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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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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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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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A Sunset on Mars: Crafting a scene from archival data

Posted by Justin Cowart on 2016/03/08 01:30 CST | 2 comments

Ever wanted to stand on Mars and watch a sunset? Unfortunately for many of us, it will never be something that we get to experience in person. But thanks to our robotic emissaries on Mars, and some careful processing of images from NASA's Planetary Data System, we can get a sense of what it’s like.

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Mars Express VMC is back online

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/03/04 12:48 CST

Mars Express' Visual Monitoring Camera is taking photos again! The camera was turned on for the first time in six months on Leap Day to take some lovely photos of Mars.

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MENCA brings divine wealth from Mars: First science results from the Mars Orbiter Mission

Posted by Syed Maqbool Ahmed on 2016/03/02 08:00 CST | 3 comments

MENCA (Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser) is a quadrupole mass spectrometer onboard India's Mars Orbiter Mission, MOM. A report on measurements of neutral species accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters is the first peer-reviewed scientific result from the mission.

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Atlanta Students Bring Mars to Earth

Posted by Mark Sequeira on 2016/02/26 09:22 CST | 1 comments

A group of students from Georgia, USA, were able to explore Mars through the Mars Express #VMCschools campaign, with a little help from The Planetary Society's image processing tutorials.

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Light plays on a Martian crater rim

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2016/02/16 01:30 CST

Recently, space image processing enthusiast Thomas Appéré noticed that Curiosity had taken five photos of exactly the same spot on the rim of Gale crater, identical but for being taken at different times of day. That spot was due north of the rover, so the rising and lowering Sun illuminates the rounded hummocks of the crater rim differently from early morning to early afternoon.

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