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13 December 2017

Sol 1899-1901: SAM Evolved Gas Analysis

The plan for Curiosity this weekend is to finish up the investigation of Vera Rubin Ridge stop #9 and drive toward the next stop.


28 October 2017

Sol 1856-1857: Take two (almost)!

After Monday’s communications hiccup (detailed here) that prevented us from uplinking our two-sol plan to Curiosity, today we’re hoping to redo most of what we had in Monday’s plan.


20 May 2011

Results of the 5th MSL Landing Site Workshop

Well, after three days of fascinating science and heated discussion, the 5th and final MSL landing site workshop has come to a close, and the consensus is… that all of the sites are pretty darn interesting.


29 April 2011

Gale Crater Videos

Yesterday I participated in a telecon about Gale Crater, one of the potential landing sites for MSL. It’s a fascinating place to talk about and would make for a spectacular mission. Ok, this is true for all four finalist landing sites, but the scenery at Gale, with its 5km tall mountain of layered rocks would be particularly great. One of the presenters at yesterday’s telecon, Dawn Sumner, posted two very nice videos on YouTube covering much of what she talked about. The videos also serve to show off a very-cool new open-source 3D visualization and GIS tool called Crusta being developed by a student at UC Davis.


1 November 2010

Planets Like Grains of Sand

The other day I came across a press release announcing that nearly one in four sun-like stars could have planets as small as Earth. That’s pretty awesome! But I though it was especially interesting how they came up with this number. Current technology can’t quite see an Earth-sized planet around a sun-like star, so how do you count things that you can’t see? Well, you count everything else and then extrapolate.


24 February 2008

Mapping Meridiani: Part 1

The mantra of Mars exploration is “follow the water,” and my research is no exception. Lately, I have been looking closely at the the Meridiani region on Mars, searching for evidence of water-formed minerals near some of the potential landing sites for the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. MSL’s primary goal is to figure out whether Mars is, or ever has been, a habitable planet, so you can bet …