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

More than you probably wanted to know about Curiosity's SAM instrument

Emily Lakdawalla • November 30, 2012 • 26

With all the hoopla surrounding the unknown results of the first analysis of a soil sample by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, I thought an explainer would be useful. What is SAM, what is it designed to measure, and what is the nature of its results? Here you go.

Visiting Viking at Seattle's Museum of Flight

Tom Dahl • November 14, 2012

One of the nicest aerospace museums in the United States is the Museum of Flight, outside Seattle, Washington. I traveled cross-country in order to visit the "Flight Capsule 3" Viking lander, a backup unit that was never completed. Its partially built state exposes its internal structures, making it a boon to study.

Curiosity sol 38 update: arm tests done, on the road again, and an important question answered

Emily Lakdawalla • September 14, 2012

Curiosity has completed Commissioning Activity Period 2 and is on the road again. I asked Daniel Limonadi to explain a couple of the photos of tests being performed on CHIMRA, and took the opportunity to ask him an amusing question that came up during a previous Google+ Hangout.

Knots on Mars

David J. Fred • September 05, 2012 • 3

It might surprise most people to learn that multitudes of knots tied in cords and thin ribbons have probably traveled on every interplanetary mission ever flown. If human civilization ends tomorrow, interplanetary landers, orbiters, and deep space probes will preserve evidence of both the oldest and newest of human technologies for thousands, if not millions of years.

Sampling Mars, Part 4: Commissioning the Rover and Sampling System

Daniel Limonadi • August 22, 2012 • 10

Completing a multi-part guest blog series by Curiosity systems engineering team lead for the Surface Sampling and Science system. Part 4 explains the lengthy process of testing and using the system for the first time.

Sampling Mars, Part 3: Key Challenges in Drilling for Samples

Daniel Limonadi • August 21, 2012

Continuing a multi-part guest blog series by Curiosity systems engineering team lead for the Surface Sampling and Science system. Part 3 explains why drilling is hard, and what the team is doing to prevent things from going wrong.

Sampling Mars, Part 2: Science Instruments SAM and Chemin

Daniel Limonadi • August 20, 2012 • 5

Continuing a multi-part guest blog series by Curiosity systems engineering team lead for the Surface Sampling and Science system. Part 2 explains the science instruments SAM and Chemin.

Sampling Mars, Part 1: The Hardware

Daniel Limonadi • August 16, 2012 • 3

The opening of a multi-part guest blog series by Curiosity systems engineering team lead for the Surface Sampling and Science system. Part 1 explains the robotic arm and the Sample Acquisition, Processing and Handling subsystem.

See What's NEXT for Humanity

Mat Kaplan • August 16, 2012 • 5

A new monthly series of Southern California Public Radio events begins with a look at how intelligent machines and virtual humans will change what it means to be a real human. Attend or watch the live webcast tonight, Thursday, August 16.

Curiosity's MAHLI camera: Much more than a microscopic imager

Emily Lakdawalla • August 07, 2012 • 3

Today's press briefing featured the first image from MAHLI, the Mars Hand Lens Imager, so it's time for me to dive in to this camera's capabilities.

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