Landers / Rovers

Garden City seen by the Mars Rover Curiosity (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

At the 47th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences in National Harbor, Maryland, scientists of NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity mission presented the results of new analyzes of the Martian site called Garden City. It’s an area visited in March 2015 that turned out to be very interesting from the geological point of view because of its chemical diversity and for its mineral veins, which protrude from the rocks they formed on.

The biggest update made so far to the software that runs Curiosity’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument considerably enhanceed it. In fact, it allowed an improvement in the interpretation of the collected data making it more sensitive to a wider range of possible compositions of the Martian rocks.

Picture of the formation called Kimberley in Gale Crater taken by the Mars Rover Curiosity (Photo NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

A new study carried out by the team that runs the Mars Rover Curiosity confirmed that between 3.8 and 3.3 billion years ago there were lakes in what is now Gale Crater. At its center today there’s Mount Sharp, which foundations were formed by sediments deposited layer upon layer over a very long period. The results of this study were just published in the journal “Science”.

The InSight lander in its protective aeroshell during the test stage (Photo NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin)

NASA invited people around the world to participate in an initiative to send your name to Mars. You just need to record some data on the page prepared by the Agency on its website to get a virtual boarding pass. All names will be recorded on a microchip that will be transported on the InSight lander, which is scheduled to be launched in March 2016 to land on Mars in September 2016.

Photo of the surface of the area of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko known as Agilkia taken by the Philae lander from a 9 m height (Photo ESA/Rosetta/Philae/ROLIS/DLR)

A special issue of the journal “Science” describes an early analysis of data collected by the lander Philae in its descent to the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Its mission was short and ESA engineers can’t get a stable contact after those of recent weeks but the data collected were very helpful. Another very interesting study just appeared about the interaction of the comet with the solar wind.

The silica-rich rock fragment called Lamoose analyzed by the Mars Rover Curiosity (Photo NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

In recent days, the Mars Rover Curiosity deviated from its programmed route to examine a rock particularly rich in silica. It’s a material composed of silicon and oxygen common in terrestrial rocks in the form of quartz. On Mount Sharp, where Curiosity is working, on its way it took a sample near the area called “Marias Pass”. The results of the analysis were so interesting that the mission team decided to turn it back.