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Blog Archive

 

So Close and Yet So Far: Why isn't Siding Spring going to sandblast Mars?

Posted by Tony Farnham on 2014/09/09 09:02 CDT | 5 comments

Comet Siding Spring is going to make a very close approach to Mars in October. Any comet dust that reaches Mars has the potential to inflict significant damage on the spacecraft orbiting the planet. As it turns out, however, Mars and its orbiters are likely to see very few, if any, impacts. Why?

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Suffers Unwanted Computer Reboots, Hunkers Down for Reformat
Sols 3740 - 3769

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/09/03 12:19 CDT

After setting the new off-Earth rover distance record in July, Opportunity roved on in August, driving south along the eastern edge of Endeavour Crater's western rim to Wdowiak Ridge on its journey to the next big destination, Marathon Valley.

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Curiosity update, sols 697-726: Mars thwarts driving and drilling

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/08/22 04:24 CDT | 2 comments

The Mars gremlins really had it in for Curiosity this month. A computer glitch and slippery sand conspired to delay the rover's progress toward Mount Sharp. And shifting rocks proved unsafe for drilling. The rover will continue driving toward Mount Sharp, departing Bonanza King without drilling, skirting Hidden Valley along a plateau to its north.

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Comet Flyby Missions for Mars Rovers

Posted by Mark Lemmon on 2014/08/21 10:19 CDT | 2 comments

On October 19, the Mars rovers — like their orbiting cousins — will become comet flyby missions. Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will pass within 140,000 km of Mars.

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Curiosity wheel damage: The problem and solutions

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/08/19 08:21 CDT | 24 comments

Now that a Tiger Team has assessed the nature and causes of damage to Curiosity's wheels, I can finally answer your frequently-asked questions about what wheel damage means for the mission, and why it wasn't anticipated.

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New Postcards from Mars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/08/18 10:34 CDT | 7 comments

The latest snaphots from the "Mars Webcam" include something special.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3753 – August 15, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/08/18 09:46 CDT | 2 comments

Opportunity just completed its first drives upslope on its long journey toward the crest of the highest rim segment of Endeavour crater, “Cape Tribulation.” Larry Crumpler gives us an update on what to expect next from the little rover that could.

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Mars orbiters plan for their October encounter with comet Siding Spring

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/08/13 06:00 CDT | 2 comments

Now that we have reasonable confidence that our Mars orbiters will be safe from the close passage of comet Siding Spring, we are free to be excited about the opportunity that the encounter represents. At a community workshop on August 11, representatives from Mars missions shared their plans for great comet science.

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Mars 2020 Instruments – A Plan for Sample Return

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/08/08 04:45 CDT | 14 comments

Van Kane gives us a tour of the instruments selected for the Mars 2020 rover.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Sets Historic Distance Record and Roves On
Sols 3710-3739

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/08/08 12:13 CDT

It's official: Opportunity has traveled farther and lived longer than any other vehicle on another planet, driving to a place in history with an out-of-this-world distinction no one even imagined when the robot field geologist left Earth 11 years ago.

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Comet Siding Spring: Risk Assessment

Posted by Karl Battams on 2014/08/07 01:29 CDT | 6 comments

On October 19, 2014, Comet Siding Spring is going to have an extremely close encounter with the planet Mars. The bottom line: it seems most likely that our Martian spacecraft will be absolutely fine.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3737 – July 30, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/08/04 04:44 CDT | 2 comments

Larry Crumpler updates us on the Opportunity rover, which now holds the distance record for a rover on another planet and is about to climb up its highest crater rim segment yet.

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[Updated]: NASA Selects 7 Science Instruments for its Next Mars Rover

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/07/31 01:16 CDT | 12 comments

Seven science instruments will help the Mars 2020 rover identify biosignatures and understand the history of the rocks it encounters on the surface of the red planet.

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Planetary Society Selected as Mars 2020 Camera Partner

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/07/31 12:23 CDT | 9 comments

The Planetary Society has been selected as an education outreach partner on the just-selected NASA Mars 2020 Mastcam-Z instrument, led by Jim Bell, Planetary Society Board president and Arizona State University professor.

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NASA Announces the Suite of Science Instruments on its Next Mars Rover Today
Will search for signs of past life

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/07/31 04:13 CDT

Today marks the unveiling of the suite of science instruments that will travel to Mars to look for signs of past life and help determine samples to store for possible return to Earth. The next rover mission will launch in 2020.

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8th Mars Report: Martian habitability

Posted by Valerie Fox on 2014/07/30 01:22 CDT | 9 comments

Valerie Fox reports from the 8th International Conference on Mars on the habitability of the Red Planet.

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8th Mars Report: Was Ancient Mars Warm and Wet or Cold and Icy?

Posted by Abigail Fraeman on 2014/07/29 02:08 CDT | 3 comments

One of the hot topics of the 8th International Conference on Mars was the nature of Mars' ancient past. Abigail Fraeman reports on our updated view of whether Mars was ever warm and wet.

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Curiosity update, sols 671-696: Out of the landing ellipse, into ripples and pointy rocks

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/07/24 05:55 CDT | 8 comments

For the last four weeks, the name of the game for Curiosity has been driving. But these weeks of driving have been more challenging than they used to be.

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One Day on Mars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2014/07/21 08:03 CDT | 3 comments

A single day's observations take us from orbital overviews all the way down to ground truth.

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Mars and Europa: Contrasts in Mission Planning

Posted by Van Kane on 2014/07/19 02:08 CDT | 30 comments

Several announcements for proposed missions to Mars and on the planning for a NASA return to Europa that highlight the contrasts in planning missions for these two high priority destinations.

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