 12:10 CDT | 8 comments

Curiosity has successfully photographed a crescent Phobos in a bright daylit Martian sky.

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Cosmoquest Science Hour, Wednesday: A virtual field trip to the hills on Curiosity's horizon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/25 04:50 CDT | 2 comments

I'm hosting this week's Cosmoquest Science Hour, and plan to take viewers on a virtual tour of those mountains on Curiosity's horizon, and show you where Curiosity is likely to go. Join me and Fraser Cain here at 1600 PDT / 2300 UTC Wednesday.

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Curiosity sol 43 update: First science stop

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/19 05:24 CDT | 8 comments

It's now the early hours of sol 44, and JPL held a phone briefing today with the latest news from Curiosity. She's now driven about 300 meters, and has stopped at her first science target, a rock the team has named for the late Jake Matijevic.

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Pretty picture: rocks underfoot at Curiosity's landing site

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/17 02:54 CDT | 4 comments

An amateur-processed mosaic of some intriguing-looking broken rocks along Curiosity's traverse. They were intriguing enough to photograph with the Mastcam -- but not enough to stop and check them out, as Curiosity has already rolled on.

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Curiosity sol 38 update: arm tests done, on the road again, and an important question answered

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/14 06:28 CDT

Curiosity has completed Commissioning Activity Period 2 and is on the road again. I asked Daniel Limonadi to explain a couple of the photos of tests being performed on CHIMRA, and took the opportunity to ask him an amusing question that came up during a previous Google+ Hangout.

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Cosmoquest Astronomy Hour replay: What's up with Curiosity on Mars, with guest: me! (yes, again)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/12 07:00 CDT | 8 comments

Fraser Cain and I had a wide-ranging conversation about Curiosity's recent activities on Mars during the Cosmoquest Astronomy Hour.

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MAHLI sees Curiosity's wheels firmly on Martian ground

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/10 12:39 CDT | 3 comments

MAHLI opened its "eye" on sol 33, seeing Mars clearly for the first time. On sol 34, Curiosity used MAHLI to survey the parts that Mastcam can't see, including a view right underneath the rover.

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Hello, beautiful!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/07 11:24 CDT | 3 comments

Curiosity's much-anticipated self-portrait with the MAHLI camera just arrived on Earth, and even though it was shot through the dust cover it is AWESOME.

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Checking in on Curiosity after sol 30

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/06 03:54 CDT | 4 comments

Curiosity completed the "Intermission" phase on sol 29, and began checking out the robotic arm.

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Knots on Mars

Posted by David J. Fred on 2012/09/05 04:21 CDT | 3 comments

It might surprise most people to learn that multitudes of knots tied in cords and thin ribbons have probably traveled on every interplanetary mission ever flown. If human civilization ends tomorrow, interplanetary landers, orbiters, and deep space probes will preserve evidence of both the oldest and newest of human technologies for thousands, if not millions of years.

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An amazing LEGO model of Curiosity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/03 09:15 CDT | 1 comments

A petite model of Curiosity in LEGO accurately represents many of its features and functions.

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What's Up in the Solar System in September 2012

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/31 04:17 CDT | 4 comments

It's an active time in interplanetary exploration! Curiosity has begun roving Mars, and Opportunity's not wasting any time either. Dawn has just departed Vesta and begun the more than two-year cruise to Ceres. Juno is in the middle of a big deep-space maneuver, setting up next year's Earth flyby.

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HiRISE's best view of Curiosity yet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/31 12:50 CDT | 10 comments

HiRISE's best opportunity to view Curiosity so far came 12 days after landing, when the orbiter passed nearly directly overhead. The photo resolves amazing detail on the huge rover.

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Explaining the new black-and-white Mastcam and MARDI raw images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/24 05:05 CDT | 2 comments

If you've been obsessively checking the Curiosity raw images websites for new pictures from Mars, you might have noticed something weird: a bunch of Mastcam images and a few from MARDI that are black-and-white instead of color, and which have a peculiar checkerboard pattern.

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