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Curiosity sol 11 update: Decision to drive to "the high thermal inertia unit" and what that means

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/17 06:06 CDT | 8 comments

Some notes from this morning's Curiosity press briefing: the rover will be driving to "Glenelg" to investigate the "high thermal inertia unit." I explain what that means, with psychedelic Odyssey THEMIS images of the landing site.

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Let NASA Dare Mighty Things Again

Posted by Andrew Chaikin on 2012/08/17 08:47 CDT | 18 comments

In the space Olympics, the U.S. just won gold. So what, in the scheme of things, is the justification for the draconian budget cuts to NASA’s planetary program that threaten scientists’ carefully thought out plans for exploring the solar system in the coming decade?

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Sampling Mars, Part 1: The Hardware

Posted by Daniel Limonadi on 2012/08/16 02:08 CDT | 3 comments

The opening of a multi-part guest blog series by Curiosity systems engineering team lead for the Surface Sampling and Science system. Part 1 explains the robotic arm and the Sample Acquisition, Processing and Handling subsystem.

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Some fun with Curiosity MARDI images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/16 11:36 CDT | 9 comments

Yesterday Curiosity returned a pile of full-resolution descent imager photos to Earth. The full-resolution MARDI images are just as great as we anticipated.

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Cosmoquest Astronomy Hour, Wednesday: What's up with Curiosity on Mars, with guest: me!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/15 05:00 CDT | 11 comments

I'm hosting this week's Cosmoquest Astronomy Hour, and rather than having a special guest I'll be speaking myself about what's going on with Curiosity, and will leave lots of time to answer people's questions. Join me at 1600 PDT / 2300 UTC at cosmoquest.org/hangouts.

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Curiosity sol 9 update

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/15 01:21 CDT | 1 comments

An update on Curiosity's status as of sol 9, and a look ahead to the next month or two of commissioning activities.

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Video, sound, and timeline of Curiosity's descent

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/14 04:56 CDT | 7 comments

A fantastic video produced by Brian Lynch combines the thumbnail images from Curiosity's Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) with the audio from the control room during landing night and a detailed timeline from spaceflight101.com.

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Curiosity's Marsdial is on Mars!

Posted by Bill Nye on 2012/08/14 04:24 CDT | 6 comments

Following the successful landing of the Curiosity rover, it is gratifying indeed to see the third MarsDial© photometric calibration (cal) target on the planet Mars. It is something near and dear to me personally, and it's good for all of us, because it helps us do good science.

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Curiosity and the Media: A Response

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2012/08/14 10:48 CDT | 9 comments

Wherein I address a particular comment on my previous post calling me out for a lazy attack on "the media." I work through what I meant by media and how I think it tends to (unintentionally) misrepresent the relative cost and benefits of space missions.

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Curiosity's high-res Navcam panorama in striking color

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/08/10 07:10 CDT | 4 comments

A color-processed version of Curiosity's high-resolution Navcam panorama.

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Curiosity sol 4: EDL updates, rover ready for software upgrade

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/08/10 05:16 CDT | 3 comments

A recap of the final Curiosity press conference of the week: lots of updates from the entry, descent and landing (EDL) team that safely deposited the rover on Mars, as well as an overview of the rover's R10 software upgrade.

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Curiosity sol 3: First Mastcam color thumbnails down, everything "flawless," "nominal"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/09 03:25 CDT | 13 comments

Curiosity's third day on Mars has been completed flawlessly, and the first preliminary color view from her Mastcam is lovely.

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Curiosity Comes Cheap - Why the latest Mars rover (and all planetary exploration) is a steal

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2012/08/09 08:43 CDT | 24 comments

Along with any NASA mission comes the inevitable repetition of its cost and questions of its worth, Curiosity is no exception. This tired media narrative must end. The real question is not, "why so much?" but, "why so little?"

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Curiosity: Most of sol 2 Navcam panorama, plus 18 full-res Descent Imager frames available

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/09 12:48 CDT | 10 comments

A look at the latest raw data dump from Curiosity: our first sharp view of the rover and immediate surroundings, plus 18 of the full-resolution descent imager frames are now available. Check out the gravel on Curiosity's deck!!

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Grab your 3D glasses for this view of Curiosity's landscape on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/08 09:58 CDT | 4 comments

Curiosity fired up her Navigational Cameras on Sol 2 and began to take a look around her. The first four full-resolution frames are enough for a small 3D panorama that shows a lovely landscape. I think we're going to like it here!

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Planetfest 2012 Was a Huge Success

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2012/08/08 07:46 CDT

Planetfest 2012 ended in the best possible way: the Curiosity rover touched down safely on the surface of Mars. In our ballroom, almost two thousand people leapt to their feet and provided thunderous applause to accompany the joyous celebration at mission control.

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First full-resolution MARDI frame: Bye-bye, heat shield

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/07 11:50 CDT | 11 comments

The thumbnail versions of the Mars Descent Imager images have shown up on the Curiosity raw images page, and hiding among them was a single full-resolution frame containing the heat shield.

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Curiosity's MAHLI camera: Much more than a microscopic imager

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/07 06:19 CDT | 3 comments

Today's press briefing featured the first image from MAHLI, the Mars Hand Lens Imager, so it's time for me to dive in to this camera's capabilities.

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Curiosity sol 1 and planned activities for the next few sols

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/07 04:29 CDT | 11 comments

A look at the current status of Curiosity at the beginning of sol 2, and what activities to look forward to over the next few sols.

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Curiosity: Notes from the two day-after-landing press briefings

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/06 07:43 CDT | 7 comments

Notes on Curiosity's physical state, future activities, landing site, and other stuff gleaned from the two press briefings conducted at JPL today.

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