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The 2020 Rover in Context
It's not as a big of a change as you might think

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2012/12/05 02:24 CST | 4 comments

The 2020 rover announced today is entirely consistent with NASA's reduced commitment to planetary exploration due to its 2013 budget.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Digs In at Matijevic Hill
Sols 3119 - 3147

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2012/12/03 08:34 CST | 1 comment

While Curiosity and her team found themselves entangled in a media furor over comments, assumptions, and rumors of findings that have yet to be found, Opportunity roved on in November, finishing up the geologic survey of Matijevic Hill and setting a new mileage record along the way.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3150 - December 3, 2012

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2012/12/03 10:27 CST

Here at station 14 we have decided to do a detailed investigation of an outcrop that is well exposed and lies within an area where there is orbital remote-sensing evidence for clay minerals. These particular rocks are interesting in that they contain a lot of thin veins and alteration zones along joints (cracks) in the outcrops.

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More than you probably wanted to know about Curiosity's SAM instrument

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/30 12:31 CST | 26 comments

With all the hoopla surrounding the unknown results of the first analysis of a soil sample by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, I thought an explainer would be useful. What is SAM, what is it designed to measure, and what is the nature of its results? Here you go.

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One Year Ago

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2012/11/26 04:44 CST

MSL Curiosity left the Earth one year ago today. This is my experience of the launch.

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Pretty Picture: Curiosity on the edge of a geologist's paradise

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/26 03:11 CST | 1 comment

On Saturday, while parked for the Thanksgiving holiday at the edge of Glenelg, Curiosity took a lovely panorama pointed to the east and into Glenelg.

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Cosmoquest Science Hour, Wednesday: Curiosity update with Emily and Fraser

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/21 05:30 CST | 6 comments

This week's Cosmoquest Astronomy Hour Google+ Hangout at 1600 PST / midnight UTC on Wednesday will feature me and Fraser Cain talking about what Curiosity's been up to, and answering your questions.

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Nifty animation: Dust in the air for Curiosity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/21 11:21 CST

An animation of Curiosity photos shows changes in the weather.

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Planetary Radio Live--Celebrating Curiosity
Leaders of the Mars Science Laboratory mission join Bill Nye and others on stage.

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/11/20 04:28 CST

Bill Nye and Planetary Society colleagues welcome mission leaders Richard Cook and John Grotzinger to a live discussion about the Mars Science Laboratory Rover.

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Curiosity sol 102 update: Eppur si muove

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/19 06:36 CST | 2 comments

Curiosity is a rover again at last! She was parked at the dune named Rocknest for 40 sols, from sol 60 through 99. On sol 100, she drove right on top of the dune, obliterating her five scoop marks. Then on sol 102 she took a good long, 35-meter drive so that she's now right on the edge of the "high thermal inertia unit" that attracted her to the spot the team has named Glenelg.

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Save Our Science: November Update

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2012/11/15 01:05 CST | 5 comments

We've sent over sixteen thousand of emails to the president, but we need more.

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What We're Fighting For

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2012/11/13 01:48 CST

We're fighting for the restoration of NASA's planetary sciences budget to return to its 2012 level. What does that get us? New financial analysis from our sources in the scientific community provides us a glimpse.

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Beautiful butterfly crater on Mars (another HiWish granted!)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/08 07:16 CST | 6 comments

I asked Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to take a photo, and it turned out better than I had imagined: an incredibly fresh, well-preserved, dramatically rayed oblique impact crater.

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Curiosity, Endeavour, and Bill Nye on Your Phone
All these and more on this week's Planetary Radio

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/11/07 10:31 CST

This week's Planetary Radio episode presents highlights of the first Curiosity press briefing about the Martian atmosphere, and then takes you to the opening day ceremony for Shuttle Endeavour. You have till Friday, November 9, at 10am Pacific to send your 10th anniversary message to the show and possibly win Bill Nye on your answering machine.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Begins Reconnaissance of Matijevic Hill
Sols 3089 - 3118

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2012/11/06 06:01 CST | 1 comment

After spending much of October driving around and taking pictures on Matijevic Hill, Opportunity hunkered down for Halloween and spent the holiday quietly, staying out of mischief's way and the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission roved another month closer to its ninth anniversary of working on the surface of the Red Planet.

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Huge self-portrait of Curiosity on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/01 07:27 CDT | 9 comments

Curiosity used MAHLI, the scientific camera at the end of the robotic arm, to shoot a huge color portrait of herself sitting on Mars, with Gale's central mountain in the background.

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Getting up to speed with Curiosity as of sol 84, and two awesome mosaics

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/31 07:39 CDT | 6 comments

Curiosity has already spent more than three weeks at Rocknest, working through the very slow process of commissioning the sample handling systems. While parked, she's taken a couple of amazing photo mosaics.

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PlanetVac: Sucking Up Planetary Regolith
A New Planetary Society Project

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/10/30 02:27 CDT | 3 comments

Learn about the Planetary Society’s newest project: PlanetVac, with Honeybee Robotics, aims to prototype and test in a huge vacuum chamber a new way to sample planetary surfaces that could be used for sample return or for in situ instruments.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3111- October 23, 2012

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2012/10/23 11:27 CDT

We on the MER Opportunity science team are currently doing an “outcrop walk” with Opportunity on the slopes of Cape York, a small residual part of the rim on the 20+ km diameter Endeavour Crater, Mars.

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Book Review: The International Atlas of Mars Exploration, by Phil Stooke

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/12 04:31 CDT | 3 comments

I've been waiting for the publication of this book for years. Phil Stooke's International Atlas of Mars Exploration, just published by Cambridge University Press, is an exhaustively awesome labor of love, chronicling the first five decades of Mars exploration in pictures, maps, and facts.

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