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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/14 10:50 CST
In the past couple of months I've received several emails from scientists offering clarifications, corrections, or alternative points of view to previous posts, which is awesome and something that I enthusiastically encourage. Here's one of them.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/04 11:27 CST
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has just snapped another photo of Opportunity sitting on the ground on Mars. These pictures never get old.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/14 01:18 CST
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.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/11 02:35 CST
Time to open the eleventh door in the advent calendar. Until the New Year, I'll be opening a door onto a different landscape from somewhere in the solar system. Where in the solar system are these sinuous ridges?