"Flex, Zap, Roll: NASA's Curiosity Mars rover performs a series of firsts this week -- flexing its arm, laser-zapping a rock and rolling on its wheels. See the rover's landing site, named for author Ray Bradbury on the day that would have been his 92nd birthday."
Every week, THEMIS takes several hundred images of the surface of Mars, and you can see them here as they are received by mission scientists. As you watch, you'll see many kinds of geologic features scroll by. Some will look recognizable, others may be harder to figure out. To see all kinds of Martian features imaged by THEMIS, visit the THEMIS Images by Topic Gallery.
Because THEMIS images are very large and would load slowly, the images you see here have been reduced in resolution; full-resolution THEMIS images are available through the Mars Planetary Image Explorer and NASA's Planatary Data System.
This color panorama shows a 360-degree view of the landing site of NASA's Curiosity rover, including the highest part of Mount Sharp visible to the rover. That part of Mount Sharp is approximately 12 miles (20 kilometers) away from the rover.
"The Mars rover Curiosity has a lot of technology built into her, but she's also got something extra: a social media presence."
"Twitter wasn't built to give voice to Curiosity, the rover currently exploring Mars, but it's awfully well-suited for the purpose.
One of the risks of science experiments taking place on other planets, after all, is that people lose track of them. We forget they're up there. We know they're doing something, but we don't really remember day to day all the things that the engineers and scientists are trying to do with them, and when they come home, absent some major piece of news ('Our rover has discovered 8-track tapes on Mars!'), it almost seems like nothing happened. It brings new meaning to the phrase 'out of sight, out of mind.'
Enter @MarsCuriosity, the Twitter feed that is, as of this writing, followed by almost 1.1 million people. As Morning Edition discussed a couple of weeks ago, Curiosity's feed is run by three women who work in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Stephanie Smith is one of them, and says of Curiosity in that report, 'Thinking about her as the most advanced, biggest, most complex robot Earth has ever sent to the surface of another planet, and she's got a rock-vaporizing laser on her head, I think she's got some well-earned bravada.'"
"NASA's Mars Curiosity rover team member Jessica Samuels updates you on developments and status of the mission now that it's preparing to explore Gale Crater. Curiosity carries 10 science instruments with a total mass 15 times as large as the science payloads on NASA's Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Some of the tools, such as a laser-firing instrument for checking rocks' elemental composition from a distance, are the first of their kind on Mars. Curiosity will use a drill and scoop, which are located at the end of its robotic arm, to gather soil and powdered samples of rock interiors, then sieve and parcel out these samples into the rover's analytical laboratory instruments."
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