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Blog Archive

 

Mastcam-Z team blog: We've got flight hardware!

Elsa Jensen • May 21, 2018

Right after the last Mastcam-Z team meeting a year ago (link here to last two blog posts), our team finalized the design of the cameras, and then the fantastic voyage of creating Martian panoramic zoom cameras began.

Book Excerpt: The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the radioisotope power system works

Emily Lakdawalla • May 14, 2018

Readers, colleagues, friends: it's finally happened. My first book is finally out in the world. Here's an excerpt that explains the design and operation of Curiosity's MMRTG, (it also applies to the future Mars 2020 rover power supply).

MarCO: CubeSats to Mars!

Emily Lakdawalla • May 01, 2018

MarCO or Mars Cube One is an experimental mission that is sending two tiny spacecraft along with InSight to Mars. If successful, they will relay real-time telemetry from InSight to Earth during the landing.

‘SuperCam’ Update: Multi-purpose Instrument Coming Together for 2020 Launch to Mars

Roger Wiens • April 27, 2018

Excitement is building within the SuperCam team as the instrument enters the final stages of assembly and testing toward an anticipated launch aboard NASA’s Mars 2020 rover.

Space grade electronics: How NASA’s Juno survives near Jupiter

Jatan Mehta • April 17, 2018

Take a look at how electronics of spacecraft are built to survive the harshness of space environments.

Automating Science on Mars

Raymond Francis and Tara Estlin • March 13, 2018

Since 2016, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has had the ability to choose its own science targets using an onboard intelligent targeting system called AEGIS.

Maintaining the health of an aging Mars orbiter

Emily Lakdawalla • February 14, 2018

NASA has announced changes to how engineers are operating Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in order to prolong its life as long as possible, long enough to support the Mars 2020 rover mission.

Engineering Qualification Model confirms performance of the Mastcam-Z!

Jim Bell • January 30, 2018

Just this past week, assembly of the Mastcam-Z EQM was completed, and we saw for the first time what one of our Mars zoom cameras would really look like.

Reconstructing the Viking '75 Mars lander Surface Sampler Collector

Tom Dahl • January 29, 2018

Viking enthusiast Tom Dahl has created an animation demonstrating the operation of the Viking lander's Surface Sampler Acquisition Assembly, or "scoop."

Mastcam-Z team blog: Preparing for five-hour operations

Elsa Jensen and Katherine Winchell • November 02, 2017

It takes hundreds of scientists and engineers many years to design and build just one instrument for a Mars mission. In the first Mastcam-Z team blog post, we'll talk about the special challenges we expect for Mars 2020 operations, and how we're planning to overcome them.

Curiosity's balky drill: The problem and solutions

Emily Lakdawalla • September 06, 2017

Since December 1, 2016, Curiosity has been unable to drill into rocks because of a serious problem with one of the drill's motors. Emily Lakdawalla thoroughly explains the issues and the path forward for Curiosity.

Radar in Earth and Planetary Science, Part 2

Heather Hunter • May 12, 2017

Heather Hunter brings us the next installment in her series on radio detection and ranging.

Learn the rocket equation, part 2

David Shortt • May 05, 2017

In the second and final chapter of our series, we’ll explore what the rocket equation has to say about travel through the solar system, using the example of launching a rocket to Pluto.

Learn the rocket equation, part 1

David Shortt • April 28, 2017

Have you ever wanted to learn the fundamental physics behind one of the most basic concepts of rocket science? In part one of our two-part series, we explore the foundations of the famous rocket equation.

Radar in Earth and Planetary Science: An Intro

Heather Hunter • February 24, 2017

Heather Hunter explains how radar works and what it's used for on Earth and beyond.

Promise, Transition, and Transformation

Casey Dreier • September 19, 2016

After 10 days, four NASA centers, two contractors, and hundreds of miles, Casey Dreier shares his initial reflections on the state of NASA's Space Launch System rocket and its future.

Juno’s other ‘cameras’

Anna Scott • August 16, 2016

Juno’s science goals are to understand the origin and interior of Jupiter, focusing specifically on its atmosphere and magnetic field. Cameras can help answer some of these questions.

Future High-Resolution Imaging of Mars: Super-Res to the Rescue?

Alfred McEwen • April 29, 2016

HiRISE Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen explains an imaging technique known as Super-Resolution Restoration (SRR), and how it could come in handy for high-resolution imaging of the Red Planet.

UPDATED: ESA activates a new old space camera

Emily Lakdawalla • February 19, 2016

Inspired by the Mars Webcam on Mars Express, ESA's Cluster mission has turned on a camera on the Cluster spacecraft for the first time since their launch more than 15 years ago. UPDATE: It has now acquired images of Earth.

How REXIS Made It on OSIRIS-REx

Dante Lauretta • January 23, 2016

The OSIRIS-REx instrument team has successfully installed the Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) on the spacecraft. However, there is more to the story of how REXIS made it onto the spacecraft.

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