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NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover searches for next spot to drill

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The team operating NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is telling the rover to use several tools this weekend to inspect a sandstone slab being evaluated as a possible drilling target.

If this target meets criteria set by engineers and scientists, it could become the mission’s third drilled rock, and the first that is not mudstone. The team calls it “Windjana,” after a gorge in Western Australia.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has driven within robotic-arm's reach of the sandstone slab at the center of this April 23 view from the rover's Mast Camera. The rover team plans to have Curiosity examine a target patch on the rock, called "Windjana," to aid a decision about whether to drill there. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has driven within robotic-arm’s reach of the sandstone slab at the center of this April 23 view from the rover’s Mast Camera. The rover team plans to have Curiosity examine a target patch on the rock, called “Windjana,” to aid a decision about whether to drill there. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover captures first ever photo of Asteroids from the surface of Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new image from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is the first ever from the surface of Mars to show an asteroid, and it shows two: Ceres and Vesta.

These two — the largest and third-largest bodies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter — are the destinations of NASA’s Dawn mission. Dawn orbited Vesta in 2011 and 2012, and is on its way to begin orbiting Ceres next year. Ceres is a dwarf planet, as well as an asteroid.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has caught the first image of asteroids taken from the surface of Mars. The image includes two asteroids, Ceres and Vesta. This version includes Mars' moon Deimos in a circular, exposure-adjusted inset and square insets at left from other observations the same night.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has caught the first image of asteroids taken from the surface of Mars. The image includes two asteroids, Ceres and Vesta. This version includes Mars’ moon Deimos in a circular, exposure-adjusted inset and square insets at left from other observations the same night.

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snaps shot of Curiosity Rover

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Scientists using NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover are eyeing a rock layer surrounding the base of a small butte, called “Mount Remarkable,” as a target for investigating with tools on the rover’s robotic arm.

The rover works near this butte in an image taken on April 11th by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover and tracks from its driving are visible in this view from orbit, acquired on April 11th, 2014, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover and tracks from its driving are visible in this view from orbit, acquired on April 11th, 2014, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity captures image of something reflecting on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Images taken by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on April 2nd and April 3rd include bright spots, which might be due to the sun glinting off a rock or cosmic rays striking the camera’s detector.

The rover took the image just after arriving at a waypoint called “the Kimberley.” The bright spot appears on a horizon, in the same west-northwest direction from the rover as the afternoon sun.

This image from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover includes a bright spot near the upper left corner. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover includes a bright spot near the upper left corner. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover stops to survey next Observations area

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On Wednesday, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover drove the last 98 feet feet (30 meters) needed to arrive at a site planned since early 2013 as a destination for studying rock clues about ancient environments that may have been favorable for life.

The rover reached a vantage point for its cameras to survey four different types of rock intersecting in an area called “the Kimberley,” after a region of western Australia.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover recorded this view of various rock types at waypoint called "the Kimberley" shortly after arriving at the location on April 2, 2014. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover recorded this view of various rock types at waypoint called “the Kimberley” shortly after arriving at the location on April 2, 2014. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity takes image of it’s shadow on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Late afternoon lighting produced a dramatic shadow of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity photographed by the rover’s rear hazard-avoidance camera on March 20th, 2014.

The shadow falls across a slope called the McClure-Beverlin Escarpment on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, where Opportunity is investigating rock layers for evidence about ancient environments. The scene includes a glimpse into the distance across the 14-mile-wide (22-kilometer-wide) crater.

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity caught its own silhouette in this late-afternoon image taken by the rover's rear hazard avoidance camera on March 20th, 2014. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity caught its own silhouette in this late-afternoon image taken by the rover’s rear hazard avoidance camera on March 20th, 2014. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity to study Sandstones at next waypoint

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Variations in the stuff that cements grains together in sandstone have shaped the landscape surrounding NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover and could be a study topic at the mission’s next science waypoint.

On a journey with many months yet to go toward prime destinations on the lower slope of Mount Sharp, Curiosity is approaching a site called “the Kimberley.” Scientists on the team picked this location last year as a likely place to pause for investigation.

Sandstone layers with varying resistance to erosion are evident in this Martian scene recorded by the Mast Camera on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on Feb. 25, 2014, about one-quarter mile (about 400 meters) from a planned waypoint called "the Kimberley." (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Sandstone layers with varying resistance to erosion are evident in this Martian scene recorded by the Mast Camera on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on Feb. 25, 2014, about one-quarter mile (about 400 meters) from a planned waypoint called “the Kimberley.” (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter discovers formation of new Gully on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A comparison of images taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in November 2010 and May 2013 reveal the formation of a new gully channel on a crater-wall slope in the southern highlands of Mars.

Gully or ravine landforms are common on Mars, particularly in the southern highlands.

This pair of before (left) and after (right) images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter documents formation of a new channel on a Martian slope between 2010 and 2013, likely resulting from activity of carbon-dioxide frost. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

This pair of before (left) and after (right) images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter documents formation of a new channel on a Martian slope between 2010 and 2013, likely resulting from activity of carbon-dioxide frost. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter goes into Safe Standby after Main Computer swap

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s long-lived Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter put itself into a precautionary safe standby mode March 9th after an unscheduled swap from one main computer to another. The mission’s ground team has begun restoring the spacecraft to full operations.

“The spacecraft is healthy, in communication and fully powered,” said Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Manager Dan Johnston of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. “We have stepped up the communication data rate, and we plan to have the spacecraft back to full operations within a few days.”

Artist concept of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL)

Artist concept of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL)

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NASA reports Asteroid will pass by Earth safely Wednesday

 

Written Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – As happens about 20 times a year with current detection capabilities, a known asteroid will safely pass Earth Wednesday closer than the distance from Earth to the moon.

This asteroid, 2014 DX110, is estimated to be about 100 feet (30 meters) across. Its closest approach to Earth will be at about 217,000 miles (about 350,000 kilometers) from Earth at about 1:00pm PST (4:00pm EST) on March 5th. The average distance between Earth and its moon is about 239,000 miles (385,000 kilometers).

This image shows the relative locations of asteroid 2014 DX110 and Earth on March 4, 2014. The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth on March 5 at about 1 p.m. PST (4 p.m. EST). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image shows the relative locations of asteroid 2014 DX110 and Earth on March 4, 2014. The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth on March 5 at about 1 p.m. PST (4 p.m. EST). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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