Posts tagged Mars
Two Mars-bound spacecraft are both in excellent health ahead of their September arrivals in orbit around the Red Planet, managers for both missions report.
At 4pm PT (7pm ET) today, Discovery News and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will team up to bring you the latest news from NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory by the scientists and engineers who drive and care for the Curiosity rover.
Joining DNews’ Trace Dominguez and Ian O’Neill will be:
- Ashwin Vasavada, MSL deputy project scientist (at JPL Mission Control).
- Nagin Cox, MSL tactical uplink lead (JPL Mars Yard). Twitter: @nasa_nagin
- Matt Heverly, MSL rover driver (JPL Mars Yard). Twitter: @Matt_Heverly
- Amy Shira Teitel, space historian and DNews space guest host. Twitter: @astVintageSpace
The Google+ Hangout will also feature live video from the Mars Yard at JPL. We’ll get the low down on Curiosity’s health, the team’s hopes for the future and a look back over it’s biggest discoveries from its first Mars year on the red planet. We will also be taking live questions from our viewers via the G+ event page and on Twitter. Make sure you also keep an eye on @DNews, @NASAJPL and @MarsCuriosity for updates and use the #SpaceOut hashtag if you have any questions for the JPL team.
NASA’s rover Curiosity has begun drilling operations for the third time on Mars. Currently located at a geologically interesting location nicknamed “The Kimberley,” the one-ton rover also took the opportunity to photograph itself and the surrounding landscape in some stunning Martian “selfies.” View the gallery
After a decade of exploring the Martian surface, the scientists overseeing veteran rover Opportunity thought they’d seen it all. That was until a rock mysteriously “appeared” a few feet in front of the six wheeled rover a few days ago. Read more
Before you say “ALIENS!” the random rock probably hasn’t been placed there by Martians… probably.
Mars plays host to a huge number of dune fields — regions where fine wind-blown material gets deposited to form arguably some of the most beautiful dunes that can be found on any planetary body in the solar system. Using the powerful High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, planetary scientists have an orbital view on these features that aid our understanding of aeolian (wind-formed) processes and Martian geology. Here are some of our favorite Mars dunes as seen by HiRISE.
On Sunday, at 5:17 p.m. GMT (12:17 p.m. EST), Europe’s Mars Express orbiter successfully completed a daring low-pass of Mars’ largest moon Phobos. In an effort to precisely measure the gravitational field of the moon, the 10 year-old mission was sent on a trajectory that took it only 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the dusty surface, the closest any spacecraft has ever come to the natural satellite. Read more
The “before” and “after” shots of Curiosity’s wheels are pretty striking. Although the rover’s wheels are designed to sustain significant damage without putting the mission at risk, mission managers are assessing a recent acceleration in perforations and rips in the wheels’ aluminum. See more photos
In May, Discovery News reported the dramatic signs of wear and tear on Mars rover Curiosity’s wheels. The aircraft-grade aluminum material appeared scratched, dented, even punctured. At the time, lead rover driver Matt Heverly said that the damage was to be expected. “The ‘skin’ of the wheel is only 0.75mm thick and we expect dents, dings, and even a few holes due to the wheels interacting with the rocks,” he said via email. Despite the assurances that the holes were just a part of Curiosity’s mission, there seems to be increasing concern for the wheels’ worsening condition after the one-ton robot rolled over some craggy terrain. Read more