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Topic: NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Spacecraft

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory tests Precision Flight Control Software

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A year after NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity’s landed on Mars, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, are testing a sophisticated flight-control algorithm that could allow for even more precise, pinpoint landings of future Martian spacecraft.

Flight testing of the new Fuel Optimal Large Divert Guidance algorithm – G-FOLD for short – for planetary pinpoint landing is being conducted jointly by JPL engineers in cooperation with Masten Space Systems in Mojave, CA, using Masten’s XA-0.1B “Xombie” vertical-launch, vertical-landing experimental rocket.

A Xombie technology demonstrator from Masten Space Systems, Mojave, Calif., ascends from its pad at Mojave Air and Space Port on a test for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The vehicle is a vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing experimental rocket. It is being used in collaboration with NASA Dryden Flight Research Center to evaluate performance of JPL's Fuel Optimal Large Divert Guidance (G-FOLD), a new algorithm for planetary pinpoint landing of spacecraft. (Image Credit: NASA/Masten)

A Xombie technology demonstrator from Masten Space Systems, Mojave, Calif., ascends from its pad at Mojave Air and Space Port on a test for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The vehicle is a vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing experimental rocket. It is being used in collaboration with NASA Dryden Flight Research Center to evaluate performance of JPL’s Fuel Optimal Large Divert Guidance (G-FOLD), a new algorithm for planetary pinpoint landing of spacecraft. (Image Credit: NASA/Masten)

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One Year ago, NASA’s Curiosity Rover landed on Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Where were you when Curiosity landed? It’s a hot topic of discussion in the hallways of JPL and on social media this week, as people remember the dramatic, tension-filled landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover and its Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft on August 5th, 2012 PDT (August 6th, 2012 EDT).

Millions of people around the world were glued to TV sets and mobile devices during the white-knuckle landing.

This self-portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combines 66 exposures taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Feb. 3rd, 2013). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This self-portrait of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity combines 66 exposures taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (Feb. 3rd, 2013). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover to celebrate First Year on Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity rover will mark one year on Mars next week and has already achieved its main science goal of revealing ancient Mars could have supported life. The mobile laboratory also is guiding designs for future planetary missions.

“Successes of our Curiosity — that dramatic touchdown a year ago and the science findings since then — advance us toward further exploration, including sending humans to an asteroid and Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Wheel tracks now, will lead to boot prints later.”

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover to preceed with using First Scoop of Martian Soil Sample

 

Written by Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The team operating NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover decided on October 9th, 2012, to proceed with using the rover’s first scoop of Martian material.

Plans for Sol 64 (October 10th) call for shifting the scoopful of sand and dust into the mechanism for sieving and portioning samples, and vibrating it vigorously to clean internal surfaces of the mechanism. This first scooped sample, and the second one, will be discarded after use, since they are only being used for the cleaning process.

This pairing illustrates the first time that NASA's Mars rover Curiosity collected a scoop of soil on Mars. It combines two raw images taken on the mission's 61st Martian day, or sol (October 7th, 2012) by the right camera of the rover's two-camera Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument. The right Mastcam, or Mastcam-100, has a telephoto, 100-millimeter-focal-length lens. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This pairing illustrates the first time that NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity collected a scoop of soil on Mars. It combines two raw images taken on the mission’s 61st Martian day, or sol (October 7th, 2012) by the right camera of the rover’s two-camera Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument. The right Mastcam, or Mastcam-100, has a telephoto, 100-millimeter-focal-length lens. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity begins activities to test it’s Robotic Arm and other Instruments

 

Written by Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – After driving more than a football field’s length since landing, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is spending several days preparing for full use of the tools on its arm.

Curiosity extended its robotic arm Wednesday in the first of six to ten consecutive days of planned activities to test the 7-foot (2.1-meter) arm and the tools it manipulates.

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity begins drive across Martian Surface to it’s first destination, Glenelg

 

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 has set off from its landing vicinity on a trek to a science destination about a quarter mile (400 meters) away, where it may begin using its drill.

The rover drove eastward about 52 feet (16 meters) on Tuesday, its 22nd Martian day after landing. This third drive was longer than Curiosity’s first two drives combined. The previous drives tested the mobility system and positioned the rover to examine an area scoured by exhaust from one of the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft engines that placed the rover on the ground.

Soil clinging to the right middle and rear wheels of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity can be seen in this image taken by the Curiosity's Navigation Camera after the rover's third drive on Mars. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Soil clinging to the right middle and rear wheels of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity can be seen in this image taken by the Curiosity’s Navigation Camera after the rover’s third drive on Mars. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity drives for the first time at Bradbury Landing

 

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 has begun driving from its landing site, which scientists announced today they have named for the late author Ray Bradbury.

Making its first movement on the Martian surface, Curiosity’s drive combined forward, turn and reverse segments. This placed the rover roughly 20 feet (6 meters) from the spot where it landed 16 days ago.

NASA has approved the Curiosity science team’s choice to name the landing ground for the influential author, who was born 92 years ago today and died this year. The location where Curiosity touched down is now called Bradbury Landing.

This 360-degree panorama shows evidence of a successful first test drive for NASA's Curiosity rover. On Aug. 22nd, 2012, the rover made its first move, going forward about 15 feet (4.5 meters), rotating 120 degrees and then reversing about 8 feet (2.5 meters). Curiosity is about 20 feet (6 meters) from its landing site, now named Bradbury Landing. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This 360-degree panorama shows evidence of a successful first test drive for NASA’s Curiosity rover. On Aug. 22nd, 2012, the rover made its first move, going forward about 15 feet (4.5 meters), rotating 120 degrees and then reversing about 8 feet (2.5 meters). Curiosity is about 20 feet (6 meters) from its landing site, now named Bradbury Landing. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Scientists select first Driving Mission for the Mars Rover Curiosity

 

Written by DC Agle and Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The scientists and engineers of NASA’s Curiosity rover mission have selected the first driving destination for their one-ton, six-wheeled mobile Mars laboratory. The target area, named Glenelg, is a natural intersection of three kinds of terrain.

The choice was described by Curiosity Project Scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology during a media teleconference on August 17th.

This image shows a closer view of the landing site of NASA's Curiosity rover and a destination nearby known as Glenelg. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

This image shows a closer view of the landing site of NASA’s Curiosity rover and a destination nearby known as Glenelg. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captures color picture of Curiosity Rover on the surface of Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The first color image taken from orbit showing NASA’s rover Curiosity on Mars includes details of the layered bedrock on the floor of Gale Crater that the rover is beginning to investigate.

Operators of the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter added the color view to earlier observations of Curiosity descending on its parachute, and one day after landing.

This color-enhanced view shows NASA's Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. It was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Image credit: NASNASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

This color-enhanced view shows NASA’s Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. It was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Image credit: NASNASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

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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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