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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!

How big is that butte?

Emily Lakdawalla • August 23, 2016 • 4

Whenever I share images from Curiosity, among the most common questions I’m asked is “what is the scale of this image?” With help from imaging enthusiast Seán Doran, I can answer that question for some of the Murray buttes.

Curiosity update, sols 1373-1427: Driving up to Murray buttes, drilling at Marimba

Emily Lakdawalla • August 11, 2016 • 1

Curiosity has now covered most of the flat ground that lay between the Naukluft plateau and the Murray buttes. The mission took only 11 days to complete drilling work at Marimba, despite a recurrence of a problematic short in the drill. The rover is ready to drive in among the buttes, shooting spectacular photos along the way.

What's up in the solar system, July 2016 edition: Juno to enter orbit, NASA missions all extended

Emily Lakdawalla • July 01, 2016 • 2

Highlights this month include the impending arrival of Juno at Jupiter, the approval of extended missions for all of NASA's solar system spacecraft, and public data releases from Rosetta, New Horizons, and Cassini.

Curiosity update, sols 1311-1369: Drilling at Lubango, Okoruso, and Oudam, and a turn to the south

Emily Lakdawalla • June 15, 2016 • 1

Curiosity is at a turning point in its mission to Mount Sharp, both literally and figuratively. Having drilled at three sample sites in 7 weeks, the rover took a left turn, changing its trajectory from a generally westward driving path to a southward one. It is now poised to cross the Bagnold dune field at Murray buttes.

Quick Curiosity update, sol 1320: "Lubango," the 10th drill site on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • April 25, 2016 • 1

Curiosity has drilled into Mars for the 10th time at a site named Lubango, on sol 1320 (April 23, 2016). Lubango is in a bright-toned halo around a crack in the Stimson sandstone unit on the western edge of the Naukluft Plateau.

Moonset over Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • April 21, 2016 • 1

Enjoy this serene image of a moonset on another world, captured by Curiosity's Mastcam in April 2014 and processed here by Justin Cowart.

Curiosity update, sols 1250-1310: Across the Naukluft Plateau

Emily Lakdawalla • April 13, 2016 • 8

Curiosity has driven onward from Namib dune across a highstanding unit of rock called the Naukluft Plateau. Despite some frustrating sols lost to a short circuit in the RTG and DSN troubles, the rover has made progress, and performed lots of 3D imaging of weirdly wind-eroded rocks.

Curiosity Rover: Design, Planning, and Field Geology on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • February 26, 2016 • 6

Emily is back to work on her Mars Science Laboratory book, which has a new publication date and a new title.

Light plays on a Martian crater rim

Emily Lakdawalla • February 16, 2016

Recently, space image processing enthusiast Thomas Appéré noticed that Curiosity had taken five photos of exactly the same spot on the rim of Gale crater, identical but for being taken at different times of day. That spot was due north of the rover, so the rising and lowering Sun illuminates the rounded hummocks of the crater rim differently from early morning to early afternoon.

Curiosity update, sols 1218-1249: Digging in the sand at Bagnold Dunes

Emily Lakdawalla • February 10, 2016 • 4

Curiosity has spent the last month sampling and processing dark sand scooped from the side of Namib Dune. The rover has now departed Namib and is preparing to cross the Bagnold dune field, while working to diagnose an anomaly with the CHIMRA sample handling mechanism.

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