Mars Update

The planet-wide dust storm (image on right) has cleared. Here’s an update on humanity’s active missions to the Red Planet.

About to make headlines in next 30 days


Update, November 8, 2018:

Active spacecraft on or around Mars

Per Wikipedia:

  1. Mars Odyssey (NASA); also keeps Earth in touch with the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers
  2. Mars Express (ESA)
  3. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (NASA)
  4. Curiosity rover (NASA); currently has a glitch. Update:

  5. Mangalyaan; Mars Orbiter Mission (ISRO)
  6. MAVEN

In need of a Matt Daimon-style rescue mission

Opportunity rover (NASA).

Remember how H. G. Wells began his novel The War of the Worlds?

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

Well, no one in the 19th or early 20th century would have believed that soon we would know what the view of Earth from Mars actually looks like!

Somehow, that doesn’t make me feel transient at all. But my mind is boggled!

Featured image: NASA


Guest Reblog: The Face of Mars Rover “Opportunity”

Everybody knows about the Curiosity rover’s “selfie.” But that wasn’t the first Mars rover.

Amazingly, some of the older ones continued exploring the Red Planet long after their mission time was expected to expire. And recently, five thousand Martian days (“sols”) after arriving, one of them took a selfie.

Lookin’ great, Opportunity!

Featured image is by NASA. (I cropped it a little bit.)

They made up this montage in 2010, when Opportunity was a newcomer and 12 miles of Martian travel was considered a huge success. Exploration has gone much farther, in various parts of Mars, since then.

Below is a reblog I really like from Jason Major’s excellent Lights In The Dark blog on space exploration.

It’s finally happened—after over 14 years on Mars (14!!!) NASA’s Opportunity rover has turned its arm-mounted camera around to take a look at itself, giving us the very first true “selfie” of the Mars Exploration Rover mission! Hello Opportunity!

via After 5,000 Sols We See the Face of Opportunity — Lights in the Dark

Mars Pictures

This weeks marks the one-year anniversary, Martian time (687 Earth days), of the Curiosity Mars rover’s landing on the Red Planet.

I was going to do a post about Mars today, but it has been difficult to pin down the most up-to-date knowledge. That will have to wait until next week.

For now, let’s look at some of the images that spacecraft and rovers have sent back from Mars. These are all from NASA…and one of ’em could be interpreted as dirty.

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