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NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission data from Voyage to Mars to aid future Deep Space Expeditions

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission radiation measurements taken as it delivered the Curiosity rover to Mars in 2012 are providing NASA the information it needs to design systems to protect human explorers from radiation exposure on deep-space expeditions in the future.

Curiosity’s Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) is the first instrument to measure the radiation environment during a Mars cruise mission from inside a spacecraft that is similar to potential human exploration spacecraft.

Cruise Vehicles (Artist Concept) - This set of artist's concepts shows NASA's Mars Science Laboratory cruise capsule and NASA's Orion spacecraft, which is being built now at NASA's Johnson Space Center and will one day send astronauts to Mars. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JSC)

Cruise Vehicles (Artist Concept) – This set of artist’s concepts shows NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory cruise capsule and NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which is being built now at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and will one day send astronauts to Mars. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JSC)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover data reveals remaining atmosphere on Mars is still active

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationVienna, Austria – Mars has lost much of its original atmosphere, but what’s left remains quite active, recent findings from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity indicate. Rover team members reported diverse findings today at the European Geosciences Union 2013 General Assembly, in Vienna.

Evidence has strengthened this month that Mars lost much of its original atmosphere by a process of gas escaping from the top of the atmosphere.

This image shows the first holes into rock drilled by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, with drill tailings around the holes plus piles of powdered rock collected from the deeper hole and later discarded after other portions of the sample had been delivered to analytical instruments inside the rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This image shows the first holes into rock drilled by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, with drill tailings around the holes plus piles of powdered rock collected from the deeper hole and later discarded after other portions of the sample had been delivered to analytical instruments inside the rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover back to full operation after computer glitch

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has resumed science investigations after recovery from a computer glitch that prompted the engineers to switch the rover to a redundant main computer on February 28th.

The rover has been monitoring the weather since March 21st and delivered a new portion of powdered-rock sample for laboratory analysis on March 23rd, among other activities.

This view of Curiosity's left-front and left-center wheels and of marks made by wheels on the ground in the "Yellowknife Bay" area comes from one of six cameras used on Mars for the first time more than six months after the rover landed. The left Navigation Camera (Navcam) linked to Curiosity's B-side computer took this image during the 223rd Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (March 22, 2013). The wheels are 20 inches (50 centimeters) in diameter. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This view of Curiosity’s left-front and left-center wheels and of marks made by wheels on the ground in the “Yellowknife Bay” area comes from one of six cameras used on Mars for the first time more than six months after the rover landed. The left Navigation Camera (Navcam) linked to Curiosity’s B-side computer took this image during the 223rd Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (March 22, 2013). The wheels are 20 inches (50 centimeters) in diameter. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover records Weather and Radiation data about Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Observations of wind patterns and natural radiation patterns on Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover are helping scientists better understand the environment on the Red Planet’s surface.

Researchers using the car-sized mobile laboratory have identified transient whirlwinds, mapped winds in relation to slopes, tracked daily and seasonal changes in air pressure, and linked rhythmic changes in radiation to daily atmospheric changes. The knowledge being gained about these processes helps scientists interpret evidence about environmental changes on Mars that might have led to conditions favorable for life.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity used a mechanism on its robotic arm to dig up five scoopfuls of material from a patch of dusty sand called "Rocknest," producing the five bite-mark pits visible in this image from the rover's left Navigation Camera (Navcam). Each of the pits is about 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity used a mechanism on its robotic arm to dig up five scoopfuls of material from a patch of dusty sand called “Rocknest,” producing the five bite-mark pits visible in this image from the rover’s left Navigation Camera (Navcam). Each of the pits is about 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Curiosity rover serving as Stunt Double for Human Astronaut missions to Mars

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – When Curiosity enters the Martian atmosphere on August 6th, setting in motion “the seven minutes of terror” that people around the world have anticipated since launch a year ago, the intrepid rover will actually be performing the mission’s second daredevil stunt.

The first was completed in July.

For the past nine months, Curiosity has been acting as a stunt double for astronauts, exposing itself to the same cosmic radiation humans would experience following the same route to Mars.

Curiosity traveled to Mars in the belly of a space capsule akin to human-crewed capsules.

Curiosity traveled to Mars in the belly of a space capsule akin to human-crewed capsules.

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NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft adjusts Flight Path and Tests Instruments on it’s way to Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, halfway to Mars, adjusted its flight path today for delivery of the one-ton rover Curiosity to the surface of Mars in August.

Tests completed aboard Curiosity last week confirmed the health of science instruments the mission will use to learn whether an area holding an extensive record of Martian environmental history has ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life.

This is an artist's concept of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft during its cruise phase between launch and final approach to Mars. The spacecraft includes a disc-shaped cruise stage (on the left) attached to the aeroshell. The spacecraft's rover (Curiosity) and descent stage are tucked inside the aeroshell. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This is an artist's concept of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft during its cruise phase between launch and final approach to Mars. The spacecraft includes a disc-shaped cruise stage (on the left) attached to the aeroshell. The spacecraft's rover (Curiosity) and descent stage are tucked inside the aeroshell. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Mars-Bound Rover Begins Research in Space

 

Written by Guy Webster – Jet Propulsion Laboratory; and Dwayne Brown – NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s car-sized Curiosity rover has begun monitoring space radiation during its 8-month trip from Earth to Mars. The research will aid in planning for future human missions to the Red Planet.

Curiosity launched on November 26th from Cape Canaveral, FL, aboard the Mars Science Laboratory. The rover carries an instrument called the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) that monitors high-energy atomic and subatomic particles from the sun, distant supernovas and other sources.

These particles constitute radiation that could be harmful to any microbes or astronauts in space or on Mars. The rover also will monitor radiation on the surface of Mars after its August 2012 landing.

This is an artist's concept of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft during its cruise phase between launch and final approach to Mars. The spacecraft includes a disc-shaped cruise stage (on the left) attached to the aeroshell. The spacecraft's rover (Curiosity) and descent stage are tucked inside the aeroshell. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This is an artist's concept of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft during its cruise phase between launch and final approach to Mars. The spacecraft includes a disc-shaped cruise stage (on the left) attached to the aeroshell. The spacecraft's rover (Curiosity) and descent stage are tucked inside the aeroshell. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Curiosity and the Solar Storm

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On November 26th, Curiosity blasted off from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas 5 rocket. Riding a plume of fire through the blue Florida sky, the car-sized rover began a nine month journey to search for signs of life Mars.

Meanwhile, 93 million miles away, a second lesser-noticed Mars launch was underway. Around the time that Curiosity’s rocket was breaking the bonds of Earth, a filament of magnetism erupted from the sun, hurling a billion-ton cloud of plasma (a “CME”) toward the Red Planet.

There was no danger of a collision—Mars rover vs. solar storm.  Racing forward at 2 million mph, the plasma cloud outpaced Curiosity’s rocket by a wide margin.

The two Mars launches of Nov. 26th, 2011. On the left, a solar explosion hurls a CME toward the Red Planet (Credit: SOHO). On the right, the Mars Science Lab or "Curiosity" lifts off from Cape Canaveral. (Credit: Howard Eskildsen of Titusville, FL)

The two Mars launches of Nov. 26th, 2011. On the left, a solar explosion hurls a CME toward the Red Planet (Credit: SOHO). On the right, the Mars Science Lab or "Curiosity" lifts off from Cape Canaveral. (Credit: Howard Eskildsen of Titusville, FL)

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