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Blog Archive


Brief update: Opportunity's attempt to image Schiaparelli unsuccessful

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/19 05:35 CDT | 6 comments

Today, the Opportunity rover attempted a difficult, never-before-possible feat: to shoot a photo of an arriving Mars lander from the Martian surface. Unfortunately, that attempt seems not to have succeeded. Opportunity has now returned the images from the observation attempt, but Schiaparelli is not visible.

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ExoMars: Long day’s journey into uncertainty

Posted by Ruth McAvinia on 2016/10/19 03:04 CDT | 2 comments

Trace Gas Orbit is successfully in orbit at Mars, but the fate of the Schiaparelli lander is uncertain.

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ExoMars update: Timeline for separation and orbit insertion

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/14 11:51 CDT | 3 comments

Schiaparelli is GO for landing, and ExoMars TGO is GO for orbit insertion! When to expect ExoMars events: Schiaparelli separation, final trajectory maneuvers, landing events, orbit insertion, and press briefings.

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Curiosity Update, sols 1428-1488: Through the Murray Buttes, drilling at Quela, and beyond

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/13 06:04 CDT

In the two months since my last Curiosity update, the rover has traversed the scenic Murray Buttes, drilled at Quela, and driven another 300 meters southward.

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Fun with a new image data set: Mars Orbiter Mission's Mars Colour Camera

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/06 06:16 CDT | 9 comments

It's always a delight to sink my teeth into a new data set, and I have spent this week playing with one I've been anticipating for a long time: ISRO's Mars Orbiter's Mars Colour Camera, or MCC. MCC is unique among current Mars cameras in its ability to get color, print-quality, wide-angle, regional views of Mars.

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MOM's Second Anniversary at Mars

Posted by Sandhya Ramesh on 2016/10/05 01:04 CDT | 1 comments

On Mars Orbiter Mission’s second anniversary of Mars arrival, ISRO has (finally!) made available to the public data from its first year in orbit.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Exits Marathon Valley then Rocks Spirit Mound
Sols 4482 - 4510

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/10/04 07:17 CDT

It was another September to remember for Opportunity as she cruised through the Lewis and Clark Gap and out of Marathon Valley, then hiked downslope, leading the first overland expedition of the Red Planet to Spirit Mound, a new site deep in Endeavour Crater’s rim.

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SpaceX and the Blank Slate
Starting anew vs. tried and true

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/09/28 10:20 CDT | 13 comments

SpaceX's plans to colonize Mars differ considerably from NASA's Journey to Mars ambitions. But direct comparison is difficult. SpaceX is able to wipe the slate clean and start fresh with a bold new approach to humans in space. NASA has no such luxury, and must use existing pieces and people to make their goals a reality.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4482 - September 2, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/09/09 09:04 CDT | 1 comments

Opportunity is about to leave Marathon Valley for good and head south into the next valley, marking the beginning of the current extended mission plan.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Gets in the Groove, Wraps Science Marathon Valley
Sols 4452 - 4481

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/09/05 11:01 CDT

Opportunity got in the groove at Endeavour Crater in August finishing the last of her science assignments in Marathon Valley.

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How big is that butte?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/08/23 05:09 CDT | 4 comments

Whenever I share images from Curiosity, among the most common questions I’m asked is “what is the scale of this image?” With help from imaging enthusiast Seán Doran, I can answer that question for some of the Murray buttes.

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Gullies on Mars: Wet or Dry (Ice)?

Posted by Tanya Harrison on 2016/08/17 08:02 CDT | 1 comments

Martian gullies were in the spotlight last week thanks to a NASA press release stating they were "likely not formed by liquid water" based on spectral results. But how does this stack up against their morphology?

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Curiosity update, sols 1373-1427: Driving up to Murray buttes, drilling at Marimba

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/08/11 11:35 CDT | 1 comments

Curiosity has now covered most of the flat ground that lay between the Naukluft plateau and the Murray buttes. The mission took only 11 days to complete drilling work at Marimba, despite a recurrence of a problematic short in the drill. The rover is ready to drive in among the buttes, shooting spectacular photos along the way.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Nears End of Marathon Valley Tour, Team Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Viking
Sols 4422 - 4451

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/08/03 01:33 CDT | 1 comments

Despite the intensifying rancor and ugliness of the U.S. Presidential campaigns on Earth, as the spring Sun shined down on Meridiani Planum in July, all was right with the world at Endeavour Crater.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4410 - June 20, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/07/28 08:02 CDT | 1 comments

Opportunity is finishing up its activities in Marathon Valley, getting ready to hit the road again.

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MAVEN Status and Extended-Mission Planning

Posted by Bruce Jakosky on 2016/07/27 03:17 CDT | 1 comments

The MAVEN mission to Mars was just approved for a two-year extended mission that runs through September 2018. Now is a good time to take stock of we've learned so far and to describe the plans for the extended mission.

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Listen Up! Microphones to Fly to Mars

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2016/07/15 06:17 CDT | 2 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 | 9 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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