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Topic: NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity

NASA’s Deep Space Network celebrates 50 years of operation

 

Written by David Israel
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Deep Space Network, the world’s largest and most powerful communications system for “talking to” spacecraft, will reach a milestone on December 24th: the 50th anniversary of its official creation.

Over the past 50 years, antennas of the Deep Space Network (DSN) have communicated with just about every mission that has gone to the moon or beyond. The historic communiqués include “That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind”; numerous encounters with the outer planets of our solar system; images taken by rovers exploring Mars; and the data confirming that NASA’s Voyager spacecraft had finally entered interstellar space.

Beam Wave Guide antennas at Goldstone, known as the "Beam Waveguide Cluster." Each antenna is 111.5-feet (34-m) in diameter. They're located in an area at Goldstone called "Apollo Valley." This photograph was taken on Jan. 11th, 2012. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Beam Wave Guide antennas at Goldstone, known as the “Beam Waveguide Cluster.” Each antenna is 111.5-feet (34-m) in diameter. They’re located in an area at Goldstone called “Apollo Valley.” This photograph was taken on Jan. 11th, 2012. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover is providing vital information for Human Missions to Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity rover is providing vital insight about Mars’ past and current environments that will aid plans for future robotic and human missions.

In a little more than a year on the Red Planet, the mobile Mars Science Laboratory has determined the age of a Martian rock, found evidence the planet could have sustained microbial life, taken the first readings of radiation on the surface, and shown how natural erosion could reveal the building blocks of life.

This mosaic of images from Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) shows geological members of the Yellowknife Bay formation, and the sites where Curiosity drilled into the lowest-lying member, called Sheepbed, at targets "John Klein" and "Cumberland." (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This mosaic of images from Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam) shows geological members of the Yellowknife Bay formation, and the sites where Curiosity drilled into the lowest-lying member, called Sheepbed, at targets “John Klein” and “Cumberland.” (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover surpasses 100,000 firings of ChemCam Infrared Laser

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has passed the milestone of 100,000 shots fired by its laser. It uses the laser as one way to check which chemical elements are in rocks and soils.

The 100,000th shot was one of a series of 300 to investigate 10 locations on a rock called “Ithaca” in late October, at a distance of 13 feet, 3 inches (4.04 meters) from the laser and telescope on rover’s mast.

Since landing on Mars in August 2012, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has fired the laser on its Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument more than 100,000 times at rock and soil targets up to about 23 feet (7 meters) away. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/UNM)

Since landing on Mars in August 2012, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has fired the laser on its Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument more than 100,000 times at rock and soil targets up to about 23 feet (7 meters) away. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/UNM)

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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 resumes normal operations

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Project received confirmation from Mars Sunday (November 10th) that the Curiosity rover has successfully transitioned back into nominal surface operations mode.

Curiosity had been in safe mode since November 7th, when an unexpected software reboot (also known as a warm reset) occurred during a communications pass with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Mission science planning will resume tomorrow, and Curiosity science operations will recommence on Thursday.

This artist concept features NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating Mars' past or present ability to sustain microbial life. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist concept features NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, a mobile robot for investigating Mars’ past or present ability to sustain microbial life. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover performs unexpected software reset

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity experienced an unexpected software reboot (also known as a warm reset) yesterday (November 7th, 2013) during a communications pass as it was sending engineering and science data to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, for later downlinking to Earth.

This computer reset occurred about four-and-half hours after new flight software had been temporarily loaded into the rover’s memory. At the time the event occurred, Curiosity was in the middle of a scheduled, week-long flight software update and checkout activity.

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 confirms that some Meteors that land on Earth are from Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Examination of the Martian atmosphere by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover confirms that some meteorites that have dropped to Earth really are from the Red Planet.

A key new measurement of the inert gas argon in Mars’ atmosphere by Curiosity’s laboratory provides the most definitive evidence yet of the origin of Mars meteorites while at the same time providing a way to rule out Martian origin of other meteorites.

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 requests proposals from Science Community for exploration instruments to be carried on 2020 Mars Rover mission

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has released its announcement of an open competition for the planetary community to submit proposals for the science and exploration technology instruments that would be carried aboard the agency’s next Mars rover, scheduled for launch in July/August of 2020.

The Mars 2020 rover will explore and assess Mars as a potential habitat for life, search for signs of past life, collect carefully selected samples for possible future return to Earth, and demonstrate technology for future human exploration of the Red Planet.

Planning for NASA's 2020 Mars rover envisions a basic structure that capitalizes on the design and engineering work done for the NASA rover Curiosity, which landed on Mars in 2012, but with new science instruments selected through competition for accomplishing different science objectives. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Planning for NASA’s 2020 Mars rover envisions a basic structure that capitalizes on the design and engineering work done for the NASA rover Curiosity, which landed on Mars in 2012, but with new science instruments selected through competition for accomplishing different science objectives. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover provides Science with data from it’s Diverse Landing area

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity rover is revealing a great deal about Mars, from long-ago processes in its interior to the current interaction between the Martian surface and atmosphere.

Examination of loose rocks, sand and dust has provided new understanding of the local and global processes on Mars. Analysis of observations and measurements by the rover’s science instruments during the first four months after the August 2012 landing are detailed in five reports in the September 27th edition of the journal Science.

NASA's Curiosity rover used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to capture this set of 55 high-resolution images, which were stitched together to create this full-color self-portrait. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)

NASA’s Curiosity rover used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to capture this set of 55 high-resolution images, which were stitched together to create this full-color self-portrait. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)

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