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Blog Archive

 

Join me in Washington, D.C. for a post-Thanksgiving Celebration of Planetary Exploration

Casey Dreier • November 26, 2014

See Bill Nye, Europa scientist Kevin Hand, and Mars scientist Michael Meyer speak at a special event on Capitol Hill on December 2nd.

Field Report from Mars: Sol 3848 — November 20, 2014

Larry Crumpler • November 25, 2014

Larry Crumpler returns with an update on Opportunity's recent activities, and its road ahead.

Curiosity update, sols 782-813: Walking the outcrop at Pahrump Hills

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2014

At Pahrump Hills, Curiosity is becoming the field geologist she was intended to be.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Images Comet, Ducks Storm, Departs Ulysses

A.J.S. Rayl • November 04, 2014

As winds whirled and converged to the west of Endeavour Crater, Opportunity's power dropped dramatically in October, but the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) pressed on. By month's end, the robot field geologist had completed her assignments – including capturing the first close-in shot of a comet from the surface of the Red Planet – and was roving onward through the darkness, driving the mission into the 130th month of what started out more than 10-and-a-half years ago to be a 3-month tour.

Seven Mars spacecraft attempted observations of comet Siding Spring. How did they go?

Emily Lakdawalla • November 03, 2014

It's been two weeks since comet Siding Spring passed close by Mars, and six of the seven Mars spacecraft have now checked in with quick looks at their images of the encounter. I round up all the results.

A (Difficult) Day in the Solar System

Bill Dunford • October 30, 2014

After a bad day on the launch pad, some perspective.

GSA 2014: The puzzle of Gale crater's basaltic sedimentary rocks

Emily Lakdawalla • October 23, 2014

At the Geological Society of America conference this week, Curiosity scientists dug into the geology of Gale crater and shared puzzling results about the nature of the rocks that the rover has found there.

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.

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