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Blog Archive

 

NASA, ESA Officials Outline Latest Mars Sample Return Plans

Justin Cowart • August 13, 2019

The current strategy includes the Mars 2020 rover, a lander carrying a rover and ascent vehicle, and an Earth return orbiter.

InSight Update: A Couple More Tiny Quakes and Heat Probe Progress

Emily Lakdawalla • July 02, 2019

InSight has detected a couple more small Marsquakes, and the team has lifted the housing of the heat probe off the ground, exposing the top of the mole in a surprisingly wide hole.

Curiosity Gazes Upon Noctilucent Clouds Over Gale Crater

Emily Lakdawalla • May 28, 2019

Wispy clouds of stunning beauty fly over Curiosity every evening.

Mars Used to Have Water, But We Can't Explain How

Kaushik Mitra • May 07, 2019

Although we have acquired compelling evidence of flowing liquid water on early Mars, the fundamental question about how water could be stable under Martian atmospheric conditions remains unsolved.

Curiosity Update, Sols 2313-2387: Two New Drill Holes Despite Memory Problems

Emily Lakdawalla • April 25, 2019

The Curiosity team is touring Glen Torridon, the Valley of Clay, south of Vera Rubin Ridge, happily photographing everything and zapping rocks. It’s clearly a delight for the team to be in a place they’ve been hoping to reach for 7 years.

InSight Detects Some Very Small Marsquakes

Emily Lakdawalla • April 23, 2019

InSight has finally detected its first Marsquakes, but so far, none have been large enough to produce good science. Still, it’s great news that the seismometer is producing sensible data.

HiRISE Team Overcomes Imaging Glitches as Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Eyes another Decade in Orbit

Alfred McEwen • April 23, 2019

Blurred images and battery issues are no longer an immediate problem.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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