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Blog Archive

 

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.

Geology on Mars: Using stratigraphic columns to tell the story of Gale Crater

Heidi Stauffer • May 15, 2017

Stratigraphic columns are a basic tool in geology, used on both Earth and Mars to tell the story of a location. But what are they really?

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Closes in on Perseverance Valley

A.J.S. Rayl • May 03, 2017

Opportunity spent the month of April 2017 outside the western rim of Endeavour Crater, cruising toward Cape Byron and Perseverance Valley, the centerpiece of its tenth extended mission.

Curiosity update, sols 1600-1674: The second Bagnold Dunes campaign

Emily Lakdawalla • April 25, 2017

The four-stop dune science campaign offered the engineers some time to continue troubleshooting the drill without any pressure to use it for science. They scooped sand at a site called Ogunquit Beach but couldn't complete the planned sample activity because of new developments in the drill inquiry. The rover has now headed onward toward Vera Rubin Ridge.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Dodges Dust Storms, Makes Tracks to Perseverance Valley

A.J.S. Rayl • April 04, 2017

After wrapping the final science investigations on the slopes of Cape Tribulation, Opportunity climbed up and over the rim of Endeavour Crater in March and embarked on the journey south toward its next science target: Perseverance Valley.

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