Mars Science Laboratory Blog


Detecting Methane above the Clay Unit in Gale Crater Sol 2424

Detecting Methane above the Clay Unit in Gale Crater Sol 2424

Around this locality in the Clay Unit of Gale Crater we have  been doing more methane measurements with the SAM instrument. This highlights the enigmatic nature of Mars’ atmospheric methane.  A couple of weeks ago we analysed a large spike at 20 parts per billion molecules.  Then a few a days to follow this up […]

Curiosity Rover Reaches the Clay Unit in Gale Crater, Sol 2073

Looking towards the Clay Unit

After 20.1 km and 2073 sols of driving and science operations we have reached the next milestone of the Mars Science Laboratory mission – the Clay Unit. The presence of clay was predicted from near infrared remote spectroscopy and was one of the key reasons for selection of Gale Crater as the landing site. The […]

Global Dust Storm on Mars July 9th 2018, Sol 2105

Hubble Space telescope image of 2001 global dust storm, similar to the conditions Mars is experiencing at the moment.

We are experiencing the most intense global dust storm on Mars since 2001. The Opportunity Rover in Arabia Terra has paused operations as there is not enough sunlight reaching its solar panels to recharge the batteries.  On Curiosity, the plutonium radioisotope power source means that we can keep working. However, our views of Mt. Sharp […]

Sol 2075 Organics on Mars

The latest results from analyses in the search for organics and methane on Mars have just been published by the SAM team on Mars Science Laboratory.  SAM stands for Sample Analyses at Mars, and it is a Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometer for solid samples drilled from the Gale Crater mudstones, and a Tuneable Laser Spectrometer […]

Sol 2039 1st May 2018 Unique Samples from the Deep Martian Crust

Askival cumulate from the deep martian crust. Image from ChemCam/IRAP/MSL

We have recently come across a unique set of samples from the deeper crust of Mars, kilometres below what was the Gale Lake 4 billion years ago. This sample – called Askival after similar rocks from the Isle of Rhum in Scotland – formed from crystals settling down through or rising through a magma body. The light […]

22nd March 2018 Sol 2000

This image was taken by Mastcam, when Mars was over 150 million km from Earth.  Every day scientists from across the world including Leicester drive the rover and analyse the surroundings.

Today we are planning the 2000th sol of operations on Mars. As a martian day is equal to 24 hours and 39 minutes that is equivalent to 2055 Earth days since landing on the 5th August 2012. Many of the Curiosity team are at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference discussing the discoveries we have […]

1st February 2018 Sol 1952 Vera Rubin Ridge and Scotland on Mars

MastCam mosaic of the Curiosity traverse, taken from 300 m up on Vera Rubin Ridge.

This MastCam panorama shows a view back to our mission’s start at Bradbury Landing, 18 km distant and 330 m below our current vantage point on Vera Rubin Ridge. The team is meeting at Caltech in Pasadena to review our results at Vera Rubin Ridge and plan the next phase of driving up Mt Sharp, […]

10th November 2017 Sol 1871 – Scottish Quadrangle on Mars

View from Vera Rubin Ridge towards the Scottish Quadrangle on Mars

The field area for Curiosity along its traverse (currently nearly 18 km) is divided into a series of map qaudrangles. Each of these has outcrop and feature names based on a region of Earth e.g. South Africa, Maine etc. We are just about to move into a Scottish quad. With colleagues in our Participating Scientist […]

12th September 2017 Sol 1814 – Curiosity’s View Across Gale Crater

View from Vera Rubin Ridge

  The Curiosity Rover has reached an elevation of 300 metres above our landing site.  We have made it up the first part of Vera Rubin Ridge and are now starting to get some views down and over the Gale Crater plains.  The crater rim mountains can be seen in the distance. This is a […]

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