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"A genuinely weird experience": A video of Steve Squyres explaining a photo of Steve Squyres

Emily Lakdawalla • January 12, 2011

In a lovely talk, in his uncommonly engaging way, Steve Squyres presents the portrait of him that now hangs in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

Sunset and eclipse on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • January 05, 2011

These two movies were posted to the JPL website a couple of weeks ago, and they are just amazing.

Two views of Santa Maria, from orbit and from the ground

Emily Lakdawalla • January 04, 2011

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has just snapped another photo of Opportunity sitting on the ground on Mars. These pictures never get old.

Mars Exploration Rover Update: Spirit Silent Still, Opportunity Savors Santa Maria, We Flashback on 2010

A.J.S. Rayl • December 31, 2010

The Mars Exploration Rovers are wrapping up another year of exploring their seventh -- having experienced both the best of times and the worst of times: Spirit continued a 10-month struggle to endure its coldest, harshest Martian winter yet; Opportunity set a new record for driving despite an arthritic front wheel and a broken shoulder, putting more miles on her rocker bogie in 2010 than in any other single year.

Door 17 in the 2010 advent calendar

Emily Lakdawalla • December 17, 2010

Time to open the seventeenth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system are these strange promontories?

Opportunity drives within 20 meters of Santa Maria, spots alligator's tail

Emily Lakdawalla • December 15, 2010

Today Opportunity has driven to within 20 meters of Santa Maria crater, and the blocks around it are really, really cool-looking. This one is a dead ringer for the severed tail of an alligator.

Opportunity: "So close we can taste it" to Santa Maria

Emily Lakdawalla • December 14, 2010

Opportunity is on a kilometers-long eastward road trip across Meridiani Planum toward the rim of a large ancient crater named Endeavour; it'll be many months yet before she gets there.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Mission Looks Back in Honor to Apollo 12, and Drives Exploration Onward

A.J.S. Rayl • November 30, 2010

The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) forged on in November, their 83rd month of an expedition originally planned for three months: Spirit remained silent at Gusev Crater presumably still re-charging her batteries, as Opportunity roved through a field of craters pressing on toward Endeavour Crater, quietly claiming title along the way to being the first roving robot to drive 25 kilometers on Mars.

Opportunity bags a few craters

Emily Lakdawalla • November 10, 2010

In the last few days, Opportunity's passed by several craters, and the rover drivers took advantage of the chance encounters for what they call "drive-by shooting" (a phrase I can't say I'm particularly fond of, but they didn't ask me).

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Remains Silent, Opportunity Pushes on to Endeavour

A.J.S. Rayl • October 31, 2010

For the Mars Exploration Rovers, October was a lot like September, which was a lot like August: Spirit continued hibernating at Gusev Crater or so it appears since the rover didn't phone home; and Opportunity picked up the pace to Endeavour Crater again, setting new driving records and marking more milestones along the way.

Crack the code for a message from Mars, redux

Emily Lakdawalla • October 14, 2010

Waaaay back when Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004, the Planetary Society helped the public participate in the missions with a number of projects, including one where we printed "secret codes" around the edges of the two names-bearing DVDs that were bolted to the Mars Exploration Rover landers.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Snoozes through September , Opportunity Bolts Past Halfway Mark to Endeavour Crater

A.J.S. Rayl • September 30, 2010

As Opportunity picked up the pace to Endeavour Crater this month and crossed the halfway point on the long journey from Victoria Crater and Spirit continued sleeping in hibernation mode, the Mars Exploration Rovers chalked up their 81st month of what was supposed to have been just a three-month tour of the Red Planet.

Opportunity rolls up to Oileán Ruaidh

Emily Lakdawalla • September 22, 2010

Opportunity is continuing to make tracks toward Endeavour crater, but just because she's got a goal for her road trip doesn't mean she won't stop and smell the flowers from time to time. Er, did I say "flowers?" I meant "meteorites."

Opportunity's rocky road ahead, good news for an aging rover

Emily Lakdawalla • September 15, 2010

What a difference a couple of months of driving make. Here's the sort of view of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's road ahead that I'm accustomed to, taken two months ago.

Getting to the real science image data: It's not that hard!

Emily Lakdawalla • September 01, 2010

If I have to, I will drag reluctant people one at a time to plunge into NASA's Planetary Data System.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Hibernates Still, Opportunity Pulls into Cambridge Bay

A.J.S. Rayl • August 31, 2010

With the Sun beginning to warm the landscape in the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet and winds whipping up here and there forming dust devils that kick the powdery, rust-colored topsoil into the atmosphere, the Mars Exploration Rovers have been experiencing sure signs of a Martian spring this month.

Bringing MOLA altimetry tracks into Google Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • August 27, 2010

I've had a fun morning of noodling around learning how to write KML files, and have produced one for Google Mars that shows you all of the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter tracks that cross the area Opportunity has driven through already, as well as the area of Endeavour crater.

A first look at distant hills

Emily Lakdawalla • August 25, 2010

Rover fans have been excitedly watching the hills on Opportunity's horizon grow taller and taller as Opportunity rolls toward its destination, Endeavour crater.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Sleeps Soundlessly, Opportunity Turns a Corner

A.J.S. Rayl • July 31, 2010

Winter lingers in the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet, but the Sun is beginning to rise higher in the sky and temperatures are slowly rising, signs the Mars Exploration Rovers are heading into spring. While Spirit continued hibernating, Opportunity took in the warmth of the Sun, captured its first dust devil, and picked up the pace in Meridiani Planum on the long journey to Endeavour Crater. Together, the rovers marked six and a half years of exploration.

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