FM16 Press Conference: News from Gale Crater: Recent findings from NASA's Curiosity Mars RoverDec 13, 2016
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover continues to investigate higher and younger strata on the central mountain of Gale Crater, adding information about water-rich ancient environments in this part of Mars. Since reaching the base of the mountain two years ago, the rover has examined more than half the vertical extent of a 180-meter-thick geological formation that provides a record of long-lived lake and groundwater environments. Analysis of rock composition at multiple sites is providing new evidence about how the environmental conditions evolved over time, including factors favorable for life, if it ever was present. Some ingredients may foreshadow what the mission will find at planned destinations farther up the mountain.
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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.