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2013-09-16
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For at least a couple of days, the science team of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is focused on a full-bore science campaign at a tantalizing, rocky site informally called "Darwin."

Curiosity arrived in the vicinity of Darwin last week after its longest drive yet. The rover rolled closer to Darwin in recent days to lay its "contact science" instruments on the bedrock itself for in-depth mineral and chemical composition analysis.

Darwin and other rocks in the area first...


 
2013-08-29
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Images taken with a telephoto-lens camera on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity catch the larger of Mars' two moons, Phobos, passing directly in front of the sun -- the sharpest images of a solar eclipse ever taken at Mars.

Phobos does not fully cover the sun, as seen from the surface of Mars, so the solar eclipse is what's called a ring, or annular, type. A set of three frames from Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam), taken three seconds apart as Phobos eclipsed the sun, is at


 
2013-08-28
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The Curiosity rover has used autonomous navigation for the first time, a capability that lets the rover decide for itself how to drive safely on Mars.

This latest addition to Curiosity's array of capabilities will help the rover cover the remaining ground en route to Mount Sharp, where geological layers hold information about environmental changes on ancient Mars. The capability uses software that engineers adapted to this larger and more complex vehicle from a similar capability...


 
2013-08-19
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The larger of the two moons of Mars, Phobos, passes directly in front of the other, Deimos, in a new series of sky-watching images from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity.

A video clip assembled from the images is at http://youtu.be/DaVSCmuOJwI .

Large craters on Phobos are clearly visible in these images from the surface of Mars. No previous images from missions on the surface caught one moon eclipsing the other.

The telephoto-lens...


 
2013-08-08

Where were you when Curiosity landed? It's a hot topic of discussion in the hallways of JPL and on social media this week, as people remember the dramatic, tension-filled landing of NASA's Curiosity rover and its Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft on Aug. 5, 2012 PDT (Aug. 6, 2012 EDT).

Millions of people around the world were glued to TV sets and mobile devices during the white-knuckle landing. The man who led the team that designed and tested the unprecedented sky-crane landing...


 

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