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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!

For the first time ever, a Curiosity Mastcam self-portrait from Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • December 22, 2015 • 1

In a remarkable and wholly unexpected gift to Curiosity fans, the rover has just taken the first-ever color Mastcam self-portrait from Mars.

Curiosity stories from AGU: The fortuitous find of a puzzling mineral on Mars, and a gap in Gale's history

Emily Lakdawalla • December 18, 2015 • 1

Yesterday at the American Geophysical Union meeting, the Curiosity science team announced the discovery of a mineral never before found on Mars. The finding was the result of a fortuitous series of events, but as long as Curiosity's instruments continue to function well, it's the kind of discovery that Curiosity should now be able to repeat.

Curiosity update, sols 1109-1165: Drilling at Big Sky and Greenhorn, onward to Bagnold Dunes

Emily Lakdawalla • November 16, 2015 • 4

Since my last update, Curiosity drilled two new holes, at Big Sky and Greenhorn, and is now approaching Bagnold Dunes.

ESA mission updates

Emily Lakdawalla • November 04, 2015

There have been several important pieces of news about European missions in the last month: Rosetta's fate has been determined; ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter's launch is slightly delayed; and they have selected a landing site for the ExoMars rover.

Mars Orbiter Mission update: A year at Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • October 06, 2015 • 2

A couple of weeks ago, there was a flurry of rumor that ISRO was ready to announce some results from its Mars Orbiter Mission's methane sensor. The Indian space agency held a press event for the one-year-in-orbit anniversary of Mars Orbiter Mission and released a book containing mission photos, but did not unveil any new scientific results.

NASA's Mars Announcement: Present-day transient flows of briny water on steep slopes

Emily Lakdawalla • September 28, 2015 • 25

NASA held a press briefing today to publicize a cool incremental result in the story of present-day liquid water on Mars. How big a deal is this story? Was all the pre-announcement hype justified? Is this just NASA discovering water on Mars for the zillionth time? What does this mean for things many space fans care about: life on Mars or future human exploration?

Curiosity update, sols 1073-1107: Driving toward dunes, distracted by haloes

Emily Lakdawalla • September 18, 2015 • 1

Since I last checked in with Curiosity, the rover has been steadily driving southward, heading directly toward the Bagnold dune field. They are looking for a place to drill into the Stimson sandstone unit, but have been distracted by intriguing pale haloes around frock fractures. Despite a rough road, the wheels are not showing significant increase in damage.

The story behind Curiosity's self-portraits on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • August 19, 2015 • 2

How and why does Curiosity take self-portraits? A look at some of the people and stories behind Curiosity's "selfies" on the occasion of the official release of the sol 1065 belly pan self-portrait at Buckskin, below Marias Pass, Mars.

Curiosity update, sols 1012-1072: Sciencing back and forth below Marias Pass

Emily Lakdawalla • August 14, 2015

Since my last update, Curiosity has driven back and forth repeatedly across a section of rocks below Marias pass. The rover finally drilled at a spot named Buckskin on sol 1060, marking the drill's return to operations after suffering a short on sol 911. Now the rover is driving up into Marias Pass and onto the Washboard or Stimson unit.

Curiosity update, sols 978-1011: Into Marias Pass; ChemCam back in action; solar conjunction

Emily Lakdawalla • June 10, 2015 • 7

It’s been an eventful few weeks for Curiosity on Mars. From sols 981 to 986, Curiosity’s human pilots tried and failed to drive the rover southward; but, retracing their steps to Logan's Run, they quickly found a way up and into a beautiful geological amphitheater named Marias Pass, where they will stay throughout Mars solar conjunction. They also returned ChemCam to normal operations.

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