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Face-to-face with Curiosity

Emily Lakdawalla • April 04, 2011

I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity today for a face-to-face visit with one of the biggest celebrities in my world: Curiosity, the next Mars rover. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory gave members of the media a chance to suit up in the white coveralls known as "bunny suits" and enter the Spacecraft Assembly Facility, the clean room in which Curiosity is being assembled and prepared for launch.

A zoomable MastCam is not going to make it to Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • March 23, 2011

I hate being the bearer of bad news, but here it is. Amid all the building excitement for Curiosity -- the successes in testing, the delivery of the instruments, the fun of tuning in to Curiosity Cam to peek in on engineers doing their work in preparing the next rover for launch -- I've learned that a much-anticipated (but not required) feature is not going to make it on to the rover.

Neat video of Curiosity drive testing (plus a code-cracking challenge)

Emily Lakdawalla • March 21, 2011

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has posted a short video showing some recent testing of an engineering model of the Mars Science Laboratory in their outdoor Mars Yard; they're testing the performance of the rover's driving capability over slopes of varying steepness and covered with bedrock, compacted sand, and very loose sand.

365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: Unmanned Space Exploration in 2011

Emily Lakdawalla • January 12, 2011

Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, Unmanned Space Exploration in 2011, about what to look forward to in solar system exploration this year.

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