Landers / Rovers

Blogs about landers and rovers

The InSight lander and the MarCO nanosatellites blasting off atop an Atlas V 401 rocket (Image NASA TV)

A few hours ago NASA’s InSight lander was launched together with the two Mars Cube One nanosatellites from the Vandenberg base on an Atlas V 401 rocket. After about 1.5 hours they separated from the rocket’s last stage, called Centaur, and went en route to Mars.

The InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) mission aims to investigate the geology of the planet Mars. A lander equipped with a seismometer, a thermal sensor and other instruments that will analyze the red planet’s internal structure. This will allow to obtain new data on its formation, also contributing to the existing models on the formation of rocky planets such as the Earth.

Part of Perseverance Valley (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA has published new photos taken by its venerable Mars Rover Opportunity, which after 14 Earth years and 5,000 Sols – Martian days – continues its scientific mission on the planet Mars. In the ancient valley called Perseverance Valley it found a soil with a texture that resembles certain very particular rock strips on some mountain slopes on the Earth. These formations can be created by cycles of freezing and thawing of moist soil or wind, downhill transport or other processes.

The Jura rock (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA has published photographs of star-shaped and swallowtail rock formations discovered by the Mars Rover Curiosity during the exploration of the area of Gale Crater on Mars called Vera Rubin Ridge. This ridge is offering interesting research cues, in this case gypsum crystals similar to those found in lakes that dried up on Earth, for example in Scotland. This is another clue of the fact that in Gale Crater in ancient times there was a lake.

Vera Rubin Ridge panorama (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/ASU)

NASA has published a series of images taken by its Mars Rover Curiosity in the Gale Crater area of Mars called the Vera Rubin Ridge created putting together photos taken using filters that allow the mission scientists to identify some minerals. The instruments that have this capability are the MastCam (Mast Camera) and ChemCam (Chemistry and Camera). On this occasion, the MastCam allowed to highlight an iron oxide called hematite.

Perseverance Valley (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.)

NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity is working in an ancient valley on the edge of Endeavour Endeavour’s rim called “Perseverance Valley” examining rocks and driving around the area to carry out a survey of the place. According to plans, once these tasks are completed Opportunity will go down to the lower part of the valley but the maneuver will have to be even more cautious than expected due to a problem encountered in one of the wheels’ steering system.