On reconnaissance of Matijevic Hill, Opportunity has driven right into another Martian mystery, compete with new kinds of “berries," tiny white veins running through two distinctive outcrops of rock, and orbital data indicating that somewhere here clay minerals are hiding, all of which has put the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission back in the science spotlight and made for another September to remember at Meridiani Planum.
A beautiful panoramic view of the varied rocks of Glenelg has been transmitted from Curiosity on Mars. But before going any further, it's time to run the first Martian sand through the soil sampling system.
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.
In August, India's prime minister announced the intent to build and launch a Mars orbiter in time for the November 2013 launch window, an insanely fast schedule. The structure of the spacecraft has now been delivered.