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Watching Siding Spring's encounter with Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • October 17, 2014

The nucleus of comet Siding Spring passes close by Mars on Sunday, October 19, at 18:27 UTC. Here are links to webcasts and websites that should have updates throughout the encounter.

Curiosity update, sols 764-781: Work complete at Confidence Hills; puzzling arm issues

Emily Lakdawalla • October 17, 2014

Curiosity spent a total of four weeks at Confidence Hills, feeding samples to SAM and CheMin several times. On two weekends during this period, the rover's activities were interrupted by faults with the robotic arm. Curiosity drove away from Confidence Hills on sol 780, and is ready to observe comet Siding Spring over the weekend.

Field Report from Mars: Sol 3808 — October 10, 2014

Larry Crumpler • October 15, 2014

Opportunity will become a comet flyby mission beginning in mid-October. The comet Siding Spring will zoom past Mars at a distance of about 135,000 km on October 19.

Phobos over Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • October 14, 2014

Today the Mars Orbiter Mission released a nice four-image animation of teeny dark Phobos crossing Mars' huge orange disk. Mars Orbiter Mission joins a long line of Mars missions that have produced images of Mars and Phobos together.

Video Introduction to Comet Siding Spring’s Near Miss at Mars

Bruce Betts • October 13, 2014

On October 19, 2014, Comet Siding Spring will fly very close to Mars. Here’s a 5 minute video introduction to get you up to speed on this planetary near miss, and some suggestions on how to find out more now, during, and after the encounter.

Mars Orbiter Mission shifts orbit to take cover from Siding Spring

Srinivas Laxman • October 09, 2014

With only 10 days remaining until the arrival of Comet Siding Spring at Mars, ISRO has shielded the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) from the comet. On Tuesday MOM’s orbit was altered so as to move it behind the Red Planet when the comet arrives. MOM will carry out observations of the comet and its Mars Colour Camera will click images of it.

New global Mars image from Mars Orbiter Mission features Gale crater

Emily Lakdawalla • October 07, 2014

ISRO has released a second global image of Mars from the Mars Colour Camera on Mars Orbiter Mission, and smack dab in the center of it is Gale crater, home to Curiosity.

Comet Siding Spring: Exciting times

Karl Battams • October 06, 2014

We're now less than two weeks away from Comet Siding Spring buzzing ridiculously close to Mars, and the excitement is building - in both good and bad ways...

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Gets Extension, Returns Killer Panoramas, and Roves onto Mystery Rocks

A.J.S. Rayl • October 04, 2014

While the winds of Martian spring blew through Meridiani Planum in September, Opportunity reformatted its Flash memory then continued exploring Wdowiak Ridge on the western rim of Endeavour Crater. Even though the Flash-related issues soon returned, the robot field geologist hardly seemed to notice as it sent home two spectacular panoramas, presented the scientists with a rocky Martian mystery, and delivered yet another September to remember for the mission. And that's not all.

Preparing for A-MAVEN Science!

Karl Battams • October 03, 2014

How can we use MAVEN to learn about Comet Siding Spring, passing very close by Mars this month?

Mars Orbiter Mission activates all science instruments as NASA, ISRO form joint Mars working group

Srinivas Laxman • October 01, 2014

Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) began its science activities fully on Wednesday with all five science instruments being activated. And on Tuesday, an ISRO-NASA Mars working group was formed which will "seek to identify and implement scientific and technological goals that NASA and ISRO have in common regarding Mars exploration."

Curiosity update, sols 748-763: Driving and Drilling at Pahrump Hills

Emily Lakdawalla • September 29, 2014

The biggest news on Curiosity of late is that the rover has drilled her fourth full drill hole on Mars! Drilling happened at a site called "Confidence Hills" on sol 759. But before she did that, she took a long series of amazing photos of rock formations at Jubilee Pass, Panamint Butte, and Upheaval Dome.

Mars Orbiter Mission delivers on promise of global views of Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • September 29, 2014

Ever since I first learned about the capabilities of Mars Orbiter Mission's small payload of science instruments, I have been anticipating one type of data in particular: global color views of Mars captured in a single 2000-pixel-square frame. Just days after entering orbit, Mars Orbiter Mission has delivered on that promise.

Field Report from Mars: Sol 3790 — September 22, 2014

Larry Crumpler • September 26, 2014

After a stand-down of activities to reformat its flash memory, Opportunity has re-commenced the long climb up this high and steep segment of the Endeavour crater rim.

MAVEN returns first images of Mars' atmosphere

Emily Lakdawalla • September 24, 2014

On Sepember 22 at 02:24 UTC, Earth received word that MAVEN had ended its orbit insertion burn on time, completing its journey to Mars. Today MAVEN has released some of its very first data, taken by the Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph just eight hours after arrival.

45th Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium Report

Ted Stryk • September 23, 2014

The 45th Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium, usually focused on terrestrial studies, shifted this year to planetary science. Ted Stryk gives us an overview.

SHARAD: Delving Deep at Mars

Bill Dunford • September 22, 2014

Some of Mars' most important secrets are hiding beneath the surface.

Comet Siding Spring Mars encounter: One Mars Express plan becomes two

ESA Mars Express Team • September 17, 2014

The Mars Express Flight Control Team at ESOC have been actively preparing for the flyby of comet C/2013 A1/Siding Spring on October 19. Initial estimates gave the possibility that Mars Express might be hit by 2 or 3 high-speed particles. Happily, additional observations by ground and space telescopes have shown the risk to be much lower – and perhaps even as low as zero. In today's blog post, the team explain how this (happy!) real-life, real-time development is affecting their preparations for fly-by.

Curiosity update, sols 727-747: Beginning the "Mission to Mount Sharp"

Emily Lakdawalla • September 12, 2014

A lot has happened behind the scenes on the Curiosity mission in the last few weeks. The mission received a pretty negative review from a panel convened to assess the relative quality of seven different proposed extended planetary science missions. Then, just a week later, the mission announced big news: they have arrived at Mount Sharp.

Planetary Science Gets Its Day in Congress

Casey Dreier • September 09, 2014

Watch Planetary Society President Jim Bell testify before a congressional subcommittee on Wednesday, September 10th.

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