Preview to Mars Science Laboratory [video]

•July 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This is my first post in a long time. When I last wrote, the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory mission seemed like an eternity away. But now we’re getting closer and the spark of excitement is about to reignite.

Check out this impressive 11-minute animation, just released, depicting key events of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission, which will launch in late 2011 and land a rover, Curiosity, on Mars in August 2012.

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Widespread Water Ice Under Martian Soil

•October 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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New findings of ice under Martian soil at suggest the Viking Lander 2, digging into mid-latitude Mars in 1976, might have struck ice if it had dug 10 centimeters (4 inches) deeper.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed frozen water hiding just below the surface of mid-latitude Mars. The spacecraft’s observations were obtained from orbit after meteorites excavated fresh craters on the Red Planet.

Scientists controlling instruments on the orbiter found bright ice exposed at five Martian sites with new craters that range in depth from approximately half a meter to 2.5 meters (1.5 feet to 8 feet). The craters did not exist in earlier images of the same sites. Some of the craters show a thin layer of bright ice atop darker underlying material. The bright patches darkened in the weeks following initial observations, as the freshly exposed ice vaporized into the thin Martian atmosphere. One of the new craters had a bright patch of material large enough for one of the orbiter’s instruments to confirm it is water-ice.

The finds indicate water-ice occurs beneath Mars’ surface halfway between the north pole and the equator, a lower latitude than expected in the Martian climate.

“This ice is a relic of a more humid climate from perhaps just several thousand years ago,” said Shane Byrne of the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Read the full press release –>

Mars in Google Earth

•March 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Navigate Mars in 3D with Google Earth

•February 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’m actually surprised there hasn’t been more buzz surrounding this. Google Earth released version 5.0 of its software a couple of weeks ago, allowing users to now navigate the Earth’s oceans. But it also added a 3D version of Mars which you can navigate.

Spirit and Opportunity Reach Five Year Mark on Mars

•December 27, 2008 • Leave a Comment

In January, JPL will celebrate the fifth anniversary of Spirit and Opportunity landing on Mars, and the twin rovers will continue with their newest adventures.

Charles Elachi on the Mars Rovers

•November 23, 2008 • Leave a Comment

At Serious Play 2008, Charles Elachi shares stories from NASA’s legendary Jet Propulsion Lab — including tales and video from the Mars Rover project.

Charles Elachi is the director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he oversees space exploration programs such as the Mars Rovers.

Introducing Mars Science Laboratory

•November 16, 2008 • 4 Comments

As the Phoenix Lander mission on Mars draws to a close, I thought it would be fitting to shine light on NASA’s next ambitious journey to the planet: Mars Science Laboratory. The exact launch date has not yet been set, but it will likely be in September or October 2009.

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Mars Science Laboratory fact sheet (pdf)