Opportunity: Pancam looks east

3786-interior-panSol 3786, September 17, 2014.  Two red-filtered frames from a Pancam mosaic in progress look over the interior of Endeavour Crater, with its eastern rim segments on the far horizon. The crater is about 22 km (14 miles) wide, with fields of sand dunes scattered across its floor. At left is part of Wdowiak Ridge, which the rover is steadily climbing, and in the middle ground lie the lower slopes of the Cape Tribulation rim segment, which the ridge forms part of. Next target for Opportunity: the edge of Ulysses Crater, a relatively young impact crater.

Opportunity raw images, its latest mission status, and a location map.

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HiRISE: Squiggle

tumblr_nc0q31AaFB1rlz4gso1_1280Squiggle. Beautiful Mars series.

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Mars Orbiter Mission: Getting into orbit

For flight updates, see also the main mission page.

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THEMIS: South polar cap

South polar cap layers (THEMIS_IOTD_20140918)THEMIS Image of the Day, September 18, 2014. Today’s VIS image shows a small part of the south polar cap.

More THEMIS Images of the Day by geological topic.

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Curiosity update: ‘Bright outcrop’

Sol 753, September 17, 2014, update from MSL Scientist Lauren Edgar: “After a successful 114 m drive through Amargosa Valley on Sol 751, we are planning our arrival at the Pahrump Hills! The scenery is fantastic, and this Navcam image…” [More at link]

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Curiosity: Sand, Pahrump, and Mount Sharp

FLB_464252809EDR_F0420852FHAZ00323M_Sol 752, September 17, 2014. Heading for the Pahrump Hills, with Mount Sharp in the background.

NASA description: This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 752 (2014-09-17 19:19:26 UTC).

Sol 752 raw images (from all cameras), and Curiosity’s latest location map.

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MARCI weather report: September 8-14, 2014

releaseimg_140908_140914Seasonal water ice cloud cover over the northern polar region, also referred to as the polar hood, was developing this week, co-occuring with areas of dust-lifting in Acidalia and Utopia. Dust storms were also observed in Amazonis… [More at link, including video]

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Opportunity: Approaching Ulysses Crater

3785-ridge-6bSol 3785, September 16, 2014. Climbing higher and higher toward Ulysses Crater (off to the left).

Opportunity raw images, its latest mission status, and a location map.

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MAVEN ready for Sept. 21 orbit insertion

14-254_0NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft is nearing its scheduled Sept. 21 insertion into Martian orbit after completing a 10-month interplanetary journey of 442 million miles. Flight Controllers at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colorado, will be responsible for the health and safety of the spacecraft throughout the process. The spacecraft’s mission timeline will place the spacecraft in orbit at approximately 9:50 p.m. EDT.

“So far, so good with the performance of the spacecraft and payloads on the cruise to Mars,” said David Mitchell, MAVEN project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The team, the flight system, and all ground assets are ready for Mars orbit insertion.”  [More at link]

MAVEN orbit insertion timeline (PDF, 111 KB) and fact sheet (PDF, 1.1 MB).

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Mars Orbiter Mission: Trajectory correction

For flight updates, see also the main mission page.

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THEMIS: South polar cap

South polar cap layers in spring (THEMIS_IOTD_20140917)THEMIS Image of the Day, September 17, 2014. Spring has arrived at the south pole of Mars. The multitude of layers that make up the cap are readily visible in today’s THEMIS VIS image.

More THEMIS Images of the Day by geological topic.

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Curiosity update: ‘Heading for the hills’

Sol 751, September 16, 2014, update from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: “As expected, the Sol 748 drive put the rover in a good location to view the path toward Pahrump Hills. Planning is restricted this week, so Sols 751 and 752…” [More at link]

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HiRISE: Blocky deposit on Melas Chasma floor

tumblr_nbwvcndwG21rlz4gso2_1280Blocky deposit along northern Melas Chasma floor. Beautiful Mars series.

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HiRISE: Outbreak

tumblr_nbyqzdac8j1rlz4gso2_1280Outbreak. These are examples of carbon dioxide frost around areas where the ice has sublimated (gone directly from a solid to a gas).

Beautiful Mars series.

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Curiosity update: ‘Peeking over the ridge’

Sol 748-750, September 15, 2014, update from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff:  “The Sol 747 post-drive data were not received until 11:30 PDT today, so we are planning another “rapid-traverse” sol. After acquiring 3 Mastcam mosaics…” [More at link]

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