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Topic: Gale Crater

NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover continues exploring Martian Surface

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity rover has come a long way since touching down on Mars seven years ago. It has traveled a total of 13 miles (21 kilometers) and ascended 1,207 feet (368 meters) to its current location. Along the way, Curiosity discovered Mars had the conditions to support microbial life in the ancient past, among other things.

And the rover is far from done, having just drilled its 22nd sample from the Martian surface. It has a few more years before its nuclear power system degrades enough to significantly limit operations. After that, careful budgeting of its power will allow the rover to keep studying the Red Planet.

This panorama of a location called "Teal Ridge" was captured on Mars by the Mast Camera, or Mastcam, on NASA's Curiosity rover on June 18th, 2019, the 2,440th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This panorama of a location called “Teal Ridge” was captured on Mars by the Mast Camera, or Mastcam, on NASA’s Curiosity rover on June 18th, 2019, the 2,440th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Curiosity rover measures large amount of Methane on Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has discovered the largest amount of methane ever measured on Mars during the mission. Curiosity measured about 21 parts per billion units by volume (ppbv). One ppbv means that if you take a volume of air on Mars, one billionth of the volume of air is methane.

The finding came from the rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) tunable laser spectrometer. It’s exciting because microbial life is an important source of methane on Earth, but methane can also be created through interactions between rocks and water.

This image was taken by the left Navcam on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on June 18, 2019, the 2,440th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. It shows part of "Teal Ridge," which the rover has been studying within a region called the "clay-bearing unit." (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image was taken by the left Navcam on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on June 18, 2019, the 2,440th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. It shows part of “Teal Ridge,” which the rover has been studying within a region called the “clay-bearing unit.” (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover discovers large amount of Clay Materials

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has discovered clay in the region on Mars it’s currently exploring, called the “clay-bearing unit,” is well deserving of its name.

Two samples the rover recently drilled at rock targets called “Aberlady” and “Kilmarie” have revealed the highest amounts of clay minerals ever found during the mission. Both drill targets appear in a new selfie taken by the rover on May 12th, 2019, the 2,405th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover took this selfie on May 12, 2019 (the 2,405th Martian day, or sol, of the mission). To the lower-left of the rover are its two recent drill holes, at targets called "Aberlady" and "Kilmarie." (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover took this selfie on May 12, 2019 (the 2,405th Martian day, or sol, of the mission). To the lower-left of the rover are its two recent drill holes, at targets called “Aberlady” and “Kilmarie.” (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA releases video of proposed route for Mars Curiosity Rover

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new animated video shows what it would be like to soar over Mount Sharp, which the NASA Curiosity rover has been climbing since 2014. If you have ever wanted to visit Mars, watch this video.

This video highlights several regions on the mountain that are intriguing to Curiosity’s scientists, chief among them what the science team calls the “clay-bearing unit,” where Curiosity has just started analyzing rock samples.

This image shows a proposed route for NASA's Curiosity rover, which is climbing lower Mount Sharp on Mars. The map labels different regions that scientists working with the rover would like to explore in coming years. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/University of Arizona/JHUAPL/MSSS/USGS Astrogeology Science Center)

This image shows a proposed route for NASA’s Curiosity rover, which is climbing lower Mount Sharp on Mars. The map labels different regions that scientists working with the rover would like to explore in coming years. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/University of Arizona/JHUAPL/MSSS/USGS Astrogeology Science Center)

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NASA ponders whether Dust Storms responsible for Water Loss on Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA says that dust is not just a household nuisance; it’s a planetary one, particularly on Mars. Before astronauts visit the Red Planet, we need to understand how the dust particles that often fill the atmosphere could impact them and their equipment.

The global Martian dust storm of summer 2018 — the one that blotted out sunlight for weeks and put NASA’s beloved Opportunity rover out of business — offered an unprecedented learning opportunity. For the first time, humans had eight spacecraft orbiting Mars or roving its surface — the largest cadre of robotic explorers ever to watch a global dust storm unfold.

This is an image of a May 11th, 2016, selfie of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover at a drilled sample site called "Okoruso." (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This is an image of a May 11th, 2016, selfie of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover at a drilled sample site called “Okoruso.” (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover data shows Asteroids, Hydrogen Atmosphere could have produced ingredients for Life

 

Written by Timothy Childers
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – A new study reveals asteroid impacts on ancient Mars could have produced key ingredients for life if the Martian atmosphere was rich in hydrogen. An early hydrogen-rich atmosphere on Mars could also explain how the planet remained habitable after its atmosphere thinned.

The study used data from NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars and was conducted by researchers on Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument team and international colleagues.

Data from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover were used in a new paper studying how asteroids impacting the ancient Martian atmosphere could have produced key ingredients to life. Those data were provided by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars instrument. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Data from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover were used in a new paper studying how asteroids impacting the ancient Martian atmosphere could have produced key ingredients to life. Those data were provided by Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars instrument. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA takes Mars 2020 Rover out for a Test Drive

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In a little more than seven minutes in the early afternoon of February 18th, 2021, NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will execute about 27,000 actions and calculations as it speeds through the hazardous transition from the edge of space to Mars’ Jezero Crater.

While that will be the first time the wheels of the 2,314-pound (1,050-kilogram) rover touch the Red Planet, the vehicle’s network of processors, sensors and transmitters will, by then, have successfully simulated touchdown at Jezero many times before.

Technicians working Mars 2020's System's Test 1 approach their workstation in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Technicians working Mars 2020’s System’s Test 1 approach their workstation in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover moves on from Vera Rubin Ridge

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – After exploring Mars’ Vera Rubin Ridge for more than a year, NASA’s Curiosity rover recently moved on. But a new 360-video lets the public visit Curiosity’s final drill site on the ridge, an area nicknamed “Rock Hall.” The video was created from a panorama taken by the rover on December 19th.

It includes images of its next destination – an area the team has been calling the “clay-bearing unit” and recently named “Glen Torridon” – and the floor of Gale Crater, home to Mount Sharp, the geological feature the rover has been climbing since 2014.

This panorama from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover was taken on Dec. 19 (Sol 2265). The rover's last drill location on Vera Rubin Ridge is visible, as well as the clay region it will spend the next year exploring. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This panorama from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover was taken on Dec. 19 (Sol 2265). The rover’s last drill location on Vera Rubin Ridge is visible, as well as the clay region it will spend the next year exploring. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover measures Gravity along Mount Sharp

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Apollo 17 astronauts drove a moon buggy across the lunar surface in 1972, measuring gravity with a special instrument. There are no astronauts on Mars, but a group of clever researchers realized they have just the tools for similar experiments with the Martian buggy they’re operating.

In a new paper in Science, the researchers detail how they repurposed sensors used to drive the Curiosity rover and turned them into gravimeters, which measure changes in gravitational pull.

Side-by-side images depict NASA's Curiosity rover (illustration at left) and a moon buggy driven during the Apollo 16 mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Side-by-side images depict NASA’s Curiosity rover (illustration at left) and a moon buggy driven during the Apollo 16 mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA selects Jezero Crater as Mars 2020 Rover Landing Site

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has chosen Jezero Crater as the landing site for its upcoming Mars 2020 rover mission after a five-year search, during which details of more than 60 candidate locations on the Red Planet were scrutinized and debated by the mission team and the planetary science community.

The rover mission is scheduled to launch in July 2020 as NASA’s next step in exploration of the Red Planet. It will not only seek signs of ancient habitable conditions – and past microbial life – but the rover also will collect rock and soil samples and store them in a cache on the planet’s surface.

On ancient Mars, water carved channels and transported sediments to form fans and deltas within lake basins. Examination of spectral data acquired from orbit show that some of these sediments have minerals that indicate chemical alteration by water. Here in Jezero Crater delta, sediments contain clays and carbonates. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/JHU-APL)

On ancient Mars, water carved channels and transported sediments to form fans and deltas within lake basins. Examination of spectral data acquired from orbit show that some of these sediments have minerals that indicate chemical alteration by water. Here in Jezero Crater delta, sediments contain clays and carbonates. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/JHU-APL)

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