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Blog Archive

 

Curiosity update, sols 896-949: Telegraph Peak, Garden City, and concern about the drill

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/04/10 07:37 CDT | 1 comments

Since I last wrote about Curiosity drilling at Pink Cliffs, the rover has visited and studied two major sites, drilling at one of them. It has also suffered a short in the drill percussion mechanism that presents serious enough risk to warrant a moratorium on drill use until engineers develop a plan to continue to operate it safely.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 3978 - April 3, 2015

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2015/04/09 10:55 CDT

Larry Crumpler gives an update on Opportunity's exploration of Mars as it approaches the entrance to Marathon Valley.

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Mars, In Depth

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2015/04/07 12:44 CDT | 5 comments

See the latest three-dimensional landscapes captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Finishes First Marathon on Another Planet and Roves On
Sols 3946 - 3976

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/04/02 09:37 CDT

On March 24, 2015, after spending several weeks investigating some new rock types along the western rim of Endeavour Crater, Opportunity roved past 42.2 kilometers (26.2 miles) and put the first off-Earth marathon in her rear view mirror, driving the Mars Exploration Rovers mission back into the space history books.

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A New Path to Mars?
A new workshop suggests humans to the Mars system might be affordable after all

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/04/02 06:04 CDT | 39 comments

A new advocacy initiative for the Society: let's get humans to Mars.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 3971 - March 26, 2015

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2015/03/28 07:47 CDT | 1 comments

Opportunity reaches a marathon milestone—in more ways than one. Larry Crumpler reports on the current status of the seemingly unstoppable Mars rover.

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LPSC 2015: Aeolian Processes on Mars and Titan

Posted by Nathan Bridges on 2015/03/26 04:05 CDT

Planetary scientist Nathan Bridges reports on results from the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference about the action of wind on the surfaces of Mars and Titan.

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Mars Academy

Posted by Paul Hayne on 2015/03/21 03:55 CDT

A new project—"Mars Academy"—aims to expand the cosmic horizon and offer a broader sense of opportunity for at least one group of underprivileged children in an impoverished neighborhood in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

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Is the Opportunity Rover a Mission 'Whose Time Has Passed'?
No.

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/03/15 08:56 CDT | 11 comments

The NASA Administrator declared that the Opportunity rover is a mission 'whose time has passed' and will be defunded next year. Will Congress act to save it?

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A Sky Full of Stars

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2015/03/09 08:03 CDT | 3 comments

In pictures of the planets, the stars aren't usually visible. But when they do appear, they're spectacular.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Discovers New Rock Type, Updates Flight Software
Sols 3918 - 3945

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/03/05 12:16 CST

From the discovery of a new rock type to a successful flight software upload that should enable the robot field geologist to regain her long-term, flash memory, Opportunity and her team delivered what turned out to be a hugely productive and memorable 133rd month on the Red Planet.

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Mars Orbiter Mission Methane Sensor for Mars is at work

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/03/04 10:50 CST | 5 comments

After several months of near-silence, ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission has released on Facebook the first data product from its Methane Sensor For Mars. Don't get too excited about methane yet: there is no positive or negative detection. The news here is that the Methane Sensor for Mars is working, systematically gathering data. They also released several new photos of Mars.

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Clouds and Chasmata

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2015/02/23 10:03 CST | 2 comments

New landscapes from Mars Express.

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Curiosity update, sols 864-895: Drilling at Pink Cliffs

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/02/20 06:59 CST

Curiosity's second drilling campaign at the foot of Mount Sharp is complete. The rover spent about a month near Pink Cliffs, an area at the base of the Pahrump Hills outcrop, drilling and documenting a site named Mojave, where lighter-colored crystals were scattered through a very fine-grained rock.

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Mars Orbiter Mission images Mars' moons, including the far side of Deimos

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/02/04 10:02 CST | 2 comments

Today I'm excited to show you some previously unreleased images from Mars Orbiter Mission, containing Mars' moons Phobos and Deimos.

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

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2015/02/04 05:00 CST

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

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Completes 11th Year of Surface Operations!
Sols 3889 - 3918

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/02/03 05:54 CST

On January 24th, something wonderful happened on Mars. Opportunity completed her 11th year of exploring the surface of the Red Planet! The veteran rover couldn't exactly go to Disneyland to celebrate this amazing achievement, so she did what she loves to do – roved on.

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Flawed Beauties

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2015/02/02 05:03 CST | 1 comments

More examples of imperfect--but tantalizing--images from deep space.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 3902 - January 15, 2015

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2015/01/22 05:10 CST

Larry Crumpler gives an update on the status of Opportunity's traverse toward Marathon Valley.

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Curiosity update, sols 814-863: Pahrump Hills Walkabout, part 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/01/21 07:24 CST | 5 comments

Curiosity has spent the last two months completing a second circuit of the Pahrump Hills field site, gathering APXS and MAHLI data. The work has been hampered by the loss of the ChemCam focusing laser, but the team is developing a workaround. Over the holidays, the rover downlinked many Gigabits of image data. The rover is now preparing for a drilling campaign.

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