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Life, Unbounded

Summer Shorts: A Record 25 Miles on Mars

A recent traverse map of Opportunity's adventures so far (yellow line) (Credit: L. Crumpler, NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/NMMNHS)

It’s summer in the northern hemisphere of a small, damp, planet orbiting a middle-aged star in a spiral galaxy of matter enjoying a brief heyday before colliding with another galaxy in some 4 billion orbits of the same small, damp, planet. Time for some brief stories. In any other circumstances it would be hard to [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Great Martian Storm of ’71

(NASA)

                          On November 14th 1971 NASA’s Mariner 9 became the first spacecraft to successfully orbit another planet. Its video-camera imaging system powered up, and American scientists eagerly awaited the first detailed pictures of Mars since the flyby of Mariners 6 and 7 just [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Watch Out Mars! 1080 HD Video of Curiosity Descent

Martian descent

Ok, so every so often something comes along that just blows away everything you’ve seen before. This is one of those things. Soon after Curiosity made landfall we got to see a glimpse of a low-resolution and highly compressed time-lapse video of the descent, showing the heat-shield fall away and a precipitous drop to the [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Curiosity Targets Gale Crater

Most recent mapping of Curiosity landing ellipse.

The clock is ticking and NASA’s Curiosity rover with its burden of the Mars Science Laboratory is heading for a potentially historic landing on Mars. As we all wait to find out what happens, here’s a small look at the landing site. This is Gale Crater, a 150 km (about 90 mile) depression just south [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Skiing To Mars: The Original Rovers

A Prop-M rover

As the world waits with bated breath for NASA’s Curiosity rover to attempt a safe landing on Mars on August 6th (EDT), it’s interesting to recall the rovers of times past. We’ve all heard about Spirit (R.I.P. 2010) and Opportunity (still kicking), and their immediate technological precursor Sojourner (part of the Mars Pathfinder mission), but [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Walk Tall, but Please Tread Softly, SpaceX

falcon9-flight-2-03-m

We live in interesting times. Just as NASA’s most recent budgetary rearrangements seemingly threaten the very core of solar system exploration, with cuts that might pull the agency out of its participation in exciting efforts with Europe on the ExoMars project, the private space industry appears to be on an accelerating course to more real [...]

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