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The Mars 2020 Rover In-Depth
NASA's next major mission to the Red Planet will store samples for eventual return to the Earth

Posted by Van Kane on 2013/07/27 01:05 CDT | 3 comments

We now know the science goals for NASA’s next major Mars mission. The new rover will further the astrobiological search begun by the Curiosity rover and store samples for eventual return to the Earth, providing a stepping stone to the next stage of Martian exploration.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3378 - July 25, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/07/26 12:32 CDT

We are now only about 180 meters from the new mountain, Solander Point. We slowed down this week so that we could check out the rocks here where there is a strange hydration signature from orbital remote sensing.

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Planetary Geomorphology Image of the Month: Water tracks on Earth and Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/18 09:57 CDT | 3 comments

The International Association of Geomorphologists' "planetary geomorphology image of the month," contributed by Joe Levy, features water tracks on Earth and compares them to recurring slope lineae on Mars.

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A new HiRISE view of Opportunity (sol 3361)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/07/17 06:14 CDT

The HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has snapped a lovely color photo of the rim of Endeavour crater, catching Opportunity midway between Nobby's Head and Solander Point.

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Dunes on Tatooine

Posted by Ralph Lorenz on 2013/07/17 01:13 CDT

The fictional world Tatooine, scene of action in the Star Wars movies, is named after a town in Tunisia, where parts of the movies were filmed. The desert backdrops against which the movies were filmed are real terrestrial landscapes, which prove to be perhaps unexpectedly dynamic.

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Programmable Mars Watch for $50

Posted by Ara Kourchians on 2013/07/11 06:00 CDT

Time is kept differently on Mars. This is because Mars itself rotates a little slower than Earth. This proves to be a pain when it comes to timekeeping.

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Mars 2020 Science Announcement Live-blog
NASA's next Mars rover now has a mission

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/07/09 01:57 CDT | 6 comments

Follow along as NASA reacts to the recommendations of the science definition team for the next Mars rover.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3355 - July 2, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2013/07/08 06:04 CDT

By Sol 3325 Opportunity has driven up onto the next "island" of rock, "Sutherland Point" and "Nobbys Head." On this sol Opportunity is only about 700 m from the goal, the mountains to the south.

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The Ice Pits of Mars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/07/07 10:24 CDT | 9 comments

The south polar cap of Mars is riddled with strange landscapes.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Mission Update: Opportunity Continues Sprint to Solander Point
Sols 3325 - 3354

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2013/07/04 04:04 CDT | 1 comments

The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission celebrated its 10th anniversary of leaving Earth in June, as Opportunity continued the sprint to its next winter haven at Endeavour Crater.

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Stationkeeping in Mars orbit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/06/27 10:55 CDT | 10 comments

It had never occurred to me to think about geostationary satellites in Mars orbit before reading a new paper by Juan Silva and Pilar Romero. The paper shows that it takes a lot more work to maintain a stationary orbit at an arbitrary longitude at Mars than it does at Earth.

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If we started today, how long would it take to get to Mars? With this budget, never.
Analysis of the House Science Committee Hearing on the 2013 NASA Authorization Bill

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2013/06/19 04:38 CDT | 6 comments

The House of Representatives held a hearing today to discuss their proposed NASA authorization bill, which would fund Planetary Science, cut Earth Science, forbid asteroid retrieval, and command NASA to pursue a path to Mars via the Moon.

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Enormously detailed photo of Kasei Valles from Mars Express

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/06/19 02:36 CDT | 7 comments

ESA celebrated the tenth anniversary of Mars Express' launch with a several-day science meeting during which they issued lots of press releases and numerous spectacular photos. My favorite of them all is this enormous image of Kasei Valles on Mars.

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Exploring Ten Years' Worth of Mars Express Data

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/06/13 01:09 CDT | 3 comments

Mars Express has been in flight for a decade, more than enough time to send home some amazing finds.

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Pretty pictures: Curiosity working late

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/06/07 11:47 CDT | 2 comments

Just some cool photos of Curiosity lighting up the Cumberland drill hole after sunset for a little nighttime science work.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Departs Cape York, Breaks Apollo Record
Sols 3295 - 3325

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2013/06/05 09:22 CDT | 1 comments

It was a merry and mighty month of May for the Mars Exploration Rover mission: Opportunity finished a blockbuster study of Matijevic Hill finding the best evidence yet for an ancient, potentially habitable environment, and then embarked on its first real road trip in two years. The robot field geologist had barely gotten underway on its journey when it surpassed the Apollo 17 lunar rover distance record to become the most traveled NASA vehicle on another planetary body.

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Curiosity update, sol 295: "Hitting the road" to Mount Sharp

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/06/05 04:54 CDT | 3 comments

There was a Curiosity telephone conference this morning to make an exciting announcement: they're (almost) done at Glenelg and are preparing for the drive south to Mount Sharp. Allow me an editorial comment: finally!

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One Ocean World Among Many

Posted by Jim Bell on 2013/06/03 03:53 CDT | 6 comments

I'm absolutely floored when I stop to think that our beautiful blue ocean is only one of perhaps a half dozen or more oceans on other worlds in our solar system, and only one of probably millions (or more) oceans on other Earth-like planets in our galaxy. Oceans abound!

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Finding faces and animals on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/05/30 10:05 CDT | 7 comments

This week's "lizard" or "rat" on Mars is just the latest of a never-ending stream of so-called discoveries of animate and inanimate objects in images returned from the Red Planet. I challenge you readers to find more such objects in one Curiosity panorama.

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The Shores of the Kraken Sea: Great Place Names in the Solar System

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2013/05/28 08:59 CDT | 9 comments

Nothing reflects the romance of deep space exploration more than the evocative names of places on the planets and moons.

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