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23 April 2020

Promising signs for Perseverance rover in its quest for past Martian life

New research indicates river delta deposits within Mars’ Jezero crater – the destination of NASA’ Perseverance rover – formed over time scales that promoted habitability and enhanced preservation of evidence.


7 April 2020

NASA study adds a pinch of salt to El Niño models

When modeling the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) ocean-climate cycle, adding satellite sea surface salinity — or saltiness — data significantly improves model accuracy, according to a new study. ENSO is an irregular cycle of warm and cold climate events called El Niño and La Niña. In normal years, strong easterly trade winds blow from the Americas toward southeast Asia, but in an El Niño year, those winds are reduced and sometimes even reversed. Warm water that was “piled up” in the western Pacific flows back toward the Americas, changing atmospheric pressure and moisture to produce droughts in Asia and more frequent storms and floods in the Americas. The reverse pattern is called a La Niña, in which the ocean in the eastern Pacific is cooler than normal.


31 December 2019

Dr. G’s #AGU19 Spotlight – The Future of Lunar and Mars Exploration

NASA Chief Scientist Dr. James Green spoke on the Inspire Stage in Centennial Central on The Future of Lunar and Mars Exploration. Sessions like this, where one doesn’t have to be a space scientist at an Earth and space conference to understand, are an excellent example of science communication at its best.


12 December 2019

Newfound Martian Aurora Actually the Most Common; Sheds Light on Mars’ Changing Climate

A type of Martian aurora first identified by NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft in 2016 is actually the most common form of aurora occurring on the Red Planet, according to new results from the mission. The aurora is known as a proton aurora and can help scientists track water loss from Mars’ atmosphere.


10 December 2019

NASA’s treasure map for water ice on Mars

NASA has big plans for returning astronauts to the Moon in 2024, a stepping stone on the path to sending humans to Mars. But where should the first people on the Red Planet land? A new paper published in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters will help by providing a map of water ice believed to be as little as one inch (2.5 centimeters) below the surface.


24 November 2019

How You Can Destroy Civilization and Virtually No One Would Notice- At Least For a Few Days!

  Chris Colose is a NASA Climate expert working on a new global climate model (GCM). It’s called ROCKE-3D, and is designed to be used not only on earth but on extraterrestrial planets! I can show you could destroy civilization because Chris did it in the new GCM by taking out the CO2 and Methane in one of his model runs, but there’s something you should know first. Were you …


5 October 2019

Sols 2546-2547: Brrrr – Is It Frosty?

Communicating with Curiosity requires creating a plan and transmitting it through various networks, including the Deep Space Network. Sometimes, one of these networks is down, and our plan does not get to the rover.


2 October 2019

Sol 2545: SAM Clean-Up and a Potpourri of Remote Sensing and Environmental Observations

Curiosity is continuing through its list of analysis details that take place after taking a drill sample. Today’s main activity is a SAM gas chromatograph column clean-up. Meanwhile, there is time to take environmental observations and more remote-sensing data.


30 September 2019

Sol 2540-2542: Go, SAM, go!

Curiosity’s late afternoon view: This image was taken by the Front Hazard Avoidance Camera onboard NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2536 (2019-09-25 00:12:06 UTC). It shows the same view as the image in the sols 2538-2539 blog, just in a very different light!


24 September 2019

Sols 2536-2537: SAM Wet Chemistry Experiment

Searching for organic molecules in rocks on Mars is no easy task. Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument is designed to analyze the chemical composition of gases, which it creates by slowly heating rock samples in an oven.


23 September 2019

New study complicates theory that ancient impact pierced Moon’s crust

A new study finds the crater’s crust mainly consists of a common lunar crustal mineral not detected in earlier analyses. The new results suggest the basin floor may not have exposed lunar mantle material as previously reported. “We are not seeing the mantle materials at the (Chang’E 4) landing site as expected,” said Hao Zhang, a planetary scientist at the China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China, and a co-author of the new study. 


20 September 2019

Sols 2533-2535: SAM’s Starring Role!

Planning for this past week has centered on analyzing the high potassium drill sample, Glen Etive 2, using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument.


19 September 2019

Sol 2531 – 2532: Three Portions to Inlet 1 and Straight on till SAM

In Monday’s plan, we did portion drop tests of our ‘Glen Etive 2’ drill sample, and this morning we were greeted with nice images of the sample piles.


17 September 2019

Sols 2529-2530: #23!

Please welcome our 23rd drill hole on Mars! Coming in at ~43 mm depth, and both the rover and new drill hole are happy and healthy!


11 September 2019

Sol 2524: The Tail(ings)-end of the Glen Etive 1 Drilling Campaign

The focus of Curiosity’s activities since returning to operations after conjunction, now that Mars has safely moved out from behind the sun, is to finish up the analyses associated with the drilling campaign at ‘Glen Etive 1.’


23 August 2019

Sols 2506-2508: Until we meet again

Today was the final opportunity to actively command Curiosity before the Sun comes between us and Mars. Most of the instruments are safely stored for the solar conjunction break, but intrepid Navcam was available for some last-minute science observations.


22 August 2019

Sols 2504-2505: Packing up for our journey behind the Sun

The days leading up to a big trip can be hectic. There are preparations to be made, belongings to be packed, extra work to do in anticipation of being away from the computer. And it’s no different for a robot on the surface of Mars.


20 August 2019

Sol 2502-2503: Science to Exhaustion

Mars is about to be hidden behind the Sun, so Curiosity is rushing to get science done before communications are temporarily lost.


16 August 2019

Sol 2499-2501: More SAMple analysis

Conjunction is the few-week period when Mars goes behind the sun and we stop communicating with our spacecraft that are there. Our last planning day before conjunction will be next Friday, and thinking about that fast approaching day feels very similar to thinking about getting ready to leave for vacation.


14 August 2019

Sols 2497-2498: SAM is GO for analyzing the Glen Etive drill sample

The attached Navcam image shows the view of the Mount Sharp summit from Curiosity’s current location on Mars.