NASA’s car-sized Curiosity rover is searching the Jezero Crater on Mars for signs that once supported life. Engineers write commands giving Curiosity an up-close 3D view of hazards such as large rocks and steep slopes.
But when a spaceship crash lands on another world, debris from its landing often scatters everywhere – one piece even looking just like a saucer!
Nasa has successfully completed its second flight with their Mars mini helicopter, this time showing how it could remain airborne for longer. It was also the first powered and controlled flight ever on another planet. Nasa plans on using their Mars helicopter both as an aid for exploring prospective sites for future rover visits as well as testing technology which might enable future human missions there.
Ingenuity was included aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover when it touched down in February in Mars’ Jezero crater and is designed to demonstrate powered flight is possible despite Mars’ thin atmosphere, which is only about one percent as dense as Earth’s at sea level.
The helicopter is guided by an onboard computer running algorithms created by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Unfortunately, it can’t communicate directly with mission control – thus relaying all information via the rover instead. Due to communications delays between helicopter and rover, both must be in close proximity in order for operation of both.
NASA’s Perseverance Rover may have found evidence of an ancient spacecraft on Mars. After more than a year exploring 8 miles of rock and dirt within Jezero Crater, searching for signs of past life while characterizing geology and climate before paveing the way for human exploration of this Red Planet.
NASA discovered a tangled ball of Dacron netting, believed to be remnants of an unsuccessful saucer-shaped spacecraft which made an accidental entry into Mars’ atmosphere and crashed there. NASA suspects this scrap is likely from its thermal blanket which provided vital protection during their dive through Martian atmosphere.
Perseverance made headlines last month for finding rocks in an ancient lake bed that could provide evidence of life on Mars billions of years ago, but one witness claims to have observed something even stranger.
Four years before Apollo 11 made it to the Moon, Mariner 4 transmitted back a grainy black-and-white photo of Mars to humanity – providing our first close view ever of another planet. The image revealed an expanse of cratered terrain without evidence of water or liquid surface features.
Mariner 4 was designed to collect data about electromagnetic fields between Earth and Mars. Equipped with seven scientific instruments – from television cameras to store images for transmission over 10 hours later – these included television cameras for close range observation of Mars as well as an onboard tape recorder that stored digital images that took 10 hours each to transmit.
On July 14th 1965 Mariner 4 initiated its planetary science mode as it began an encounter sequence at around 1:11 am GMT. After 25 minutes acquiring views of Mars it sent back 21 images and part of 22nd for analysis by NASA scientists and engineers at that time. Although not a full sample of what the Red Planet looked like its images provided an accurate representation.
Odyssey has provided more insight into Mars than perhaps any other orbiter since its launch in 2001. It found evidence of water ice beneath its rocky surface, while its neutron detectors have monitored long-term climate changes there.
The craft is currently focused on mapping Phobos and Deimos with its THEMIS camera to investigate their composition, history and geology in order to provide scientists with invaluable data for future Mars missions like NASA/JAXA’s joint Martian Moon eXplorer mission.
Odyssey’s polar orbit allows it to serve as the primary communications relay for NASA’s twin Mars Exploration Rovers, relaying 85 percent of their images and data back to Earth. Furthermore, Odyssey also helps identify future landing locations of future rovers and surveyors such as Phoenix which is due to land in 2008.