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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover examines small pebbles at it’s first Waypoint inside Gale Crater

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has resumed a trek of many months toward its mountain-slope destination, Mount Sharp. The rover used instruments on its arm last week to inspect rocks at its first waypoint along the route inside Gale Crater.

The location, originally chosen on the basis of images taken from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, paid off with investigation of targets that bear evidence of ancient wet environments.

This mosaic of four images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows detailed texture in a ridge that stands higher than surrounding rock. The rock is at a location called "Darwin," inside Gale Crater. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This mosaic of four images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows detailed texture in a ridge that stands higher than surrounding rock. The rock is at a location called “Darwin,” inside Gale Crater. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA reports Mars Curiosity Rover nears Waypoint

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity now has a view of a patch of exposed bedrock scientists selected for a few days of close-up study, the first such study since the rover began its long trek to Mount Sharp two months ago.

Curiosity reached the crest of a rise informally called “Panorama Point.” From Panorama Point, the rover took photographs of a pale-toned outcrop area that the team chose earlier as “Waypoint 1″ on the basis of imagery from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

An outcrop visible as light-toned streaks in the lower center of this image has been chosen as a place for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity to study for a few days in September 2013. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

An outcrop visible as light-toned streaks in the lower center of this image has been chosen as a place for NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity to study for a few days in September 2013. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover for the first time uses Autonomous Navigation

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has used autonomous navigation for the first time, a capability that lets the rover decide for itself how to drive safely on Mars.

This latest addition to Curiosity’s array of capabilities will help the rover cover the remaining ground en route to Mount Sharp, where geological layers hold information about environmental changes on ancient Mars.

This mosaic of images from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows the scene from the rover's position on the 376th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Aug. 27, 2013). The images were taken right after Curiosity completed the first drive during which it used autonomous navigation on unknown ground. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This mosaic of images from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows the scene from the rover’s position on the 376th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Aug. 27, 2013). The images were taken right after Curiosity completed the first drive during which it used autonomous navigation on unknown ground. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter gives overhead view of Curiosity Mars rover

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – An image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter released shows NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover and the wheel tracks from its landing site to the “Glenelg” area where the rover worked for the first half of 2013.

The orbiter’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera captured the scene on June 27th, 2013, with the orbiter rolled for an eastward-looking angle rather than straight downward. The afternoon sun illuminated the scene from the western sky, so the lighting was nearly behind the camera. This geometry hides shadows and reveals subtle color variations.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity appears as a bluish dot near the lower right corner of this enhanced-color view from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity appears as a bluish dot near the lower right corner of this enhanced-color view from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

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NASA’s Curiosity Rover completes longest One Day Trek across Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity drove twice as far on July 21st as on any other day of the mission so far: 109.7 yards (100.3 meters).

The length of the drive took advantage of starting the 340th Martian day, or sol, of the mission from a location with an unusually good view for rover engineers to plan a safe path. In weeks to come, the rover team plans to begin using “autonav” capability for the rover to autonomously navigate a path for itself, which could make such long drives more frequent.

The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on NASA's Curiosity rover is carried at an angle when the rover's arm is stowed for driving. Still, the camera is able to record views of the terrain Curiosity is crossing in Gale Crater, and rotating the image 150 degrees provides this right-side-up scene. The scene is toward the south, including a portion of Mount Sharp and a band of dark dunes in front of the mountain. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on NASA’s Curiosity rover is carried at an angle when the rover’s arm is stowed for driving. Still, the camera is able to record views of the terrain Curiosity is crossing in Gale Crater, and rotating the image 150 degrees provides this right-side-up scene. The scene is toward the south, including a portion of Mount Sharp and a band of dark dunes in front of the mountain. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity completes Third Drive on it’s way to Mount Sharp

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity drove 135 feet (41 meters) on Tuesday, July 9th, the third drive of a journey of many months from the “Glenelg” area to Mount Sharp.

Last week, the mission finished investigating science targets in the Glenelg area, about 500 yards (half a kilometer) east of where Curiosity landed. The mission’s next major destination is at the lower layers of Mount Sharp, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) southwest of Glenelg.

Lower slopes of Mount Sharp appear at the top of this image taken by the right Navigation Camera (Navcam) of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity at the end of a drive of about 135 feet (41 meters) during the 329th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (July 9th, 2013). (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Lower slopes of Mount Sharp appear at the top of this image taken by the right Navigation Camera (Navcam) of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity at the end of a drive of about 135 feet (41 meters) during the 329th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars (July 9th, 2013). (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity’s journey to Mount Sharp has begun

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has departed its last science target in the “Glenelg” area and commenced a many-month overland journey to the base of the mission’s main destination, Mount Sharp, with drives on July 4th and July 7th.

The rover finished close-up investigation of a target sedimentary outcrop called “Shaler” last week. On July 4th, it drove 59 feet (18 meters) away from Shaler.

This view from the left Navigation Camera (Navcam) of NASA's Mars Rover Curiosity looks back at wheel tracks made during the first drive away from the last science target in the "Glenelg" area. The drive commenced a long trek toward the mission's long-term destination: Mount Sharp. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This view from the left Navigation Camera (Navcam) of NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity looks back at wheel tracks made during the first drive away from the last science target in the “Glenelg” area. The drive commenced a long trek toward the mission’s long-term destination: Mount Sharp. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity to drill rock in ditch on Mars named Yellowknife Bay

 

Written Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The NASA Mars rover Curiosity this week is driving within a shallow depression called “Yellowknife Bay,” providing information to help researchers choose a rock to drill.

Using Curiosity’s percussive drill to collect a sample from the interior of a rock, a feat never before attempted on Mars, is the mission’s priority for early 2013. After the powdered-rock sample is sieved and portioned by a sample-processing mechanism on the rover’s arm, it will be analyzed by instruments inside Curiosity.

The NASA Mars rover Curiosity used its left Navigation Camera to record this view of the step down into a shallow depression called "Yellowknife Bay." (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The NASA Mars rover Curiosity used its left Navigation Camera to record this view of the step down into a shallow depression called “Yellowknife Bay.” (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover prepares to take its first scoop of Martian Soil for Analysis

 

Written by Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity rover is in a position on Mars where scientists and engineers can begin preparing the rover to take its first scoop of soil for analysis.

Curiosity is the centerpiece of the two-year Mars Science Laboratory mission. The rover’s ability to put soil samples into analytical instruments is central to assessing whether its present location on Mars, called Gale Crater, ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. Mineral analysis can reveal past environmental conditions. Chemical analysis can check for ingredients necessary for life.

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity finds unusual football sized Rock to Examine

 

Written by Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has driven up to a football-size rock that will be the first for the rover’s arm to examine.

Curiosity is about 8 feet (2.5 meters) from the rock. It lies about halfway from the rover’s landing site, Bradbury Landing, to a location called Glenelg. In coming days, the team plans to touch the rock with a spectrometer to determine its elemental composition and use an arm-mounted camera to take close-up photographs.

The drive by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity during the mission's 43rd Martian day, or sol, (September 19th, 2012) ended with this rock about 8 feet (2.5 meters) in front of the rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The drive by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity during the mission’s 43rd Martian day, or sol, (September 19th, 2012) ended with this rock about 8 feet (2.5 meters) in front of the rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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