Sunday, August 25, 2013

NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity begins extended exploration on trip to Mount Sharp

NASA’s rover Curiosity begins extended exploration on Mars

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover is beginning a long-awaited, 5-mile-long journey across the terrain of the red planet to begin exploring a rocky area known as Mount Sharp, 11 months after the rover arrived on the planet's surface, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “With drives on July 4 and July 7, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has departed its last science target in the 'Glenelg' area and commenced a many-month overland journey to the base of the mission's main destination, Mount Sharp,” NASA reported in a July 8 announcement.

Curiosity has already checked off its main mission goal, finding that a site called Yellowknife Bay was indeed habitable billions of years ago. The car-size rover — which is nuclear- rather than solar-powered — has embarked on a months-long trek to the base of a 3.4-mile-high (5.5 km) mountain called Mount Sharp.

NASA's long-lived Opportunity Mars rover has reached the site where it will wait out its sixth Red Planet winter.

Opportunity — which touched down on Mars in January 2004 just after its twin, Spirit, arrived on the planet — is studying rocks at the foot of a location called Solander Point, whose north-facing slope will allow the robot to tilt its solar panels toward the sun during the coming southern Martian winter.

"We made it," Opportunity project scientist Matt Golombek, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement. "The drives went well, and Opportunity is right next to Solander Point. We know we could be on that north-facing slope with a one-day drive, but we don't need to go there yet.

The days are getting shorter in Mars' southern hemisphere, and the amount of sunlight available to the solar-powered Opportunity will reach a minimum in mid-February 2014 (the southern winter solstice occurs on Feb. 14).

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Still Rocking and Rolling afer ONE YEAR on Mars! :Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California can still produce a pretty compelling movie

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)uploaded a video that shows what the past year has been like for the Curiosity rover in under 2 minutes. Black and white video of dirt being drilled and analyzed might not be interesting to many; however, Curiosity is slowly traveling towards the planet's own Mount Sharpe, yet the landscape looks like many of the deserts on Earth. It's rocky, barren, and bathed in a bright and expansive sky. Watch the video here with a heavy Rock and Roll sound track... and it might take your breath away. ( version with music)