msl curiosity

Layers of meaning! These rocks show the deep and shallow waters of an ancient Martian lake could’ve supported different kinds of microbes. This evenly layered rock imaged in 2014 by my Mastcam shows a pattern typical of a lake-floor sedimentary deposit near where flowing water entered a lake. Shallow and deep parts of an ancient Martian lake left different clues in mudstone formed from lakebed deposits. Credit: @nasa/NASAJPL-Caltech/MSSS

Solar System: Things to Know

Help us find the most interesting spots to image on Jupiter, learn how Hubble is helping the Voyager craft find their way and more!

1. Calling All Citizen Scientists!

Join the Mission Juno virtual imaging team by helping us to determine the best locations in Jupiter’s atmosphere that JunoCam will capture. Voting is open January 19-23, 2017. Visit for more information about JunoCam voting.

2. Leading the Way

Our Hubble Space Telescope is providing a road map for the two Voyager spacecraft as they hurtle through unexplored territory on their trip beyond our solar system. Along the way, the Voyager craft are measuring the interstellar medium, the mysterious environment between stars. Hubble is measuring the material along the probes’ future trajectories and even after the Voyagers run out of electrical power and are unable to send back new data, which may happen in about a decade, astronomers can use Hubble observations to characterize the environment of through which these silent ambassadors will glide.

3. Explorers Wanted

Mars needs YOU! In the future, Mars will need all kinds of explorers, farmers, surveyors, teachers … but most of all YOU! Join us on the Journey to Mars as we explore with robots and send humans there one day. Download a Mars poster that speaks to you. Be an explorer!

4. Tracking Every Sol

Each sol, or Martian day, the Mars Curiosity Team tracks the rover’s progress. And you can track them too at:

5. Happy 425th birthday,  Pierre Gassendi

January 22 is the 425th birthday of Pierre Gassendi, French philosopher, priest, scientist, astronomer, mathematician and an active observational scientist. He was the first to publish data on the 1631 transit of Mercury. The Lunar Crater Gassendi is named for him.

Discover the full list of 10 things to know about our solar system this week HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:


Curiosity at Buckskin drilling site - sol 1065

via Thomas Appéré
Curiosity self-portrait taken with MAHLI camera on sol 1065 at Buckskin drilling site. This mosaic was taken at 13h00 local time. The sky was generated by Steve Albers. The colors of the sky and landscape were adjusted to fit with calibrated colors of PDS products. ——————————————————————————————— Auto-portrait de Curiosity réalisé avec la caméra MAHLI au sol 1065 au site du forage “Buckskin”. Cette mosaïque a été réalisée à 13h00 heure locale. Le ciel a été généré par Steve Albers. Les couleurs du ciel et du paysage ont été ajustées pour correspondre aux couleurs calibrées des images PDS.

Comparing Terran and Martian sunsets

The two photos here have been scaled to depict the same angular width, so that the sinking solar orb and the dance of its light in the atmospheres of two worlds could be viewed side by side. The most obvious difference is the colour, an eerie bluish grey on Mars contrasted with the deep multicolour palette of a wordly evening.

There are several reasons for this, one being the layered nature of our atmosphere, and the contrasts in dust and aerosol content between the layers. Another may be the nature of the dust: scientists don’t understand as yet why the Martian examples have a bluish tint, but speculate that something in the nature of Martian dust and its interaction with light is probably the cause. The Arean orb also appears slightly smaller than ours due to the greater distance of Mars’ orbit around the sun.


Image credit: Damia Bouic/NASA/CURIOSITY


Mostly Mute Monday: Curiosity’s Greatest Hits On Its 3-Year Anniversary

“When Mars Curiosity survived its “seven minutes of terror” to land on the red planet, it immediately began photographing, measuring and taking data on the surface of the martian world. In its time there so far, it’s learned about the martian soil, geology, water presence, methane (of possibly biological origin), the radiation/cosmic rays reaching the surface and more.

But from a perspective that more humans can relate to, it’s given us the grandest, highest-resolution landscapes — and the ultimate selfie — ever taken of another world.”

In addition to the panoramas, the soil analysis and all that we’ve learned, some very clever equipment and techniques have enabled Curiosity to photograph itself, producing a unique view never before seen on another planet.