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What's Up in the Solar System in September 2012

Emily Lakdawalla • August 31, 2012 • 4

It's an active time in interplanetary exploration! Curiosity has begun roving Mars, and Opportunity's not wasting any time either. Dawn has just departed Vesta and begun the more than two-year cruise to Ceres. Juno is in the middle of a big deep-space maneuver, setting up next year's Earth flyby.

HiRISE's best view of Curiosity yet

Emily Lakdawalla • August 31, 2012 • 10

HiRISE's best opportunity to view Curiosity so far came 12 days after landing, when the orbiter passed nearly directly overhead. The photo resolves amazing detail on the huge rover.

Explaining the new black-and-white Mastcam and MARDI raw images

Emily Lakdawalla • August 24, 2012 • 2

If you've been obsessively checking the Curiosity raw images websites for new pictures from Mars, you might have noticed something weird: a bunch of Mastcam images and a few from MARDI that are black-and-white instead of color, and which have a peculiar checkerboard pattern.

The definitive version of Curiosity's first color panorama

Emily Lakdawalla • August 23, 2012 • 8

The top of the mountain has finally been filled in, and Damien Bouic has produced what I think is the definitive version of Curiosity's first color panorama.

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.

Curiosity's landing site named for Ray Bradbury

Jim Bell • August 22, 2012 • 1

Ray Bradbury explored Mars, and the future of humanity, through words and ideas--vehicles of the imagination. He was a visionary author and, through his writings and lectures, was a direct or indirect mentor to so many of us involved with designing, building, and operating the actual space vehicles of today. I think it is so fitting, then, that the MSL team has memorialized Ray's contributions to the exploration of the planets -- and especially Mars -- by naming Curiosity's landing site in his honor.

August 22, 2012 officially proclaimed "Space Day" in California

Emily Lakdawalla • August 21, 2012

Governor Brown has declared August 22, 2012 "Space Day." I'm not sure what it means, but I love the repeated use of the word "whereas."

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.

Curiosity sol 15 update: Wheel wiggles, arm flexes, and bad news about REMS

Emily Lakdawalla • August 21, 2012 • 8

Notes from this morning's press conference. Curiosity has successfully steered the corner wheels and deployed and restowed the robotic arm. ChemCam tests went well over the weekend. But one of the two wind speed sensors in REMS appears to have suffered permanent damage during landing.

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.

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