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Topic: Mars

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 adjusts Odyssey spacecraft’s orbit to observe mornings on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft has tweaked its orbit to help scientists make the first systematic observations of how morning fogs, clouds and surface frost develop in different seasons on the Red Planet.

The maneuver took place Tuesday, February 11th. Odyssey team engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, and Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver, CO designed the gentle move to accelerate Odyssey’s drift toward a morning-daylight orbit. The desired change will occur gradually until the intended orbit geometry is reached in November 2015 and another maneuver halts the drift.

No NASA Mars orbiter has been in a position to observe morning daylight on Mars since the twin Viking orbiters of the 1970s. (NASA/JPL)

No NASA Mars orbiter has been in a position to observe morning daylight on Mars since the twin Viking orbiters of the 1970s. (NASA/JPL)

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NASA looks for Asteroid candidates for Redirect Mission to the Moon

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – One year ago, on February 15th, 2013, the world was witness to the dangers presented by near-Earth Objects (NEOs) when a relatively small asteroid entered Earth’s atmosphere, exploding over Chelyabinsk, Russia, and releasing more energy than a large atomic bomb.

Tracking near-Earth asteroids has been a significant endeavor for NASA and the broader astronomical community, which has discovered 10,713 known near-Earth objects to date.

This concept image shows an astronaut preparing to take samples from the captured asteroid after it has been relocated to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system. Hundreds of rings are affixed to the asteroid capture bag, helping the astronaut carefully navigate the surface.

This concept image shows an astronaut preparing to take samples from the captured asteroid after it has been relocated to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system. Hundreds of rings are affixed to the asteroid capture bag, helping the astronaut carefully navigate the surface.

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International Space Station celebrates 10 years of service, looks forward to 10 more

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A lot can happen in 10 years. Over the past decade an international laboratory, widely known but often under-appreciated, has been producing results at an extraordinary rate.

Using its unique capabilities, engineers have developed a precision robotic arm that helps surgeons remove tumors from the human brain; experimenters have learned to start fires without flames—an anti-intuitive technology that could lead to super-efficient auto engines; physicists have counted hundreds of thousands of anti-matter particles among normal cosmic rays, a telltale sign of mysterious dark matter.; researchers have gathered atoms into exotic forms, creating the building blocks of futuristic smart materials; …and much more.

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NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover cracks the mystery of the jelly doughnut shaped rock

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – What if a rock that looked like a jelly doughnut suddenly appeared on Mars? That’s just what happened in front of Mars rover Opportunity last month.

Researchers have since determined that the “doughnut” is a piece of a larger rock broken and moved by the rover’s wheels in early January.

Only about 1.5 inches wide (4 centimeters), the white-rimmed, red-centered rock–now called “Pinnacle Island”–caused a stir last month when it appeared in an image the rover took January 8th at a location where it was not present four days earlier.

These two images from Mars rover Opportunity show a rock resembling a jelly donut appearing in January 2014.

These two images from Mars rover Opportunity show a rock resembling a jelly donut appearing in January 2014.

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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 Mars Reconnaissance, Odyssey orbiters discover Martian Slopes where Water possibly flowed

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars have returned clues for understanding seasonal features that are the strongest indication of possible liquid water that may exist today on the Red Planet.

The features are dark, finger-like markings that advance down some Martian slopes when temperatures rise. The new clues include corresponding seasonal changes in iron minerals on the same slopes and a survey of ground temperatures and other traits at active sites.

This image combines a photograph of seasonal dark flows on a Martian slope with a grid of colors based on data collected by a mineral-mapping spectrometer observing the same area. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/JHU-APL)

This image combines a photograph of seasonal dark flows on a Martian slope with a grid of colors based on data collected by a mineral-mapping spectrometer observing the same area. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/JHU-APL)

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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 uses satellites, aircraft, and high-altitude balloons to investigate California’s extreme drought

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – California is supposed to be the Golden State.  Make that golden brown.

The entire west coast of the United States is changing color as the deepest drought in more than a century unfolds.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NOAA, dry conditions have become extreme across more than 62% of California’s land area—and there is little relief in sight.

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snaps image of new impact Crater on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Space rocks hitting Mars excavate fresh craters at a pace of more than 200 per year, but few new Mars scars pack as much visual punch as one seen in a NASA image released today.

The image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows a crater about 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter at the center of a radial burst painting the surface with a pattern of bright and dark tones.

A dramatic, fresh impact crater dominates this image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 19, 2013.

A dramatic, fresh impact crater dominates this image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 19, 2013.

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