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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!

Mars Orbiter Mission delivers on promise of global views of Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • September 29, 2014 • 18

Ever since I first learned about the capabilities of Mars Orbiter Mission's small payload of science instruments, I have been anticipating one type of data in particular: global color views of Mars captured in a single 2000-pixel-square frame. Just days after entering orbit, Mars Orbiter Mission has delivered on that promise.

MAVEN returns first images of Mars' atmosphere

Emily Lakdawalla • September 24, 2014 • 1

On Sepember 22 at 02:24 UTC, Earth received word that MAVEN had ended its orbit insertion burn on time, completing its journey to Mars. Today MAVEN has released some of its very first data, taken by the Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph just eight hours after arrival.

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.

Curiosity update, sols 697-726: Mars thwarts driving and drilling

Emily Lakdawalla • August 22, 2014 • 2

The Mars gremlins really had it in for Curiosity this month. A computer glitch and slippery sand conspired to delay the rover's progress toward Mount Sharp. And shifting rocks proved unsafe for drilling. The rover will continue driving toward Mount Sharp, departing Bonanza King without drilling, skirting Hidden Valley along a plateau to its north.

Curiosity wheel damage: The problem and solutions

Emily Lakdawalla • August 19, 2014 • 29

Now that a Tiger Team has assessed the nature and causes of damage to Curiosity's wheels, I can finally answer your frequently-asked questions about what wheel damage means for the mission, and why it wasn't anticipated.

Mars orbiters plan for their October encounter with comet Siding Spring

Emily Lakdawalla • August 13, 2014 • 2

Now that we have reasonable confidence that our Mars orbiters will be safe from the close passage of comet Siding Spring, we are free to be excited about the opportunity that the encounter represents. At a community workshop on August 11, representatives from Mars missions shared their plans for great comet science.

Curiosity update, sols 671-696: Out of the landing ellipse, into ripples and pointy rocks

Emily Lakdawalla • July 24, 2014 • 8

For the last four weeks, the name of the game for Curiosity has been driving. But these weeks of driving have been more challenging than they used to be.

Curiosity update: One Mars Year! Sols 662-670

Emily Lakdawalla • June 25, 2014 • 2

On Monday JPL put out a press release marking one year since Curiosity landed -- one Mars year, that is! There was a new version of the Kimberley self-portrait, and a video update on wheel wear testing. While we've been celebrating on Earth, Curiosity has been driving, driving, driving, on a new "safe transit route" taking her southward toward the black sand dunes ringing Mount Sharp.

Curiosity update, sols 645-661: Driving, driving, driving

Emily Lakdawalla • June 16, 2014

Curiosity has been busy. The rover has traveled more than half a kilometer since my last update, making steady progress beyond the Kimberley toward Murray Buttes. There hasn't been much time for science, but they sneaked in an observation of a Mercury transit across the sun, and a neat MARDI video of the rover driving.

How CRISM picks the pixels that guide Opportunity's travels

Emily Lakdawalla • June 05, 2014 • 4

How scientists are working with CRISM, an aging but still exceptional spectrometer on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, to find the rocks where Opportunity's work will tell the story of ancient water on Mars.

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