Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
Mapping Meridiani: Part 1
The mantra of Mars exploration is
White Rock through the ages: Mars Global Surveyor (1997-2006)
We first spotted the strange bright feature colloquially known as
White Rock through the ages: Viking (1976-1980)
This is the second installment in my look at one enigmatic feature on Mars as seen by all its orbiters through the more than thirty years of spacecraft observations.
Opportunity watches the clouds drift by
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.
White Rock through the ages: Mariner 9, 1972
While conversing with Ken Edgett about the smiley face on Mars he remarked to me how different Mars looks at different pixel scales, and in particular that there is a transition somewhere in the neighborhood of six to seven meters per pixel.
Finding images from Mars
There have been so many missions to Mars, which have sent back so much data, that figuring out how to find images of places on Mars can be really overwhelming.
Have a happy day on Mars
I thought this was a fun image to kick off the weekend. This isn't the first happy-looking crater to be photographed from Mars, but I really like this one; it's more goofy.
Teeny little Bigfoot on Mars
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:
A dusty start to Spirit's winter
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.
ExoMars landing site downselections
It hasn't been that long since the Mars Science Laboratory landing site downselection meeting; it was quickly followed by a meeting in Europe on ExoMars, which is currently planned for a 2011 launch.
No descent images or sounds from Phoenix
A couple of days ago Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) issued a news notice that explains some of the horse-trading that went on behind the scenes to rescue MARDI, the descent imaging camera that they are building for the Mars Science Laboratory rover.
MSL: Landing site downselections
After three days of presentations, voting, and extended discussions, the
MSL landing site selection meeting: Day 2 site-by-site presentations
Unlike the Mars Exploration Rover mission, which featured two golf-cart-sized landers, this time we have only one giant, Volkswagen beetle-size. So at the end of this process we have to pick our favorite place on Mars, not our favorite two places.
MSL sites, comet outbursts, and other stuff
The latest on MSL landing sites, a look at comet outbursts, and links to other stuff.
The Mars Exploration Rovers have left wheel tracks all over their landing sites, but for some reason this pair of wheel tracks, left in the sand ripple on the rim of Victoria crater and now viewed from below, tickled my fancy. Thanks to James Canvin for the lovely panorama.
Opportunity takes first gingerly steps into Victoria Crater
Mars Exploration Rover scientists, engineers and enthusiasts have been playing the waiting game for 10 weeks, watching the much-reported dust storm subside so that Opportunity could get back to doing what it does best - exploring craters.
Skies slowly lightening for Spirit and Opportunity
I just received another batch of
Poised on the threshold of Victoria Crater
Although Mars' atmosphere continues to be rather dusty, the storm has abated enough that both Mars Exploration Rovers have resumed a relatively normal level of activity. For Opportunity, that means a drive to the very edge of Victoria crater.
Dust storm update: A rover's-eye-view
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'
A little good news on the rovers
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.