Around the Solar System
Nasa’s Mars Rover Curiosity, has landed in a crater near the Matian equator at 06:32 BST (05:32 GMT).
Read more New Scientist.
Full mission details to be found on the Mars Science Laboratory website.
After three months off-line, the European Space Agency’s Mars Webcam is back, with much improved IT infrastructure support.
The Mars Webcam is officially called “The Mars Express Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC).” Its original purpose was to monitor the separation from the Mars Express of the ill-fated Beagle lander. It is not a scientific instrument, but a simple, low-tech camera. It provides fantastic views of the Red Planet. Including crescent views not seen from Earth.
ESA’s deep space probe, Mars Express, has been on the other side of the Sun recently, so there have been no pictures from the VMC. It started sending pictures again mid-February.
ESA have now set up the IT support so that pictures form the VMC are uploaded automatically to its own blog as they arrive. Depending on what other data is in the transmission queue, a picture from the VMC could be available online within an hour of it being taken.
These images are raw and unprocessed. This is where you could help. ESA are looking for anyone to process the images or even identify landmarks on the surface.
If you are looking to make a contribution to planetary science go to the Mars Express Visual Monitoring Camera blog and see how you can help.
Polls have opened on the final naming of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover. The non-binding poll to help NASA select a name opened on Monday will stay open until Sunday Mar. 29.
The names, submitted by students from across the USA are:
NASA will select the winning name, based on a student’s essay and the poll. NASA will announce the wining name in late April or early May 2009.
The MSL will launch in 2011 and touch down on Mars in 2012. It is part of the Mars Exploration Program, a series of expeditions to Mars with the four main goals of:
- Determining whether life ever arose on Mars
- Characterizing the climate of Mars
- Characterizing the geology of Mars
- Preparing for human exploration
The MSL will continue the work of the highly successful Spirit and Opportunity rovers and Mars Polar Lander Missions.
If you like, you can send your name to the surface of Mars. Enter your name here and it will be loaded onto a microchip that will travel to Mars as part of the MSL rover.