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Mars: December 2012



On the 84th and 85th Martian days of the NASA Mars rover Curiosity's mission on Mars (Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 2012), NASA's Curiosity rover used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to capture dozens of high-resolution images to be combined into self-portrait images of the rover.


Curiosity will spend the holidays at a location on Mars dubbed "Grandma's House."


The first use the rover Curiosity's drill to obtain subsurface samples from inside a rock on Mars will be delayed until mid to late January to reduce risk to the rover during its first drilling operations.


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) invites scientists, technologists, and other qualified and interested individuals at U.S. institutions and elsewhere to apply for membership on the Science Definition Team (SDT) for the 2020 Mars science rover mission (hereafter Mars-2020). Mars-2020 is a strategic mission sponsored by NASA's Planetary Science Division, through the Mars Exploration Program, all of which are part of the Science Mission Directorate (SMD).


The Mars rover Curiosity has been commanding headlines with its every move from its historic, breathtaking landing last August to its first major discovery of an ancient stream bed formed by fast flowing water. In recent week's rumors, speculation, and wild conspiracy theories about what Curiosity has found have demonstrated, if nothing else, just how much the public is interested in Mars.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Deputy Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada provides an update on developments and status of the planetary exploration mission and Curiosity's travels. The rover is conducting a nearly two-year prime mission to investigate whether the Gale Crater region of Mars ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life.


These images from the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show several impact scars on Mars made by pieces of the NASA Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft that the spacecraft shed just before entering the Martian atmosphere.


The high-resolution stereo camera on ESA's Mars Express imaged the Charitum Montes region of the Red Planet on 18 June, near to Gale crater and the Argyre basin featured in our October and November image releases.


Mysteries on opposite sides of Mars are drawing the Curiosity and Opportunity rover science teams closer together in a search for habitable environments that could have supported Martian life early in the planet's history.


Building on the success of Curiosity's Red Planet landing, NASA has announced plans for a robust multi-year Mars program, including a new robotic science rover set to launch in 2020. This announcement affirms the agency's commitment to a bold exploration program that meets our nation's scientific and human exploration objectives.


The objective of this image is to examine the exposure of thin layers along the walls of a few-kilometer-wide valley in Sinus Meridiani.


NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has used its full array of instruments to analyze Martian soil for the first time, and found a complex chemistry within the Martian soil. Water and sulfur and chlorine-containing substances, among other ingredients, showed up in samples Curiosity's arm delivered to an analytical laboratory inside the rover.


A NASA's Mars Curiosity rover team member gives an update on developments and status of the planetary exploration mission. The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft delivered Curiosity to its target area on Mars at 1:31:45 a.m. EDT on Aug. 6, which includes the 13.8 minutes needed for confirmation of the touchdown to be radioed to Earth at the speed of light.