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Snapshots from Space

by Emily Lakdawalla

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Emily Lakdawalla

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Follow the thrilling adventures of planetary missions, past and present, and see the stunningly beautiful photos that they return from space!

Curiosity results from AGU: Methane is there, and it's variable

Emily Lakdawalla • December 30, 2014 • 6

At the American Geophysical Union meeting, the Curiosity mission announced that an instrument had finally definitively detected methane in Mars' atmosphere. It exists at a low background level, but there was a spike to about ten times that, which lasted for a couple of months before disappearing. What that means is unclear.

HiRISE image coverage of the Curiosity field site on Mars, Version 2.0

Emily Lakdawalla • December 30, 2014 • 1

There have been tons and tons of HiRISE images of the Curiosity landing region, and it has taken quite a lot of work for me to find, locate, and catalogue them. This post is a summary of what I've found; after four revisions and updates, it's now version 2.0 of the list.

Curiosity update, sols 782-813: Walking the outcrop at Pahrump Hills

Emily Lakdawalla • November 19, 2014

At Pahrump Hills, Curiosity is becoming the field geologist she was intended to be.

Seven Mars spacecraft attempted observations of comet Siding Spring. How did they go?

Emily Lakdawalla • November 03, 2014 • 6

It's been two weeks since comet Siding Spring passed close by Mars, and six of the seven Mars spacecraft have now checked in with quick looks at their images of the encounter. I round up all the results.

GSA 2014: The puzzle of Gale crater's basaltic sedimentary rocks

Emily Lakdawalla • October 23, 2014 • 15

At the Geological Society of America conference this week, Curiosity scientists dug into the geology of Gale crater and shared puzzling results about the nature of the rocks that the rover has found there.

Status update: All Mars missions fine after Siding Spring flyby

Emily Lakdawalla • October 20, 2014 • 2

All seven Mars spacecraft are doing perfectly fine after comet Siding Spring's close encounter with Mars.

Curiosity update, sols 764-781: Work complete at Confidence Hills; puzzling arm issues

Emily Lakdawalla • October 17, 2014 • 7

Curiosity spent a total of four weeks at Confidence Hills, feeding samples to SAM and CheMin several times. On two weekends during this period, the rover's activities were interrupted by faults with the robotic arm. Curiosity drove away from Confidence Hills on sol 780, and is ready to observe comet Siding Spring over the weekend.

Curiosity update, sols 748-763: Driving and Drilling at Pahrump Hills

Emily Lakdawalla • September 29, 2014 • 10

The biggest news on Curiosity of late is that the rover has drilled her fourth full drill hole on Mars! Drilling happened at a site called "Confidence Hills" on sol 759. But before she did that, she took a long series of amazing photos of rock formations at Jubilee Pass, Panamint Butte, and Upheaval Dome.

Curiosity update, sols 727-747: Beginning the "Mission to Mount Sharp"

Emily Lakdawalla • September 12, 2014 • 3

A lot has happened behind the scenes on the Curiosity mission in the last few weeks. The mission received a pretty negative review from a panel convened to assess the relative quality of seven different proposed extended planetary science missions. Then, just a week later, the mission announced big news: they have arrived at Mount Sharp.

Cool animations of Phobos transits from Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla • August 25, 2014 • 4

Shooting video of a lumpy moon crossing the Sun and turning it into a giant googly eye is not a new activity for Curiosity, but I get a fresh thrill each time I see one of these sequences downlinked from the rover.

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