Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
There was a big news splash about two articles that appeared in Nature about Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's landing site. The articles suggest two theories for the formation of the layered sulfur-rich deposits at Meridiani Planum that do not involve standing liquid water.
Back in August, there was a false alarm being circulated by email that Mars was going to be super-close to Earth on August 27.
I received the following question by email last week:
Apparently there is a bogus email circulating around the Web with the following text:
During April 2005, the Mars Global Surveyor happened to pass relatively close to Odyssey and Mars Express. What resulted were remarkably clear pictures of human-made spacecraft orbiting and alien world.
NASA Headquarters issued a press release late yesterday announcing that the agency is memorializing the Apollo 1 crew -- Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee -- by naming the hills surrounding the first Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's landing site after the three astronauts.
Although it did appear from the very first images returned that the second Mars Exploration Rover had landed inside a small crater when it arrived at Meridiani Planum last Saturday night, that belief was confirmed with further analysis yesterday.
Spirit stopped transmitting good data last Wednesday, but never went silent. It continued communicating with the MER team and returning good information with which the team is now working.
The second Mars Exploration Rover -- Opportunity -- Spirit's identical twin -- is approaching the atmosphere of Mars and is expected to land on the Red Planet tonight around 9:06 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.
The specially formed Anomaly Team working overnight to unravel the mystery of what happened last Wednesday that caused the rover’s computer to fall into a reboot loop and stop functioning properly – had by this morning come up with a working hypothesis.
Spirit 'phoned home' this morning and returned some good engineering data, but the Mars rover remains in
Something is wrong with Spirit, but what exactly it is -- and just how serious it is -- the Mars Exploration Rover team isn't sure.
Spirit got off to a running start this week, using three of the four instruments on her robotic arm to study a patch of Martian soil, and the football-sized rock Adirondack.
Spirit ventured out yesterday, driving nearly 10 feet (about 3 meters) to its first target -- a football-sized rock that scientists have dubbed Adirondack. Meanwhile, Spirit's twin, Opportunity, successfully completed its first trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) in four months.
Spirit has extended her robotic arm for the first time to examine a patch of fine-grained Martian soil, and joined forces with the European Space Agency's Mars Express to successfully conduct the first-ever, international, coordinated observation of the planet's atmosphere.
Spirit gets 6 wheels on soil. For some of the team members, this was the real landing.
Spirit is ready to roll.
As Earthlings slept last night, Spirit completed the first part of a three-part maneuver that will take her down the ramp and onto the Martian surface early Thursday morning Earth time.
As Spirit slept soundly after another near-perfect day of picture taking, science gathering, and data relays from Mars, NASA released the first color 360-degree panorama postcard it sent home.