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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Zeroes In on Clay Minerals and We Look Back on 2012

A.J.S. Rayl • January 08, 2013

Despite the lull of the holidays, the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission recorded one of the expedition's best months ever in December as Opportunity and her team confirmed the location of the smectite clay minerals on Matijevic Hill, effectively grabbing the scientific brass ring they came hoping to find at Endeavour Crater.

Looking ahead to spacecraft activities in 2013

Emily Lakdawalla • January 04, 2013

2013 is going to be a busy year in space exploration. Two missions launch to the Moon (LADEE and Chang'E 3), and another two to Mars (MAVEN and India's mission). Curiosity should drive to the Mountain, and Opportunity to the next site on Endeavour's rim. Cassini will be seeing rings and Titan. Others should continue routine operations, except maybe MESSENGER, whose fate after March is not yet decided.

Planetary Society Weekly Hangout, Thu Jan 3 1200PT/2000UT: Jim Bell

Emily Lakdawalla • January 02, 2013

Join Emily Lakdawalla and Casey Dreier for a chat with Jim Bell, a scientist who wears many hats. He's the team lead for the Pancam color cameras on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers; he's a member of the Curiosity science team; and he's the esteemed President of the Planetary Society's Board of Directors. We'll talk about the great science being done by both Curiosity and Opportunity, and about what's in store for the future.

Field Report From Mars: Sol 3151-3153 - December 5-7, 2012

Larry Crumpler • December 07, 2012

An attempt to bump left and get a small bright vein into the instrument deployment device (IDD) work volume failed to get the target in the work plane.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Digs In at Matijevic Hill

A.J.S. Rayl • December 03, 2012

While Curiosity and her team found themselves entangled in a media furor over comments, assumptions, and rumors of findings that have yet to be found, Opportunity roved on in November, finishing up the geologic survey of Matijevic Hill and setting a new mileage record along the way.

Field Report From Mars: Sol 3150 - December 3, 2012

Larry Crumpler • December 03, 2012

Here at station 14 we have decided to do a detailed investigation of an outcrop that is well exposed and lies within an area where there is orbital remote-sensing evidence for clay minerals. These particular rocks are interesting in that they contain a lot of thin veins and alteration zones along joints (cracks) in the outcrops.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Begins Reconnaissance of Matijevic Hill

A.J.S. Rayl • November 06, 2012

After spending much of October driving around and taking pictures on Matijevic Hill, Opportunity hunkered down for Halloween and spent the holiday quietly, staying out of mischief's way and the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission roved another month closer to its ninth anniversary of working on the surface of the Red Planet.

Field Report From Mars: Sol 3111- October 23, 2012

Larry Crumpler • October 23, 2012

We on the MER Opportunity science team are currently doing an “outcrop walk” with Opportunity on the slopes of Cape York, a small residual part of the rim on the 20+ km diameter Endeavour Crater, Mars.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Finds Thrill of Newberries on Matijevic Hill

A.J.S. Rayl • October 03, 2012

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.

What's Up in the Solar System in October 2012

Emily Lakdawalla • September 28, 2012

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.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Greets Curiosity, Roves to Clay Mineral Hunting Grounds

A.J.S. Rayl • September 10, 2012

Opportunity stood down for nine days in early August as Curiosity landed and went through check-out, but on the tenth day the Mars Exploration Rover was back on the road, driving along the northwestern rim of Endeavour Crater and into the "sweet spot" of the clay mineral hunting ground at Cape York.

Outcrop Ahead for Opportunity!

Stuart Atkinson • September 07, 2012

Oppy is opening an exciting new chapter in her adventure at Cape York. Having driven down to, over and past Whim Creek, she has now explored halfway down Cape York, to a promising fin-like ridge of dark rock.

Pretty picture: bizarre spherules

Emily Lakdawalla • September 06, 2012

A wonderfully strange photo from Opportunity's exploration of Cape York, Endeavour Crater.

What's Up in the Solar System in September 2012

Emily Lakdawalla • August 31, 2012

It's an active time in interplanetary exploration! Curiosity has begun roving Mars, and Opportunity's not wasting any time either. Dawn has just departed Vesta and begun the more than two-year cruise to Ceres. Juno is in the middle of a big deep-space maneuver, setting up next year's Earth flyby.

What's up in the Solar System in August 2012

Jason Davis • August 03, 2012

Welcome to the monthly roundup of our solar system's envoy of electronic explorers! All eyes are on Curiosity as it approaches Mars this weekend. Who will lend support at the Red Planet?

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Works on a Whim, Team to Stand Down for Curiosity

A.J.S. Rayl • August 03, 2012

Opportunity roved on to new targets near the rim of Endeavour Crater in July, as the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) team prepared to stand down for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity

Pretty Panoramas: Opportunity at Whim Creek

Emily Lakdawalla • July 30, 2012

I know it’s been all Curiosity, all the time on this blog for the last couple of weeks, and that’s not likely to change much for the next couple of weeks. But I don’t want people to forget that there’s another rover exploring Mars’ ancient geology. Opportunity has been taking spectacular photos of Whim Creek and Endeavour Crater this last week.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Digs Cape York, Roves to New Milestone

A.J.S. Rayl • July 04, 2012

Even robots deserve a break once in a while, and when the Mars Odyssey orbiter went into safe mode in June, Opportunity got the chance to hang out and leisurely take in her surroundings at the Red Planet, while the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission downshifted into lower gear.

Oppy close to the edge…

Stuart Atkinson • June 05, 2012

Since you last visited, Opportunity has continued to drive downhill – well, what passes for ‘downhill’ on Cape York! – and is now not far at all from the northern edge of the Cape. From where she is now she sees the Meridiani desert stretching away to the north and west, the eastern hills on her right, and the Cape itself behind her. And around her? lots and lots of Homestake-like gypsum veins.

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Departs Winter Site for Field of Veins

A.J.S. Rayl • June 02, 2012

The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity strolled out of her winter haven this May to continue the expedition around Endeavour Crater, roving into yet another Martian spring.

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