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The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Returns Fundamental Finding in Perseverance, Cruises Through Winter Solstice

A.J.S. Rayl • December 01, 2017

Opportunity continued the historic winter science campaign inside Perseverance Valley and delivered the goods that confirmed an important discovery in November, and then cruised through winter solstice, driving the mission closer to its 14th anniversary of surface operations coming up in January.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Pops Wheelies Over Etched Rocks in Perseverance

A.J.S. Rayl • November 02, 2017

As brutally cold got even colder at Endeavour Crater in October, the depths of winter gripped Opportunity, and ‘life’ on Mars slowed. But the robot field geologist continued to work on through the doldrums of the season.

Explore spinnable Saturn and Jupiter moons with Google Maps

Emily Lakdawalla • October 27, 2017

Google Maps released several new map products that allow you to see the locations of named features on many solar system planets and non-planets, spinning them around in space with your mouse.

#DPS2017: Progress report on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter images of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring

Emily Lakdawalla • October 20, 2017

Three years ago, on October 19, 2014, comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring passed within 138,000 kilometers of Mars. At the 2017 meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, we heard a progress report on Mars orbiter imaging of the comet's nucleus.

A new year's worth of Mars Orbiter Mission data

Emily Lakdawalla • October 02, 2017

India's Mars Orbiter Mission has now completed three years in orbit at Mars, and ISRO celebrated the anniversary by releasing the mission's second-year data to the public. Emily Lakdawalla spent a week downloading and processing data for your enjoyment.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Braves Onset of Winter to Picture Perseverance

A.J.S. Rayl • October 02, 2017

The Martian winter began to grip Endeavour Crater in September, slowing Opportunity's pace. But she braved the brutal cold in Perseverance Valley and followed her commands to visually document everything in sight.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk updates Mars colonization plans

Jason Davis • September 29, 2017

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk presented an updated version of his Mars colonization plans today, during a widely anticipated talk at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia.

Is Mars habitable? With the right technologies, yes

Max Fagin • September 28, 2017

Making Mars habitable will require us to master the conversion of raw Martian materials into resources we can use to survive. Fortunately, Mars has a wealth of usable materials, making it one of the most human-habitable places in the solar system, other than Earth itself.

Curiosity update, sols 1726-1813: Surveying Vera Rubin Ridge from below

Emily Lakdawalla • September 13, 2017

Curiosity had a productive three months driving along the front of Vera Rubin Ridge, gathering photos and data with its arm instruments, finally driving up on to the ridge on sol 1809.

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.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Ventures Deeper into Perseverance

A.J.S. Rayl • September 01, 2017

Along the western rim of Endeavour Crater, Opportunity forged onward in August vicariously taking the Mars Exploration Rovers team – along with a global contingent of mission observers all around Earth – downhill into Perseverance Valley and deeper into a new chapter in this legendary expedition of the Red Planet.

A future comes into focus for the Mars Exploration Program

Casey Dreier • August 31, 2017

Casey Dreier says NASA's decision to pursue a Mars sample return mission is good news for Mars fans, Mars scientists and supporters of the decadal survey process.

NASA considers kicking Mars sample return into high gear

Jason Davis • August 28, 2017

Thus far, no plan has solidified on how to get soil and rock samples from the upcoming Mars 2020 rover back to Earth. That is starting to change.

Five Earth Years on Mars

Casey Dreier • August 05, 2017

Five (Earth) years ago today, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity landed in a dramatic fashion on the surface of the Red Planet. We look back at a mission that advanced humanity's understanding of Mars and provided a priceless return on a modest investment.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Enters Perseverance Valley, Settles in for Solar Conjunction

A.J.S. Rayl • August 01, 2017

After struggling to get her left front wheel unstuck in June, Opportunity quickly adapted to a new driving strategy and unabashedly cruised into Perseverance Valley in July.

Congress gives NASA's planetary science division some love (and a Mars orbiter)

Jason Davis • July 19, 2017

The House of Representatives proposed $2.1 billion for NASA's planetary science budget, which would be an all-time high. Part of the increase would be used to start work on a new reconnaissance and communications orbiter.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Sprains ‘Ankle’ but Perseveres on Walkabout

A.J.S. Rayl • July 02, 2017

The autumn skies over Endeavour Crater remained hazy as dust from the summer storms continued to rain down, but Opportunity encountered some unexpected and serious June gloom when her right front steering wheel jammed during the walkabout atop Perseverance Valley.

Curiosity update, sols 1675-1725: Traverse to Vera Rubin Ridge

Emily Lakdawalla • June 13, 2017

Curiosity has had a busy eight weeks, driving south from the Bagnold Dunes toward Vera Rubin Ridge. The path has steepened and the rover is now rapidly climbing upward with every meter traveled. It's been a productive time for arm instruments, but the drill is still not working.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Shoots the Moon on Arrival at Perseverance Valley

A.J.S. Rayl • June 06, 2017

In another dynamic demonstration of what can be achieved when a team works together, Opportunity cruised to the top of Perseverance Valley, shot the moon, and drove into her 160th month of surface operations in May.

Announcing a New Paper on NASA's Mars Exploration Program

Casey Dreier • June 06, 2017

NASA’s robotic Mars Exploration Program is on a troubling path of decline—and decisions must be made now in order to stop it. A new report by the Society explains why.

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