Curiosty in the News
Curiosity Tracks Sunspots: Curiosity is monitoring sunspots on the side of the sun facing away from Earth, during weeks when sun-monitoring spacecraft can't provide that information.
Curiosity Studies Rock-Layer Contact Zone: At the rover's current location near "Marias Pass" on Mount Sharp, Curiosity has found a zone where different types of bedrock neighbor each other. One is pale mudstone, like bedrock the mission examined previously at "Pahump Hills." Another is the "Stimson unit" a darker, finely bedded sandstone above the Pahrump-like mudstone.
Mars Conjunction: The teams running NASA's three active Mars orbiters and two Mars rovers will refrain from sending commands to their spacecraft from about June 7 to June 21, 2015. During that period, the sun will be within two degrees of Mars in Earth's sky and radio communications with the orbiters and rovers will be impaired.
Curiosity's Laser-zapping Instrument Gets Sharper Vision: Tests have confirmed success of a repair to the autonomous focusing capability of the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on Curiosity. This instrument provides information about the chemical composition of targets by zapping them with laser pulses and taking spectrometer readings of the induced sparks.
Curiosity Adjusts Route Up Martian Mountain: Curiosity has just climbed a hill on slopes as steep as 21 degrees to approach an alternative site for investigating a geological boundary, after a comparable site proved hard to reach.
Curiosity Views Serene Sundown on Mars: Curiosity used its Mast Camera (Mastcam) to record the sunset during an evening of skywatching. The sunset observations help researchers assess the vertical distribution of dust in the atmosphere.
Quick Detour by Curiosity Checks Ancient Valley: Curiosity made observations and measurements there to address questions about how the channel formed and filled. Curiosity then resumed driving up Mount Sharp, where the mission is studying the rock layers.
Curiosity Making Tracks and Observations: Curiosity is approaching a new geological formation with high-standing buttes called the Washboard unit, and has surpassed 10 kilometers in total distance driven on Mars.
Curiosity's Weather Data Bolster Case for Brine: Martian weather and soil conditions that Curiosity has measured, together with perchlorate detected by Curiosity and previously by the Phoenix lander in Martian soil, could put liquid brine in the soil at night.
Curiosity Eyes Prominent Mineral Veins on Mars: Two-tone mineral veins at a site Curiosity has reached by climbing a layered Martian mountain offer clues about multiple episodes of fluid movement. These episodes occurred later than the wet environmental conditions that formed lake-bed deposits the rover examined at the mountain's base.
Use of Rover Arm Expected to Resume: Mission managers expect to approve resumption of rover arm movements while continuing analysis of what appears to be an intermittent short circuit in the drill.
Testing to Diagnose Power Event in Curiosity: Curiosity is expected to remain stationary for several days of engineering analysis following an onboard fault-protection action that halted a process of transferring sample material between devices on the rover's robotic arm.
Curiosity Drills at Telegraph Peak: Curiosity used its drill to collect sample powder from inside a rock target called "Telegraph Peak", an exposure of bedrock that forms the basal layer of Mount Sharp that is expected to hold records of how ancient wet environments on Mars evolved into drier environments.
Latest Selfie from Curiosity Shows Wide Context: A sweeping view of the "Pahrump Hills" outcrop on Mars, where NASA's Curiosity rover has been working for five months, surrounds Curiosity in the rover's latest self-portrait.
Curiosity Analyzing Sample of Martian Mountain: The second bite of a Martian mountain taken by Curiosity hints at long-ago effects of water that was more acidic than any evidenced in the rover's first taste of Mount Sharp, a layered rock record of ancient Martian environments. Curiosity used a new, low-percussion-level drilling technique to collect sample powder from a rock target called "Mojave 2."
Mars Orbiter Spies Curiosity Rover at Work: An image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captures Curiosity on its walkabout examination of the "Pahrump Hills" outcrop.
Crystal-Rich Rock 'Mojave' is Next Mars Drill Target: This target, called "Mojave," displays copious slender features, slightly smaller than grains of rice, that appear to be mineral crystals. The features might be a salt mineral left behind when lakewater evaporated.
Curiosity Finds Active and Ancient Organic Chemistry on Mars: Curiosity has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory's drill. This temporary increase in methane - sharply up and then back down - indicates there must be some relatively localized source.
Second Time Through, Curiosity Examines Chosen Rocks: Curiosity has completed a reconnaissance "walkabout" of the first outcrop it reached at the base of Mount Sharp and has begun a second pass examining selected rocks in the outcrop in more detail.
Curiosity Finds Mineral Match: Reddish rock powder from the first hole drilled into Mount Sharp by Curiosity has yielded the mission's first confirmation of hematite mapped from orbit. The sample is only partially oxidized, and preservation of magnetite and olivine indicates a gradient of oxidation levels which could have provided a chemical energy source for microbes.
Rover Drill Pulls First Taste From Mount Sharp: Curiosity has collected its first taste of the layered mountain whose scientific allure drew the mission to choose this part of Mars as a landing site. The rover's hammering drill chewed about 2.6 inches deep into a basal-layer outcrop on Mount Sharp and collected a powdered-rock sample.
Curiosity Arrives at Mount Sharp: Curiosity has reached the Red Planet's Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-size mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission's long-term prime destination. Curiosity is starting this process at an entry point near an outcrop called Pahrump Hills, rather than continuing on to the previously-planned, further entry point known as Murray Buttes.
Mars Rover Team Chooses Not to Drill 'Bonanza King': Evaluation of a pale, flat Martian rock as the potential next drilling target for Curiosity determined that the rock was not stable enough for safe drilling. The rock, called "Bonanza King," moved slightly during the mini-drill activity at an early stage of this test, when the percussion drill impacted the rock a few times to make an indentation.
Curiosity Prepares for Fourth Rock Drilling: The team operating Curiosity has chosen a rock that looks like a pale paving stone as the mission's fourth drilling target, if it passes engineers' evaluation. They call it "Bonanza King."
Two Years and Counting on Red Planet: During its first year of operations, Curiosity fulfilled its major science goal of determining whether Mars ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. During its second year, Curiosity has been driving toward long-term science destinations on lower slopes of Mount Sharp.
Curiosity Nears Mountain-Base Outcrop: As it approaches the second anniversary of its landing on Mars, Curiosity is also approaching its first close look at bedrock that is part of Mount Sharp, the layered mountain in the middle of Mars' Gale Crater.;
Images Show Laser Flash on Martian Rock: Flashes appear on a baseball-size Martian rock in a series of images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the arm of Curiosity. The flashes occurred while the rover's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument fired multiple laser shots to investigate the rock's composition.;
Curiosity Marks First Martian Year: Curiosity completed a Martian year - 687 Earth days - on June 24, 2014, having accomplished the mission's main goal of determining whether Mars once offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.
Curiosity Wrapping Up Waypoint Work: Portions of powdered rock collected by drilling into a sandstone target last week have been delivered to laboratory instruments inside Curiosity, and the rover will soon drive on toward its long-term destination on a mountain slope.
Curiosity Rover Drills Sandstone Slab on Mars: Portions of rock powder collected by the hammering drill on Curiosity from a slab of Martian sandstone will be delivered to the rover's internal instruments.
"Windjana" Looks Good for Drilling: Curiosity has used several tools to examine the candidate site including a wire-bristle brush - the Dust Removal Tool - to clear away dust from a patch on the rock.
Drill Here?: The team operating Curiosity Mars is telling the rover to use several tools to inspect a sandstone slab being evaluated as a possible drilling target. If this target meets criteria set by engineers and scientists, it could become the mission's third drilled rock, and the first that is not mudstone.
Curiosity Images Asteroids: A new image from Curiosity Mars rover is the first ever from the surface of Mars to show an asteroid, and it shows two: Ceres and Vesta.
Curiosity May Drill Martian Butte: Scientists are eyeing a rock layer surrounding the base of a small butte, called "Mount Remarkable," as a target for investigating with tools Curiosity's robotic arm. A site on this middle unit may become the third rock that Curiosity samples with its drill.
Images From Curiosity Include Bright Spots: Images taken by Curiosity Mars rover include bright spots, which are most probably due to the sun glinting off a rock or cosmic rays striking the camera's detector.
Curiosity Scoping Out Next Study Area: Curiosity has reached a vantage point for its cameras to survey four different types of rock intersecting in an area called "the Kimberley," after a region of western Australia. The mission's investigations at the Kimberley are planned as the most extensive since Curiosity spent the first half of 2013 in an area called Yellowknife Bay.
Curiosity's Next Stop Has Sandstone Variations: Variations in the stuff that cements grains together in sandstone have shaped the landscape surrounding Curiosity and could be a study topic at the mission's next science waypoint.
Curiosity Views Striated Ground: Curiosity has reached an area where orbital images had piqued researchers' interest in patches of ground with striations all oriented in a similar direction. A location still ahead, called "Kimberley," where researchers plan to suspend driving for a period of science investigations, also features ground with striations.
Curiosity Adds Reverse Driving for Wheel Protection: Curiosity has undertaken the mission's first long trek that used reverse driving, making its farthest one-day advance of any kind in more than three months. The reverse drive validated feasibility of a technique developed with testing on Earth to lessen damage to Curiosity's wheels when driving over terrain studded with sharp rocks.
Curiosity Drives On After Crossing Martian Dune: Curiosity is continuing its traverse toward enticing science destinations after climbing over a dune spanning a gap in a ridge.
Curiosity Crosses Dune: Curiosity has crossed a dune that stands across a gateway to a southwestward route favored by the rover team for driving to future science destinations.
Curiosity Views Possible Westerly Route: Curiosity has reached the edge of a dune at Dingo Gap and photographed the valley on the other side, to aid assessment of whether to cross the dune.
Curiosity Checking Possible Smoother Route: The team operating Curiosity is considering a path across a small sand dune to reach a favorable route to science destinations, skirting some terrain with sharp rocks considered more likely to poke holes in the rover's aluminum wheels.
Mars Orbiter Images Curiosity and Tracks in Gale Crater: An observation made last month by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows the Curiosity rover and its tracks on the Martian surface. The tracks show where the rover has zigzagged around obstacles on its route toward the lower slopes of Mount Sharp, its next major destination.
Curiosity Team Upgrades Software, Checks Wheel Wear: The team operating Mars rover Curiosity has completed its latest software upgrade and is next planning a check of wear and tear on the rover's wheels. Flight software Version 11 allows continued advances in the rover's capabilities, such as expanded capability for using the Curiosity's robotic arm while the vehicle is on slopes.
First Age Measurement and Human Exploration Help: In a little more than a year on the Red Planet, Curiosity has determined the age of a Martian rock, found evidence the planet could have sustained microbial life, taken the first readings of radiation on the surface, and shown how natural erosion could reveal the building blocks of life.
Laser Instrument on Curiosity Tops 100,000 Zaps: Since landing on Mars in August 2012, theCuriosity Mars rover has fired the laser on its Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument more than 100,000 times at rock and soil targets up to about 23 feet away.
Curiosity Resumes Science After Analysis of Voltage Issue: The likely cause is an internal short in Curiosity's power source, the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator. Due to resiliency in design, this short does not affect operation of the power source or the rover.
Curiosity Team Working to Diagnose Electrical Issue: Science observations by Curiosity have been suspended for a few days while engineers run tests to check possible causes of a voltage change detected on Nov. 17.
Curiosity Out of Safe Mode: Curiosity has successfully transitioned back into nominal surface operations mode. The operations team has determined and corrected the root cause of the software issue causing Curiosity to reboot.
Curiosity Performs Warm Reset: Curiosity experienced an unexpected software reboot about four-and-half hours after new flight software had been temporarily loaded into the rover's memory. This is the first time that Curiosity has executed a fault-related warm reset during its 16-plus months of Mars surface operations.
Curiosity Approaches 'Cooperstown': Curiosity has completed its first two-day autonomous drive, bringing the mobile laboratory to a good vantage point for pictures useful in selecting the next target the rover will reach out and touch.
Curiosity Confirms Mars Origin of Some Meteorites: Examination of the Martian atmosphere by the Curiosity Mars rover confirms that some meteorites that have dropped to Earth really are from the Red Planet. A key new measurement of the inert gas argon in Mars' atmosphere by Curiosity's laboratory provides the most definitive evidence yet of the origin of Mars meteorites.
Curiosity Inspects Pebbly Rocks In Martian Sandstone: Curiosity has resumed a trek of many months toward its mountain-slope destination, Mount Sharp. The rover used instruments on its arm to inspect pebbly sandstone deposited by water flowing over the surface, and veins or fractures in the rock, at its first waypoint along the route inside Gale Crater.
Curiosity Rover Detects No Methane On Mars: Data from Curiosity has revealed the Martian environment lacks methane. This is a surprise to researchers because previous data reported by U.S. and international scientists indicated positive detections.
Long Drive Puts Curiosity Near Planned Waypoint: Curiosity now has a view of a patch of exposed bedrock scientists selected for a few days of close-up study, the first such study since the rover began its long trek to Mount Sharp two months ago.
Curiosity Views Eclipse of Sun by Phobos: Images taken with a telephoto-lens camera on 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.
Curiosity Debuts Autonomous Navigation: Mars rover Curiosity 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.
Curiosity Captures Eclipse of Martian Moons: Curiosity has photographed an eclipse of Deimos by Phobos in a new series of sky-watching images taken from the surface of Mars.
Curiosity Gleams In View From Orbiter: An image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows Curiosity and the wheel tracks from its landing site to the "Glenelg" area where the rover worked for the first half of 2013.
Curiosity Makes Its Longest Yet One-Day Drive On Mars: Curiosity drove twice as far as on any other day of the mission so far: 109.7 yards. In weeks to come, the rover team plans to begin using "autonav" capability for the rover to autonomously navigate a path for itself, which could make such long drives more frequent.
Papers Detail Curiosity's Evidence To Past Martian Atmosphere: A pair of new papers report measurements of the Martian atmosphere's composition by Curiosity, providing evidence about the loss of much of Mars' original atmosphere.
Curiosity Passes First Kilometer Of Driving: The latest drive by Curiosity Mars brought the total distance that the rover has driven on Mars to more than 1 kilometer, contining progress in the rover's multi-month trek toward Mount Sharp.
Curiosity Begins Trek Towards Mount Sharp: After finishing its close-up investigation of a target sedimentary outcrop called "Shaler", 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.
1.3 Billion-Pixel View Of Mars From Curiosity: A billion-pixel view from the Rocknest site, assembled from nearly 900 photographs taken by Curiosity's cameras, offers armchair explorers a way to examine the landscape along the rover's route in astounding detail.
Curiosity Nears Turning Point: Curiosity is finishing investigations in an area smaller than a football field where it has been working for six months, and it will soon shift to a distance-driving mode headed for an area about 5 miles away, at the base of Mount Sharp.
Pebbly Rocks Testify To Old Streambed On Mars: The rocks are the first ever found on Mars that contain streambed gravels. The sizes and shapes of the gravels embedded in these conglomerate rocks - from the size of sand particles to the size of golf balls - enabled researchers to calculate the depth and speed of the water that once flowed at this location.
Mars Trip Beyond Astronauts' Radiation Limits: Radiation levels measured by the Mars Curiosity rover while in flight reveal that astronauts would exceed exposure limits during a round trip mission to Mars.
Curisoity Drills Second Rock: Curiosity has used the drill on its robotic arm to collect a powdered sample from the interior of a rock called "Cumberland". The hole that Curiosity drilled into Cumberland is about 0.6 inch in diameter and about 2.6 inches deep.
Second Drilling Target Selected: The team operating Curiosity has selected a second target rock for drilling and sampling, a concretion bearing rock named "Cumberland". Curiosity will set course to the drilling location in coming days.
Remaining Martian Atmosphere Still Dynamic: Mars has lost much of its original atmosphere, but recent findings from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity indicate what's left remains quite active.
Curiosity's Parachute Flaps In Martian Wind: A sequence of photos from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show how the parachute that helped Curiosity land on Mars last summer has subsequently changed its shape on the ground.
Curiosity Resumes Science Investigations: Curiosity has resumed science investigations after recovery from a computer glitch that prompted the engineers to switch the rover to a redundant main computer.
Sun in the Way Will Affect Mars Missions In April: The positions of the planets next month will mean diminished communications between Earth and NASA's spacecraft at Mars. Mars will be passing almost directly behind the sun, from Earth's perspective.
Curiosity Exits "Safe Mode": Curiosity has returned to active status and is on track to resume science investigations, following two days in a precautionary standby status, "safe mode." Next steps will include checking the rover's active computer, the B-side computer, by commanding a preliminary free-space move of the arm.
Curiosity Initiates "Safe Mode": The safe-mode entry was autonomously triggered when a command file failed a size-check by the rover's protective software. Engineers subsequently diagnosed a software bug that appended an unrelated file to the file being checked, causing the size mismatch.
Curiosity Sees Trend In Water Presence: Using infrared-imaging capability of a camera on the rover and an instrument that shoots neutrons into the ground to probe for hydrogen, Curiosity has found evidence of water-bearing minerals in rocks near where it had already found clay minerals inside a drilled rock.
Panorama From Curiosity Details Mount Sharp: Rising above the present location of Mars rover Curiosity, higher than any mountain in the 48 contiguous states of the United States, Mount Sharp is featured in new imagery from the rover. A pair of mosaics assembled from dozens of telephoto images shows Mount Sharp in dramatic detail.
Curiosity's Recovery Moving Forward: Curiosity continues to move forward with assessment and recovery from a memory glitch that affected the rover's A-side computer. Curiosity has two computers that are redundant of one another. The rover is currently operating using the B-side computer, which is operating as expected.
Curiosity's Recovery on Track: Curiosity has transitioned from precautionary "safe mode" to active status on the path of recovery from a memory glitch.
Computer Swap on Curiosity Rover: The ground team for Mars rover Curiosity has switched the rover to a redundant onboard computer in response to a memory issue on the computer that had been active.
Robot Geologist on Mars Makes History: One small scoop full of powdered rock, one giant step forward for exogeology.
Lab Instruments Inside Curiosity Eat Mars Rock Powder: Two compact laboratories inside NASA's Mars rover Curiosity have ingested portions of the first sample of rock powder ever collected from the interior of a rock on Mars. The rover's Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments have received and begun analyzing the powder.
Curiosity Confirms First Drilled Mars Rock Sample: Curiosity has relayed new images that confirm it has successfully obtained the first sample ever collected from the interior of a rock on another planet. No other rover has ever drilled into a rock beyond Earth and collected a sample from its interior.
Curiosity Collects First Martian Bedrock Sample: Curiosity has, for the first time, used a drill carried at the end of its robotic arm to bore into a flat, veiny rock on Mars and collect a sample from its interior. This is the first time any robot has drilled into a rock to collect a sample on Mars.
Preparatory Drill Test Performed on Mars: The drill on Curiosity used both percussion and rotation to bore about 0.8 inch into a rock on Mars and generate cuttings for evaluation in advance of the rover's first sample-collection drilling.
Curiosity Tests Action of Its Rock Drill: The bit of the rock-sampling drill on Curiosity left its mark on a Martian rock this during brief testing of the tool's percussive action.
Curiosity Maneuver Prepares for Drilling: Curiosity has placed its drill onto a series of four locations on a Martian rock and pressed down on it with the rover's arm, in preparation for using the drill in coming days.
Curiosity Uses Arm Camera At Night: Curiosity has for the first time used the camera on its arm to take photos at night, illuminated by white lights and ultraviolet lights on the instrument.
Curiosity Preparing To Drill Into First Martian Rock: Curiosity is driving toward a flat rock with pale veins that may hold clues to a wet history on the Red Planet. If the rock meets rover engineers' approval when Curiosity rolls up to it in coming days, it will become the first to be drilled for a sample during the Mars Science Laboratory mission.
Curiosity Makes First Use Of Its Brush: Nearing the end of a series of first-time uses of the rover's tools, the mission has cleared dust away from a targeted patch on a flat Martian rock using the Dust Removal Tool. The tool is a motorized, wire-bristle brush designed to prepare selected rock surfaces for enhanced inspection by the rover's science instruments
Curiosity Rover Explores Yellowknife Bay: Curiosity is driving within a shallow depression called "Yellowknife Bay," providing information to help researchers choose a rock to drill. Using Curiosity's percussive drill to collect a sample from the interior of a rock, a feat never before attempted on Mars, is the mission's priority for early 2013.
Curiosity Nearing Yellowknife Bay: Curiosity is approaching a step down into a slightly lower area called "Yellowknife Bay," where researchers intend to choose a rock to drill.
Simple Organic Compounds Detected by Curiosity on Mars: Curiosity has detected evidence of simple, chlorinated organic compounds in soil on Mars for the first time. Mission scientists characterized the finding as very exciting, but stressed that the results do not provide definitive evidence of past or present life on Mars.
Orbiter Spies Where Curiosity's Cruise Stage Hit Mars: Cameras on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have imaged impact scars where the tungsten blocks and the broken-apart cruise stage hit about 50 miles west of where Curiosity landed. Study of this impact field will provide baseline information on impact processes and Mars surface and atmospheric properties.
Curiosity Fully Analyzes First Martian Soil Samples: Curiosity has used its full array of instruments to analyze Martian soil for the first time, and found a complex chemistry within the Martian soil. Water and sulfur and chlorine-containing substances, among other ingredients, showed up in samples Curiosity's arm delivered to an analytical laboratory inside the rover.
Spacecraft Monitoring Martian Dust Storm: A Martian dust storm that NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been tracking since last week has also produced atmospheric changes detectable by rovers on Mars. Sensors on Curiosity's Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS), have measured decreased air pressure and a slight rise in overnight low temperature.
Curiosity Preparing For Thanksgiving Activities: Curiosity completed a touch-and-go inspection of one rock, then pivoted and, on the same day, drove toward a Thanksgiving overlook location. This same day touch-and-go was Curiosity's first.
Curiosity Providing New Weather And Radiation Data About Mars: Observations of wind patterns and natural radiation patterns on Mars by theCuriosity rover are helping scientists better understand the environment on the Red Planet's surface.
Curiosity's 'SAM' Lab Instrument Suite Tastes Soil: A pinch of fine sand and dust became the first solid Martian sample deposited into the biggest instrument on Mars rover Curiosity: the Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM. During the following two days, SAM used mass spectrometry, gas chromatography and laser spectrometry to analyze the sample.
Curiosity Finds Clues to Changes in Mars' Atmosphere: Curiosity has taken significant steps toward understanding how Mars may have lost much of its original atmosphere. Learning what happened to the Martian atmosphere will help scientists assess whether the planet ever was habitable.
Curiosity's First Soil Studies Help Fingerprint Martian Minerals: Curiosity has completed initial experiments showing the mineralogy of Martian soil is similar to weathered basaltic soils of volcanic origin in Hawaii.
Continuing Work With Scoops at Rocknest: On Sol 82 Curiosity used its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to photograph the diverse rocks in the "Rocknest" area and prepared for an overnight analysis of a soil sample by the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument.
Assessing Drop-Off to Curiosity's Observation Tray: Curiosity used its Mast Camera (Mastcam) during the mission's 78th sol to view soil material on the rover's observation tray. The observations will help assess movement of the sample on the tray in response to vibrations from sample-delivery and sample-processing activities of mechanisms on the rover's arm.
Curiosity Collects Fourth Scoop of Martian Soil: Curiosity collected its fourth scoop of soil on Sol 74. A later scoop will become the first delivered to the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument.
Mars Soil Sample Delivered for Analysis Inside Rover: Curiosity has ingested its first solid sample into an analytical instrument inside the rover, a capability at the core of the two-year mission. The rover's Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument is analyzing this sample to determine what minerals it contains.
Rover's Second Scoop Discarded, Third Scoop Commanded: Commands will be sent to Curiosity today instructing the rover to collect a third scoop of soil from the "Rocknest" site of windblown Martian sand and dust.
Curiosity Preparing for Second Scoop: On Sol 65 of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, Curiosity completed several activities in preparation for collecting its second scoop of soil. Like the first scoop, the next will come from a ripple of sand and dust at "Rocknest," and will be used for cleaning interior surfaces of the sample-handling chambers on the arm.
Mars Rock Touched By Curiosity Has Surprises: The first Martian rock NASA's Curiosity rover has reached out to touch presents a more varied composition than expected from previous missions. The rock also resembles some unusual rocks from Earth's interior.
Resume Working with First Scooped Sample: The team operating Curiosity has decided to proceed with using the rover's first scoop of Martian material. Plans for Sol 64 call for shifting the scoopful of sand and dust into the mechanism for sieving and portioning samples, and vibrating it vigorously to clean internal surfaces of the mechanism.
Object Likely Benign Plastic from Curiosity Rover: Curiosity's main activity in the 62nd sol of the mission was to image a small, bright object on the ground using the Remote Micro-Imager of the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument. The rover team's assessment is that the bright object is something from the rover, not Martian material. It appears to be a shred of plastic material, likely benign, but it has not been definitively identified.
Checking a Bright Object on the Ground: The rover team decided to refrain from using the rover's robotic arm on Sol 62 due to the detection of a bright object on the ground that might be a piece from the rover. Instead of arm activities during the 62nd Martian day of the mission, Curiosity is acquiring additional imaging of the object to aid the team in identifying the object and assessing possible impact, if any, to sampling activities.
First Scoopful A Success: On Sol 61 Curiosity used its soil scoop for the first time, collecting a scoopful of sand and powdery material at the "Rocknest" site. The collected material will be used for cleaning interior surfaces of the rover's sample-handling mechanism.
Scuff Stuff: On Sol 58 Curiosity maneuvered its arm to use instruments for close-up examination of sandy material at the "Rocknest" site. The inspections with the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) focused on targets in and near a wheel scuff that Curiosity made on the preceding sol to freshly expose material in a wind-sculpted ripple.
Curiosity Prepares To Study Martian Soil: Curiosity is in a position on Mars where scientists and engineers can begin preparing the rover to take its first scoop of soil for analysis. The rover's ability to put soil samples into analytical instruments is central to assessing whether Gale Crater ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.
Approach to Ripple: On Sol 56, Curiosity drove about 20 feet westward to reach a ripple of sand and dust deposited by the wind at a soil patch called "Rocknest." This site is a potential target for the rover's first use of its scoop, which the team will be evaluating over the next few days.
From 'Bathurst Inlet' to 'Rocknest': Curiosity has completed a drive of about 77 feet to arrive near a patch of wind-deposited soil called "Rocknest," which is a potential target for the first scooping activity.
Inspection of Rock Target 'Bathurst Inlet': On Sol 54 Curiosity used two tools at the end of its arm to inspect two targets on an angular rock called "Bathurst Inlet". Curiosity took close-up images of Bathurst Inlet with its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), and took readings with the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) to identify chemical elements in the target.
Near Possible Target for Use of Arm Instruments: On Sol 52 Curiosity drove about 122 feet eastward toward the Glenelg area. The drive brought the rover to a few meters away from an outcrop being considered for an approach drive and subsequent examination with instruments at the end of Curiosity's arm. Another priority in coming sols is to reach a location for first use of the rover's capability to scoop up soil material and deliver a sample of it into laboratory instruments.
Curiosity Finds Old Streambed On Martian Surface: Curiosity has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving. There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence - images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels - is the first of its kind.
Longest Drive Yet: On Sol 50 Curiosity completed its longest drive yet, rolling about 160 feet eastward toward the Glenelg area. The mission's total distance driven has now reached one-quarter mile. A priority in coming sols is to identify a location for first use of the rover's capability to scoop up soil material and deliver a sample of it into laboratory instruments.
Continuing Toward Glenelg: On Sol 49 Curiosity drove about 102 feet, bringing the mission's total amount of driving to about 1,204 feet. The rover science team's current focus is on getting Curiosity to the Glenelg area, and the drive took the rover eastward toward that destination.
Curiosity Finishes Close Inspection of Rock Target: Curiosity touched a Martian rock with its robotic arm for the first time on Sept. 22, assessing what chemical elements are in the rock called "Jake Matijevic."
Near Target Rock 'Matijevic': The rover team has decided to edge Curiosity closer to a nearby rock called Jake Matijevic, which is likely to become the first that the rover will touch with instruments on its robotic arm. Jacob Matijevic (1947-2012) was a leading engineer for all three generations of NASA Mars rovers.
Curiosity Targets Unusual Rock Enroute To First Destination: Curiosity has driven up to a football-size rock that will be the first for the rover's arm to examine. In coming days, the rover team plans to touch the rock with a spectrometer to determine its elemental composition and use an arm-mounted camera to take close-up photographs.
Driving and Moon-Watching: The Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) instrument was used at two stops during a 105 foot drive on Sol 42 to check for hydrogen in the soil beneath Curiosity, and the rover used its Mast Camera to observe Mars' two moons, Phobos and Deimos, as each passed in front of the sun.
More Tracks in Curiosity's Rearview Mirror: On Sol 39, Curiosity logged 72 feet driven. On Sol 40, the rover drove another 121 feet. On Sol 41, Curiosity logged 89 feet across the surface of Gale Crater. Total distance racked up by Curiosity since landing on Mars is 745 feet.
105 Feet of Open Martian Road: Sol 38 was destined to be a driving day for NASA's latest addition to the Martian landscape. Curiosity perambulated over 105 feet of unpaved Gale Crater during yesterday's drive. The rover's odometer now clocks in at 466 feet covered since landing.
Sample-Handling Gear Gets a Buzz: Sol 37 was Curiosity's last day of characterization activities for its robotic arm. The sol's activities included a vibration test for the device on the arm that processes samples of soil, or powdered rock, collected by the scoop or drill.
Curiosity Arm Tests Nearly Complete: NASA's Mars Curiosity team has almost finished robotic arm tests in preparation for the rover to touch and examine its first Martian rock.
Spectrometer Finishes Calibration-Target Reading: Curiosity continued activities for characterizing its arm and the tools on the arm.
Curiosity's Arm Wields Camera Well: Curiosity has successfully stepped through activities designed to check and characterize precision movements by the rover's robotic arm and use of tools on the arm. The activities confirmed good health and usefulness of Mars Hand Lens Imager, and used that camera to check arm placement during several positioning activities.
Arm Work to Include Vibration Testing: Curiosity skipped arm testing on Sol 31 after controllers held back on new commanding due to a caution about a temperature reading on the arm. The issue was resolved later in the day, so the planned activities have shifted to Sol 32.
Curiosity Begins Arm-Work Phase: After driving more than a football field's length since landing, Mars rover Curiosity is spending several days preparing for full use of the tools on its arm.
Curiosity Completes Longest Drive Yet: Curiosity completed a drive of 100 feet during the mission's Sol 29, traveling southeastward with a dogleg move partway through the drive to skirt some sand. This was the mission's longest drive so far, bringing the total driving distance to 358 feet.
Curiosity Checks Sample Of Martian Atmosphere: Curiosity continued to work in good health during the Labor Day weekend, driving 98 feet, conducting instrument tests, and sampling the atmosphere.
Curiosity Has A Photo Day: Curiosity took a sol off from driving and spent time during the mission's Sol 25 taking images and collecting environmental monitoring data.
Curiosity Completes Fourth Drive: Curiosity drove about 70 feet, continuing its trek eastward toward a science destination called Glenelg, where it may begin using its drill. This was the rover's fourth drive since landing. The trek to Glenelg is expected to take several weeks, including a stop beginning in the next week or two for conducting activities to check out the rover's robotic arm.
Curiosity Leaves Tracks In Morse Code: Curiosity rover took its first test stroll and beamed back pictures of its accomplishment in the form of track marks in the Martian soil. Careful inspection of the tracks reveals a unique, repeating pattern, which the rover can use as a visual reference to drive more accurately in barren terrain.
Curiosity Begins Eastbound Trek On Martian Surface: Curiosity has set off from its landing vicinity on a trek to a science destination about a quarter mile away, where it may begin using its drill.
Curiosity Begins Driving At Bradbury Landing: Curiosity has begun driving from its landing site, which scientists announced today they have named for the late author Ray Bradbury. Making its first movement on the Martian surface, Curiosity's drive combined forward, turn and reverse segments. This placed the rover roughly 20 feet from the spot where it landed 16 days ago.
Curiosity Studies Mars Surroundings, Nears Drive: Curiosity has been investigating the Martian weather around it and the soil beneath it, as its controllers prepare for the car-size vehicle's first drive on Mars.
Curiosity Stretches Its Arm: Curiosity flexed its robotic arm today for the first time since before launch in November 2011. The 7-foot-long arm maneuvers a turret of tools including a camera, a drill, a spectrometer, a scoop and mechanisms for sieving and portioning samples of powdered rock and soil.
Curiosity's Laser Instrument Zaps First Martian Rock: Mars rover Curiosity fired its ChemCam laser for the first time on Mars, using the beam from a science instrument to interrogate a fist-size rock called "Coronation."
Curiosity Team Pinpoints Site For First Drive: The scientists and engineers of NASA's Curiosity rover mission have selected the first driving destination for their one-ton, six-wheeled mobile Mars laboratory. The target area, named Glenelg, is a natural intersection of three kinds of terrain.
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Views Curiosity In Color: The first color image taken from orbit showing Curiosity on Mars includes details of the layered bedrock on the floor of Gale Crater that the rover is beginning to investigate.
Curiosity Sends High-Resolution Color Images from Gale Crater: Curiosity rover has shipped back to Earth high-resolution color images of its surroundings on Mars, sharpening our views of an intriguing channel, layered buttes and a layer of cobbles and pebbles embedded in a finer matrix of material.
Curiosity Mars Rover Installing Smarts For Driving: Mars rover Curiosity will spend its first weekend on Mars transitioning to software better suited for tasks ahead, such as driving and using its strong robotic arm.
Curiosity Reveals Its First Color Mars Surface Panorama: The Mastcam is operating as planned and successfully executed its 360-degree and calibration target observations. Early checkouts of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS), Chemistry & Mineralogy Analyzer (CheMin), Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM), and Dynamic Albedo Neutrons (DAN) instruments were all successful. Project engineers have uploaded files to the rover's memory in preparation for the upcoming Sol 5 upgrade of Curiosity's software to optimize Curiosity for surface operations.
Why Curiosity Rover Is Likely To Find Martians: Many will be looking for evidence of life on Mars, and Curiosity may provide it - even if it's not there.
Quad 51: Name Of Mars Base Evokes Rich Parallels On Earth: Conspiracy theorists are going to go nuts when they learn that Curiosity landed in Area 51 on the mission planners' quad map of the 12 mile by 4 mile landing elipse of 99\% probability.
First 360-Degree Panorama From NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover: Remarkable image sets from NASA's Curiosity rover and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are continuing to develop the story of Curiosity's landing and first days on Mars.
Curiosity Continues Checking Herself Out; Takes Self Portrait: After waking up to the rousing refrains of the Beatles' "Good Morning Good Morning," a healthy Curiosity continued checking out her systems and returning amazing imagery.
Curiosity Gets More Looks at its Surroundings; Health Checks Continue: Curiosity is healthy as it continues to familiarize itself with its new home in Gale Crater and check out its systems. The team's plans for Curiosity checkout today included raising the rover's mast and continued testing of its high-gain antenna, whose pointing toward Earth will be adjusted on Sol 2.
Curiosity Safely on Mars! Health Checks Begin : On its first Martian day, designated Sol 0, the rover is checking its health and measuring its tilt. All Sol 0 spacecraft activities appear to have been completely nominal.
Curiosity Has Landed!: NASA's most advanced Mars rover Curiosity has landed on the Red Planet. The one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a rocket backpack, touched down Aug. 6th at 1:32 AM EST ending a 36-week flight and beginning a two-year investigation. The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft that carried Curiosity succeeded in every step of the most complex landing ever attempted on Mars, including the final severing of the bridle cords and flyaway maneuver of the rocket backpack.
Curiosity Readies For Dramatic Entrance: An enormous robot is about to hit the red dirt of Mars - not too hard, NASA hopes - in search of life-friendly environments, or remnants of them. The Curiosity roverís off-road adventures will begin only if it survives a daring seven-minute, 125-kilometer plunge through the planetís carbon dioxide atmosphere.
NASA's Car-Sized Rover Nears Daring Landing On Mars: NASA's most advanced planetary rover is on a precise course for an early August landing beside a Martian mountain to begin two years of unprecedented scientific detective work. However, getting the Curiosity rover to the surface of Mars will not be easy. The Curiosity landing is the hardest NASA mission ever attempted in the history of robotic planetary exploration.
Mars Orbiter Repositioned To Phone Home Mars Landing: NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has successfully adjusted its orbital location to be in a better position to provide prompt confirmation of the August landing of the Curiosity rover.
Curiosity Rover On Track For Early August Landing: Eight days before reaching Mars, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft performed a flight-path adjustment scheduled more than nine months ago. The trajectory correction maneuver may be the last one the mission needs before landing day, though two further opportunities remain on its schedule in case they are needed.
Curiosity Rover On Course: NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft successfully refined its flight path on January 11 with the biggest maneuver planned for the mission's journey between Earth and Mars. The mission's second trajectory correction maneuver, expected to be about one-sixth the magnitude of this first one, is scheduled for March 26.
Curiosity Rover Already Performing Research In Space: NASA's Curiosity rover has begun monitoring space radiation during its 8-month voyage from Earth to Mars, using its Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) instrument. The research will aid in planning for future human missions to the Red Planet.
MSL Trajectory Correction Maneuver Slated For January 11: An engine firing on January 11 will be the biggest maneuver that NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft will perform on its flight between Earth and Mars. The initial trajectory resulting from the mission's November 2011 launch intentionally misses Mars to prevent the unsterilized upper stage of the launch vehicle from hitting Mars.
Mars Or Bust: America's next Mars explorer is now cruising through deep space on a mission that could bring mankind within one small step of proving life exists somewhere else in the universe.
Geometry Drives Selection Date For 2011 Mars Launch: Continuing analysis of the geometry and communications options for the arrival at Mars have led planners for the Mars Science Laboratory, or Curiosity, to choose an Earth-to-Mars trajectory that schedules launch between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18, 2011.
NASA Announces Landing Site For The Curiosity Rover: NASA's next Mars rover will land at the foot of a layered mountain inside the planetís Gale Crater.
Site List Narrows For NASA's Next Mars Landing: Four intriguing places on Mars have risen to the final round as NASA selects a landing site for its next Mars mission, the Mars Science Laboratory.
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