Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/11/21 01:09 CST
The period of Mars solar conjunction has just begun, which means that a host of scientists and engineers whose day jobs entail interaction with the five active Mars spacecraft are getting a five-week break from the daily grind of operations.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/09/19 05:03 CDT
Mars Exploration Rover principal investigator Steve Squyres announced on National Public Radio's Science Friday show the next goal for Opportunity, and it's a long, long, long way away: a huge crater about 12 kilometers southeast of its current location, which the team is referring to internally as "Endeavour."
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/07/10 02:09 CDT
I have posted several times about the amazing photo captured by HiRISE of Phoenix under its parachute as it descended. There have been two common questions I've received about the photo: was there any color data taken, and what more can I tell you about how hard it was to take the photo? I've got answers to both questions for you today.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/05/12 06:02 CDT
A majority of the people who work in planetary geology are usually associated with one or maybe two missions, doing all their research on the results from one instrument on one mission. But there are a few people whose expertise cuts across many space missions, and an even smaller number of people who seem to work on almost everything. Randy Kirk is one of those people.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/05/12 04:01 CDT
It's time to check in on what's going on with our trusty robots around the solar system.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/05/08 05:48 CDT
I apologize for the long hiatus in this White Rock series, but I hope this entry will be worth the wait.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/05/05 02:46 CDT
Here's what's happening on active planetary missions this week.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/04/28 09:56 CDT
I thought it would be fun to start the week by taking stock of what's going on with all the active planetary missions out there.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/03/24 05:46 CDT
The HiRISE instrument on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter really is a spy camera in space. Check out this sequence of nine images from the HiRISE archives, which Doug Ellison pulled together into an animation covering more than a year of Spirit's mission.
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2008/03/10 12:00 CDT
Last week Mars Climate Sounder collected its 20 millionth sounding at Mars. Mars Climate Sounder is scanning without problems, collecting science observations of the atmosphere of Mars. Mars Climate Sounder has now been observing Mars for over 17 months (three quarters of a Mars year and also approximately three quarters of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter primary science mission).
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/07/23 05:04 CDT
Both Spirit and Opportunity are still suffering under incredibly dark skies, but, amazingly, they are both "power-positive," meaning that they are managing to produce enough power from the limited amount of sunlight to keep the batteries fully charged.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/05/23 10:57 CDT
Today's set of image releases from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE team included this one, of a fairly bland-looking lava plain to the northeast of Arsia Mons. Bland, that is, except for a black spot in the center.
Posted by Bruce Betts on 2007/04/03 12:00 CDT
Two months after the start of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's primary science phase, the Mars Climate Sounder instrument has already acquired more than four million soundings, building toward a vast data set on the three-dimensional structure of Mars' atmosphere over the full Martian year of the orbiter's nominal mission.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/02/18 04:26 CST
It's easy to forget that Mars is another such world with cloudy weather and seasonally varying climate. This lovely image release from the CRISM instrument on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter brings that point home.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/02/07 11:00 CST
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2006/03/08 10:48 CST
They held the usual pre-arrival press conference this morning for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This press conference typically doesn't convey any information that people who have been paying attention don't already know.