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Blog Archive

 

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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First science reports from Curiosity's APXS and ChemCam: Petrology on Jake Matijevic

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/12 01:18 CDT | 16 comments

A Curiosity press briefing yesterday gave some of the first results from ChemCam and APXS on the rock "Jake Matijevic." It was a little too much petrology for most people; I do my best to explain.

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Pretty panoramas: Curiosity's scenic views of distant hills

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/11 07:37 CDT | 3 comments

The landscapes that surround Curiosity are picture-postcard beautiful.

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Pretty picture: Late afternoon in Gale Crater

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/09 05:36 CDT | 3 comments

Curiosity shot a lovely panoramic view of the distant rim of Gale crater in the dramatic lighting of late afternoon on sol 49. Damien Bouic has colorized it, and it is beautiful.

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Mars Program Update from MEPAG

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/10/05 06:30 CDT | 1 comment

Bruce Betts reports on the status of the current and future Mars program and on acronyms from a meeting of NASA's MEPAG (Mars Exploration Analysis Program Analysis Group).

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Curiosity Update, sol 57: Digging in at Rocknest

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/04 03:27 CDT | 2 comments

Engineers requested that Curiosity be driven to a "nice sandbox" to play in for the first soil sample, and it appears that a sand drift named Rocknest satisfies that requirement.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Finds Thrill of Newberries on Matijevic Hill
Sols 3060 - 3088

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2012/10/03 01:58 CDT | 1 comment

On reconnaissance of Matijevic Hill, Opportunity has driven right into another Martian mystery, compete with new kinds of “berries," tiny white veins running through two distinctive outcrops of rock, and orbital data indicating that somewhere here clay minerals are hiding, all of which has put the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission back in the science spotlight and made for another September to remember at Meridiani Planum.

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Beautiful rocks ahead at Glenelg, but first, Curiosity must dig in the sand

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/10/01 05:31 CDT | 4 comments

A beautiful panoramic view of the varied rocks of Glenelg has been transmitted from Curiosity on Mars. But before going any further, it's time to run the first Martian sand through the soil sampling system.

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Curiosity Update, Sol 52: Glenelg Ho!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/28 02:28 CDT

Curiosity has pulled up to the edge of Glenelg, its first destination within Gale crater.

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NASA's New Direction For Mars (Maybe)
Results from the MPPG

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2012/09/26 01:58 CDT

The future of the Mars Exploration Program exists as multiple mission plans straining to exist in the brutal new cost cap from the FY13 budget, pushed far into the future.

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Cosmoquest Science Hour, Wednesday: A virtual field trip to the hills on Curiosity's horizon

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/25 04:50 CDT | 2 comments

I'm hosting this week's Cosmoquest Science Hour, and plan to take viewers on a virtual tour of those mountains on Curiosity's horizon, and show you where Curiosity is likely to go. Join me and Fraser Cain here at 1600 PDT / 2300 UTC Wednesday.

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Pretty picture: rocks underfoot at Curiosity's landing site

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/17 02:54 CDT | 4 comments

An amateur-processed mosaic of some intriguing-looking broken rocks along Curiosity's traverse. They were intriguing enough to photograph with the Mastcam -- but not enough to stop and check them out, as Curiosity has already rolled on.

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