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26 April 2015

Sol 966-968: More Driving

  by Ken Herkenhoff The rover drove 32 meters on Sol 964, to a position that gave us a good view of the terrain ahead and outcrops of interest.  So a longer (~90 m) drive is planned for Sol 967 after ChemCam and Mastcam observe nearby targets dubbed “Pablo” and “Pauline” on Sol 966.  Mastcam, Navcam and REMS will also observe the atmosphere.  I’m MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead today, and planned …

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21 September 2010

Meteorite Ahead!

There has been a flurry of emails going around among the MER team about a certain rock ahead of the Opportunity rover that looks like it may be yet another meteorite.  It certainly doesn’t look much like the local meridiani rocks, which are the light-toned patches in the photo above. Meteorites are interesting because they provide information about the weathering environment on mars. We know that Mars is all rusty, …

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17 November 2009

Be a Martian!

Fact #1: As a Mars scientist, I am incredibly spoiled. There are so many missions to Mars right now sending back so much data, that even if they all went silent tomorrow, it would be decades before we managed to look at all the data and figure out what it’s telling us. Fact #2: There are lots of people out there (I’m looking at you, loyal readers!) who would love …

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15 April 2009

Watching out for Dust Storms

NASA just sent out this press release discussing the various ways that we watch out for dust storms that might be dangerous to the rovers. I have actually used data from the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) that they mention in the release, but I used it for the exact opposite task! I wrote programs that search through the images taken by that camera (there are a lot of them, it …

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2 February 2009

New Google Mars

Google Earth’s latest edition was just released and guess what? It has a Mars setting! There was a way to overlay Mars data on the Earth globe in previous versions, but now that’s no longer necessary: just click a button and you’re on Mars. You can choose from a variety of global maps including topography, Viking images, Day and nighttime infrared, and visible color. It also has footprints for high …

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8 January 2009

Early Birthday Present from Opportunity

The Opportunity rover will be celebrating its 5th birthday on Mars later this month, but as an early treat a shiny new panorama was just released. This panorama was taken in late November while the sun was between Mars and the Earth, cutting off communications. It shows the beautiful layered bedrock and undulating ripples that Opportunity is studying on its way to the giant crater Endeavor. Click the images below …

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10 November 2008

Mars Art Galleries!

Apparently I am not the only person who has had the idea of posting “artistic” images of Mars! In the past week I’ve come across two sites with collections of Mars Art images. So in lieu of posting my own image this week, I’ll point you to these sites who had the idea before me! First is a site by Jim Plaxco called simply the Mars Art Gallery. It has …

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22 September 2008

Opportunity on the Road Again

The Opportunity rover is out of Victoria crater and is on the road again. The destination? A huge 22km (13.7 mile) diameter crater, dubbed “Endeavor”, about 12 km to the southeast. Opportunity was designed to live for at least 90 martian days (sols) and drive about 800 m. Today is sol 1658 and Opportunity has so far driven about 12 km (11,797.91 meters, to be precise). It’s not certain that …

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16 September 2008

Potential MSL Site: South Meridiani

The south Meridiani landing site is a newcomer to the bunch. It was added earlier this summer as a replacement for the north meridiani site. The south Meridiani site is about 100 km due south of the Opportunity rover landing site and about 100 km due east of the Miyamoto site. What makes the south Meridiani site interesting is that, just south of the landing ellipse, you transition from Meridiani …

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Potential MSL Site: Miyamoto Crater

Miyamoto crater is an ancient crater about 150 km southwest of where the Opportunity rover is right now. It probably formed in the earliest stage of Mars history, and was then subject to lots of erosion by water, followed by being partially or completely buried by the same material that make up the Meridiani plains. Then, erosion exposed it again. The potential landing site has some interesting mineralogy, particularly evidence …

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