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Topic: NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity

NASA’s Perseverance Rover reaches half way point to Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission has logged a lot of flight miles since being lofted skyward on July 30th – 146.3 million miles (235.4 million kilometers) to be exact. Turns out that is exactly the same distance it has to go before the spacecraft hits the Red Planet’s atmosphere like a 11,900 mph (19,000 kph) freight train on February 18th, 2021.

“At 1:40pm Pacific Time today, our spacecraft will have just as many miles in its metaphorical rearview mirror as it will out its metaphorical windshield,” said Julie Kangas, a navigator working on the Perseverance rover mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

This illustration of the Mars 2020 spacecraft in interplanetary space was generated using imagery from NASA's Eyes on the Solar System. The image is from the mission's midway point between Earth and Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration of the Mars 2020 spacecraft in interplanetary space was generated using imagery from NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System. The image is from the mission’s midway point between Earth and Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA receives call from Sensors on Mars 2020 Spacecraft

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – On October 8th, 2020, with COVID-19 Coronavirus safety protocols in place, team members of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission waited for a reply from the Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) suite onboard the spacecraft, which is currently en route to the Red Planet.

MEDLI2 is a collection of sensors that will measure aerothermal environments and thermal protection system material performance during the atmospheric entry phase of the Mars 2020 mission.

MEDLI2 sensors are installed on the Mars 2020 heat shield and back shell prior that will protect NASA's Perseverance rover on its journey to the surface of Mars. (Lockheed Martin)

MEDLI2 sensors are installed on the Mars 2020 heat shield and back shell prior that will protect NASA’s Perseverance rover on its journey to the surface of Mars. (Lockheed Martin)

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NASA’s Perseverance Rover heads to Mars with 3D-Printed Parts

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – If you want to see science fiction at work, visit a modern machine shop, where 3D printers create materials in just about any shape you can imagine. NASA is exploring the technique – known as additive manufacturing when used by specialized engineers – to build rocket engines as well as potential outposts on the Moon and Mars.

Nearer in the future is a different milestone: NASA’s Perseverance rover, which lands on the Red Planet on February 18th, 2021, carries 11 metal parts made with 3D printing.

This photo shows a 3D printing technique where a printer head scans over each layer of a part, blowing metal powder which is melted by a laser. It's one of several ways parts are 3D printed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but was not used to create the parts aboard the Perseverance rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This photo shows a 3D printing technique where a printer head scans over each layer of a part, blowing metal powder which is melted by a laser. It’s one of several ways parts are 3D printed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but was not used to create the parts aboard the Perseverance rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s DuAxel rover can move over Tough Terrain

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A rover trundles over rocky terrain, its four metal wheels clattering along until they encounter a seemingly insurmountable hazard: a steep slope. Down below is a potential trove of science targets. With a typical rover, the operators would need to find another target, but this is NASA’s DuAxel, a robot built for situations exactly like this.

The rover is actually made of a pair of two-wheeled rovers, each called Axel. To divide and conquer, the rover stops, lowers its chassis and anchors it to the ground before essentially splitting in two.

The DuAxel rover is seen here participating in field tests in the Mojave Desert. The four-wheeled rover is composed of two Axel robots. One part anchors itself in place while the other uses a tether to explore otherwise inaccessible terrain. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/J.D. Gammell)

The DuAxel rover is seen here participating in field tests in the Mojave Desert. The four-wheeled rover is composed of two Axel robots. One part anchors itself in place while the other uses a tether to explore otherwise inaccessible terrain. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/J.D. Gammell)

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NASA uses Artificial Intelligence to find new Craters on Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Sometime between March 2010 and May 2012, a meteor streaked across the Martian sky and broke into pieces, slamming into the planet’s surface. The resulting craters were relatively small – just 13 feet (4 meters) in diameter.

The smaller the features, the more difficult they are to spot using Mars orbiters. But in this case – and for the first time – scientists spotted them with a little extra help: artificial intelligence (AI).

The HiRISE camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took this image of a crater cluster on Mars, the first ever to be discovered AI. The AI first spotted the craters in images taken the orbiter's Context Camera; scientists followed up with this HiRISE image to confirm the craters. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

The HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took this image of a crater cluster on Mars, the first ever to be discovered AI. The AI first spotted the craters in images taken the orbiter’s Context Camera; scientists followed up with this HiRISE image to confirm the craters. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover to use X-Ray device to look for Fossils

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has a challenging road ahead: After having to make it through the harrowing entry, descent, and landing phase of the mission on February 18th, 2021, it will begin searching for traces of microscopic life from billions of years back. That’s why it’s packing PIXL, a precision X-ray device powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

Short for Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry, PIXL is a lunchbox-size instrument located on the end of Perseverance’s 7-foot-long (2-meter-long) robotic arm.

In this illustration, NASA's Perseverance Mars rover uses the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL). Located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, the X-ray spectrometer will help search for signs of ancient microbial life in rocks. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In this illustration, NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover uses the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL). Located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm, the X-ray spectrometer will help search for signs of ancient microbial life in rocks. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Technology designed for Lunar Landings helps Self-Driving Cars be Safer

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA is advancing a laser-based technology designed to help spacecraft land on a proverbial dime for missions to the Moon and Mars.

The technology will undergo testing on upcoming suborbital rocket launches with Blue Origin on its New Shepard rocket and ride to the Moon on several commercial landers as part of the Artemis program. Simultaneously, companies are using the technology to help self-driving cars navigate rush hour traffic on this planet.

Psionic's Doppler lidar was recently flight-tested via NASA’s Flight Opportunities program to help mature a precision landing capability for future missions to the Moon. (Lauren Hughes)

Psionic’s Doppler lidar was recently flight-tested via NASA’s Flight Opportunities program to help mature a precision landing capability for future missions to the Moon. (Lauren Hughes)

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NASA brings out Mars Perseverance Rover’s Twin on Earth to simulate Mission Operations

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – As NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance hurtles through space toward the Red Planet, the six-wheeler’s twin is ready to roll here on Earth.

A full-scale engineering version of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover – outfitted with wheels, cameras, and powerful computers to help it drive autonomously – has just moved into its garage home at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

Technicians move an engineering version of the Perseverance Mars rover into to its new home in the Mars Yard, part of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Technicians move an engineering version of the Perseverance Mars rover into to its new home in the Mars Yard, part of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter celebrates 15th Anniversary

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Since leaving Earth 15 years ago, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has reshaped our understanding of the Red Planet. The veteran spacecraft studies temperatures in Mars’ thin atmosphere, peers underground with radar, and detects minerals on the planet’s surface. But perhaps what it’s become best known for are stunning images.

Among its instruments, MRO carries three cameras: The Mars Color Imager (MARCI) has a fisheye lens that produces a daily global view. The Context Camera (CTX) provides 19-mile-wide (30-kilometer-wide) black-and-white terrain shots.

Five images taken by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which launched 15 years ago, on Aug. 12, 2005. Along with being a rich source of images for research, MRO studies atmospheric temperatures, peers underground with radar, and detects minerals on the planet's surface. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

Five images taken by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which launched 15 years ago, on Aug. 12, 2005. Along with being a rich source of images for research, MRO studies atmospheric temperatures, peers underground with radar, and detects minerals on the planet’s surface. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

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NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover begins Summer Trip

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has started a road trip that will continue through the summer across roughly a mile (1.6 kilometers) of terrain. By trip’s end, the rover will be able to ascend to the next section of the 3-mile-tall Martian (5-kilometer-tall) mountain it’s been exploring since 2014, searching for conditions that may have supported ancient microbial life.

Located on the floor of Gale Crater, Mount Sharp is composed of sedimentary layers that built up over time. Each layer helps tell the story about how Mars changed from being more Earth-like – with lakes, streams and a thicker atmosphere – to the nearly-airless, freezing desert it is today.

Stitched together from 28 images, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover captured this view from "Greenheugh Pediment" on April 9, 2020, the 2,729th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. In the foreground is the pediment's sandstone cap. At center is the "clay-bearing unit"; the floor of Gale Crater is in the distance. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Stitched together from 28 images, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover captured this view from “Greenheugh Pediment” on April 9, 2020, the 2,729th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. In the foreground is the pediment’s sandstone cap. At center is the “clay-bearing unit”; the floor of Gale Crater is in the distance. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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