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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 631-644: On the road again

Emily Lakdawalla • May 30, 2014 • 6

The last couple of weeks have seen Curiosity return to the business of making steady headway toward Murray Buttes and, beyond them, Mount Sharp. Eight of the last 14 sols have seen drives ranging in length from 30 to 104 meters, racking up a total of more than half a kilometer. They are now occasionally working a shortened planning timeline that allows them to squeeze more drive sols into Curiosity's schedule.

New orbital images of Curiosity landing site from Mars Express and HiRISE

Emily Lakdawalla • May 23, 2014 • 4

Mars Express and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are keeping their eyes in the sky on Curiosity. There's a nice newly public color image of all of Gale Crater from HiRISE, and two new HiRISE images within the Curiosity landing site.

Dust on, dust off: Before-and-after comparisons of rover decks on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • May 19, 2014 • 6

Curiosity and Opportunity self-portraits show one rover accumulating dust, the other losing it. Check out these cool before-and-after comparisons.

Curiosity update, sols 610-630: Drilling work at Windjana

Emily Lakdawalla • May 15, 2014 • 3

Finally, a new drill site! For the first time in nearly a year, Curiosity has put drill bit to rock and acquired a new sample of Martian material for her analytical instruments to chew on. Scientific data collection at Windjana is now complete; Curiosity drove away last night, on sol 630.

A Martian analemma

Emily Lakdawalla • May 06, 2014 • 4

A Mars year's worth of Sun images from Opportunity demonstrates Mars' orbital motions as reflected in the changing apparent position of the Sun: the analemma.

Image processing trick: Removing interline transfer smear from Curiosity photos

Emily Lakdawalla • May 01, 2014 • 2

Curiosity took a new self-portrait on sol 613. This post contains a tip for would-be Curiosity image processors on how to make their Curiosity mosaics better: removing the smearing effect of bright objects in MAHLI photos.

Curiosity update, sols 597-610: Picking a drill site at the Kimberley

Emily Lakdawalla • April 24, 2014 • 2

After completing the initial reconnaissance of the Kimberley outcrop two weeks ago, Curiosity is, at last, moving toward a drill site. The science team selected the location last week: a spot near the base of Mount Remarkable, into what they have been calling the "middle unit" at the Kimberley.

Pretty picture: Sunset over Gale crater

Emily Lakdawalla • April 14, 2014 • 5

Imagine yourself on a windswept landscape of rocks and red dust with mountains all around you. The temperature -- never warm on this planet -- suddenly plunges, as the small Sun sets behind the western range of mountains.

Curiosity update: Initial reconnaissance of the Kimberley, sols 585-595

Emily Lakdawalla • April 11, 2014 • 3

Curiosity has been busy performing a survey of the Kimberley, walking the length of the outcrop and taking enormous quantities of photos. The team is now ready to go in for a closer look, and maybe even to drill.

Look how clean Opportunity is now!

Emily Lakdawalla • April 09, 2014 • 1

While climbing Murray Ridge, Opportunity enjoyed a major cleaning event that has left the rover's solar panels more dust-free than they have been in years. The rover captured a pretty panorama of the newly clean deck with its Pancams, and James Sorenson processed the version shown here.

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