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NASA's Mars Announcement: Present-day transient flows of briny water on steep slopes

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/09/28 02:26 CDT | 25 comments

NASA held a press briefing today to publicize a cool incremental result in the story of present-day liquid water on Mars. How big a deal is this story? Was all the pre-announcement hype justified? Is this just NASA discovering water on Mars for the zillionth time? What does this mean for things many space fans care about: life on Mars or future human exploration?

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A Free, Online Course Exploring the Science of Phobos and Deimos

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/09/19 04:23 CDT | 3 comments

Impress your friends and wow your colleagues by learning all about Mars's moons.

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Curiosity update, sols 1073-1107: Driving toward dunes, distracted by haloes

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/09/18 07:40 CDT | 1 comments

Since I last checked in with Curiosity, the rover has been steadily driving southward, heading directly toward the Bagnold dune field. They are looking for a place to drill into the Stimson sandstone unit, but have been distracted by intriguing pale haloes around frock fractures. Despite a rough road, the wheels are not showing significant increase in damage.

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A Workhorse at Mars

Posted by Tanya Harrison on 2015/09/11 07:44 CDT | 2 comments

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Context Camera (CTX) is almost a silent star at Mars. The latest MRO data release brought the total number of available CTX images to over 70,000, covering well over 90% of the Red Planet at a stunning resolution of 6 meters per pixel.

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Pretty Picture: A Sweeping View of the Martian South Pole

Posted by Jason Davis on 2015/09/10 11:56 CDT | 1 comments

The European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft captured a sweeping view of Mars' south pole, along with a region extending northward to Hellas Basin.

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IceBreaker: The Search for Life on Mars

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/09/08 09:19 CDT | 3 comments

The IceBreaker mission, proposed to NASA's Discovery program for low-cost missions, would seek out life on the northern plains of Mars.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Digs Marathon Valley Walkabout
Sols 4096 - 4125

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/09/03 08:04 CDT

Opportunity drove farther into Marathon Valley in August, dug into what appears to be a water-altered rock, and took a lot of picture postcards in what is turning out to be a distinctively different site from any that the mission has found since the robot field geologist landed in 2004.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 4119 - August 26, 2015

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2015/08/26 02:53 CDT

Opportunity is moving down into a large valley that cuts through the rim of Endeavour crater, into some interesting scenery.

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Roving Mars—In Utah

Posted by Bill Dunford on 2015/08/19 08:14 CDT

Students gather in the desert to answer the University Rover Challenge, pushing the limits of the tech that will drive future Mars exploration.

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The story behind Curiosity's self-portraits on Mars

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/08/19 03:52 CDT | 2 comments

How and why does Curiosity take self-portraits? A look at some of the people and stories behind Curiosity's "selfies" on the occasion of the official release of the sol 1065 belly pan self-portrait at Buckskin, below Marias Pass, Mars.

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Curiosity update, sols 1012-1072: Sciencing back and forth below Marias Pass

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/08/14 07:14 CDT

Since my last update, Curiosity has driven back and forth repeatedly across a section of rocks below Marias pass. The rover finally drilled at a spot named Buckskin on sol 1060, marking the drill's return to operations after suffering a short on sol 911. Now the rover is driving up into Marias Pass and onto the Washboard or Stimson unit.

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New Curiosity Self-Portrait

Posted by Damia Bouic on 2015/08/11 01:03 CDT | 3 comments

Amateur image processor Damia Bouic shares new stunning images from Curiosity—including a "selfie" from a whole new angle.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Enters Marathon Valley, Begins Walkabout
Sols 4065 - 4095

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/08/03 05:20 CDT | 4 comments

Nearly seven Earth years after Opportunity set its sites on Endeavour Crater, the rover cruised into Marathon Valley, the once-but-a-dream destination.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 4060 - June 26, 2015

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2015/07/29 01:04 CDT

Larry Crumpler gives an update on the Opportunity rover's activities in Spirit of St. Louis crater.

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Help map Mars' south polar region!

Posted by Tanya Harrison on 2015/07/24 12:42 CDT | 3 comments

The science team of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter wants your help in mapping out the weird and wonderful features of Mars' south polar region!

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A New Way to Prepare Samples of Mars for Return to the Earth
Mars 2020’s strategy to cache samples is evolving as the mission matures

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2015/07/23 02:18 CDT | 16 comments

Mars 2020, NASA’s next and yet-to-be-named Mars rover, will be the first mission to collect and prepare samples of the martian surface for return to Earth. The rover's engineering team has proposed a new sampling caching strategy that differs from previous concepts in some interesting ways.

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MarCO: Planetary CubeSats Become Real

Posted by Van Kane on 2015/07/08 09:25 CDT | 4 comments

NASA recently announced the Mars Cube One (MarCO) mission, which will fly two CubeSat spacecraft past Mars as part of its larger InSight Mars mission.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Phones Home after Conjunction Healthy, Ready to Rove
Sols 4036 - 4064

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2015/07/02 12:12 CDT | 1 comments

After three weeks of being in a communications blackout on the other side of the Sun during the Earth-Mars solar conjunction, Opportunity phoned home, reporting that she is healthy and ready to continue her mission.

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Field Report from Mars: Sol 4039 - June 4, 2015
Two Week Period of Solar Conjunction Begins

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2015/06/12 08:15 CDT

Larry Crumpler gives an update on the Opportunity rover and plans for its upcoming journey after solar conjunction.

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Curiosity update, sols 978-1011: Into Marias Pass; ChemCam back in action; solar conjunction

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/06/10 07:26 CDT | 7 comments

It’s been an eventful few weeks for Curiosity on Mars. From sols 981 to 986, Curiosity’s human pilots tried and failed to drive the rover southward; but, retracing their steps to Logan's Run, they quickly found a way up and into a beautiful geological amphitheater named Marias Pass, where they will stay throughout Mars solar conjunction. They also returned ChemCam to normal operations.

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