Tag Archives | JPL

A year of Curiosity

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Curiosity view of Mars

One year ago, after “seven minutes of terror“, Nasa’s Mars Science Laboratory, the 900kg rover Curiosity, landed safely on the Red Planet and was soon taking a look around.   [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems]  Full image and caption here. This scene combines seven images from the telephoto-lens camera on the right side of the Mast Camera more…

“There’s no place like home…”

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Cassini image of Earth in Saturn's rings

I didn’t ‘Wave at Saturn’ on 19 July when the Cassini probe, orbiting the gas giant, was taking a high-definition image of the view back home.  I don’t think it encouraged a proper sense of perspective…  But the resultant image is stunning. [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute] It’s not the first time Cassini has looked home.  Nor more…

“A major difference between the hurricanes is that the one on Saturn is much bigger…”

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Cassini - Saturn north pole The Rose

As I mentioned previously, Saturn doesn’t get the love some of our other gas giants do.  [All hail our friend and lord, Jupiter!  Keeping Ogdy at bay… - Ed]  Indeed… [new link]  But, with the help of Cassini, Saturn does provide some wondrous images.   In some of its first sunlit images of Saturn’s north pole, Cassini has looked inside more…

“comets are like cats: they have tails, and do whatever they want to do”

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Comet C/2012 S1 Oct04 2012

In the BBC’s science news preview of 2013, reporter Jason Palmer highlights a couple of astronomical events worth keeping an eye out for. In mid-February we will get another reminder we live in a (potentially) violent cosmos – asteroid 2012 DA14 will make a harmless but attention-grabbing pass near the Earth, at a distance just a tenth more…

“Thrust is engaged, and we are now climbing away from Vesta atop a blue-green pillar of xenon ions”

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Dawn image of Vesta 17 July 2011

Having arrived at the 530km-wide giant asteroid Vesta in July 2011, in May this year Nasa’s Dawn Mission scientists published some of their findings.  Now Dawn’s ready to head out on the next leg of its journey – Destination [the even larger protoplanet (dwarf planet)] Ceres, ETA 2015. From the JPL press release “Thrust is engaged, and we are now more…

“This is an area on Mount Sharp where Curiosity will go”

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Curiosity on Mars: Mount Sharp geology

More wondrous images from Nasa’s mobile Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), the 900kg rover Curiosity, now safely on the Martian surface in Gale Crater.  And it’s only warming up its instruments.  Here’s a panaroma of the landing site and the prime mission target, Mount Sharp. Focusing in on Mount Sharp… [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS] But the images that have more…

Curiosity drops in on Mars – in Hi-res

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Nasa’s mobile Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), the 900kg rover Curiosity, may have started roving on the surface of Mars, but there’s still room for more stunning video of its descent. In high-resolution.  Audio from mission control can also be heard, counting down the critical events.  Video from JPL News This movie from NASA’s Curiosity rover more…

“Curiosity will soon have a different patch of ground beneath it.”

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Curiosity wheel tracks at Bradbury Landing

Nasa’s mobile Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), the 900kg rover Curiosity, may have damaged one of two sets of wind sensors in its Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) during its dramatic landing on Mars, but it will still be providing daily weather reports from the Red Planet. And, as a JPL/Nasa press release noted yesterday – with moving images more…

Curiosity: “This is a very low-resolution panorama”

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Curiosity 360 Colour Panorama Gale Crater

Having survived the seven minutes of terror, and landed successfully at Gale Crater, earlier this week Nasa’s mobile Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), the 900kg rover Curiosity, lifted its 2m high camera mast.  And took a look at itself.  [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech] Then it took a look at its new surroundings.  In colour. [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS] JPL have more…

“Vesta is special”

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Dawn image of Vesta 17 July 2011

Having arrived at the 530km-wide giant asteroid Vesta in July last year, Nasa’s Dawn Mission scientists have published some of their findings in Science magazine.  As the BBC’s spaceman, Jonathan Amos, notes They confirm that Vesta has a layered interior with a metal-rich core, just as Earth, Mars, Venus and Mercury do. Using information about more…

The Serpent Dust Devil of Mars

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The Serpent Dust Devil of Mars

  [We're not in Kansas anymore! - Ed]  Indeed.  Here’s a great little video from JPLNews on the 800m-tall dust devil they spotted on Mars in this wondrous image acquired, on Feb 16 2012, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona]

“Opportunity on Mars – 8 years and counting!”

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Opportunity's Eighth Anniversary View From 'Greeley Haven'

Nasa’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity landed in Eagle Crater on Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, Universal Time, three weeks after its rover twin, Spirit, had landed halfway around the planet.  Opportunity completed its three-month prime mission in April that year, everything else has been bonus, extended missions.  Spirit is no longer with us.  But Opportunity carries more…

Sleigh Ride over the Red Planet

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A short seasonal diversion from JPLnews, using images of the real landscapes of Mars taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.  

Curiosity heads to Mars

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Nasa’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) successfully launched from the Kennedy Space Centre earlier today on an Atlas 5 rocket at the start of its eight and a half month journey to Mars.  With its massive 900kg rover, Curiosity, it’s being billed as “the biggest and best Mars mission yet.” Mike Meyer is the lead scientist on Nasa’s Mars exploration effort: more…

Chaos on Europa

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Europa pictured by Nasa's Galileo probe

And that could be a good thing. [Image credit: Nasa/JPL. Image reprocessed by Ted Stryk].  As a BBC report notes, Nasa scientists have published their latest thinking on the chaos terrains of Jovian satellite Europa. [All hail our friend and lord, Jupiter! - Ed] *ahem*.  It suggests that the “chaos terrains form above liquid water lenses perched more…

“this is probably the biggest known asteroid to have come this close.”

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Asteroid 2011MD path with Moon orbit

As spotted by SpaceWeather.  At about 1700 UT (6pm BST) today Asteroid 2011MD will fly past only 12,300 kilometers (7,600 miles) above the Earth’s surface.  [Image credit NASA/JPL] As the diagram shows, that’s close enough to be affected by Earth’s gravity. This small asteroid, only 5-20 meters in diameter, is in a very Earth-like orbit about the more…

Blue sunset on Mars

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Using a clip from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, which NASAtelevision has online, here’s a short seasonal treat from JPLnews.  Accelerating about 17 minutes of sunset on Nov. 4 and 5, 2010, into a 30 second simulation it’s the longest sunset movie from Mars ever produced.  There’s also a clip of Phobos partially eclipsing the more…

Comet Hartley 2 Flyby – “Just spectacular”

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Comet Hartley2

Here’s a wondrous short video of the recent flyby of Comet Hartley 2 by the Nasa/JPL EPOXI Mission using 40 images taken from Deep Impact’s Medium-Resolution Instrument during the encounter. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD/Brown University. And the EPOXI Mission scientists present their preliminary findings at a press conference.  Video via NASAtelevision.