Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.
This week's releases from the Mars Odyssey THEMIS team included a gorgeous one of the layered interior of Gale crater.
I just wanted to point out a couple of new items on the website.
Two years and 3 months after they bounced to landings at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum, the Mars Exploration Rovers are heading into their second, long cold Martian winter.
Get used to this view of Home Plate and Husband Hill, because Spirit will be seeing a lot of it over the next 8 months, whenever power levels permit the rover to eke a little bit of science activity out of the day.
As autumn falls toward winter on the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet, the Mars Exploration Rovers are on the move again. Although the twin robot field geologists are roving as quickly as possible to their next major destinations, the pace is slowing down.
They held the usual pre-arrival press conference this morning for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This press conference typically doesn't convey any information that people who have been paying attention don't already know.
As early autumn descends on the southern hemisphere of the Red Planet, the Mars Exploration Rovers are on the move and picking up the pace as they rove toward their next major destinations.
As the Mars Exploration Rover mission presses onward into its third Earth year -- and second Mars year -- the twin robot field geologists are moving to new destinations.
The Mars Exploration Rovers have each completed their first Mars Year (687 Earth days) and are close to completing their second Earth year exploring their respective sites on the Red Planet. With both Spirit and Opportunity finding new variations of bedrock in the areas they are exploring, the mission is continuing to send the team holiday gifts in the form of intriguing discoveries.
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.
In its orbit around the Sun, the Red Planet has been returning to where it was when the Mars Exploration Rovers first landed back in January 2004, and, as the twin robot field geologists are marking the milestone of their first Martian year -- equivalent to almost two Earth years -- fireworks are flashing all around the planet. Although the cause of the fireworks is actually debris from Halley's comet, through which Mars is currently passing, the timing seems so metaphorically appropriate.
The Mars Exploration Rovers science team witnessed a bit of an expansion down here on Earth this month, while up on the Red Planet Spirit and Opportunity continued roving along. As Halloween nears, the twin robot geologists have put in another solid month's worth of work, overcoming every occasional
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:
Despite a few unexpected bumps and curves in their explorations at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum, the Mars Exploration Rovers have been working away and both Spirit and Opportunity have put in a very productive month's worth of work on the Red Planet.
Spirit has returned enough pictures from the summit of Husband Hill for the Mars Exploration Team to have put together a 240-degree color panorama of her view, which they released at a news conference today, held at NASA headquarters in Washington D.C. In coming days, the rover will return the rest of the images to complete the full, 360-degree, color panorama.
The Space Shuttle couldn't land at Kennedy Space Center today because of concerns about weather, so I have been expecting a launch delay to be announced for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Indeed, a 24-hour delay has just been announced; the new launch date is Thursday, August 11 from 7:50 to 9:35 a.m. EDT (11:50 to 13:35 UTC).
The Mars Exploration Rovers are still going strong, and both robot field geologists will be working through the July 4th holiday.
Nearly a year and a half after landing on the Red Planet, the Mars Exploration Rovers are continuing to collect important science and impress the team with their resiliency.