1. dvdp:

    Greeley Haven Mars
    This full-circle scene
    combines 817 images taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. It shows the terrain that surrounded the rover while it was stationary for four months of work during its most recent Martian winter. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.

    (via itsfullofstars)

     

  2. One of those fake/simulated images of the Martian surfaces made the rounds again this morning.

    This one, however, is real and is the first photo from the surface of a solar object beyond the Moon to contain Earth.

    Earth From Mars

    This is the first image ever taken of Earth from the surface of a planet beyond the Moon. It was taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit one hour before sunrise on the 63rd Martian day, or sol, of its mission. (March 8, 2004)

    The image is a mosaic of images taken by the rover’s navigation camera showing a broad view of the sky, and an image taken by the rover’s panoramic camera of Earth. The contrast in the panoramic camera image was increased two times to make Earth easier to see.The inset shows a combination of four panoramic camera images zoomed in on Earth. The arrow points to Earth. Earth was too faint to be detected in images taken with the panoramic camera’s color filters.

    Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/Texas A&M

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation’s largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

     

  3. shortformblog:

    What the descent was like: Here’s a clip of the Curiosity Rover on its final descent to Mars. It’s a big of a sneak-peek — the hi-res stuff won’t come until later, but the low-res stuff should appease you dudes for now.

     

  4. Dusty Mars Rover’s Self Portrait

    This self portrait from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows dust accumulation on the rover’s solar panels as the mission approached its fifth Martian winter. The dust reduces the rover’s power supply, and the rover’s mobility is limited until the winter is over or wind cleans the panels.

    This is a mosaic of images taken by Opportunity’s panoramic camera (Pancam) during the 2,111th to 2,814th Martian days, or sols, of the rover’s mission (Dec. 21 to Dec. 24, 2011). The downward-looking view omits the mast on which the camera is mounted.

    The portrait is presented in approximate true color, the camera team’s best estimate of what the scene would look like if humans were there and able to see it with their own eyes.

    Opportunity has worked through four Martian southern hemisphere winters since it landed in in January 2004 about 14 miles (23 kilometers) northwest of its current location. Closer to the equator than its twin rover, Spirit, Opportunity has not needed to stay on a sun-facing slope during the previous winters. Now, however, Opportunity’s solar panels carry a thicker coating of dust, and the team is using a strategy employed for three winters with Spirit: staying on a sun-facing slope. The sun will pass relatively low in the northern sky from the rover’s perspective for several months of shortened daylight before and after the southern Mars winter solstice on March 30, 2012. Opportunity is conducting research while located on the north-facing slope of a site called “Greeley Haven.” 

    Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.

     

  5. munq:

    Mars via Spirit

    (via fuckyeahspacedotcom)

     

  6. CBS:

    Rover reaches Martian crater destination - finally

    NASA’s surviving Mars rover has made it to the rim of Endeavour crater after a nearly three-year trek across the surface of the red planet.

    The space agency said in a statement that the six-wheel Opportunity rover signaled Tuesday that it had arrived at a location on the rim that’s been named Spirit Point in honor of Opportunity’s twin, the rover Spirit that fell silent last year.

    Endeavour crater is 14 miles (23 kilometers) in diameter and is expected to give Opportunity a chance to examine rocks and terrain that are much older than any previously studied by the rover

    Opportunity and Spirit landed on Mars in 2004 in search of geologic evidence that the cold and dusty planet was once warmer and wet. Efforts to regain contact with Spirit ended earlier this year.

     

  7. AP:

    Months after the death of the Mars rover Spirit, its surviving twin is poised to reach the rim of a vast crater to begin a fresh round of exploration.

    Driving commands sent up to Opportunity directed the six-wheel rover to make the final push toward Endeavour crater, a 14-mile-wide depression near theMartian equator that likely could be its final destination.

    At its current pace and barring any hiccups, Opportunity should roll up to the crater’s edge on Tuesday. The finish line was a spot along a ridge that the rover team nicknamed “Spirit Point” in honor of Opportunity’s lost twin.

    "I’m totally pumped. We’ve been driving for so long," said Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis who is part of the team.

    The milestone injects a sense of adventure back into a mission that wowed the public with color portraits of the landscape and the unmistakable geologic discoveries of a warm and wetter past.

    The NASA rovers parachuted to opposite sides of Mars in 2004 for what was a planned three-month mission, but both have operated beyond their factory warranty.

    Spirit’s journey ended in May after NASA ceased trying to contact it. It had been trapped in sand and unheard from for more than a year.

    Opportunity has been on a driving spree since 2008 after it crawled out of a much smaller crater and trundled south toward Endeavour, stopping occasionally to sightsee and examine rock outcrops.

    Unlike the early days of the mission when the public tracked Opportunity’s every move, the march to Endeavour has been largely low-key.

    In early 2009, Opportunity caught its first peek of the uplifted rim on the horizon. At the time, scientists were unsure if the rover would make it all the way.

    The roughly seven-mile journey took longer than the estimated two years to fulfill. Opportunity, driving backward to prevent its right front wheel from wearing out, could not travel as the crow flies because of dangerous obstacles. So it took a circuitous route and ended up driving twice the distance.

    Project manager John Callas of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Endeavour crater is arguably the most important science target since landing.

    Opportunity, which logged more than 20 miles since landing, will spend several months imaging the rim and interior, which has been partially filled in by rocks and sediments.

    There are no plans to drive across the crater for fear of getting stuck, Callas said. Instead, it will traverse south along the rim in search of clay minerals thought to form under wet conditions.

    While these clay minerals have been extensively studied by orbiting spacecraft, Opportunity will be the first to examine them on the ground.

    "We will likely spend years at this location," Callas said. "What a destination. It’s not just one spot. There’s kilometers of interesting geology to explore."

     

  8. davidctubbs:

    NASA, Martian Sunset, Mars Exploration Rover: Spirit, May 2005.

    (Source: pneumatica)

     

  9. Mars Rover Curiosity, Front View

    This photograph of the NASA Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, was taken during mobility testing on June 3, 2011. The location is inside the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

    Preparations are on track for shipping the rover to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in June and for launch during the period Nov. 25 to Dec. 18, 2011.

    JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory mission for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. This mission will land Curiosity on Mars in August 2012. Researchers will use the tools on the rover to study whether the landing region has had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and favorable for preserving clues about whether life existed.

    Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech