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Blog Archive

 

InSight Update, Sol 92: The Mole Did Hit a Rock

Emily Lakdawalla • March 01, 2019

The HP3 mole started hammering itself today, and almost immediately (after just 5 minutes) appears to have encountered a rock. No matter; they'll try again Saturday.

Practicing Mars 2020 rover operations, on Earth

Jeffrey R. Johnson • February 25, 2019

Jeff Johnson files a report from ROASTT, the Rover Operations Activities for Science Team Training.

InSight update, sols 43-83: Instrument placement complete

Emily Lakdawalla • February 20, 2019

InSight has placed its second science instrument on the ground and set it free. Now it's time to bury the heat probe in the soil.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update Special Report: NASA Declares Opportunity and MER Mission “Complete”

A.J.S. Rayl • February 14, 2019

At around 8 pm February 12, 2019, Pacific Standard Time (PST), the final commands were transmitted to Opportunity, the Mars Exploration Rover that defied all odds.

Touchdown for InSight's Heat Probe

Emily Lakdawalla • February 12, 2019

InSight has gone two for two, placing the second of its instruments gently on the Martian ground.

Curiosity Update, Sols 2257-2312: Drilling at Rock Hall and Arrival at the Valley of Clay

Emily Lakdawalla • February 06, 2019

Curiosity completed work at Vera Rubin Ridge with an easy drilling activity at Rock Hall. Now it has finally driven on to mineral-rick rocks that were seen from orbit, long before Curiosity arrived. The team plans a lengthy traverse of the clay-bearing unit.

So long, MarCO, and thanks for the radio transmissions

Jason Davis • February 05, 2019

NASA says it does not expect to receive any more transmissions from the MarCO CubeSats that accompanied Insight to Mars last year.

InSight Milestone: Wind and Thermal Shield Placed Sol 66

Emily Lakdawalla • February 04, 2019

InSight mission has successfully placed the wind and thermal shield over the seismometer. The seismometer will now be shielded from winds and kept warm over the cold Martian nights, so the quality of its data should dramatically increase.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Logs 15th Year in Silence, Team Begins ‘Hail Mary’ Efforts

A.J.S. Rayl • February 02, 2019

As a string of dust storms moved through Meridiani Planum and over Endeavour Crater in January, Opportunity silently wrapped her fifteenth year on the surface of Mars.

InSight Update, sols 25-42: Seismometer sensors working!

Emily Lakdawalla • January 09, 2019

Engineers have leveled the seismometer and made progress on adjusting the position of the tether so that it doesn't interfere for the experiment. Most significantly for the mission, they have balanced the Very Broad Band sensors -- 3 of SEIS’ 6 seismic sensors -- and confirmed that they are generating good data.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Still Silent, Team Still Hopeful

A.J.S. Rayl • January 06, 2019

It’s now been more than six and a half months that the longest-lived robot on another planet has been incommunicado.

InSight update, sols 1-24: Operations begin, first instrument deployed

Emily Lakdawalla • December 21, 2018

It’s been a busy first three weeks on the InSight mission, and they’ve already achieved a major milestone: placing the seismometer on the ground. They've also gathered a self-portrait and 360-degree panorama.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Spots InSight Hardware on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • December 13, 2018

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has finally spotted the InSight lander, its parachute, and its heat shield resting on the Martian surface. The images confirm the location of InSight's landing site, a little to the north and west of the center of the landing ellipse. The lander is located at 4.499897° N, 135.616000° E.

Curiosity Update, Sols 2163-2256: Hard Times Atop Vera Rubin Ridge

Emily Lakdawalla • December 11, 2018

Just after a failed drill attempt at Inverness, Curiosity suffered a serious computer problem. The mission has now recovered by switching computers, and has successfully drilled at Highfield. One last drill site in "red Jura" rocks is planned before leaving Vera Rubin ridge behind.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Team Continues Search for Opportunity’s Signal as Windy Season Begins

A.J.S. Rayl • December 02, 2018

The longest-lived Martian explorer remained silent in November, presumably still sleeping at her site halfway down Perseverance Valley, along the western rim of Endeavour Crater.

After the Success of InSight, It’s Time for NASA to Commit to Mars Sample Return

Casey Dreier • November 28, 2018

In the brief period of public and political goodwill generated by NASA's latest success at the Red Planet, now is the time to secure a commitment for the next steps at Mars: sample return.

New Cameras on Mars!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 27, 2018

There was jubilation when InSight landed, but I'm just as happy to be writing about a distinct InSight event: The flow of raw images sent from Mars, straight to the Web, has begun.

InSight has landed (UPDATED)

Emily Lakdawalla • November 26, 2018

InSight touched down on Mars today, bringing NASA's total of successful Mars landers to 8 and total number of active NASA Mars missions to 6.

This Thanksgiving, avoid the politics and talk space instead

Casey Dreier • November 21, 2018

If you're expecting to gather with extended family on Thanksgiving, avoid the politics. Here are some conversation starters to use at the dinner table that everyone can engage in.

Here's where China is looking to land its 2020 Mars rover

Andrew Jones • November 21, 2018

NASA's Mars 2020 rover isn't the only spacecraft heading to Mars in two years.

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