Mars Sample Return is Underway with Mars2020 Launch

Mars Sample Return is Underway with Mars2020 Launch

With the successful launch of Mars2020 from Cape Canaveral today the first stage in a long and complex sample return plan is finally underway. Mars Sample Return has been envisaged  for many decades but it is only since around 2008 that a feasible architecture has been developed. Mars Sample Return has the ultimate aim of […]

Climbing Mt. Sharp from the ancient lake deposits at the the base, to more desiccated, sulphate-rich deposits higher up the mountain.

Climbing Mount Sharp: From Warm and Wet to Cold and Dry.

  Mars Science Laboratory is entering a new extended mission phase and about to start addressing a key part of the MSL original scientific aims.  Gale Crater was chosen as a landing site for the Curiosity Rover because it has preserved a unique record of the transition from ‘Warm and Wet’ in Ancient Mars about […]

Curiosity in Isolation at Edinburgh and Glasgow

Curiosity in Isolation at Edinburgh and Glasgow

We have just snapped the Curiosity Rover with the HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.  Each of those pixels is  about 25 cm, so we can pick out the rover quite nicely in the centre of field of view. We have just completed a drill at a site we named Edinburgh and next week, when […]

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 […]

Looking towards the Clay Unit

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

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 […]

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

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

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 […]

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

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

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 […]

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.

22nd March 2018 Sol 2000

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 […]

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