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Blogs

Our journalists and guest bloggers bring you stunning imagery and the space stories that matter most.

Mastcam-Z team blog: Preparing for five-hour operations

Elsa Jensen and Katherine Winchell • November 02, 2017

It takes hundreds of scientists and engineers many years to design and build just one instrument for a Mars mission. In the first Mastcam-Z team blog post, we'll talk about the special challenges we expect for Mars 2020 operations, and how we're planning to overcome them.

A future comes into focus for the Mars Exploration Program

Casey Dreier • August 31, 2017 • 2

Casey Dreier says NASA's decision to pursue a Mars sample return mission is good news for Mars fans, Mars scientists and supporters of the decadal survey process.

NASA considers kicking Mars sample return into high gear

Jason Davis • August 28, 2017 • 9

Thus far, no plan has solidified on how to get soil and rock samples from the upcoming Mars 2020 rover back to Earth. That is starting to change.

Planetary Science Just Got Its Best Budget in Years

Casey Dreier • May 05, 2017 • 6

The President signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, funding the U.S. government for the remainder of the fiscal year. NASA got a boost to $19.65 billion, and its Planetary Science Division saw a budget increase to $1.846 billion—its best budget in more than ten years.

Listen Up! Microphones to Fly to Mars

Bruce Betts • July 15, 2016 • 2

The Mars 2020 mission will carry microphones in its EDL package and its SuperCam instrument, which will enable us to finally hear the sounds of Mars. The Planetary Society has been trying to get microphones to Mars for 20 years and is ecstatic that these will fly.

Mars 2020 rover rolls into final design and fabrication phase

Jason Davis • July 15, 2016 • 9

NASA's next Mars rover is rolling off the drawing board and into its final design and fabrication phase, the agency announced today, during a televised event at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that highlighted some of the mission's technology.

NASA's New Budget Would Gut Europa But Otherwise Support Planetary Exploration

Van Kane • February 18, 2016 • 8

It’s clear that the President’s budget officers really don’t want to fund a mission to Europa. Other than that, the proposed Fiscal Year 2017 budget submitted by the President last week to Congress would be great for planetary exploration.

A new hope for a microphone on Mars: Enhancing Mars 2020 science with sound

Bruce Betts and Emily Lakdawalla • February 15, 2016 • 6

When the Mars 2020 rover lands, we may finally hear the first audio recordings from the Martian surface.

Mastcam-Z has passed its Preliminary Design Review!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 23, 2015

A panel of outside experts reviewed the design of the Mars 2020 rover's color cameras, and approved the progress of Mastcam-Z. It still exists only as an idea in the cloud, but it's one significant step closer to being sent to Mars.

Mastcam-Z: The Future of Stereo Imaging on Mars

Bruce Betts • October 29, 2015

An introduction to the Mastcam-Z stereo imager on the Mars 2020 rover, and brief reporting and reflections on team meetings, science instruments, and the exciting future of The Planetary Society covering the entire lifetime of this instrument, from design to Mars images.

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