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Blog Archive

 

Curiosity in context: Not exactly "Viking on wheels," but close

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/21 06:51 CST

As I was beginning my research for my two magazine articles on the Curiosity rover's upcoming mission to Mars, I needed to figure out for myself how exactly this gigantic, ungainly machine fit in to the context of past Martian missions.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Heads for New Discovery as Winter Blows In at Cape York

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/10/31 11:24 CDT

Opportunity roved on this month, driving alongside the rim of Endeavour Crater toward the northern end of Cape York in search of more science gold and a place to hunker down for winter.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Digs In at Endeavour Crater, Team Remembers 9/11

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/09/30 11:24 CDT

Since leaving the plains of Meridiani, pulling up to Endeavour Crater and checking out its first rock last month, Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has wasted no time in getting the "new mission" underway.

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The latest HiRISE view of Opportunity, on Endeavour's rim

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/09/24 10:19 CDT

In a now-routine act of obtaining detailed photographs of robots from Earth sitting on the surface of another planet, the HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured a view of Opportunity sitting on the rim of Endeavour crater.

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Mars Exploration Rover Update: Opportunity Finds Martian Mystery at Endeavour Crater

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/09/01 11:24 CDT

More than seven and a half years after landing, Opportunity arrived at its long-anticipated destination, the rim of Endeavour Crater, and in less than three weeks found something strange enough to launch a new Martian mystery.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Arrives at Endeavour Crater, Mission Begins Anew

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/08/31 11:24 CDT

The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission roves back into the exploration spotlight this month as Opportunity arrives at the rim of Endeavour Crater, a destination that wasn't even an impossible dream when the rover landed back in January 2004.

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In their own words

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/16 08:42 CDT

While doing my daily reading today I was struck by the awesomeness of two recent blog posts. Both were composed not by professional bloggers like me but by professional space explorers, one a scientist and the other an engineer.

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Wheels on Cape York!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/10 02:09 CDT

Opportunity's wheels are on a whole new different kind of rock: she has arrived at the rim of Endeavour crater, on Cape York.

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Spirit Point and Odyssey crater in sight, and new rock under Opportunity's wheels

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/07 04:26 CDT

Opportunity is at her goal. In this 3D anaglyph, taken on sol 2678 (yesterday, August 6, 2011), Opportunity's wheels are resting on strange lumpy bedrock.

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Mountains rising for Opportunity

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/31 10:11 CDT

The views from Opportunity of Endeavour's near and distant rim peaks are getting ever more vertical as Opportunity approaches Cape York.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Closes in on Endeavour as Team Bids Farewell to Spirit

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/07/31 11:24 CDT

Opportunity seemed to sail with the wind behind her back toward the western rim of Endeavour Crater this month as the Mars Exploration Rover team shifted gears in preparation for a whole new adventure, taking time out only to bid a final farewell both privately and publicly to Spirit.

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Opportunity's horizon rises -- and maybe brings Cape York into view

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/07/21 03:12 CDT

For miles and miles of Martian terrain, Opportunity's view forward has contained a distinctive line of hills—the far rim of Endeavour crater.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Roves Back into Record Books, Spirit is Honored

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/06/30 12:00 CDT

Opportunity 'burned up' the Meridiani Plains in June as it raced toward its much-anticipated next destination and the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission cruised into the 90th month of what was originally to have been a 90-day tour.

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In Memory of Spirit, and Why Cuteness Matters

Posted by Melissa Rice on 2011/06/15 02:21 CDT

An analysis of "cuteness," and why it matters when talking about science.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Mission Declared Over, Opportunity Roves Closer to Endeavour

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/05/31 12:00 CDT

The Mars Exploration mission suffered the loss of Spirit and shifted to one-rover operations in May, but Opportunity carried on, blasting across the plains of Meridiani to within 2 miles (3.5 kilometers) of its next major destination and discovery.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: NASA Ends Spirit Mission

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/05/26 12:00 CDT

The intensified effort to recover Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit came to an end early Wednesday morning Pacific time and NASA has now transitioned the mission to a single-rover operation focused on Spirit's still-active twin, Opportunity.

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A picture of Spirit that's too poetical for words

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/25 01:25 CDT

Yesterday, I remarked that despite the declaration of her death we'll be seeing Spirit frequently over the next few years, as long as Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is still monitoring her landing site with its HiRISE camera. I said that Spirit is a lump that's relatively easy to spot because of her dark shadow. Well, Spirit's managed to make herself even easier to spot than that.

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Sad news for Spirit: It's All Over But the Crying

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/05/24 03:05 CDT

Alicia Chang reported today that, according to project manager John Callas, the last attempt to uplink a command to the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit will be made tomorrow. NASA will cease listening for signals from Spirit on Tuesday.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Spirit Recovery Attempt Continues, Opportunity Sprints to Endeavour

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2011/04/30 12:00 CDT

As Opportunity drove her little robot heart out, breaking the 28-kilometer mark on her odometer, and driving the longest backward drive ever, April proved to be another month of exhilarating highs for the Mars Exploration Rover mission and one extended low with only silence from Spirit, despite intensified efforts by her Earth crew to establish contact.

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: What's up in the second quarter of 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/04/07 11:16 CDT

Regular readers of this blog will find the content of today's 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast familiar, because it's an update on what the solar system exploration spacecraft are up to, based on my monthly "what's up" updates.

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