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Blog Archive

 

MAVEN, in orbit around Mars, snaps anniversary selfie

Jason Davis • October 08, 2018

The spacecraft used its ultraviolet spectrograph imager for the job, and one frame shows Mars in the background.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Team Initiates Plan to Recover Oppy, Orbiter Sends Postcard, Storm Ends

A.J.S. Rayl • October 04, 2018

As the global storm that wrapped the Red Planet in a cloud of dust since late June finally gave up the ghost in September, the sky continued to clear over Endeavour Crater and the Opportunity team initiated the NASA-approved two-step plan to reestablish contact with the rover.

NASA Then & Now

Bruce Betts • October 02, 2018

A collection of before and after slider images showing how views of planets in our solar system have changed over the years since NASA was created.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: NASA Focuses on Recovering Opportunity as Storm Diminishes and Dust Settles

A.J.S. Rayl • September 09, 2018

The dust raising power of the storms that wrapped Mars in a cloud in June and July diminished in August. Meanwhile, on Earth, the Opportunity team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory reviewed recovery plans, conducted additional simulations, and began wrapping the month with newfound reasons to believe Opportunity can emerge from her hibernation.

Curiosity update, sols 2093-2162: Three tries to successful drill atop Vera Rubin Ridge

Emily Lakdawalla • September 06, 2018

Heedless of the (now-dissipating) dust storm, Curiosity has achieved its first successful drill into rocks that form the Vera Rubin ridge, and is hopefully on the way to a second. It took three attempts for Curiosity to find a soft enough spot, with Voyageurs and Ailsa Craig being too tough, but Stoer proved obligingly soft on sol 2136.

False alarm: Here's why people thought Opportunity phoned home last week

Jason Davis • August 21, 2018

It was a signal from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, not Opportunity, that showed up on a Deep Space Network dashboard last week.

National Academies: NASA needs a plan for Mars

Casey Dreier • August 16, 2018

Though progress is being made on Mars Sample Return, a new report from the National Academies recommends NASA have a long-term plan for robotic Mars exploration, and work to ensure communications infrastructure is maintained at the Red Planet. These recommendations largely align with those made by The Planetary Society in a report released in 2017.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Dust Storm Wanes, Opportunity Sleeps, Team Prepares Recovery Strategy

A.J.S. Rayl • August 01, 2018

As Opportunity slept in Perseverance Valley under the thick cloud of dust that has blanketed the Red Planet for the last six weeks, scientists who are studying the monster storm that forced the robot field geologist into its hibernation mode are now reporting the tempest has peaked.

Curiosity's organics on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • July 30, 2018

What does it mean that the Mars rover Curiosity found organics in Martian rocks? Emily Lakdawalla translates the science.

Liquid Water on Mars! Really for Real This Time (Probably)

Emily Lakdawalla • July 25, 2018

A radar instrument on one of the oldest operational Mars orbiters has discovered possible evidence of present-day liquid water on Mars.

See Mars at its closest in 15 years—and maybe a lunar eclipse

Bruce Betts • July 23, 2018

Later this week, Mars will be closer and brighter than it has been since 2003. And about half the Earth will see a lunar eclipse!

The Bounty of Iron Meteorites Found on Mars

Linda Martel • July 10, 2018

Something new and wonderful appeared in the Meteoritical Bulletin Database—an entire listing of meteorites found on Mars by robotic rovers and their science teams from the years 2005–2017.

Walking on Mars: Bringing the Red Planet Down to Earth

Jonathon Hill • July 06, 2018

What happens when you print a map of Mars the size of a basketball court?

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Sleeps as Storm Chasers Study Planet-Encircling Dust Cloud

A.J.S. Rayl • July 04, 2018

As a monster dust storm grew to encircle the Red Planet in June, Opportunity spent most of the month in the dark, presumably sleeping in a hibernation mode as the skies over Endeavour Crater became darker and darker.

Curiosity update, sols 2027-2092: Return to drilling at Duluth, sciencing the dust storm

Emily Lakdawalla • June 29, 2018

Hooray! Curiosity has triumphantly returned to drilling with a successful drill and delivery to its lab instruments at a site named Duluth. It's now studying the dust storm as it drives to new drill sites on Vera Rubin ridge.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update Special Report: Opportunity Pummeled by Massive Dust Storm, Hunkers Down to Sleep

A.J.S. Rayl • June 15, 2018

Entrenched in the west rim of Endeavour Crater, veteran robot field geologist Opportunity is hunkered down in Perseverance Valley in a kind of hibernation mode.

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Makes Tracks on Magical Mystery Tour of Different Rocks

A.J.S. Rayl • June 02, 2018

Opportunity continued exploring the south trough of Perseverance in May, still looking for evidence that explains just how this one-of-a-kind valley meandering through Endeavour Crater’s rim formed.

Mars' growth stunted!

Sean Raymond • June 01, 2018

Mars is a weirdo. (Well, as far as planets go).

Approaching Mars on Spaceship Earth

Emily Lakdawalla • May 24, 2018

One of the great things about space exploration is how it can shift your perspective. And you don't even need to leave home.

Book Excerpt: The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the radioisotope power system works

Emily Lakdawalla • May 14, 2018

Readers, colleagues, friends: it's finally happened. My first book is finally out in the world. Here's an excerpt that explains the design and operation of Curiosity's MMRTG, (it also applies to the future Mars 2020 rover power supply).

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