Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/09/07 05:27 CDT
I just received another batch of "tau" images from rover camera lead Jim Bell to add to my visualizations of the rovers' dark skies. These pictures provide a direct measurement of the opacity of the atmosphere between the rovers and the Sun.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/08/31 12:00 CDT
With dust from the summer's storms floating down on and all around them, the Mars Exploration Rovers returned to their exploration agendas this month, picking up right where they left off in July when winds kicked the soils up into the southern hemisphere and forced them to hunker down and conserve power.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/08/29 05:06 CDT
I haven't written an update on the dust storm at Mars recently for two reasons. For one, the rovers are out of immediate danger, so it wasn't as urgent. The other reason is that Jim Bell wanted Cornell to issue a press release with updated versions of the images and animations I've been putting together from the rovers' "tau" images.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/08/29 01:26 CDT
Although Mars' atmosphere continues to be rather dusty, the storm has abated enough that both Mars Exploration Rovers have resumed a relatively normal level of activity. For Opportunity, that means a drive to the very edge of Victoria crater.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/07/31 12:00 CDT
It was to be a Martian summer to remember. Just one month ago, the Mars Exploration Rovers were set to embark on long-awaited adventures. At Meridiani Planum, Opportunity was preparing for its grand entrance into the magnificent Victoria Crater and on the other side of the planet Spirit was finally going to explore the top of Home Plate, an old, intriguing volcanic formation in the Gusev Crater area. Then a series of dust storms hit suddenly, it was a Martian summer to remember alright, but for far different, windswept reasons.
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 2007/07/10 11:09 CDT
Opportunity has ceased operations for a couple of days because the amount of sunlight available is low due to an unpredicted dust storm.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/06/30 12:00 CDT
The Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) spent the month of June finishing work and clearing their agendas at their respective locales at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum in preparation for highly anticipated new assignments in July.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/06/12 06:01 CDT
Today, New Scientist and researcher Ron Levin retracted the "puddles on Mars" claim in the face of evidence that the "puddles" were on sloping surfaces. I've updated my original blog entry in response to the claim to that effect.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/05/31 12:00 CDT
The Mars Exploration Rovers sent home field reports this past month -- some 1,200 days into their missions -- that drew gasps of amazement from both the science and engineering teams.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/04/30 12:00 CDT
The Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) traveled to new targets and made discoveries ranging from the magnificent to the mundane in April, four fast weeks that essentially led both of the twin robot field geologists to the next phase of their explorations.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/03/31 12:00 CDT
It's been business as usual on the Red Planet this month as the Mars Exploration Rovers investigated new areas on their ever-moving missions to explore Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum. Both Spirit and Opportunity chalked up yet another productive month of field geology as they roved onward in their fourth year on location, checking out more of the local environs some 149,597,900 kilometers (93 million miles) away on Earthlings' favored other planet.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/02/28 11:00 CST
Dust storms are beginning to whirl around Mars as spring blooms in the southern hemisphere of the planet and along the equator where the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) are roving into their fourth year with a second banner month of exploration.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2007/01/31 11:00 CST
The Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) celebrated their 3rd anniversary this month and are now roving into their fourth year of exploration on the Red Planet.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2006/12/31 11:00 CST
Defying all the odds, the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) are wrapping up 2006 in new locations and roving into their fourth Earth year of exploring the Red Planet. Spirit is slated to celebrate the milestone on January 3, 2007 Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), with Opportunity marking the milestone just 3 weeks later, on January 24, 2007.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2006/11/30 11:00 CST
With both a superior conjunction and a long, Martian winter behind them, the Mars Exploration Rovers picked up the pace in November and drove on to new locations and research.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2006/10/30 11:00 CST
The Mars Exploration Rovers managed to log another couple of significant milestones this month even as they worked in place, on autopilot, for the last two weeks during superior conjunction, the period that occurs every 2 years when Earth and Mars orbit into positions on opposite sides of the Sun, obscured from each other. With the conjunction now over, the rovers are slated to be back in command operation by tomorrow, All Hallow's Eve or, more popularly, Halloween.
Posted by A.J.S. Rayl on 2006/09/29 12:00 CDT
The Mars Exploration Rovers are reaching new milestones and gaining newfound energy as winter slowly begins to pass on the Red Planet. Once again, Opportunity commanded the spotlight as it pulled up to the rim of the massive Victoria crater this week and began returning images that may redefine the word spellbinding. Twin sister, Spirit, meanwhile, is resigned to stay in its northward-tilted position for another month looking at the same scenery in order to collect the maximum energy supply for its solar panels.