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Curiosity update, sols 540-8: New rules and longer drives

Emily Lakdawalla • February 20, 2014

Curiosity has tested a new driving mode -- backwards -- and achieved their longest single-day drive in three months. And they've committed to driving to the spot formerly known as "KMS-9," marking that commitment by giving it a name, "Kimberley." My route maps show you why Curiosity's views will be shifting, and Ken Herkenhoff's blog posts explain the daily activities.

Curiosity Update, sols 534-540: Over Dingo Gap, onto softer sand

Emily Lakdawalla • February 13, 2014

After more than two months of very slow driving due to concern about the wheels and time spent choosing whether to enter "Dingo Gap" or not, Curiosity has safely crossed the dune and resumed longer drives, achieving 75 meters and crossing the 5-kilometer mark on sol 540.

Intro Astronomy Class 1: Tour of the Solar System

Bruce Betts • February 11, 2014

Take a tour of the Solar System in the video of class 1 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

New Hills, Old Secrets

Bill Dunford • February 10, 2014

Exploring a set of newly named hills on Mars reveals tantalizing clues to the planet's story.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Finds Mystery Rock, Mission Celebrates 10 Years

A.J.S. Rayl • February 07, 2014

In the storied history of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission, January 2014 will likely be remembered as one of the most memorable months of all.

The Mars Exploration Family Portrait is expanding, and I need your help

Jason Davis • February 06, 2014

The Mars Exploration Family Portrait is expanding to cover the entire solar system! But before we proceed, I'm asking for feedback.

Looking Backward: Curiosity gazes upon the setting Earth

Emily Lakdawalla • February 05, 2014

A few days ago, Curiosity looked westward after sunset and photographed Earth setting toward the mountainous rim of Gale crater.

Take My Free Online College Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy CSUDH Class

Bruce Betts • February 05, 2014

Our own Dr. Bruce Betts is once again teaching his Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy college course online. Come join him.

Curiosity update, sols 521-533: Assessing Dingo Gap

Ken Herkenhoff • February 04, 2014

While continuing to perform regular wheel health assessments, Curiosity took a sharp right turn and headed for Dingo Gap. On sol 533, they performed a "toe dip" that parked the rover atop the dune with a good view down into the valley.

The Faces of Mars

Bill Dunford • February 03, 2014

Portraits of a planet.

Beautiful view into the valley beyond Dingo Gap, Curiosity sol 528

Emily Lakdawalla • January 31, 2014

A beautiful Mastcam panorama from sol 528 shows a landscape so much more like Earth than anything we've explored on the Martian surface before.

Conspiracy Theorist Sues NASA, Wastes Everybody's Time

Casey Dreier • January 31, 2014

The "jelly doughnut" rock found next to Opportunity is the focus of a new lawsuit alleging that NASA is not properly looking for life.

Curiosity update: imaging the nonfunctioning REMS boom, closer to Dingo Gap

Emily Lakdawalla • January 29, 2014

At long last, on sol 526, Curiosity imaged the part of the weather instrument that was damaged during landing, but no obvious damage is visible, to me anyway. On sol 527 they drove even closer to Dingo Gap, with plans to drive onto the dune in the sol 528 drive.

Mars 2020 Is No Redo

G. Scott Hubbard • January 28, 2014

The next major mission to Mars will push the technological envelope in way that preserves its budget and fulfills the scientific goals set by the planetary community for this decade.

A new comet observing campaign for C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring)

Karl Battams • January 27, 2014

You thought you were rid of us...but we're back! Following the spectacular and, quite frankly unprecedented, success of the Comet ISON Observing Campaign, we are launching a similar venture for another unique cometary encounter that's happening this year. In October 2014, comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will pass extremely close to Mars.

Curiosity images "Dingo Gap," sols 519-521

Emily Lakdawalla • January 24, 2014

Over the last few days, Curiosity made steady driving progress to the southwest. For several of those days, an intriguing feature has appeared on the horizon in her images. UPDATE: The Curiosity team has now decided to drive the rover toward the feature, which is now named "Dingo Gap."

The Planetary Society Congratulates Opportunity's Team for 10 Years on Mars

Casey Dreier • January 24, 2014

The Planetary Society released an official statement today recognizing the unprecedented achievement of maintaining an operating rover on the surface of Mars for a decade.

Russia's Ambitious Planetary Exploration Goals

Van Kane • January 22, 2014

Roscosmos has ambitious planetary exploration plans in the coming decades, including a series of solo lunar missions and joint missions to Mars with the European Space Agency.

Curiosity update, sols 488-520: Steady driving while watching the wheels

Ken Herkenhoff • January 22, 2014

In the last month, Curiosity put 222 meters on the odometer in 12 short drives, while regularly assessing the wheels for damage. The rover performed touch-and-go analyses of rocks including Oneida and Kodak, and also took some ChemCam RMI mosaics of rocks near the base of Mount Sharp.

New Views of Martian Weather

Bill Dunford • January 20, 2014

The latest postcards from Mars Express feature cloudy skies.

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