This Is What It’s Like To Land on Mars

On February 18, 2021, NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars, becoming the fifth robotic rover to do so and the third operational exploration robot currently on the planet’s surface. Today during a press conference NASA released stunning high-definition video from Perseverance’s entry, descent, and landing (EDL) sequence to the anticipation and excitement of scientists…

First Color Images from (and of) NASA’s Perseverance Rover on Mars

It’s Sol 1 of the Mars 2020 mission on Mars and the very first color pictures are already here! Revealed today, February 19, during a press conference at JPL these images show sneak peeks of the immediate region around Perseverance’s landing site in Jezero Crater, captured by the rover’s hazard avoidance cameras—minus the dirty dust…

Success! There’s a New Rover on Mars!

Today’s Perseverance rover landing on Mars was a success! There are now two new robots on Mars—Perseverance and the Ingenuity helicopter it brought along—which touched down in Jezero Crater at 3:44 p.m. EST / 20:44 UTC today, February 18. The confirmation signal was received here on Earth, 127 million miles away, 11 minutes and 21…

Two Days to Mars!

It’s almost time! In just two days—or “sols,” if you’re counting in Mars time—NASA’s newest, biggest and most advanced rover ever, named Perseverance, will touch down on Mars, making it the fifth mobile wheeled robot ever to explore the surface of the Red Planet and the third robot currently in operation on Mars. And if…

When Spirit Spotted a Swarm of Devils

Mars may be pretty low on traffic these days but, on this day back in 2005, NASA’s Spirit rover (the twin to Opportunity) seemed to find itself at a busy intersection as several blustery dust devils zipped past, one after the other!

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Mission Getting in Shape for Launch

(Via NASA) Engineers working on NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission at Kennedy Space Center in Florida have begun the process of placing the Mars-bound rover and other spacecraft components into the configuration they’ll be in as they ride on top of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Stacking spacecraft components on top of each…

An Opportunity From Above

To commemorate the 12th anniversary of NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter at Mars (March 10, 2006) and the still-roving Opportunity, below is an edited version of an article I wrote back in 2011 showing Opportunity imaged by MRO’s HiRISE camera. The eye in the sky sees all…especially when that eye is the HiRISE camera on the…

After 5,000 Sols We See the Face of Opportunity

It’s finally happened—after over 14 years on Mars (14!!!) NASA’s Opportunity rover has turned its arm-mounted camera around to take a look at itself, giving us the very first true “selfie” of the Mars Exploration Rover mission! Hello Opportunity!

Opportunity Spots Phobos Skimming the Sun

It may be in its 14th year on Mars but Opportunity still has some surprises to show us—like this, a series of images captured on May 3, 2017 showing the Sun as seen from Mars. But that’s not the special part: see the change in brightness along the Sun’s edge near the end? That was a…

Opportunity Looks Back on Its Downhill Departure from Cape Tribulation

It’s all downhill from here! (Well not really, but it was for a little while when Opportunity was at the top of that hill!) The image above is a mosaic I assembled from six color-composites, each made from three separate images acquired in near-infrared, green, and near-ultraviolet color wavelengths on April 21, 2017 (mission sol 4707). It’s been…

A Look Back at Sojourner, the First Rover on Mars

The first mission to successfully* send a rover to Mars, NASA’s Mars Pathfinder, launched on Dec. 4, 1996. It was a “budget” Discovery mission designed to demonstrate a low-cost method for delivering a set of science instruments to Mars and sent the first remote-controlled vehicle to be used on another planet. Solar-powered and only a foot in height,…