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What's up in the solar system for the week of May 5

Emily Lakdawalla • May 05, 2008

Here's what's happening on active planetary missions this week.

What's up in the solar system for the week of April 28

Emily Lakdawalla • April 28, 2008

I thought it would be fun to start the week by taking stock of what's going on with all the active planetary missions out there.

Mars Budget Cuts

Ryan Anderson • March 24, 2008

Exploring another planet is an expensive business. We all know this, but sometimes it hits home harder than others. Today was one of those times.

Spirit, seen from space

Emily Lakdawalla • March 24, 2008

The HiRISE instrument on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter really is a spy camera in space. Check out this sequence of nine images from the HiRISE archives, which Doug Ellison pulled together into an animation covering more than a year of Spirit's mission.

Opportunity watches the clouds drift by

Emily Lakdawalla • February 12, 2008

Opportunity is now following a rather leisurely autumn schedule, according to the latest update on the mission website. Some of the work Opportunity is doing involves staring skyward, looking for patterns in the clouds that pass overhead at this time of year. One of the guys at unmannedspaceflight.com has put together some nifty animations of the wispy cloud patterns.

Teeny little Bigfoot on Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • January 23, 2008 • 3

The story of a Sasquatch-shaped rock visible in a recent panorama from Spirit is getting a lot of play in the mainstream media, but fortunately, it's not being taken very seriously. (My favorite take on this picture is the lead from the Times Online story about it: "Is it a rock? A trick of Martian light on the eye? Or Osama Bin Laden waving from his barren hideout 300 million miles from planet Earth?")

A dusty start to Spirit's winter

Emily Lakdawalla • December 14, 2007

Dust from the sky has settled on both the rover deck and the surrounding landscape. The dust-covered solar cells will not be able to generate as much power as when they were clean. Unless a puff of wind dusts off the solar panels, Spirit may have difficulty surviving the approaching Martian winter.

Skies slowly lightening for Spirit and Opportunity

Emily Lakdawalla • September 07, 2007

I just received another batch of "tau" images from rover camera lead Jim Bell to add to my visualizations of the rovers' dark skies. These pictures provide a direct measurement of the opacity of the atmosphere between the rovers and the Sun.

Dust storm update: A rover's-eye-view

Emily Lakdawalla • August 29, 2007

I haven't written an update on the dust storm at Mars recently for two reasons. For one, the rovers are out of immediate danger, so it wasn't as urgent. The other reason is that Jim Bell wanted Cornell to issue a press release with updated versions of the images and animations I've been putting together from the rovers' "tau" images.

A little good news on the rovers

Emily Lakdawalla • August 08, 2007

The skies aren't quite as dark as they have been, for both Spirit and Opportunity. In fact, Spirit has enough power now to be doing a little work with its robotic arm.

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