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What's Up in the Solar System in October 2012

Emily Lakdawalla • September 28, 2012

Welcome to my monthly survey of the activities of robots across the solar system! Tomorrow is the equinox at Mars; both Curiosity and Opportunity will be spending the month actively analyzing Martian rocks. It'll be a less active month for Cassini, as Saturn passes through solar conjunction late next month.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Greets Curiosity, Roves to Clay Mineral Hunting Grounds

A.J.S. Rayl • September 10, 2012

Opportunity stood down for nine days in early August as Curiosity landed and went through check-out, but on the tenth day the Mars Exploration Rover was back on the road, driving along the northwestern rim of Endeavour Crater and into the "sweet spot" of the clay mineral hunting ground at Cape York.

Outcrop Ahead for Opportunity!

Stuart Atkinson • September 07, 2012

Oppy is opening an exciting new chapter in her adventure at Cape York. Having driven down to, over and past Whim Creek, she has now explored halfway down Cape York, to a promising fin-like ridge of dark rock.

Pretty picture: bizarre spherules

Emily Lakdawalla • September 06, 2012

A wonderfully strange photo from Opportunity's exploration of Cape York, Endeavour Crater.

What's up in the Solar System in August 2012

Jason Davis • August 03, 2012

Welcome to the monthly roundup of our solar system's envoy of electronic explorers! All eyes are on Curiosity as it approaches Mars this weekend. Who will lend support at the Red Planet?

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Works on a Whim, Team to Stand Down for Curiosity

A.J.S. Rayl • August 03, 2012

Opportunity roved on to new targets near the rim of Endeavour Crater in July, as the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) team prepared to stand down for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity

Pretty Panoramas: Opportunity at Whim Creek

Emily Lakdawalla • July 30, 2012

I know it’s been all Curiosity, all the time on this blog for the last couple of weeks, and that’s not likely to change much for the next couple of weeks. But I don’t want people to forget that there’s another rover exploring Mars’ ancient geology. Opportunity has been taking spectacular photos of Whim Creek and Endeavour Crater this last week.

Staying Put Means Death

Andrew Chaikin • July 18, 2012

Chaikin interviews Mars scientist Nathalie Cabrol who talks about her passion for exploration and urges America to explore even in tough economic times.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Digs Cape York, Roves to New Milestone

A.J.S. Rayl • July 04, 2012

Even robots deserve a break once in a while, and when the Mars Odyssey orbiter went into safe mode in June, Opportunity got the chance to hang out and leisurely take in her surroundings at the Red Planet, while the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission downshifted into lower gear.

Three Thousand Sols

Stuart Atkinson • July 02, 2012

Earlier today, unnoticed by the vast majority of the world, Opportunity reached and then silently passed a major milestone in her great adventure on Mars. At just before 3am, UK time, Opportunity began her 3000th sol, or martian day, on Mars.

Notes from a Red Planet: Ray Bradbury

Scott Maxwell • June 06, 2012

Mars rover driver Scott Maxwell relates a story of how he handed Ray Bradbury an opportunity to drive on Mars.

Oppy close to the edge…

Stuart Atkinson • June 05, 2012

Since you last visited, Opportunity has continued to drive downhill – well, what passes for ‘downhill’ on Cape York! – and is now not far at all from the northern edge of the Cape. From where she is now she sees the Meridiani desert stretching away to the north and west, the eastern hills on her right, and the Cape itself behind her. And around her? lots and lots of Homestake-like gypsum veins.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Departs Winter Site for Field of Veins

A.J.S. Rayl • June 02, 2012

The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity strolled out of her winter haven this May to continue the expedition around Endeavour Crater, roving into yet another Martian spring.

Rovers in the desert

Emily Lakdawalla • May 14, 2012

I took a field trip to watch scientists and engineers play in the sand with Mars rover models, and got a bonus tour of some evidence for the "Snowball Earth" hypothesis.

Opportunity is a ROVER again!

Stuart Atkinson • May 14, 2012

After driving off Greeley Haven – where she stood patiently for 19 long weeks – Opportunity is now driving again. Not just turning, not just bumping, but driving.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Begins to Wrap Winter Science, Mission Celebrates Month 100

A.J.S. Rayl • May 03, 2012

As winter began to retreat in the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet, Opportunity was commanded to finish up her science assignments in April in preparation for leaving its refuge, and the Mars Exploration Rover mission rolled through its 100th month of exploration.

An update on Opportunity, and a plea for some volunteer desktop publishing help

Emily Lakdawalla • April 03, 2012

A. J. S. Rayl has just posted her monthly update on the goings-on at Meridiani planum, noting that the update recaps the 99th month of the Mars Exploration Rover mission. There's a lot of detail on how the radio-tracking campaign is going. While she's not driving, Opportunity's acting like a lander, with radio antennas on Earth performing Doppler tracking to allow very fine measurement of Mars' orbital motion.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Gets Energy Boost and Works Through Depths of Winter

A.J.S. Rayl • March 31, 2012

March came in like a lion and went out like a lamb at Meridiani Planum, Mars: Opportunity felt the cold wind on her solar panels, then "settled" in a little more, working through the depths of its fifth Martian winter, as the team honored one of its own up there, and the Mars Exploration Rover mission logged month number 99 of exploration.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Turns On, Tunes In, and Drops Panoramic Postcard to Earth

A.J.S. Rayl • February 29, 2012

There's no hail or snow or sleet, though it is the depth of winter at Meridiani Planum and a cold unimaginable to us has gripped the landscape.

Pretty picture: A sunset postcard and a special shadow from Opportunity

Emily Lakdawalla • February 21, 2012

It took Don Davis many hours of meticulous labor to assemble this beautiful postcard from Mars.

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