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Topic: NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity

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 Deep Space Atomic Clock to help Astronauts get to Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In the future, spacecraft could safely and autonomously fly themselves to destinations like the Moon and Mars thanks to NASA navigators.

Navigators today tell a spacecraft where to go by calculating its position from Earth and sending the location data to space in a two-way relay system that can take anywhere from minutes to hours to deliver directions. This method of navigation means that no matter how far a mission travels through the solar system, our spacecraft are still tethered to the ground, waiting for commands from our planet.

The Deep Space Atomic Clock, a new technology from NASA's JPL, may change the way spacecraft navigate in space. Launching in late June aboard the Orbital Test Bed satellite, on the SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, descendants of the technology demonstration could be a key component of a self-driving spacecraft and a GPS-like navigation system at other worlds. (General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems)

The Deep Space Atomic Clock, a new technology from NASA’s JPL, may change the way spacecraft navigate in space. Launching in late June aboard the Orbital Test Bed satellite, on the SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, descendants of the technology demonstration could be a key component of a self-driving spacecraft and a GPS-like navigation system at other worlds. (General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission will pave way for future Astronauts

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A historic moment, when a female astronaut first sets foot on the Moon in 2024 will represent a step toward another NASA first: eventually putting humans on Mars. NASA’s latest robotic mission to the Red Planet, Mars 2020, aims to help future astronauts brave that inhospitable landscape.

When a female astronaut first sets foot on the Moon in 2024, the historic moment will represent a step toward another NASA first: eventually putting humans on Mars. NASA’s latest robotic mission to the Red Planet, Mars 2020, aims to help future astronauts brave that inhospitable landscape.

This artist's concept depicts astronauts and human habitats on Mars. NASA's Mars 2020 rover will carry a number of technologies that could make Mars safer and easier to explore for humans. (NASA)

This artist’s concept depicts astronauts and human habitats on Mars. NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will carry a number of technologies that could make Mars safer and easier to explore for humans. (NASA)

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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’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter finishes 60,000 trips around Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter completed 60,000 loops around the Red Planet at 10:39am PDT (12:39 pm CDT) on Wednesday morning, May 15th, 2019. On average, MRO takes 112 minutes to circle Mars, whipping around at about 2 miles per second (3.4 kilometers per second).

Since entering orbit on March 10th, 2006, the spacecraft has been collecting daily science about the planet’s surface and atmosphere, including detailed views with its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera (HiRISE). HiRISE is powerful enough to see surface features the size of a dining room table from 186 miles (300 kilometers) above the surface.

This still from an animation shows NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter soaring over Mars. The spacecraft has been in Mars orbit for 13 years, and just completed 60,000 trips around the planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This still from an animation shows NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter soaring over Mars. The spacecraft has been in Mars orbit for 13 years, and just completed 60,000 trips around the planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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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 InSight Lander takes images of Sunrise, Sunset on Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s InSight lander takes several photos of the sunrise and sunset on Mars.

A camera on the spacecraft’s robotic arm snapped the photos on April 24th and 25th, the 145th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. In local Mars time, the shots were taken starting around 5:30am and then again starting around 6:30pm.

As a bonus, a camera under the lander’s deck also caught clouds drifting across the Martian sky at sunset.

NASA's InSight lander used its Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC) on the spacecraft's robotic arm to image this sunrise on Mars on April 24, 2019, the 145th Martian day (or sol) of the mission. This was taken around 5:30am Mars local time. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s InSight lander used its Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC) on the spacecraft’s robotic arm to image this sunrise on Mars on April 24, 2019, the 145th Martian day (or sol) of the mission. This was taken around 5:30am Mars local time. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Curiosity Mars rover drills sample from clay area on Mars

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA –  Scientists working with NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover have been excited to explore a region called “the clay-bearing unit” since before the spacecraft launched. Now, the rover has finally tasted its first sample from this part of Mount Sharp. Curiosity drilled a piece of bedrock nicknamed “Aberlady” on Saturday, April 6th, 2019 (the 2,370th Martian day, or sol, of the mission), and delivered the sample to its internal mineralogy lab on Wednesday, April 10th (Sol 2374).

The rover’s drill chewed easily through the rock, unlike some of the tougher targets it faced nearby on Vera Rubin Ridge.

The Mast Camera, or Mastcam, on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover captured this set of images before and after it drilled a rock nicknamed "Aberlady," on Saturday, April 6th (the 2,370th Martian day, or sol, of the mission). The rock and others nearby appear to have moved when the drill was retracted. This was the first time Curiosity has drilled in the long-awaited "clay-bearing unit." (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

The Mast Camera, or Mastcam, on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover captured this set of images before and after it drilled a rock nicknamed “Aberlady,” on Saturday, April 6th (the 2,370th Martian day, or sol, of the mission). The rock and others nearby appear to have moved when the drill was retracted. This was the first time Curiosity has drilled in the long-awaited “clay-bearing unit.” (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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