Curiosity: MAHLI looks at Jones Marsh

1727-mahliSol 1727, June 15, 2017. The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) took a series of images across the flat-surfaced target named Jones Marsh. Note the patchy erosion of the rock’s surface. Click image (6.2 MB) to enlarge it.

Sol 1727 raw images (from all cameras), and Curiosity’s latest location.

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MAVEN: Top 10 discoveries of first 1,000 days in orbit

LM_1000orbitsOn June 17, the MAVEN mission will celebrate 1,000 Earth days in orbit around the Red Planet. Since its launch in November 2013 and its orbit insertion in September 2014, MAVEN has been exploring the upper atmosphere of Mars. MAVEN is bringing insight to how the sun stripped Mars of most of its atmosphere, turning a planet once possibly habitable to microbial life into a barren desert world.

“MAVEN has made tremendous discoveries about the Mars upper atmosphere and how it interacts with the sun and the solar wind,” said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator from the University of Colorado Boulder. “These are allowing us to understand not just the behavior of the atmosphere today, but how the atmosphere has changed through time.”

During its 1,000 days in orbit, MAVEN has made a multitude of exciting discoveries. Here is a countdown of the top 10 discoveries from the mission:

10. Imaging of the distribution of gaseous nitric oxide and ozone in the atmosphere shows complex behavior that was not expected, indicating that there are dynamical processes of exchange of gas between the lower and upper atmosphere that are not understood at present…. [More at link]

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Curiosity update: Remote science and drive on

NRB_550812743EDR_F0640252NCAM00312M_-br2Sol 1728, June 15, 2017, update by MSL scientist Rachel Kronyak: After a busy day of contact science yesterday, today’s plan was dedicated towards remote science and driving. As Mastcam PUL-1 today, I was fairly busy helping put together a suite of Mastcam images for Curiosity to take. These included mosaics of “Preble Cove” and “Fernald Point”, some nice blocks of the Murray formation just in front of the rover (Fernald Point is the block just in front of the rover wheel in the Navcam image above). We’ll then take a few images of “Freeman Ridge” to follow up on yesterday’s multispectral observation. We also planned… [More at link]

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THEMIS: Mesa in Nilokeras Scopulus

Mesa in Nilokeras Scopulus (THEMIS_IOTD_20170616)THEMIS Image of the Day, June 16, 2017. Do you see what I see? Looks like a deep water fish is yelling at me! (THEMIS Art #127)

More THEMIS Images of the Day by geological topic.

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HiRISE: The White Cliffs of ‘Rover’

ESP_050282_1820This image reminds us of the rugged and open terrain of a stark shore-line, perhaps of an island nation, such as the British Isles. A close-up in enhanced color produces a striking effect, giving the impression of a cloud-covered cliff edge with foamy waves crashing against it.

The reality is that the surface of Mars is much dryer than our imaginations might want to suggest. This is only a tiny part of a much larger structure; an inverted crater—a crater that has been infilled by material that is more resistant to erosion than the rocks around it—surrounded by bluish basaltic dunes. The edge of these elevated light-toned deposits are degraded, irregular and cliff-forming.

Dunes visible below the cliff, give the impression of an ocean surface, complete with foam capped waves crashing against the “shore line,” demonstrating the abstract similarity between the nature of a turbulent ocean and a Martian dune field…. [More at link]

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Curiosity: Rough road to the ridge

1726-navcam-fullSol 1726, June 14, 2017. Nine Navcam images detail the southern skyline — and the rough terrain ahead — as Curiosity drives toward Vera Rubin Ridge. Click image (3.7 MB) to enlarge it.

Sol 1726 raw images (from all cameras), and Curiosity’s latest location.

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THEMIS: Rock glaciers and ice in Deuteronilus

Ice-ringed mesas in Deuteronilus (THEMIS_IOTD_20170615)THEMIS Image of the Day, June 15, 2017. Do you see what I see? Looks like the letter L, or maybe someone sitting down. (THEMIS Art #126)

More THEMIS Images of the Day by geological topic.

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Curiosity update: Little bit of everything

NLB_550725553EDR_F0640000NCAM00375M_-br2Sol 1727, June 14, 2017, update by MSL scientist Rachel Kronyak: After a successful drive, our parking spot included a nice patch of Murray bedrock to allow us to perform contact science (MAHLI and APXS) in today’s plan. Our target for contact science is “Jones Marsh,” a dark patch of the Murray that you can see just above the rightmost corner of Curiosity’s mast shadow in the Navcam image. The GEO group also planned a suite of observations of Vera Rubin Ridge (VRR), which we’re making great progress towards. Mastcam will perform a multispectral observation on “Freeman Ridge,” a small butte just in front of VRR that shows interesting color variations. ChemCam will then take a mosaic of VRR using its Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) to complement the Mastcam mosaic we took in yesterday’s plan. We will take an additional Mastcam mosaic of “Spaulding Mountain,” an area of exposed Murray formation blocks along our drive path. [More at link]

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HiRISE: Faults in Melas Chasma

tumblr_oq7i0sIFVF1rlz4gso2_1280Faults in Melas Chasma. Beautiful Mars series.

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Curiosity: Ridge on the skyline

1726-navcamSol 1726, June 14, 2017. Four Navcam frames shoot the southern skyline as seen from the approach to Vera Rubin Ridge. Click to enlarge it.

Sol 1726 raw images (from all cameras), and Curiosity’s latest location.

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