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1 September 2015

NASA landslide video visualizing rainfall-induced mass movements between 2007 and 2015

The new NASA landslide video visualizes global rainfall-induced landslides between 2007 and 2015.

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14 August 2015

Sols 1075-1077: Time for SAM!

We had another successful drive on sol 1074, putting us in a good position for the weekend! The main activity for the weekend is using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument to analyze some of the recent drill sample that we collected. SAM activities will take up all of sol 1075. On sol 1076, we will use MAHLI to check on the health of our wheels, and SAM will …

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20 July 2015

Deep Space Climate Observatory Snaps Earth from a Million Miles Out

Forty-six years ago today I set beside my Great Grandmother, who walked to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) behind a covered wagon, and listened to Armstrong and Aldrin land on the Moon. While the photos of the Moon from the Apollo astronauts were dramatic, it was the pictures they took looking back at Earth that changed the way we think about our planet. Today, we got another one of those photos …

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17 July 2015

Sols 1046-1047: Wheel imaging

  The 8.5-meter Sol 1044 drive completed as planned, leaving the rover in a relatively flat and smooth area that is suitable for imaging of the wheels.  Wheel imaging is done periodically to assess wear, and it’s time to acquire new data, so the Sol 1046 includes 5 sets of MAHLI, Mastcam, and MARDI images separated by short rover bumps to allow the entire surfaces of the wheels to be …

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16 July 2015

Neil deGrasse Tyson & Stephen Colbert Talk About Pluto

What happens when two of the best science communicators eat a Klondike Bar and talk about Pluto. Watch and see. Oh, and yes I called Colbert a great science communicator, and here is why.

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15 July 2015

NASA: June 2015 ties with 1998 as Hottest On Record

As greenhouse gases rise, we get more record hot months, but they are even more likely during an El Nino. Just like 1998, we have a strong one developing now. So far, this year is the warmest ever (Last year is currently the record holder), and 2015 has already seen a the hottest ever March and May, with January and February coming in as second hottest ever. Below is a …

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13 July 2015

This is Why You Have Not Seen A Bunch of Images of Pluto This Weekend

July 14, 2015 is going to be an important date in the history book of space exploration. At about 7:50 AM Tuesday, New York time,  the New Horizons probe will pass about 12,500 km from Pluto, and the most sophisticated set of instruments ever put in deep space will record high resolution images of the dwarf planet. Images of Pluto will be recorded in visible and infrared light, while other …

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Sols 1041-1043: Busy weekend planned

The rover bumped back 33 cm on Sol 1039, placing all 6 wheels on firm ground and allowing contact science on the bright rocks near the top of the slope in front of the vehicle. So the weekend plan is a full one, including both contact science and a drive back toward the southwest.  First, on Sol 1041, ChemCam will passively (no laser) acquire spectra of the sky and a rock …

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9 July 2015

Best Image Ever of Pluto and Charon

New Horizons will get closer every day from now until July 14.

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7 July 2015

Sols 1037-1038: Familiar Terrain

  By Lauren Edgar Over the weekend holiday plan, Curiosity drove back to our location on Sol 992. Previous DAN and ChemCam data from this site showed some interesting results, so we want to investigate this region in more detail.  The front Hazcam image above shows our wheel tracks from the last time we were here, and some of the bright outcrop that we want to study further. Today’s two-sol …

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28 June 2015

Sols 1027-1029: Resuming tactical operations

  Mars has passed through solar conjunction, and reliable communication with the spacecraft at Mars is possible again.  As planning started this morning, we were still waiting for more data to be relayed by the orbiters to confirm that MSL is ready to resume science planning, but proceeded with tactical planning so that we would be ready when the data arrived.  The Sol 1027 plan starts with Mastcam observations of …

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9 June 2015

New Tool Could Track Space Weather 24 Hours Before Reaching Earth

Our sun is a volatile star: explosions of light, energy and solar materials regularly dot its surface. Sometimes an eruption is so large it hurls magnetized material into space, sending out clouds that can pass by Earth’s own magnetic fields, where the interactions can affect electronics on satellites, GPS communications or even utility grids on the ground.

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6 June 2015

Amazing Greenland

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Greenland twice, and it is truly a place of amazing beauty. A friend who lives just a couple of blocks away from me here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland just got back from the 2015 operation Ice Bridge mission where the video below is from. Ice Bridge is filling in data on the changes in the ice sheets to cover the loss of …

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31 May 2015

Sol 1000-1002: Photometry

  by Ken Herkenhoff We’re planning 3 sols of MSL activities today, starting with Sol 1000!  As we continue to prepare for solar conjunction, arm motion is allowed in this plan, but no contact science.  The plan starts with ChemCam and Mastcam observations of a platy rock called “Newland” and a Navcam search for dust devils.  Then the first of several Mastcam/Navcam photometry observations is planned.  The goal of these …

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28 May 2015

Sol 999: Last MAHLI images before conjunction

by Ken Herkenhoff Today is the last day we can plan MAHLI activities before the operational stand-down for solar conjunction, to ensure that we have time to confirm that MAHLI’s dust cover is safely closed.  So we worked to include as many MAHLI images as possible in the Sol 999 plan, making for a rather hectic day for me as MAHLI uplink lead.  The plan includes a full set of …

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NASA Earth Observation Satellites See Floods in Oklahoma and Arkansas

These two images from the NASA Terra and Aqua satellites are almost exactly 2 years apart. You can easily see the difference the flooding rains have had in the Arkansas River, especially around Fort Smith. More flooding rains are likely over the next 3-4 days across the Plains of Texas and Oklahoma.    

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27 May 2015

Sol 998: Contact Science at Marias Pass

By Lauren Edgar A short bump on Sol 997 put Curiosity in a great position to investigate a few different rock units in Marias Pass, using the instruments on the rover’s arm.  The 2.5 m drive brings our total odometry to 10,599 m.  With the upcoming solar conjunction (Mars will be on the opposite side of the sun from the Earth, so we can’t communicate with the rover for most …

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25 May 2015

Sols 993-996: A long weekend at Marias Pass

By Lauren Edgar  On Sol 992 Curiosity took a short drive into Marias Pass to get a better look at the terrain ahead.  The 6 m drive on Sol 992 brought our total odometry to 10,562 m.  It also put Curiosity in a great position for targeted science over the long holiday weekend. The 4 sol plan includes some large Mastcam mosaics to characterize the terrain and the contact between …

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19 May 2015

Sol 990: ChemCam Autofocus Software

by Ken Herkenhoff Testing of the new ChemCam automatic focusing software continues to go well–the instrument is returning well-focused data of the quality we got used to early in the mission.  The MAHLI test data acquired on Sol 989 are also looking good; here’s an image of the penny in the MAHLI calibration target on the rover.  Having completed the most urgent arm activities needed before conjunction, MSL is ready …

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Sol 987-989: Back at Jocko Butte

by Ryan Anderson The backwards drive on sol 986 was successful, and over the weekend, Curiosity drove back toward “Jocko Butte”. Before the drive on sol 987, ChemCam had a 5×1 observation of the target “Mill”, accompanied by a Mastcam image. Mastcam also took a small 2×2 mosaic of our tracks. The drive back toward Jocko Butte was about 43 m, bringing our total odometry to 10,697 m. After the …

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