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Blog Archive

 

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Celebrates the Big 1-3, Begins 14th Year of Ops!
Sols 4600 - 4630

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2017/02/04 07:14 CST | 2 comments

2017 got off to a start that was unprecedented in every good way: Opportunity completed her 13th Earth year of surface operations and drove the first overland expedition of the Red Planet into its 14th year.

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Curiosity update, sols 1548-1599: Serious drill brake problem as Curiosity drives through Murray red beds

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2017/02/03 02:21 CST

Since my last update, the Curiosity mission has developed a better understanding of the problem that prevented them from drilling at Precipice, but its intermittent nature has slowed the development of a workable solution that will allow them to use the drill again. In the meantime, the rover has driven onward, making good use of its other instruments.

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Need a break from Earth? Go stand on Mars with these lovely landscapes

Posted by Kevin Gill on 2017/01/25 09:01 CST | 6 comments

Amateur space image processor Kevin Gill shares some of his stunning 3D images of Mars, created from real spacecraft data.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Wraps 2016, Heads into 2017 Toward 13th Anniversary

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2017/01/04 01:04 CST

As 2016 came to an end and 2017 rang in, Opportunity was working the first leg of the ascent up the rugged western rim of Endeavour Crater on her way to an ancient gully, the next scientific tour de force down the road, and the mission was closing in on its 13th anniversary of surface operations coming up in the New Year.

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China outlines its space exploration ambitions
Missions to the Moon and Mars will dominate China's focus

Posted by Andrew Jones on 2016/12/27 02:04 CST | 1 comments

China released a new white paper on its policy and activities in space, outlining ambitious deep space exploration, human spaceflight and space science projects as major priorities for the years up to 2020 and beyond.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 4588 - December 20, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/12/20 08:25 CST

Opportunity continues to climb up the inner crater wall of Endeavour crater, heading south on its journey toward its next valley target.

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Planetary discovery over the past quarter century

Posted by Steven Hauck on 2016/12/20 10:01 CST

2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of what has become one of the primary venues for the publication of research in planetary science: the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. This occasion is a good opportunity to look back at what we have learned in this era of expanded exploration and to try to take a peek at the future.

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Curiosity update, sols 1489-1547: Drilling at Sebina, driving up through Murray, drill problems at Precipice

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/12/12 05:09 CST | 1 comments

It's been a drive-heavy two months for Curiosity. Since my last update, the rover has drilled at a site named Sebina, then traveled about 500 meters to the south across increasingly chunky-looking Murray rocks to a new attempted drill site at Precipice. They were planning to attempt a new drilling technique at Precipice, but encountered a new problem with the drill instead.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 4577 - December 9, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/12/09 06:25 CST

Opportunity has begun the ascent of the steep slopes here in the inner wall of Endeavour crater after completion of a survey of outcrops close to the crater floor. The goal now is to climb back to the rim, drive south, and arrive at the next major mission target on the rim before the next Martian winter.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Departs Spirit Mound, Embarks on Toughest Exit Ever
Sols 4541 - 4569

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/12/02 07:55 CST | 1 comments

Opportunity worked along Endeavour Crater's western rim through November, taking pictures, hiking slopes, and finishing work in the depths of Cape Tribulation.

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Schiaparelli investigation update; crash site in color from HiRISE

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/11/23 11:28 CST | 11 comments

ESA issued an update on the Schiaparelli landing investigation today, identifying a problem reading from an inertial measurement unit as the proximate cause of the crash. Meanwhile, ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter is operating its science instruments for the first time this week, and HiRISE has released calibrated versions of the Schiaparelli crash site images.

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Subsurface Water Ice in Utopia Planitia, Mars

Posted by Cassie Stuurman on 2016/11/22 01:28 CST | 2 comments

Martian radar expert Cassie Stuurman explains how the SHARAD instrument aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was used to detect buried ice deposits.

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HiRISE coverage of the Opportunity field site, version 1.0

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/11/18 05:28 CST | 1 comments

As she did before for Curiosity, Emily Lakdawalla has searched through the HiRISE image archive for photos of the Opportunity landing site and sorted them all out so that you don't have to.

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NatGeo's new MARS miniseries premieres tonight
Look close and you'll recognize some Planetary Society experts

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2016/11/14 02:17 CST | 3 comments

The new six-part miniseries, MARS, premieres tonight on the National Geographic channel. Perhaps it can help influence the incoming administration to continue NASA's Journey to Mars.

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A week in the solar system

Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/11/10 05:45 CST | 1 comments

A roundup of pretty pictures and news from our robotic ambassadors around the solar system, from November 4 through 8.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Scales Spirit Mound, Takes Shot at Schiaparelli
Sols 4511 - 4540

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2016/11/05 11:45 CDT

Opportunity spent the month of October on Spirit Mound studying the rich yet familiar geology at the first science stop on its 10th extended mission – pausing only to take a shot at freeze-framing part of the descent of Europe’s Schiaparelli lander.

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Capturing Martian Weather in Motion

Posted by Justin Cowart on 2016/11/04 09:41 CDT | 1 comments

Still images of Mars often give a false impression that Mars is a dead planet—but time-lapse imaging from the European Mars Express spacecraft reveals the planet as it really is.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 4535 - October 26, 2016

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/11/02 07:01 CDT

Opportunity is currently finishing up observations of its first outcrop target of its 10th extended mission plan.

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Schiaparelli crash site imaged by HiRISE

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/27 11:43 CDT | 1 comments

Following up the detection of the Schiaparelli crash site by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter CTX, the higher-resolution HiRISE camera has now definitively identified the locations of lander impact site, parachute with backshell, and heat shield impact site on the Martian surface.

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Likely Schiaparelli crash site imaged by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/10/21 05:56 CDT | 8 comments

Just a day after the arrival of ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and its lander Schiaparelli, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken a photo of the landing site with its Context Camera, and things do not look good.

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