MAVEN: Deep dips into atmosphere to begin soon

10933706_10153179160187868_7856558018166726358_nMAVEN will begin first ‘deep dip” campaign on February 10th. MAVEN’s primary mission includes five 5-day “deep-dip” campaigns, in which the periapsis (lowest point in the orbit) is lowered from about 93 miles (150 km) to about 77 miles (125 km). The first “deep dip” maneuver will begin on Tuesday, February 10, 2015, with a two-day “walk down” into the target density corridor of 2.0 to 3.5 kg/km³. The density of Mars’ atmosphere in the current science-mapping orbit is about 0.12 kg/km³… [More at link]

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CRISM: Iron-magnesium clays at Isidis Basin rim

This image is locatedCRISM_FeaturedImages_FRT18800 right along the rim of the Isidis impact basin, at the foot of Libya Montes. Here we see iron-magnesium phyllosilicates (cyan). Phyllosilicates are clay and clay-like minerals formed by chemical reactions with liquid water. They are very thin (microscopic) stacked layer crystal forms, also called sheet silicates. Libya Montes is part of a series of mountains that rim the gigantic Isidis impact basin… [More at link]

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HiRISE: Compositional diversity in Ladon Valles

tumblr_nilkxqnUgA1rlz4gso1_1280Compositional diversity in Ladon Valles. Beautiful Mars series.

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Opportunity: Marathon Valley

1P475385436ESFCL00P2571L5M1_L2L5L5L7L7Sol 3911, January 24, 2015. This false-color Pancam image, assembled by Holger Isenberg using filtered Pancam frames, shows Marathon Valley at top right. Iazu Crater’s profile lies on the horizon, center and left. Clicking on the image opens a larger version in a new browser window.

Opportunity raw images, its latest mission status, a location map. and atmospheric opacity, known as tau.

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2015-2016 Mars rover calendar

2015-15 rover calendarNASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have posted a 2015-2016 calendar for Opportunity. The calendar, a 25 MB (PDF) download available here, gives basic information about the rover, its instruments, and the mission. Plus for each day in 2015 and 2016, it gives the relevant sol dates for both Opportunity and Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity.

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THEMIS: Schaeberle Crater false color

Dunes in Schaeberle Crater (THEMIS_IOTD_20150126)THEMIS Image of the Day, January 26, 2015. The THEMIS VIS camera contains 5 filters. The data from different filters can be combined in multiple ways to create a false color image. These false color images may reveal subtle variations of the surface not easily identified in a single band image. Today’s false color image shows part of the floor of Schaeberle Crater, including small dunes.

More THEMIS Images of the Day by geological topic.

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HiRISE: Southeast rim of Hale Crater

ESP_038904_1430In the search for potential areas with recurring slope lineae (RSL), which are probably caused by briny water, the central peak of Hale Crater is a common target. But we have no images of the southeast rim of the crater. Hale Crater is about 150 kilometers (90 miles) in diameter and located in the mid-southern latitudes just north of the massive Argyre basin… [More at link]

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Curiosity update: ‘Exciting new software’

0869MH0004610000302276R00_DXXX-br2Sol 876, January 22, 2015, update from USGS Scientist Lauren Edgar: The flight software transition is going well, and Curiosity is doing a test run of the new version. Both the prime and backup rover computers are on track to commit to the upgrade by this weekend.  However, this means that it’s a pretty quiet week in terms of science operations.  In the meantime, the team is focused on all of the new MAHLI images that we’ve received of the latest drill hole and the surrounding rocks that were broken during drilling. Speaking of new software, we’re looking forward to testing out the new OnSight software developed by a JPL team in collaboration with… [More at link]

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HiRISE: Gullies in Liu Hsin Crater

ESP_038896_1255Here we have a group of small gullies along a rock layer on the south wall of Liu Hsin Crater. At the foot of the gullies you can see the “fans” of granular sediment that have been deposited downhill from the gully formation. Nearby, there are much larger gullies. By comparing the gullies that are just 20 kilometers away, we may be able to determine the factors that affect their size… [More at link]

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scouting Mars with rover-carried helicopters?

mars20150122-16Getting around on Mars is tricky business. Each NASA rover has delivered a wealth of information about the history and composition of the Red Planet, but a rover’s vision is limited by the view of onboard cameras, and images from spacecraft orbiting Mars are the only other clues to where to drive it. To have a better sense of where to go and what’s worth studying on Mars, it could be useful to have a low-flying scout.

Enter the Mars Helicopter, a proposed add-on to Mars rovers of the future that could potentially triple the distance these vehicles currently drive in a Martian day, and deliver a new level of visual information for choosing which sites to explore… [More at link]

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

THEMIS: Ganges Chasma false color

Ganges Chasma sediments false color (THEMIS_IOTD_20150123)THEMIS Image of the Day, January 23, 2015. The THEMIS VIS camera contains 5 filters. The data from different filters can be combined in multiple ways to create a false color image. These false color images may reveal subtle variations of the surface not easily identified in a single band image. Today’s false color image shows part of the interior of Ganges Chasma.

More THEMIS Images of the Day by geological topic.

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hilltop panorama on Opportunity’s 11th anniversary

This panorama is the view NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity gained from the top of the “Cape Tribulation” segment of the rim of Endeavour Crater. [Click on the panorama to open a larger version in a new browser tab; full-resolution images are available at the text link.]

The rover reached this point three weeks before the 11th anniversary of its January 2004 landing on Mars. The component images were taken with Opportunity’s panoramic camera (Pancam) during the week after the rover’s arrival at the summit on Jan. 6, 2015, the 3,894th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars.

This location is the highest elevation Opportunity has reached since departing the Victoria Crater area in 2008 on a three-year, down-slope journey to Endeavour Crater. Endeavour spans about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter, with its interior and rim laid out in this 245-degree panorama centered toward east-northeast. Rover tracks imprinted during the rover’s approach to the site appear on the left. The far horizon in the right half of the scene includes portions of the rim of a crater farther south, Iazu Crater… [More at link]

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Opportunity: Pausing on way to Marathon Valley

1F475131550EFFCKYYP1212R0M1Sol 3908, January 21, 2015. Front Hazcam shoots rover shadow at mid-afternoon (3:35 p.m. local time).

Opportunity raw images, its latest mission status, a location map. and atmospheric opacity, known as tau.

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HRSC: Mysteries in Nili Fossae

Perspective_view_of_Nili_Fossae_node_full_image_2The Nili Fossae graben system is an area of great geological interest near the giant Isidis impact basin, northeast of the Syrtis Major volcanic province. The graben system contains numerous troughs, part of one can be seen at the lower left of this image. On the plateau above, several depressions can be seen, some of them extending into the trough. Part of a large, 55 km-diameter impact crater with a central pit can be seen on the top right… [More at link]

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NASA, Microsoft collaborate to ‘Work on Mars’

Nmars20150121-16ASA and Microsoft have teamed up to develop software called OnSight, a new technology that will enable scientists to work virtually on Mars using wearable technology called Microsoft HoloLens. Developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, OnSight will give scientists a means to plan and, along with the Mars Curiosity rover, conduct science operations on the Red Planet.

“OnSight gives our rover scientists the ability to walk around and explore Mars right from their offices,” said Dave Lavery, program executive for the Mars Science Laboratory mission at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “It fundamentally changes our perception of Mars, and how we understand the Mars environment surrounding the rover.” [More at link]

Posted in Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment