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The End of Opportunity and the Burden of Success
Can NASA sustain its golden age of planetary exploration?

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/04/15 08:19 CDT | 4 comments

The Opportunity rover and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter are both zeroed out in NASA's 2015 budget. Learn why these missions face the axe and why the White House is forcing NASA to choose between existing missions and starting new ones.

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Look how clean Opportunity is now!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/04/09 10:28 CDT | 1 comments

While climbing Murray Ridge, Opportunity enjoyed a major cleaning event that has left the rover's solar panels more dust-free than they have been in years. The rover captured a pretty panorama of the newly clean deck with its Pancams, and James Sorenson processed the version shown here.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Powers Up in Cook Haven and in Fans' Minds
Sols 3590 – 3621

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/04/07 03:05 CDT | 1 comments

At the Solander Point section of the rim of Endeavour Crater, Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity spent the month of March just off Murray Ridge working on its final targets in Cook Haven and dusting itself in the winds of winter, while MER mission officials on Earth were roving toward what may be the robot's current greatest potential threat – being cut from NASA's planetary science budget.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3623 – April 3, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/04/06 01:17 CDT

Larry Crumpler gives an update on Opportunity's current location, next long-term target, and excitingly increasing power levels.

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Intro Astronomy Class 6: Mars (continued) and Asteroids

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/03/14 06:10 CDT

Continue exploring Mars and learn about asteroids in this video of class 6 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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Intro Astronomy Class 5: Venus (continued) and Mars

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/03/06 10:49 CST

Continue exploring Venus and begin looking at Mars in this video of class 5 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Cruises Through Winter Solstice, Into Year 11
Sols 3564 - 3590

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/03/05 01:32 CST

The Mars Exploration Rover mission put its 10th anniversary in the rear view mirror in February and roved on into its 11th year of surface operations at Endeavour Crater.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3572 – February 10, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/02/25 12:49 CST | 5 comments

Opportunity is still exploring an outcrop high up on Murray Ridge as the winter solstice on Mars approaches. At this location the tilts are good, so Opportunity is getting excellent solar input on its solar panels.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3556 – January 24, 2014

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/02/25 12:18 CST

Today is the tenth anniversary of Opportunity's landing on Mars. Here at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, we just opened a tenth anniversary exhibit.

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Field Report From Mars: Sol 3519 - December 18, 2013

Posted by Larry Crumpler on 2014/02/25 11:55 CST

Opportunity arrived at the location that has been the target of all this climbing since late last (Earth) summer. We will settle in for some detailed work on the outcrop here since this appears to be something different from the impact breccias that we have been seeing along the ridge crest.

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Finds Mystery Rock, Mission Celebrates 10 Years
Sols 3534 - 3563

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/02/07 01:22 CST

In the storied history of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission, January 2014 will likely be remembered as one of the most memorable months of all.

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Conspiracy Theorist Sues NASA, Wastes Everybody's Time
The "jelly doughnut" rock found next to Opportunity is the focus of a new lawsuit

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/31 01:30 CST | 16 comments

The "jelly doughnut" rock found next to Opportunity is the focus of a new lawsuit alleging that NASA is not properly looking for life.

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The Planetary Society Congratulates Opportunity's Team for 10 Years on Mars

Posted by Casey Dreier on 2014/01/24 12:23 CST

The Planetary Society released an official statement today recognizing the unprecedented achievement of maintaining an operating rover on the surface of Mars for a decade.

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Winter 2013 Issue of The Planetary Report Now Available Online

Posted by Donna Stevens on 2014/01/16 11:29 CST

The Winter 2013 issue of The Planetary Report is finally on press and will be mailing soon. However, the electronic version is available online for members to start reading now!

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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Mission Nears 10-Year Milestone, Oppy Roves On, We Look Back on 2013
Sols 3503–3533

Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2014/01/07 02:00 CST

Opportunity wrapped a landmark year in December, sending home more evidence of ancient habitable environments at Endeavour Crater as the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission geared up to celebrate an historic milestone – the completion of 10 years of surface operations on the Red Planet.

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Looking back at 10 years of imaging by the Mars Exploration Rovers (Video)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2014/01/03 01:43 CST | 5 comments

As part of the Planetary Society's celebration of the Mars Exploration Rovers' ten years on Mars, Jim Bell and I got together to look back at and tell stories about some of the great images they took.

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What's up in planetary missions in 2014

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/31 01:15 CST | 4 comments

With the New Year upon us, what can we look forward to in 2014? For me, the main event of 2014 is that ESA's Rosetta mission finally -- finally! -- catches up to the comet it has been chasing for a decade. We will lose LADEE, gain two Mars orbiters, and launch Hayabusa 2. The year begins with an amazing 24 spacecraft exploring or cruising toward various planetary destinations.

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Hangout on Air Friday, December 27 14:00 UT: Student Astronaut 10th Reunion

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/27 08:00 CST

When Spirit and Opportunity landed in 2004, I was with the science team in charge of a group of high-school students called the Red Rover Goes to Mars Student Astronauts. We're coming up on the 10th anniversary of the landings -- what have those "kids" grown up into?

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Planetary Radio: Ten Years A Roving: The Mars Exploration Rovers

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2013/12/24 09:18 CST

This week's show looks back over ten years of exploration by Spirit and Opportunity. Writer A.J.S. Rayl recounts the challenges encountered early in the mission, and how an outstanding team triumphed.

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Mars' chemical history: Phyllosian, Theiikian, Siderikian, oh my

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2013/12/05 01:08 CST | 4 comments

I'm returning to the deep dive into the literature that began with articles about lunar basins and then explored the geologic time scales of Earth, Moon, and Mars. Now it's time to catch up to the last decade of Mars research and learn what "phyllosian", "theiikian", and "siderikian" eras are.

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