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Curiosity Update, sols 1428-1488: Through the Murray Buttes, drilling at Quela, and beyond

Emily Lakdawalla • October 13, 2016

In the two months since my last Curiosity update, the rover has traversed the scenic Murray Buttes, drilled at Quela, and driven another 300 meters southward.

Fun with a new image data set: Mars Orbiter Mission's Mars Colour Camera

Emily Lakdawalla • October 06, 2016

It's always a delight to sink my teeth into a new data set, and I have spent this week playing with one I've been anticipating for a long time: ISRO's Mars Orbiter's Mars Colour Camera, or MCC. MCC is unique among current Mars cameras in its ability to get color, print-quality, wide-angle, regional views of Mars.

MOM's Second Anniversary at Mars

Sandhya Ramesh • October 05, 2016

On Mars Orbiter Mission’s second anniversary of Mars arrival, ISRO has (finally!) made available to the public data from its first year in orbit.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Exits Marathon Valley then Rocks Spirit Mound

A.J.S. Rayl • October 04, 2016

It was another September to remember for Opportunity as she cruised through the Lewis and Clark Gap and out of Marathon Valley, then hiked downslope, leading the first overland expedition of the Red Planet to Spirit Mound, a new site deep in Endeavour Crater’s rim.

SpaceX and the Blank Slate

Casey Dreier • September 28, 2016

SpaceX's plans to colonize Mars differ considerably from NASA's Journey to Mars ambitions. But direct comparison is difficult. SpaceX is able to wipe the slate clean and start fresh with a bold new approach to humans in space. NASA has no such luxury, and must use existing pieces and people to make their goals a reality.

Field Report From Mars: Sol 4482 - September 2, 2016

Larry Crumpler • September 09, 2016

Opportunity is about to leave Marathon Valley for good and head south into the next valley, marking the beginning of the current extended mission plan.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Gets in the Groove, Wraps Science Marathon Valley

A.J.S. Rayl • September 05, 2016

Opportunity got in the groove at Endeavour Crater in August finishing the last of her science assignments in Marathon Valley.

How big is that butte?

Emily Lakdawalla • August 23, 2016

Whenever I share images from Curiosity, among the most common questions I’m asked is “what is the scale of this image?” With help from imaging enthusiast Seán Doran, I can answer that question for some of the Murray buttes.

Gullies on Mars: Wet or Dry (Ice)?

Tanya Harrison • August 17, 2016

Martian gullies were in the spotlight last week thanks to a NASA press release stating they were "likely not formed by liquid water" based on spectral results. But how does this stack up against their morphology?

Curiosity update, sols 1373-1427: Driving up to Murray buttes, drilling at Marimba

Emily Lakdawalla • August 11, 2016

Curiosity has now covered most of the flat ground that lay between the Naukluft plateau and the Murray buttes. The mission took only 11 days to complete drilling work at Marimba, despite a recurrence of a problematic short in the drill. The rover is ready to drive in among the buttes, shooting spectacular photos along the way.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Nears End of Marathon Valley Tour, Team Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Viking

A.J.S. Rayl • August 03, 2016

Despite the intensifying rancor and ugliness of the U.S. Presidential campaigns on Earth, as the spring Sun shined down on Meridiani Planum in July, all was right with the world at Endeavour Crater.

Field Report From Mars: Sol 4410 - June 20, 2016

Larry Crumpler • July 28, 2016

Opportunity is finishing up its activities in Marathon Valley, getting ready to hit the road again.

MAVEN Status and Extended-Mission Planning

Bruce Jakosky • July 27, 2016

The MAVEN mission to Mars was just approved for a two-year extended mission that runs through September 2018. Now is a good time to take stock of we've learned so far and to describe the plans for the extended mission.

Listen Up! Microphones to Fly to Mars

Bruce Betts • July 15, 2016

The Mars 2020 mission will carry microphones in its EDL package and its SuperCam instrument, which will enable us to finally hear the sounds of Mars. The Planetary Society has been trying to get microphones to Mars for 20 years and is ecstatic that these will fly.

Mars 2020 rover rolls into final design and fabrication phase

Jason Davis • July 15, 2016

NASA's next Mars rover is rolling off the drawing board and into its final design and fabrication phase, the agency announced today, during a televised event at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that highlighted some of the mission's technology.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Begins Final Science Campaign in Marathon Valley

A.J.S. Rayl • July 07, 2016

The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission entered its 150th month of surface exploration in June as Opportunity began checking off the last science investigations in Marathon Valley, and the crew on Earth looked ahead to the future past.

ExoMars sights Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • June 16, 2016

Today ESA released ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter's first photo of Mars, taken from a distance of 41 million kilometers. It's no more detail than you can get through a pair of a binoculars, just a little taste of what's to come.

Curiosity update, sols 1311-1369: Drilling at Lubango, Okoruso, and Oudam, and a turn to the south

Emily Lakdawalla • June 15, 2016

Curiosity is at a turning point in its mission to Mount Sharp, both literally and figuratively. Having drilled at three sample sites in 7 weeks, the rover took a left turn, changing its trajectory from a generally westward driving path to a southward one. It is now poised to cross the Bagnold dune field at Murray buttes.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Scuffs Up Signs of Past Water at Marathon Valley

A.J.S. Rayl • June 06, 2016

Opportunity spent the first half of May digging into an outcrop, taking dozens of panoramic images from her site on the south wall of Marathon Valley at Endeavour Crater’s western rim, and basking in the Martian spring weather.

Three bright planets: Portraits from the Pyrenees

Emily Lakdawalla • May 26, 2016

It's a great time to go outdoors and look at planets. I have three glorious planetary portraits to share today, sent to me by amateur astronomer Jean-Luc Dauvergne.

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