Author Archives: rburnham

MARCI weather report, February 4-10, 2019.

Dust storm activity was at a minimum across the tropics and southern highlands of Mars last week. Local storms were observed along the seasonal north polar cap edge, while the polar vortex showed a wave-2 type structure, typical this time … Continue reading

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Opportunity’s mission comes to an end

[Ed. note: videos of NASA’s briefing and a commemoration of Opportunity’s mission are here and here.]  One of the most successful and enduring feats of interplanetary exploration, NASA’s Opportunity rover mission is at an end after almost 15 years exploring … Continue reading

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HiRISE: Shallow craters

Shallow craters. These shallow craters are located in the relatively flat Amazonis Planitia, situated between the Tharsis and Elysium volcanic provinces, to the west of Olympus Mons. HiRISE Picture of the Day archive [More at links]

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NASA briefing on Opportunity rover

NASA will discuss the status of its Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity in a media briefing at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) Wednesday, Feb. 13, from the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The briefing will air live … Continue reading

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THEMIS: Sand sheet in Matara Crater

THEMIS Image of the Day, February 13, 2019. Today’s VIS image shows the sand deposit on the floor of Matara Crater. The deposit is thick enough to hide the underlying crater floor creating a sheet of sand. Upon this sheet … Continue reading

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Volcanism under the south pole ice cap of Mars?

A study published last year in the journal Science suggested liquid water is present beneath the south polar ice cap of Mars. Now, a new study in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters argues there needs to be an underground … Continue reading

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HiRISE: An Olympus Mons landslide

An Olympus Mons landslide. Olympus Mons is too large for HiRISE to capture in one image, but we can get very detailed closeups of parts of it. Here, we see a slope streak, possibly caused by a boulder rolling downhill … Continue reading

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Curiosity update: Touring Glen Torridon

Sols 2318-19, February 11, 2019, update by MSL scientist Lucy Thompson: Similar to its namesake in Scotland, the Glen Torridon area on Mars affords us stunning vistas, but in our case, of the relatively low-lying clay bearing (from orbit) unit … Continue reading

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Developing a flight strategy to land heavier vehicles on Mars

The heaviest vehicle to successfully land on Mars is the Curiosity Rover at 1 metric ton, about 2,200 pounds. Sending more ambitious robotic missions to the surface of Mars, and eventually humans, will require landed payload masses in the 5- … Continue reading

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THEMIS: Gullies in craters

THEMIS Image of the Day, February 12, 2019. Today’s VIS image shows part of an unnamed crater in Noachis Terra. Several craters in the southern hemisphere contain floor fill that has subsequently been eroded to form depressions in the fill … Continue reading

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