Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
Curiosity update, sols 2093-2162: Three tries to successful drill atop Vera Rubin Ridge
Heedless of the (now-dissipating) dust storm, Curiosity has achieved its first successful drill into rocks that form the Vera Rubin ridge, and is hopefully on the way to a second. It took three attempts for Curiosity to find a soft enough spot, with Voyageurs and Ailsa Craig being too tough, but Stoer proved obligingly soft on sol 2136.
Curiosity's organics on Mars
What does it mean that the Mars rover Curiosity found organics in Martian rocks? Emily Lakdawalla translates the science.
The Bounty of Iron Meteorites Found on Mars
Something new and wonderful appeared in the Meteoritical Bulletin Database—an entire listing of meteorites found on Mars by robotic rovers and their science teams from the years 2005–2017.
Curiosity update, sols 2027-2092: Return to drilling at Duluth, sciencing the dust storm
Hooray! Curiosity has triumphantly returned to drilling with a successful drill and delivery to its lab instruments at a site named Duluth. It's now studying the dust storm as it drives to new drill sites on Vera Rubin ridge.
Book Excerpt: The Design and Engineering of Curiosity: How the radioisotope power system works
Readers, colleagues, friends: it's finally happened. My first book is finally out in the world. Here's an excerpt that explains the design and operation of Curiosity's MMRTG, (it also applies to the future Mars 2020 rover power supply).
Curiosity Update, sols 1972-2026: Completing the Vera Rubin Ridge Walkabout
The Curiosity team has completed its initial survey of the top of Vera Rubin Ridge, and is ready to make another attempt at drilling after the rock at Lake Orcadie proved to be too hard.
Space grade electronics: How NASA’s Juno survives near Jupiter
Take a look at how electronics of spacecraft are built to survive the harshness of space environments.
Automating Science on Mars
Since 2016, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has had the ability to choose its own science targets using an onboard intelligent targeting system called AEGIS.
Curiosity update, sols 1927-1971: Ready to resume drilling
After a hiatus of nearly 500 sols, Curiosity is ready to attempt drilling into a Mars rock again.
Ten times the solar system reminded us sample collection is hard
Some of the biggest discoveries we make in planetary science rely on the seemingly simple act of picking up and analyzing pieces of other worlds. When things go awry, scientists and engineers can sometimes squeeze amazing science out of a tough situation.
HiRISE image coverage of the Curiosity field site on Mars, Version 4.0
The latest and greatest update of Emily's list of all the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE images that contain Curiosity hardware, tracks, or traverses.
Curiosity update, sols 1814-1926: Vera Rubin Ridge Walkabout
Curiosity is climbing across the top of Vera Rubin Ridge, spying varicolored rocks. It's getting closer to being ready to drill again, and has performed a wet chemistry experiment for the first time.
Curiosity update, sols 1726-1813: Surveying Vera Rubin Ridge from below
Curiosity had a productive three months driving along the front of Vera Rubin Ridge, gathering photos and data with its arm instruments, finally driving up on to the ridge on sol 1809.
Curiosity's balky drill: The problem and solutions
Since December 1, 2016, Curiosity has been unable to drill into rocks because of a serious problem with one of the drill's motors. Emily Lakdawalla thoroughly explains the issues and the path forward for Curiosity.
Book Update: The Design and Engineering of Curiosity
Emily Lakdawalla's first book is now available for pre-order.
Five Earth Years on Mars
Five (Earth) years ago today, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity landed in a dramatic fashion on the surface of the Red Planet. We look back at a mission that advanced humanity's understanding of Mars and provided a priceless return on a modest investment.
Curiosity update, sols 1675-1725: Traverse to Vera Rubin Ridge
Curiosity has had a busy eight weeks, driving south from the Bagnold Dunes toward Vera Rubin Ridge. The path has steepened and the rover is now rapidly climbing upward with every meter traveled. It's been a productive time for arm instruments, but the drill is still not working.
Geology on Mars: Using stratigraphic columns to tell the story of Gale Crater
Stratigraphic columns are a basic tool in geology, used on both Earth and Mars to tell the story of a location. But what are they really?
Curiosity update, sols 1600-1674: The second Bagnold Dunes campaign
The four-stop dune science campaign offered the engineers some time to continue troubleshooting the drill without any pressure to use it for science. They scooped sand at a site called Ogunquit Beach but couldn't complete the planned sample activity because of new developments in the drill inquiry. The rover has now headed onward toward Vera Rubin Ridge.
MAVEN dodges Phobos, with (maybe) a little help from Curiosity
This week MAVEN had to execute a short rocket burn in order to prevent a future collision with Phobos. Curiosity (and other rovers) may have played a role in those trajectory predictions.