Weather at Gale Crater

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HiRISE: The source of dunes in Chasma Boreale

tumblr_plchlsgCu71rlz4gso1_1280The source of dunes in Chasma Boreale. This image shows dunes during the summer, when they were free from the seasonal layer of carbon dioxide ice that covers the region for much of the year. These dunes, which are near the head of the largest trough in the North Polar cap (called Chasma Boreale), were formed by strong winds blowing down the canyon toward its mouth.

Beautiful Mars series. [More at links]

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THEMIS: Eroding crater infill in Noachis Terra

Eroding infill in southern crater (THEMIS_IOTD_20190115)THEMIS Image of the Day, January 15, 2019. At several locations in the southern hemisphere there are craters that have been filled with material almost to the top of the crater rim. What the material is and where it came from are still open questions, and may not even be the same process from crater to crater.

In several of these filled craters there are canyon like features where the fill material has been removed or eroded. Sometimes the depressions parallel the crater rim, but in other cases the depression is in the center of the crater and is usually linear.

A ring of gullies encircle the top of the depression in this crater. This unnamed crater is located in southern Noachis Terra.

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Curiosity update: Selfie time at Rock Hall: say cheese!

NRA_600694728EDR_F0731206NCAM00320M_Sols 2291, January 14, 2019, update by MSL scientist Rachel Kronyak: Today we planned a single sol of activities, Sol 2291. As we begin to wrap up our activities at the Rock Hall drill site, Sol 2291 is chock full of science observations. We’ll begin the sol with an hour-long science block. Our environmental group (ENV) planned several activities to measure increasing dust levels in the atmosphere; these observations will occur at the start of the science block. Following ENV’s activities, the geology group (GEO) planned a ChemCam observation on a soil target near the rover named “Loch Monar” as well as a long-distance Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) image of the sulfate unit on Mount Sharp. Following ChemCam, Mastcam will take images of targets “Loch Monar” and “Stroma.” The “Stroma” target is an interesting small rock just in… [More at link]

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THEMIS: Interweaving gullies in Kaiser Crater

Kaiser Crater gullies (THEMIS_IOTD_20190114)THEMIS Image of the Day, January 14, 2019. Today’s VIS image shows part of the inner rim of Kaiser Crater. The rim has been dissected by numerous gullies. Kaiser Crater is located in Noachis Terra.

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Curiosity update: Drilling activity completed, almost

FLA_600434459EDR_F0731206FHAZ00337M_-br2Sols 2288-90, January 11, 2019, update by MSL scientist Suzanne Schwenzer: We will soon be leaving the Rock Hall area, thus this one last look at the drill site from a hazard camera perspective. Seeing those holes always is special, even for #19!

In today’s planning, we will dump the remaining rock powder from the drill and investigate it with all instruments, starting with APXS, which will perform a two-step raster. Sol 2288 contains a range of ENV investigations, dedicating the morning science block on sol 2288 to a passive sky observation and a Mastcam tau to see how the dust loading in the atmosphere is changing. The science block of sol 2289 is dedicated to spectral analysis of the dump pile with ChemCam passive and Mastcam multispectral investigations… [More at link]

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Curiosity: Gometra in the RMI’s sights

2286-rmiSol 2286, January 10, 2019. The target dubbed Gometra, possibly a meteorite, was imaged by the Remote Micro-Imager (RMI). (An earlier but similar view of Gometra is here). Click the image to enlarge it.

Sol 2286 raw images (from all cameras).

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THEMIS: Central peaks of Hale Crater

Central peaks in Hale Crater (THEMIS_IOTD_20190111)THEMIS Image of the Day, January 11, 2019. Today’s VIS image shows part of the floor of Hale Crater and the elongate axis of the central peak mountains.

Hale Crater is an example of an oblique impact crater. The mountain chain trends from the southeast towards the northwest, increasing in height towards the northwest.

The incoming meteor struck the surface along this trend, forming an oval crater and displacing the impact energy forward to create the central mountain range. Hale Crater is located near the northern part of Argye Plainitia.

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Curiosity update: Starting the wrap-up at Rock Hall

FLA_600259347EDR_F0731206FHAZ00341M_-br2Sols 2286-87, January 10, 2019, update by MSL scientist Catherine O’Connell-Cooper: Our onboard instruments SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) and CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy) have come to the end of their investigation of the Rock Hall target, likely to be our last drill location on the Vera Rubin Ridge, so this 2-sol plan is the beginning of the drill operation wrap up. On the first sol (2286) SAM will “doggie bag” some sample, saving it for further experimentation in future weeks. The second sol of the plan (2287) will centre on preparations to “dump” the remaining sample from the drill onto the ground in the weekend plan, so that it can be analyzed by APXS, MAHLI, Mastcam and ChemCam. For example, Mastcam will image the Rock Hall drill hole, to monitor the degree of movement of the drill fines in the 3 weeks since our drilling… [More at link]

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Mars Express: 15 years imaging the Red Planet

On 25 December 2003, ESA’s Mars Express entered orbit around the Red Planet. The spacecraft began returning the first images from orbit using its High Resolution Stereo Camera just a couple of weeks later, and over the course of its fifteen year history has captured thousands of images covering the globe.

This video compilation highlights some of the stunning scenes revealed by this long-lived mission. From breathtaking horizon-to-horizon views to the close-up details of ice- and dune-filled craters, and from the polar ice caps and water-carved valleys to ancient volcanoes and plunging canyons, Mars Express has traced billions of years of geological history and evolution. [More at link]

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