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Blog Archive

 

A Sky Full of Stars

Bill Dunford • March 09, 2015

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

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Discovers New Rock Type, Updates Flight Software

A.J.S. Rayl • March 05, 2015

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.

Mars Orbiter Mission Methane Sensor for Mars is at work

Emily Lakdawalla • March 04, 2015

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.

Clouds and Chasmata

Bill Dunford • February 23, 2015

New landscapes from Mars Express.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • February 20, 2015

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • February 04, 2015

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

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

Bruce Betts • February 04, 2015

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

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Completes 11th Year of Surface Operations!

A.J.S. Rayl • February 03, 2015

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.

Flawed Beauties

Bill Dunford • February 02, 2015

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

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

Larry Crumpler • January 22, 2015

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

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

Emily Lakdawalla • January 21, 2015

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.

Beagle 2 found?

Emily Lakdawalla • January 16, 2015

What happened to Beagle 2? It's been a mystery for 11 years. That mystery appears to have been solved.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Closes in on 11th Anniversary and We Look Back on 2014

A.J.S. Rayl • January 07, 2015

With a wonder year of discoveries, historic feats, and bummers in the rear view mirror – and plenty of mettle to continue exploring – Opportunity ended 2014 quietly working in a temporary back-up mode, as her colleagues on Earth ramped up for the mission's marathon adventure to come in 2015.

Curiosity results from AGU: Methane is there, and it's variable

Emily Lakdawalla • December 30, 2014

At the American Geophysical Union meeting, the Curiosity mission announced that an instrument had finally definitively detected methane in Mars' atmosphere. It exists at a low background level, but there was a spike to about ten times that, which lasted for a couple of months before disappearing. What that means is unclear.

Field Report from Mars: Sol 3875 – December 18, 2014

Larry Crumpler • December 30, 2014

Opportunity is continuing its drives along the rim of Endeavour toward Marathon Valley. Larry Crumpler tells us what to expect as the rover continues its journey.

HiRISE image coverage of the Curiosity field site on Mars, Version 2.0

Emily Lakdawalla • December 30, 2014

There have been tons and tons of HiRISE images of the Curiosity landing region, and it has taken quite a lot of work for me to find, locate, and catalogue them. This post is a summary of what I've found; after four revisions and updates, it's now version 2.0 of the list.

Like A Bad Penny: Methane on Mars

Nicholas Heavens • December 16, 2014

With the announcement of Curiosity's detection of methane on Mars, Nicholas Heavens gives us a guide to the history of methane detection on Mars, a discussion of its scientific significance, and a few things to consider when hearing about and asking about the detection.

New Views of Ancient Martian Landscapes

Bill Dunford • December 08, 2014

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter just keeps delivering remarkable scenes from the Red Planet.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Roves from Wdowiak Ridge into Network of Fractures

A.J.S. Rayl • December 03, 2014

Last month, the Earth's longest-lived and most traveled robot on another planet drove into a network of fractures the likes of which the scientists had never seen before on Mars and wound up working there through the end of the month – and then something not completely unexpected happened.

Some Recent Views of Mars from Hubble

Ted Stryk • November 26, 2014

Ted Stryk showcases some of his processed versions of recent Hubble Space Telescope views of Mars.

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