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Topic: Mars Exploration Program

NASA to begin final design and construction of Mars 2020 rover

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – After an extensive review process and passing a major development milestone, NASA is ready to proceed with final design and construction of its next Mars rover, currently targeted to launch in summer of 2020 and arrive on the Red Planet in February 2021.

The Mars 2020 rover will investigate a region of Mars where the ancient environment may have been favorable for microbial life, probing the Martian rocks for evidence of past life. Throughout its investigation, it will collect samples of soil and rock, and cache them on the surface for potential return to Earth by a future mission.

This 2016 image comes from computer-assisted-design work on NASA's 2020 Mars rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This 2016 image comes from computer-assisted-design work on NASA’s 2020 Mars rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft ready to enter Mars orbit

 

Written by Izumi Hansen and Elizabeth Zubritsky
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is nearing its scheduled September 21st insertion into Martian orbit after completing a 10-month interplanetary journey of 442 million miles (711 million kilometers).

Flight Controllers at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colorado, will be responsible for the health and safety of the spacecraft throughout the process. The spacecraft’s mission timeline will place the spacecraft in orbit at approximately 6:50pm PDT (9:50pm EDT).

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft is quickly approaching Mars on a mission to study its upper atmosphere. When it arrives on September 21, 2014, MAVEN's winding journey from Earth will culminate with a dramatic engine burn, pulling the spacecraft into an elliptical orbit.

NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft is quickly approaching Mars on a mission to study its upper atmosphere. When it arrives on September 21, 2014, MAVEN’s winding journey from Earth will culminate with a dramatic engine burn, pulling the spacecraft into an elliptical orbit.

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NASA’s Mars Rover Teams name sites in Memory of Bruce Murray

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Features on Mars important to the missions of NASA’s two active Mars rovers are now called “Murray Ridge” and “Murray Buttes,” in honor of influential planetary scientist Bruce Murray (1931-2013).

The rover Opportunity, which has been roaming Mars for nearly a decade, is currently climbing Murray Ridge, part of an uplifted crater rim. NASA’s newer rover, Curiosity, is headed toward Murray Buttes as the entryway to that mission’s main destination.

This scene shows the "Murray Ridge" portion of the western rim of Endeavour Crater on Mars. The ridge is the NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's work area for the rover's sixth Martian winter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU)

This scene shows the “Murray Ridge” portion of the western rim of Endeavour Crater on Mars. The ridge is the NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity’s work area for the rover’s sixth Martian winter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU)

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NASA overwhelmed with new concepts for future Mars Exploration

 

Written by Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s call to scientists and engineers to help plan a new strategy to explore Mars has resulted in almost double the amount of expected submissions with unique and bold ideas.

About 400 concepts or abstracts were submitted to the Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration Workshop in Houston, TX which was organized to gather input for the reformulation of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. Submissions came from individuals and teams that included professional researchers, undergraduate and graduate students, NASA centers, federal laboratories, industry, and international partner organizations.

Some of the best new ideas for Mars exploration will be presented at the Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration workshop in Houston, TX, June 12th-14th, 2012.

Some of the best new ideas for Mars exploration will be presented at the Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration workshop in Houston, TX, June 12th-14th, 2012.

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Detects Changes in Martian Sand Dunes

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed that movement in sand dune fields on the Red Planet occurs on a surprisingly large scale, about the same as in dune fields on Earth.

This is unexpected because Mars has a much thinner atmosphere than Earth, is only about one percent as dense, and its high-speed winds are less frequent and weaker than Earth’s.

This is a picture of a sand dune on Mars. A study of images shows that Martian sand dunes have a movement similar to that of dunes in Antarctica on Earth. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona/JHU-APL)

This is a picture of a sand dune on Mars. A study of images shows that Martian sand dunes have a movement similar to that of dunes in Antarctica on Earth. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona/JHU-APL)

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NASA Ready for Launch of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s most advanced mobile robotic laboratory, which will examine one of the most intriguing areas on Mars, is in final preparations for a launch from Florida’s Space Coast at 10:25am EST (7:25am PST) on November 25th.

The Mars Science Laboratory mission will carry Curiosity, a rover with more scientific capability than any ever sent to another planet. The rover is now sitting atop an Atlas V rocket awaiting liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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Salt Water May Flow on Mars

 

NASANASA – Observations from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed possible flowing water during the warmest months on Mars.

Dark, finger-like features appear and extend down some Martian slopes during late spring through summer, fade in winter, and return during the next spring. Repeated observations have tracked the seasonal changes in these recurring features on several steep slopes in the middle latitudes of Mars’ southern hemisphere.

“The best explanation for these observations so far is the flow of briny water,” said Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona, Tucson. McEwen is the principal investigator for the orbiter’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) and lead author of a report about the recurring flows published in Thursday’s edition of the journal Science.

Blue squares on this map of Mars mark the locations of possible briny-flow features. "The flows are not dark because of being wet," McEwen said. "They are dark for some other reason." (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/UA/LANL/MSSS)

Blue squares on this map of Mars mark the locations of possible briny-flow features. "The flows are not dark because of being wet," McEwen said. "They are dark for some other reason." (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/UA/LANL/MSSS)

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