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Topic: Mars Science Laboratory Project

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover drives backwards to help preserve it’s aluminum wheels

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Terrain that NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now crossing is as smooth as team members had anticipated based on earlier images from orbit.

On Tuesday, February 18th, the rover covered 329 feet (100.3 meters), the mission’s first long trek that used reverse driving and its farthest one-day advance of any kind in more than three months.

The reverse drive validated feasibility of a technique developed with testing on Earth to lessen damage to Curiosity’s wheels when driving over terrain studded with sharp rocks. However, Tuesday’s drive took the rover over more benign ground.

This map shows the route driven and route planned for NASA's Curiosity Mars rover from before reaching "Dingo Gap" -- in upper right -- to the mission's next science waypoint, "Kimberley" (formerly referred to as "KMS-9") -- in lower left. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

This map shows the route driven and route planned for NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover from before reaching “Dingo Gap” — in upper right — to the mission’s next science waypoint, “Kimberley” (formerly referred to as “KMS-9″) — in lower left. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

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NASA’s Curioisty Rover on the move again on Mars towards the lower slopes of Mount Sharp

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover is continuing its traverse toward enticing science destinations after climbing over a dune spanning a gap in a ridge.

The rover covered 135 feet (41.1 meters) on February 9th, in its first drive since the 23-foot (7-meter) crossing of the dune on February 6th. That put Curiosity’s total odometry since its August 2012 landing at 3.09 miles (4.97 kilometers).

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover used the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on its mast to catch this look-back eastward at wheel tracks from driving through and past "Dingo Gap" inside Gale Crater. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover used the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on its mast to catch this look-back eastward at wheel tracks from driving through and past “Dingo Gap” inside Gale Crater. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Curiosity Rover captures image of Earth from Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The NASA Mars Rover Curiosity’s view of its original home planet even includes our moon, just below Earth.

The images, taken about 80 minutes after sunset during the rover’s 529th Martian day (January 31st, 2014) are available at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17936 for a broad scene of the evening sky, and at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17935 for a zoomed-in view of Earth and the moon.

The two bodies in this portion of an evening-sky view by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity are Earth and Earth's moon. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU)

The two bodies in this portion of an evening-sky view by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity are Earth and Earth’s moon. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover looks for path to destination with fewer sharp rocks

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The team operating NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is considering a path across a small sand dune to reach a favorable route to science destinations.

A favorable route would skirt some terrain with sharp rocks considered more likely to poke holes in the rover’s aluminum wheels.

While the team has been assessing ways to reduce wear and tear to the wheels, Curiosity has made progress toward a next site for drilling a rock sample and also toward its long-term destination: geological layers exposed on slopes of Mount Sharp.

This scene combines images taken by the left-eye camera of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover during the midafternoon, local Mars solar time, of the mission's 526th Martian day, or sol (Jan. 28, 2014). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This scene combines images taken by the left-eye camera of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover during the midafternoon, local Mars solar time, of the mission’s 526th Martian day, or sol (Jan. 28, 2014). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity work suspended for Electrical Test

 

Written Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Science observations by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity have been suspended for a few days while engineers run tests to check possible causes of a voltage change detected on November 17th.

“The vehicle is safe and stable, fully capable of operating in its present condition, but we are taking the precaution of investigating what may be a soft short,” said Mars Science Laboratory Project Manager Jim Erickson at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA.

This self-portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combines 66 exposures taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Feb. 3, 2013). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This self-portrait of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity combines 66 exposures taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (Feb. 3, 2013). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover nears it’s next destination, Cooperstown outcrop

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Fort Campbell's Morale, Welfare and Recreation - MWRPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity completed its first two-day autonomous drive Monday, bringing the mobile laboratory to a good vantage point for pictures useful in selecting the next target the rover will reach out and touch.

When it drives autonomously, the rover chooses a safe route to designated waypoints by using its onboard computer to analyze stereo images that it takes during pauses in the drive.

The low ridge that appears as a dark band below the horizon in the center of this scene is a Martian outcrop called "Cooperstown," a possible site for contact inspection with tools on the robotic arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. The ridge extends roughly 100 feet (about 30 meters) from left to right, and it is about 260 feet (about 80 meters) away from the location from which Curiosity captured this view.

The low ridge that appears as a dark band below the horizon in the center of this scene is a Martian outcrop called “Cooperstown,” a possible site for contact inspection with tools on the robotic arm of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity. The ridge extends roughly 100 feet (about 30 meters) from left to right, and it is about 260 feet (about 80 meters) away from the location from which Curiosity captured this view.

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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 Curiosity Rover catches images of Mars’ Moons Phobos, Deimos

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The larger of the two moons of Mars, Phobos, passes directly in front of the other, Deimos, in a new series of sky-watching images from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity.

Large craters on Phobos are clearly visible in these images from the surface of Mars. No previous images from missions on the surface caught one moon eclipsing the other.

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