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Beautiful butterfly crater on Mars (another HiWish granted!)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/11/08 07:16 CST | 6 comments

I asked Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to take a photo, and it turned out better than I had imagined: an incredibly fresh, well-preserved, dramatically rayed oblique impact crater.

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A dispatch from J-school: two short videos

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/10/23 11:05 CDT

Two short videos produced by Jason Davis on astronomy and planetary science work taking place at the University of Arizona.

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What's Up in the Solar System in October 2012

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/09/28 05:27 CDT | 2 comments

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.

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HiRISE's best view of Curiosity yet

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/31 12:50 CDT | 10 comments

HiRISE's best opportunity to view Curiosity so far came 12 days after landing, when the orbiter passed nearly directly overhead. The photo resolves amazing detail on the huge rover.

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A "long" view of the Curiosity Descending image

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/06 06:41 CDT | 2 comments

A wider (well, longer) view of the amazing HiRISE image that shows Curiosity descending under parachute to Mars

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE has done it again!!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/08/06 10:42 CDT | 2 comments

In 2008, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snapped an amazing photo of Phoenix descending to the surface of Mars under its parachute. Now it's repeated the feat, with Curiosity.

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What's up in the Solar System in August 2012

Posted by Jason Davis on 2012/08/03 06:03 CDT

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?

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HiWishing for 3D Mars images, part III

Posted by Alfred McEwen on 2012/08/01 12:00 CDT

The final article of a three-part series of images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera.

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HiWishing for 3D Mars images, part II

Posted by Alfred McEwen on 2012/07/03 02:39 CDT | 1 comment

Part two of a three-part series of images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera.

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HiWishing for 3D Mars images, part I

Posted by Alfred McEwen on 2012/06/18 03:10 CDT

Hundreds of images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera are publicly available, if you know where to look.

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Third Martian Anniversary for Mars Climate Sounder

Posted by David Kass on 2012/05/16 11:35 CDT | 2 comments

May 16, 2012 is the third martian anniversary of the start of Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) observations from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. MCS started measuring the atmosphere of Mars three Mars years ago, on September 24, 2006. We can now compare the weather and behavior of the atmosphere in three different years, and find the temperature differences to be surprisingly large.

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Swirly lava patterns in beautiful HiRISE images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/04/26 05:19 CDT | 4 comments

In a channel near a pedestal crater on the plains of Cerberus Palus, Mars, there are wacky swirl patterns.

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Discouraging the search for Mars Polar Lander

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/02/17 02:26 CST

I'm not encouraging people to search individual images for the Mars Polar Lander anymore, for three reasons.�

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Mars Exploration Family Portrait

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/23 12:26 CST | 1 comment

Jason Davis put together this neat summary of the checkered history of Mars exploration.

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Mars Climate Sounder confirms a Martian weather prediction

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/10/25 01:30 CDT

The Mars Climate Sounder team has recently confirmed a prediction of a weather phenomenon on Mars that we haven't been able to observe before.

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Nighttime Water Ice Clouds Predicted by Models are Confirmed by MCS Observations

Posted by Jim Shirley on 2011/10/25 12:00 CDT

The Mars Climate Sounder instrument provides routine nightside observations of atmospheric temperature and opacity that document the presence of rapidly evolving water ice cloud layers in the Martian tropics during the northern summer season.

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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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Gale's not the only Martian crater with an "enigmatic mound"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/17 07:33 CDT

Much has been made of the "enigmatic mound" within Gale crater, which will be the target of the Curiosity Mars rover's investigations. The 5,000-meter-thick section rocks in Gale's central mound will be fascinating to study, but the fact that Gale has a central mound that's taller than its rim is not at all unusual on Mars.

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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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What's up in the solar system in April 2011

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/31 03:59 CDT

April 2011 will see MESSENGER begin the science phase of its orbital mission at Mercury, and should, I think, also see the start of Dawn's approach observations of Vesta. At Mars, Opportunity is back on the road again, rolling inexorably toward Endeavour. At Saturn, Cassini will continue its focus on Saturn and Titan science.

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