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Listen Up! Microphones to Fly to Mars

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2016/07/15 06:17 CDT | 1 comments

The Mars 2020 mission will carry microphones in its EDL package and its SuperCam instrument, which will enable us to finally hear the sounds of Mars. The Planetary Society has been trying to get microphones to Mars for 20 years and is ecstatic that these will fly.

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Mars 2020 rover rolls into final design and fabrication phase

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/07/15 06:16 CDT | 6 comments

NASA's next Mars rover is rolling off the drawing board and into its final design and fabrication phase, the agency announced today, during a televised event at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that highlighted some of the mission's technology.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Begins Final Science Campaign in Marathon Valley
Sols 4393 - 4421

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/07/07 08:01 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission entered its 150th month of surface exploration in June as Opportunity began checking off the last science investigations in Marathon Valley, and the crew on Earth looked ahead to the future past.

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ExoMars sights Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/06/16 12:26 CDT

Today ESA released ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter's first photo of Mars, taken from a distance of 41 million kilometers. It's no more detail than you can get through a pair of a binoculars, just a little taste of what's to come.

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Curiosity update, sols 1311-1369: Drilling at Lubango, Okoruso, and Oudam, and a turn to the south

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/06/15 05:24 CDT

Curiosity is at a turning point in its mission to Mount Sharp, both literally and figuratively. Having drilled at three sample sites in 7 weeks, the rover took a left turn, changing its trajectory from a generally westward driving path to a southward one. It is now poised to cross the Bagnold dune field at Murray buttes.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Scuffs Up Signs of Past Water at Marathon Valley
Sols 4362 - 4391

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/06/06 09:24 CDT

Opportunity spent the first half of May digging into an outcrop, taking dozens of panoramic images from her site on the south wall of Marathon Valley at Endeavour Crater’s western rim, and basking in the Martian spring weather.

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Three bright planets: Portraits from the Pyrenees

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/05/26 02:40 CDT | 1 comments

It's a great time to go outdoors and look at planets. I have three glorious planetary portraits to share today, sent to me by amateur astronomer Jean-Luc Dauvergne.

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Lockheed Proposes to have Humans Orbiting Mars by 2028
Their new concept shares core values with the Society's report from last year

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/05/19 05:30 CDT | 7 comments

Lockheed Martin proposed a system to send humans to orbit Mars in the year 2028—a concept that shares many core values with The Planetary Society's report, Humans Orbiting Mars, we released last year.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4365 - May 5, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/05/13 10:43 CDT

Opportunity arrived at its current location on sol 4345 to begin investigation of an outcrop on the crest of a ridge near the west end of Marathon Valley.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Sleuths New Site for Smectites

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/05/10 08:01 CDT | 2 comments

Opportunity and the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) team pressed on through the Martian winter and spent April sleuthing for clay minerals at the mission’s new site on the southern wall of Marathon Valley.

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The Giant Volcanoes of Mars

Posted by Justin Cowart on 2016/05/04 12:45 CDT | 1 comments

Justin Cowart shares some spectacular images showcasing Mars' volcanoes from Mars Express.

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

Posted by Alfred McEwen on 2016/04/29 02:27 CDT | 3 comments

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.

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What NASA Can Learn from SpaceX
A man, a plan, Mars

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/04/28 11:42 CDT | 23 comments

SpaceX's announcement that it will send Dragon capsules to Mars demonstrates the advantage of having a clear plan to explore the red planet. NASA should take note.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4333 - April 1, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/04/26 07:32 CDT

Opportunity has climbed west and up Marathon Valley in one of the final campaigns before moving on and beginning the summer field activities to the south southward.

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Quick Curiosity update, sol 1320: "Lubango," the 10th drill site on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/04/25 11:15 CDT | 1 comments

Curiosity has drilled into Mars for the 10th time at a site named Lubango, on sol 1320 (April 23, 2016). Lubango is in a bright-toned halo around a crack in the Stimson sandstone unit on the western edge of the Naukluft Plateau.

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Moonset over Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/04/21 10:23 CDT | 1 comments

Enjoy this serene image of a moonset on another world, captured by Curiosity's Mastcam in April 2014 and processed here by Justin Cowart.

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Atmospheric Waves Awareness: An Explainer

Posted by Anna Scott on 2016/04/20 10:30 CDT | 4 comments

There are two types of atmospheric waves that are critically important on Earth and other planets: gravity waves and planetary waves.

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A new angle on Mars for Mars Odyssey

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/04/19 01:05 CDT | 4 comments

Mars Odyssey has been in space for 15 years. It flies in a special "sun-synchronous" orbit, crossing the equator at roughly the same local time every day. Over time, the Odyssey mission has changed what that local time of day is, and I just realized something cool about how those changes show up in the geometry of its images.

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Curiosity update, sols 1250-1310: Across the Naukluft Plateau

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/04/13 02:57 CDT | 8 comments

Curiosity has driven onward from Namib dune across a highstanding unit of rock called the Naukluft Plateau. Despite some frustrating sols lost to a short circuit in the RTG and DSN troubles, the rover has made progress, and performed lots of 3D imaging of weirdly wind-eroded rocks.

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LPSC 2016: Martian Geomorphology

Posted by Tanya Harrison on 2016/04/04 08:01 CDT

Scientists showcased a wide range of features and processes on Mars' surface at last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

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