Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/02/11 07:19 CST
Opportunity is continuing to explore the outcrops Marathon Valley, on the west rim of Endeavour crater.
Curiosity has spent the last month sampling and processing dark sand scooped from the side of Namib Dune. The rover has now departed Namib and is preparing to cross the Bagnold dune field, while working to diagnose an anomaly with the CHIMRA sample handling mechanism.
There have been tons and tons of HiRISE images of the Curiosity landing region, and it has taken quite a lot of work for me to find, locate, and catalogue them. This post is a summary of what I've found; after five revisions and updates, it's now version 3.0 of the list.
On January 24th, the veteran Mars Exploration Rover (MER) wrapped the last day of her 12th year of surface operations on Mars, marking an extraordinary, historic achievement for the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission.
Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2016/01/29 01:53 CST
On January 23rd, Opportunity celebrated its 12th anniversary of landing on Mars.
What's going on with our robotic planetary missions? In February I count more than 20 planetary spacecraft exploring six targets beyond Earth or cruising to new destinations.
China plans a busy future in robotic space exploration. Besides the scientific merit, what interests me most about the upcoming Chang'e 4 mission is their intention to get the public involved.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/17 04:40 CST
The Jason-3 ocean monitoring satellite reached orbit today, but SpaceX's third attempt to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship came up short.
It's official: China plans to send a lander mission to the lunar farside. A relay satellite will launch to the Earth-Moon L2 point in June of 2018, and a lander will follow at the end of 2018. The landing site may be within the south pole-Aitken basin.
Posted by Jason Davis on 2016/01/13 01:32 CST
This Friday, astronauts Tim Kopra and Tim Peake will perform a spacewalk to replace a failed power regulator on one of the outermost sections of the International Space Station.
SpaceX is set to launch a sea level-monitoring satellite from the California coast this Sunday, while attempting to land the rocket's spent first stage on a floating drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.
Perched on the southern wall of Marathon Valley at Endeavour Crater, Opportunity braved temperatures descending well below -100° F in December to work the winter science campaign and home in on the remnants of ancient clays.
In the six weeks since my last detailed Curiosity update, the rover has driven to, on, and around a couple of active barchan sand dunes on Mars. They are now searching for a site to scoop and sample sand on the western edge of Namib dune.
How many planetary exploration missions are there, and where are they? These days, it's hard to keep track, because there are so many. I plan to begin the new year by taking stock of active missions, figuring out what each has set out to do and accomplished so far, but first I want to step back to consider the spread of missions across the solar system as a whole.
A look ahead to see what's in store for the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard humanity's orbital outpost.