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Topic: NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Mission

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 Science Laboratory mission data from Voyage to Mars to aid future Deep Space Expeditions

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission radiation measurements taken as it delivered the Curiosity rover to Mars in 2012 are providing NASA the information it needs to design systems to protect human explorers from radiation exposure on deep-space expeditions in the future.

Curiosity’s Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) is the first instrument to measure the radiation environment during a Mars cruise mission from inside a spacecraft that is similar to potential human exploration spacecraft.

Cruise Vehicles (Artist Concept) - This set of artist's concepts shows NASA's Mars Science Laboratory cruise capsule and NASA's Orion spacecraft, which is being built now at NASA's Johnson Space Center and will one day send astronauts to Mars. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JSC)

Cruise Vehicles (Artist Concept) – This set of artist’s concepts shows NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory cruise capsule and NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which is being built now at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and will one day send astronauts to Mars. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JSC)

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NASA Mars Curiosity Rover completes drilling it’s Second Rock on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has used the drill on its robotic arm to collect a powdered sample from the interior of a rock called “Cumberland.”

Plans call for delivering portions of the sample in coming days to laboratory instruments inside the rover. This is only the second time that a sample has been collected from inside a rock on Mars. The first was Curiosity’s drilling at a target called “John Klein” three months ago. Cumberland resembles John Klein and lies about nine feet (2.75 meters) farther west. Both are within a shallow depression called “Yellowknife Bay.”

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity drilled into this rock target, "Cumberland," during the 279th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (May 19, 2013) and collected a powdered sample of material from the rock's interior. Analysis of the Cumberland sample using laboratory instruments inside Curiosity will check results from "John Klein," the first rock on Mars from which a sample was ever collected and analyzed. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity drilled into this rock target, “Cumberland,” during the 279th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars (May 19, 2013) and collected a powdered sample of material from the rock’s interior. Analysis of the Cumberland sample using laboratory instruments inside Curiosity will check results from “John Klein,” the first rock on Mars from which a sample was ever collected and analyzed. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity takes Panorama of Mount Sharp

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Rising above the present location of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, higher than any mountain in the 48 contiguous states of the United States, Mount Sharp is featured in new imagery from the rover.

A pair of mosaics assembled from dozens of telephoto images shows Mount Sharp in dramatic detail. The component images were taken by the 100-millimeter-focal-length telephoto lens camera mounted on the right side of Curiosity’s remote sensing mast, during the 45th Martian day of the rover’s mission on Mars (September 20th, 2012).

This mosaic of images from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows Mount Sharp in a white-balanced color adjustment that makes the sky look overly blue but shows the terrain as if under Earth-like lighting.

This mosaic of images from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows Mount Sharp in a white-balanced color adjustment that makes the sky look overly blue but shows the terrain as if under Earth-like lighting.

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity moves closer to Martian Rock selected for first Drilling

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is driving toward a flat rock with pale veins that may hold clues to a wet history on the Red Planet. If the rock meets rover engineers’ approval when Curiosity rolls up to it in coming days, it will become the first to be drilled for a sample during the Mars Science Laboratory mission.

The size of a car, Curiosity is inside Mars’ Gale Crater investigating whether the planet ever offered an environment favorable for microbial life. Curiosity landed in the crater five months ago to begin its two-year prime mission.

This view shows the patch of veined, flat-lying rock selected as the first drilling site for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This view shows the patch of veined, flat-lying rock selected as the first drilling site for NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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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 records Weather and Radiation data about Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Observations of wind patterns and natural radiation patterns on Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover are helping scientists better understand the environment on the Red Planet’s surface.

Researchers using the car-sized mobile laboratory have identified transient whirlwinds, mapped winds in relation to slopes, tracked daily and seasonal changes in air pressure, and linked rhythmic changes in radiation to daily atmospheric changes. The knowledge being gained about these processes helps scientists interpret evidence about environmental changes on Mars that might have led to conditions favorable for life.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity used a mechanism on its robotic arm to dig up five scoopfuls of material from a patch of dusty sand called "Rocknest," producing the five bite-mark pits visible in this image from the rover's left Navigation Camera (Navcam). Each of the pits is about 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity used a mechanism on its robotic arm to dig up five scoopfuls of material from a patch of dusty sand called “Rocknest,” producing the five bite-mark pits visible in this image from the rover’s left Navigation Camera (Navcam). Each of the pits is about 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide. (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 for the first time uses it’s Laser to analyze a Rock on Mars

 

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 fired its laser for the first time on Mars, using the beam from a science instrument to interrogate a fist-size rock called “Coronation.”

The mission’s Chemistry and Camera instrument, or ChemCam, hit the fist-sized rock with 30 pulses of its laser during a 10-second period. Each pulse delivers more than a million watts of power for about five one-billionths of a second.

This composite image, with magnified insets, depicts the first laser test by the Chemistry and Camera, or ChemCam, instrument aboard NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP)

This composite image, with magnified insets, depicts the first laser test by the Chemistry and Camera, or ChemCam, instrument aboard NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP)

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NASA to upgrade Mars Curiosity Rover’s software for driving Mission

 

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 will spend its first weekend on Mars transitioning to software better suited for tasks ahead, such as driving and using its strong robotic arm.

The rover’s “brain transplant,” which will occur during a series of steps August 10th through August 13th, will install a new version of software on both of the rover’s redundant main computers.  This software for Mars surface operations was uploaded to the rover’s memory during the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft’s flight from Earth.

This mosaic image shows part of the left side of NASA's Curiosity rover and two blast marks from the descent stage's rocket engines. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This mosaic image shows part of the left side of NASA’s Curiosity rover and two blast marks from the descent stage’s rocket engines. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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