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2012-11-20

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars rover Curiosity completed a touch-and-go inspection of one rock on Sunday, Nov. 18, then pivoted and, on the same day, drove toward a Thanksgiving overlook location.

Last week, Curiosity drove for the first time after spending several weeks in soil-scooping activities at one location. On Friday, Nov. 16, the rover drove 6.2 feet (1.9 meters) to get within arm's reach of a rock called "Rocknest 3." On Sunday, it touched that rock with the...


 
2012-11-15

Observations of wind patterns and natural radiation patterns on Mars by NASA's Curiosity rover are helping scientists better understand the environment on the Red Planet's surface.

Researchers using the car-sized mobile laboratory have identified transient whirlwinds, mapped winds in relation to slopes, tracked daily and seasonal changes in air pressure, and linked rhythmic changes in radiation to daily atmospheric changes. The knowledge being gained about these processes helps...


 
2012-11-13
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PASADENA, Calif. -- A pinch of fine sand and dust became the first solid Martian sample deposited into the biggest instrument on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity: the Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM.

Located inside the rover, SAM examines the chemistry of samples it ingests, checking particularly for chemistry relevant to whether an environment can support life. Curiosity's robotic arm delivered SAM's first taste of Martian soil to an inlet port on the rover deck on Nov. 9....


 
2012-11-06
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PASADENA, Calif. -- After three months working on "Mars time," the team operating NASA Mars rover Curiosity has switched to more regular hours, as planned.

A Martian day, called a sol, is about 40 minutes longer than an Earth day, so the team's start time for daily planning has been moving a few hours later each week. This often resulted in the team working overnight hours, Pacific Time.

Starting this week, most of the team's work will stay within bounds of 8...


 
2012-11-02
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PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's car-sized rover, 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. The present atmosphere of Mars is 100 times thinner than Earth's.

A set of instruments aboard the rover has ingested and analyzed samples of the atmosphere collected near the "Rocknest" site...


 

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