Mars News and Discussions

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NASA's self-driving Perseverance Mars rover 'takes the wheel'
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-nasa-self ... rover.html
by Andrew Good, NASA
NASA's newest six-wheeled robot on Mars, the Perseverance rover, is beginning an epic journey across a crater floor seeking signs of ancient life. That means the rover team is deeply engaged with planning navigation routes, drafting instructions to be beamed up, even donning special 3D glasses to help map their course.

But increasingly, the rover will take charge of the drive by itself, using a powerful auto-navigation system. Called AutoNav, this enhanced system makes 3D maps of the terrain ahead, identifies hazards, and plans a route around any obstacles without additional direction from controllers back on Earth.
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On its first try, China's Zhurong rover hit a Mars milestone that took NASA decades
https://www.space.com/china-mars-rover- ... FZ_x7w7Cpc
By Sara Webb, Rebecca Allen about 12 hours ago

China's Zhurong rover landed safely on Mars on May 15, making China only the third country to successfully land a rover on the red planet.More impressively still, China is the first Mars-going nation to carry out an orbiting, landing and rovering operation as its first mission.

Planetary scientist Roberto Orosei told Nature China is "doing in a single go what NASA took decades to do," while astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell described China's decision to include a rover in its maiden Mars outing as a "very gutsy move."
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Curiosity rover finds patches of rock record erased, revealing clues
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-curiosity ... aling.html
by Jet Propulsion Laboratory
y
A new paper enriches scientists' understanding of where the rock record preserved or destroyed evidence of Mars' past and possible signs of ancient life.

Today, Mars is a planet of extremes—it's bitterly cold, has high radiation, and is bone-dry. But billions of years ago, Mars was home to lake systems that could have sustained microbial life. As the planet's climate changed, one such lake—in Mars' Gale Crater—slowly dried out. Scientists have new evidence that supersalty water, or brines, seeped deep through the cracks, between grains of soil in the parched lake bottom and altered the clay mineral-rich layers beneath.

The findings published in the July 9 edition of the journal Science and led by the team in charge of the Chemistry and Mineralogy, or CheMin, instrument—aboard NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover—help add to the understanding of where the rock record preserved or destroyed evidence of Mars' past and possible signs of ancient life.
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Signs of life on Mars? Perseverance rover begins the hunt
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-life-mars ... rover.html
by Jet Propulsion Laboratory
NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has begun its search for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet. Flexing its 7-foot (2-meter) mechanical arm, the rover is testing the sensitive detectors it carries, capturing their first science readings. Along with analyzing rocks using X-rays and ultraviolet light, the six-wheeled scientist will zoom in for closeups of tiny segments of rock surfaces that might show evidence of past microbial activity.

Called PIXL, or Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry, the rover's X-ray instrument delivered unexpectedly strong science results while it was still being tested, said Abigail Allwood, PIXL's principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. Located at the end of the arm, the lunchbox-size instrument fired its X-rays at a small calibration target—used to test instrument settings—aboard Perseverance and was able to determine the composition of Martian dust clinging to the target.
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NASA’s InSight Mission Reveals the Detailed Internal Structure of Mars
https://scitechdaily.com/nasas-insight- ... e-of-mars/

By CNRS July 23, 2021
Internal Structure of Mars
Using information obtained from around a dozen earthquakes detected on Mars by the Very Broad Band SEIS seismometer, developed in France, the international team of NASA’s InSight mission has unveiled the internal structure of Mars. The three papers published on July 23, 2021, in the journal Science, involving numerous co-authors from French institutions and laboratories, including the CNRS, the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, and Université de Paris, and supported in particular by the French space agency CNES and the French National Research Agency ANR, provide, for the first time, an estimate of the size of the planet’s core, the thickness of its crust and the structure of its mantle, based on the analysis of seismic waves reflected and modified by interfaces in its interior. It makes this the first-ever seismic exploration of the internal structure of a terrestrial planet other than Earth, and an important step towards understanding the formation and thermal evolution of Mars.
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Marsquakes reveal the Red Planet boasts a liquid core half its diameter

Data from NASA’s InSight lander also hint at the thickness of the planet’s crust

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/mar ... meter-nasa
July 22, 2021 at 2:00 pm
Mars has had its first CT scan, thanks to analyses of seismic waves picked up by NASA’s InSight lander. Diagnosis: The Red Planet’s core is at least partially liquid, as some previous studies had suggested, and is somewhat larger than expected.

InSight reached Mars in late 2018 and soon afterward detected the first known marsquake (SN: 11/26/18; SN: 4/23/19). Since then, the lander’s instruments have picked up more than a thousand temblors, most of them minor rumbles. Many of those quakes originated at a seismically active region more than 1,000 kilometers away from the lander. A small fraction of the quakes had magnitudes ranging from 3.0 to 4.0, and the resulting vibrations have enabled scientists to probe Mars and reveal new clues about its inner structure.
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The #MarsHelicopter’s success today marks its 1-mile total distance flown. It targeted an area called "Raised Ridges." This is the most complex flight yet w/ 10 distinct waypoints and a record height of 40 ft (12 m). Its scouting is aiding @NASAPersevere . http://go.nasa.gov/3dci8jE



Goals for Flight 10:

STATUS UPDATES | July 23, 2021
Aerial Scouting of ‘Raised Ridges’ for Ingenuity’s Flight 10

https://mars.nasa.gov/technology/helico ... flight-10/
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