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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Rovers Pass 6-Year Milestone as Spirit Halts Extrication to Winter at Troy, Opportunity Cruises to Concepcion Crater

A.J.S. Rayl • January 31, 2010

Five and a half years after they were supposed to be history, the Mars Exploration Rovers celebrated their sixth Earth year on the Red Planet with Opportunity pulling up to a fresh, new crater on the road to Endeavour, and Spirit working on repositioning itself to settle in for the coming Martian winter, and perhaps the rest of its mission.

Opportunity's thousand-year-old crater

Emily Lakdawalla • January 29, 2010

Since leaving Marquette Island on sol 2,122, Opportunity has been barreling southward on her journey toward Endeavour crater. On her horizon for the last several sols has been a very small but very fresh looking crater named Concepci├│n.

Visitor from JAXA Stops at Planetary Society

Forest Purnell • January 29, 2010

The Planetary Society regularly hosts interns and visiting scientists and engineers from world space agencies. Recently, we've had the pleasure of working with JAXA's Toshiaki Takemae.

Countdown to the Budget...

Louis D. Friedman • January 28, 2010

The world's space community -- and the public -- is awaiting the Obama Administration's new plan for human and robotic space flight. We expect the plan will be unveiled as part of the formal submission to Congress of the Administration's proposed budget for the Federal Government.

Awesome New Mars Flyovers

Ryan Anderson • January 28, 2010

Check out these awesome flyovers of Mars, generated by Doug Ellison of UnmannedSpaceflight!

Cassini Aegaeon and Prometheus awesomeness

Emily Lakdawalla • January 28, 2010

There were many, many treats waiting on the Cassini raw images website this morning. Yesterday, Cassini traversed the G ring, taking photos all the way.

NASA decides Spirit is henceforth to be a lander

Emily Lakdawalla • January 26, 2010

There was a press briefing today that announced the official end of efforts to extricate Spirit from her sand trap at Troy. Instead, the rover drivers will now focus on improving the chances that Spirit will survive the coming winter so that she can carry on doing science once the power situation improves in the spring.

Brief rover update: "We do not believe [Spirit] is extractable."

Emily Lakdawalla • January 26, 2010

There's a press briefing going on right now that marks today, January 26, 2010, more than six years after she landed, the day that NASA decided that Spirit's roving days were over.

CTX and MARCI -- The OTHER Cameras on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Tanya Harrison • January 25, 2010

"What?" you might say, "There are cameras other than HiRISE?" Yes indeed, there are. There are two other cameras aboard MRO: the Context Camera (CTX) and Mars Color Imager (MARCI).

WISE bags its first near-Earth object, 2010 AB78

Emily Lakdawalla • January 22, 2010

The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) just took its lens cap off on December 29, and posted its "first light" image on January 6. Now, just two weeks later, WISE has bagged its first near-Earth object.

Mars and a moonbow

Emily Lakdawalla • January 21, 2010

Moonbows represent the same phenomenon as rainbows, it's just that the light from the Sun has reflected off of the Moon first before it's separated into its colors by the myriad tiny water droplets in the cloud.

Report #2 from the New Horizons Science Team Meeting

Ted Stryk • January 20, 2010

The second report by Ted Stryk from the New Horizons science team meeting, focusing on the search for Kuiper belt object (KBO) targets.

Your chance to shoot your own high-resolution pictures of Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • January 20, 2010

The HiRISE public suggestion tool, called HiWish, is a Web site that allows you to log in and select a spot on Mars as a suggestion for where the HiRISE instrument should take an image.

Report #1 from the New Horizons Science Team Meeting

Ted Stryk • January 19, 2010

The New Horizons science team is meeting this week. Ted Stryk was invited to attend the meeting, and he sent the following notes from the first day.

Figuring out the shape of Mars (and other places)

Emily Lakdawalla • January 19, 2010

An amateur named Bernhard Braun ("nirgal" on unmannedspaceflight) has been posting the results from a new piece of software he's developed that generates 3-D models of landscapes from single photos.

What about the non-imaging data from spacecraft?

Emily Lakdawalla • January 18, 2010

Data from all science instruments on all of NASA's and ESA's space missions, not just cameras, is archived in the Planetary Data System and Planetary Science Archive, and almost all of that data is available online.

Buttoning up the Mars Orbiter Camera science investigation

Emily Lakdawalla • January 15, 2010

The science team for Mars Orbiter Camera, or "MOC" (pronounced "mock") has just published a paper that attempts to summarize an investigation that spanned more than two decades.

Just a Few More Approaches to Try for Extrication

Emily Lakdawalla • January 13, 2010

"The list of remaining maneuvers being considered for extricating Spirit is becoming shorter."

Highlights from the January 1, 2010 Cassini imaging data release

Emily Lakdawalla • January 13, 2010

The January 1, 2010 Cassini imaging data release includes everything acquired by Cassini from January 1 to March 30, 2009 in all its high-quality glory.

ESA mission analyst suggests 2010 AL30 might be Venus Express rocket

Emily Lakdawalla • January 13, 2010

2010 AL30 zipped past us harmlessly about five hours ago. Because of its one-year orbital period, many people speculated it might be a manmade object, but 2010 AL30 might, in fact, be artificial.

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