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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!

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.

HiRISE image coverage of the Curiosity field site on Mars, Version 3.0

Emily Lakdawalla • February 05, 2016 • 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 five revisions and updates, it's now version 3.0 of the list.

Curiosity update, sols 1166-1217: First reconnaissance of Bagnold dunes

Emily Lakdawalla • January 07, 2016 • 4

In the six weeks since my last detailed Curiosity update, the rover has driven to, on, and around a couple of active barchan sand dunes on Mars. They are now searching for a site to scoop and sample sand on the western edge of Namib dune.

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.

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.

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