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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 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.

Real-time sunset on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • May 24, 2015 • 7

Pause your life for six minutes and watch the Sun set....on Mars. Thank you, Glen Nagle, for this awe-inspiring simulation based on Curiosity's sol 956 sunset images.

Rover eyes on rock layers on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • May 19, 2015 • 2

Digging in to mission image archives yields similar images of layered Martian rocks from very different places.

Curiosity update, sols 949-976: Scenic road trip and a diversion to Logan's Run

Emily Lakdawalla • May 06, 2015 • 4

Curiosity is finally on the road again! And she's never taken a more scenic route than this. Her path to Mount Sharp is taking her to the west and south, across sandy swales between rocky rises.

Curiosity update, sols 896-949: Telegraph Peak, Garden City, and concern about the drill

Emily Lakdawalla • April 10, 2015 • 1

Since I last wrote about Curiosity drilling at Pink Cliffs, the rover has visited and studied two major sites, drilling at one of them. It has also suffered a short in the drill percussion mechanism that presents serious enough risk to warrant a moratorium on drill use until engineers develop a plan to continue to operate it safely.

Mini mission updates: Dawn in orbit; Curiosity short circuit; Rosetta image release; Hayabusa2 in cruise phase; and more

Emily Lakdawalla • March 06, 2015 • 1

Dawn has successfully entered orbit at Ceres, becoming the first mission to orbit a dwarf planet and the first to orbit two different bodies beyond Earth. I also have updates on Curiosity, Rosetta, Mars Express, Hayabusa2, the Chang'e program, InSIGHT, and OSIRIS-REx.

Curiosity update, sols 864-895: Drilling at Pink Cliffs

Emily Lakdawalla • February 20, 2015

Curiosity's second drilling campaign at the foot of Mount Sharp is complete. The rover spent about a month near Pink Cliffs, an area at the base of the Pahrump Hills outcrop, drilling and documenting a site named Mojave, where lighter-colored crystals were scattered through a very fine-grained rock.

Curiosity update, sols 814-863: Pahrump Hills Walkabout, part 2

Emily Lakdawalla • January 21, 2015 • 5

Curiosity has spent the last two months completing a second circuit of the Pahrump Hills field site, gathering APXS and MAHLI data. The work has been hampered by the loss of the ChemCam focusing laser, but the team is developing a workaround. Over the holidays, the rover downlinked many Gigabits of image data. The rover is now preparing for a drilling campaign.

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.

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