Five Years of Exploring Gale Crater with the Curiosity Mars RoverSpeakers: James K. Erickson, Mars Science Laboratory Project Manager, JPL
Dr. Ashwin R. Vasavada, Mars Science Laboratory Project Scientist, JPL
Nearly five years after its celebrated arrival at Mars, the Curiosity rover continues to reveal Mars as a once-habitable planet. Early in the planet’s history, generations of streams and lakes created the landforms that Curiosity explores today. The rover currently is climbing through the foothills of Mount Sharp, a 3-miile-high mountain formed from sediment brought in by water and wind. This talk will cover the latest findings from the mission, the challenges of exploration with an aging robot, and what lies ahead.
NASA's first Landing Sites/Exploration Zones Workshop for Human Missions to the Surface of Mars was held on Oct. 27-30 at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston. The agency hosted the workshop to collect proposals for locations on Mars that would be of high scientific research value while also providing natural resources to enable human explorers to land, live and work safely on the Red Planet.
As NASA plans ambitious new robotic missions to Mars, the spacecraft needed to land safely on the red planet's surface necessarily becomes increasingly massive, hauling larger payloads to accommodate extended stays on the Martian surface.
NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft successfully entered Mars' orbit at 7:24 p.m. PDT (10:24 p.m. EDT) Sunday, Sept. 21, where it now will prepare to study the Red Planet's upper atmosphere as never done before. MAVEN is the first spacecraft dedicated to exploring the tenuous upper atmosphere of Mars.
Comet Siding Spring C/2013 A1 will make a very close flyby of Mars on Oct. 19, 2014. NASA is taking steps to protect its Mars orbiters, while preserving opportunities to gather valuable scientific data.
The Theodore von Kármán Lecture Series, named after JPL's founder, and presented by JPL's Office of Communication and Education, brings the excitement of the space program's missions, instruments and other technologies to both JPL employees and the local community. Lectures take place twice per month, on consecutive Thursdays and Fridays.