Topic: NASA’s Opportunity Rover
Pasadena, 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.
Pasadena, 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.
Washington, 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.
Washington, 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.
Pasadena, 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.
Pasadena, 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.
Pasadena, 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.
Pasadena, 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.”
Pasadena, 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.
NASA Scientists test out new methods of discovering life in California lava tubes that could one day be used on other worlds.
Silicon 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.
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