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Topic: NASA’s Opportunity Rover

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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NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover has a new name, Perseverance

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s next Mars rover has a new name – Perseverance.

The name was announced Thursday by Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate, during a celebration at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia. Zurbuchen was at the school to congratulate seventh grader Alexander Mather, who submitted the winning entry to the agency’s “Name the Rover” essay contest, which received 28,000 entries from K-12 students from every U.S. state and territory.

This illustration depicts NASA's Perseverance rover operating on the surface of Mars. Perseverance will land at the Red Planet's Jezero Crater a little after 2:40pm CST (12:40pm PST) on February 18th, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration depicts NASA’s Perseverance rover operating on the surface of Mars. Perseverance will land at the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater a little after 2:40pm CST (12:40pm PST) on February 18th, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Artemis Lunar Program moves full speed ahead

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – In 2019, NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the agency’s Apollo 11 Moon landing, the most historic moment in space exploration, while also making significant progress toward putting the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 under the Artemis program.

Through America’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, Artemis gained bipartisan support this year among members of Congress, the U.S aerospace industry, as well as with international partners, including Canada, Australia, and Japan, and member states of the European Space Agency.

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NASA conducts first driving test of Mars 2020 Rover

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars 2020 rover has passed its first driving test. A preliminary assessment of its activities on December 17th, 2019, found that the rover checked all the necessary boxes as it rolled forward and backward and pirouetted in a clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The next time the Mars 2020 rover drives, it will be rolling over Martian soil.

“Mars 2020 has earned its driver’s license,” said Rich Rieber, the lead mobility systems engineer for Mars 2020.

In a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, engineers observed the first driving test for NASA's Mars 2020 rover on December 17th, 2019. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In a clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, engineers observed the first driving test for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover on December 17th, 2019. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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Soon, NASA will have Two Rovers driving across Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA –  Curiosity won’t be NASA’s only active Mars rover for much longer. Next summer, Mars 2020 will be headed for the Red Planet.

While the newest rover borrows from Curiosity’s design, they aren’t twins: Built and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, each has its own role in the ongoing exploration of Mars and the search for ancient life.

Here’s a closer look at what sets the siblings apart.

Illustrations of NASA's Curiosity and Mars 2020 rovers. While the newest rover borrows from Curiosity's design, each has its own role in the ongoing exploration of Mars and the search for ancient life. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Illustrations of NASA’s Curiosity and Mars 2020 rovers. While the newest rover borrows from Curiosity’s design, each has its own role in the ongoing exploration of Mars and the search for ancient life. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter observes Dust thrust into the Sky from Storms on Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says dust storms are common on Mars. But every decade or so, something unpredictable happens: A series of runaway storms breaks out, covering the entire planet in a dusty haze.

Last year, a fleet of NASA spacecraft got a detailed look at the life cycle of the 2018 global dust storm that ended the Opportunity rover’s mission. And while scientists are still puzzling over the data, two papers recently shed new light on a phenomenon observed within the storm: dust towers, or concentrated clouds of dust that warm in sunlight and rise high into the air.

Side-by-side movies shows how the 2018 global dust storm enveloped the Red Planet, courtesy of the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). This global dust storm caused NASA's Opportunity rover to lose contact with Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Side-by-side movies shows how the 2018 global dust storm enveloped the Red Planet, courtesy of the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) camera onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). This global dust storm caused NASA’s Opportunity rover to lose contact with Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA to help Mars InSight Lander’s Heat Probe dig

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s InSight lander, which is on a mission to explore the deep interior of Mars, positioned its robotic arm this past weekend to assist the spacecraft’s self-hammering heat probe. Known as “the mole,” the probe has been unable to dig more than about 14 inches (35 centimeters) since it began burying itself into the ground on February 28th, 2019.

The maneuver is in preparation for a tactic, to be tried over several weeks, called “pinning.”

NASA InSight's robotic arm will use its scoop to pin the spacecraft's heat probe, or "mole," against the wall of its hole. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA InSight’s robotic arm will use its scoop to pin the spacecraft’s heat probe, or “mole,” against the wall of its hole. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Apollo 11, Mars 2020 have same goal, collect Samples

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Apollo 11 command module Columbia splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, fulfilling President John F. Kennedy’s goal to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth on July 24th, 1969.

Among the mission’s many firsts was the acquisition and return of the first samples from another celestial body. Findings based on the 47 pounds (21.5 kilograms) of lunar rock and soil rewrote the textbooks on both the Moon and solar system, and the samples are still being studied today by researchers using new and more sensitive instruments.

From left to right: Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands on the Moon; 47 pounds (21.5 kilograms) of samples were brought back to Earth from that mission; the Mars 2020 rover, seen here in an artist's concept rover, will be taking the first planetary samples at Jezero Crater, Mars (on right). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

From left to right: Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands on the Moon; 47 pounds (21.5 kilograms) of samples were brought back to Earth from that mission; the Mars 2020 rover, seen here in an artist’s concept rover, will be taking the first planetary samples at Jezero Crater, Mars (on right). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s CaveR rover helps scientists explore Underground Life

 

NASA Scientists test out new methods of discovering life in California lava tubes that could one day be used on other worlds.

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSilicon Valley, CA – NASA says imagine descending into a cave carved out by lava to work alongside a rover about the size of Spirit and Opportunity on Mars, watching the pristine wilderness of a national park transition into tall pillars and stalactites, all in a search for subterranean microbes.

That was a typical day for NASA’s Biologic and Resource Analog Investigations in Low Light Environments project, also known as BRAILLE, while on deployment. Operated out of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, the BRAILLE team is developing the capability to detect life on the walls of volcanic caves from afar.

The CaveR rover preparing to search for life on the walls of a lava tube in Lava Beds National Monument in northeastern California. The rover's instrumentation can be seen in the box on its right side. (NASA)

The CaveR rover preparing to search for life on the walls of a lava tube in Lava Beds National Monument in northeastern California. The rover’s instrumentation can be seen in the box on its right side. (NASA)

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