Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/05/05 02:46 CDT
Here's what's happening on active planetary missions this week.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/04/28 09:56 CDT
I thought it would be fun to start the week by taking stock of what's going on with all the active planetary missions out there.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/03/24 05:46 CDT
The HiRISE instrument on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter really is a spy camera in space. Check out this sequence of nine images from the HiRISE archives, which Doug Ellison pulled together into an animation covering more than a year of Spirit's mission.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2008/02/12 04:11 CST
Opportunity is now following a rather leisurely autumn schedule, according to the latest update on the mission website. Some of the work Opportunity is doing involves staring skyward, looking for patterns in the clouds that pass overhead at this time of year. One of the guys at unmannedspaceflight.com has put together some nifty animations of the wispy cloud patterns.
The story of a Sasquatch-shaped rock visible in a recent panorama from Spirit is getting a lot of play in the mainstream media, but fortunately, it's not being taken very seriously. (My favorite take on this picture is the lead from the Times Online story about it: "Is it a rock? A trick of Martian light on the eye? Or Osama Bin Laden waving from his barren hideout 300 million miles from planet Earth?")
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2007/12/14 05:35 CST
Dust from the sky has settled on both the rover deck and the surrounding landscape. The dust-covered solar cells will not be able to generate as much power as when they were clean. Unless a puff of wind dusts off the solar panels, Spirit may have difficulty surviving the approaching Martian winter.
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 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 2007/07/23 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 2006/05/01 06:54 CDT
I just wanted to point out a couple of new items on the website.
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/09/26 08:16 CDT
I received the following question by email last week: "Do you know if the Mars rovers team has any plans to photograph Venus and Earth together in the evening sky from either rover site? They will be closest together around Sept. 29th."