After a brief science stop at Darwin (formerly known as Waypoint 1), Curiosity has driven hundreds of meters toward Mount Sharp. Autumn has come to Curiosity's southern hemisphere location, bringing lower temperatures. That means more power is required to heat rover actuators, leaving less power for science along the drive.
What did I learn about Curiosity at last week's Division for Planetary Sciences meeting? There were a few talks, most of which concerned soil and atmsospheric chemistry. I can summarize their conclusions with one sentence: More data is needed.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2013/10/07 07:06 CDT
The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission stepped up preparations for the coming Martian winter in September as Opportunity rounded the northern tip of Solander Point and drove into what will be her campground at Endeavour Crater for the next six months or so. It's been nearly a year in the planning. Now, from the rover's first look around, this winter could turn out to be one for the books.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/04 09:00 CDT
The European Space Agency invited me to join Mars Express project scientist Olivier Witasse, and spacecraft oeprations manager Michel Denis for a Hangout on Europe's recent and future exploration of Mars and Phobos.
NASA's MAVEN Mission Spared from Shutdown
Launch preparations will resume
Launch preparations will resume for NASA's MAVEN spacecraft, due to launch to Mars on November 18th. Work had previously been suspended, potentially causing the spacecraft to miss its once-every-26-month launch opportunity.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/10/03 02:17 CDT
I've been delving in to the Mars Express image archive this week, checking out its images of Phobos, and found a couple of really cool time-series of images to assemble into animations.
Some brand-new images just arrived from Curiosity on Mars, and two of the most recent are Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) images of the wheels. Today's images contained two little surprises.
NASA confirmed that a government shutdown could affect pre-launch processing of the MAVEN spacecraft, currently scheduled to launch to Mars on November 18th.
The European Space Agency will announce two major science missions this November, one of which is likely to be devoted to solar system exploration.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/09/24 10:19 CDT
Curiosity looked up after dark and captured more cool photos of Mars' moons. They include Phobos and Deimos passing in the night, and Phobos entering Mars' shadow.
On sol 3425 Opportunity "waded ashore" at Solander Point after crossing a sea of sand between here and Cape York. Cape York was an "island" remnant of the rim of Endeavour crater that Opportunity left back in May. Since then it has been driving south to the next largest and mountainous remnant of the crater rim, Solander Point.
Was there rainfall on Mars? Recent work mapping valley networks suggests there probably was -- but only for about 200 million years. What does this mean for life, and the Curiosity mission?
Posted by Ken Herkenhoff on 2013/09/05 02:49 CDT
From sols 373 to 383 (August 23 to September 3, 2013), Curiosity traveled about 250 meters toward Mount Sharp over five drives, trying out her new AutoNav capability.
There wasn't a dull moment for the Mars Exploration Rover mission in August as Opportunity drove up to the base of the Solander Point section Endeavour Crater's eroded rim, crossed over a geological boundary between ancient eras, maneuvered through a boulder field, scooting unscathed from a near-miss with a rock that could have ended it all, and at month's end delivered her team to what looks to be another scientific gemstone on the Red Planet.
Bruce Murray was an early advocate for the inclusion of cameras on planetary spacecraft. As a tribute to him, I thought I'd take a look at a few of the images from the early Mariner missions to Mars.
An interview with Bruce Murray from 2001 about his perspectives on Mars science and exploration: past, present, and future.