Mars Curiosity update, now with animated GIFs from the red planet


17 Responses to “Mars Curiosity update, now with animated GIFs from the red planet”

  1. royaltrux says:

    Thanks, Xeni. Let the splorin’ begin!

  2. Ramone says:

    So I’m putting 2 and 2 together here, 1 sol = a day, but is that in Earth time (24 hours) or Martian time?

    • royaltrux says:

      Martian time. About 24 hours and 38 minutes.

    • The Sol is a Martian Day, or 40 minutes longer than an earth day. So the scientists are moving around the clock every day to keep up. Very tiring, apparently. After 3 months, the plan is to go to earth time and work around the Sol differences.

      • Ramone says:

        Excellent, thank you both!

      • anansi133 says:

        I had been wondering about that. Are night time operations on the menu?
        Without the need for solar power, it seems like leaving it dormant at night would be a wasted of time.

        (Assuming that relay satellites are available, natch. )

        • I asked Michael Watkins, the mission head, about this a few weeks ago. He said that the moving parts of the rover required lubrication which must be heated, burning energy. At night, that heat budget would be higher, and the odds of something breaking are higher. Also, he said, much of what they want to do (drive and look at stuff) isn’t useful at night.

          Further, while the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) produces a continuous energy source across many many years, day and night, the mission does make use of some of that night-time energy in two ways. First, it fills lithium-ion batteries (two of them with 42 amp-hour capacity); second, it powers the eight-minute middle-of-the-night passes by both Odyssey and the MRO to shoot up more data.

  3. cleek says:

    check out the horrible baseline alignment of the letters in LIBERTY on that penny!  half of them are on a different line!


  4. lev36 says:

    Somebody with more time on their hands needs to put some music to that animated gif, and maybe add some gophers or Marvins or something popping out of the little hatches…

  5. tedrock says:

    Xeni, Thanks for this update! I am so inspired hearing about these developments on Mars and really appreciate your synopsis of the JPL teleconferences. Looking forward to the next one!

  6. Lobster says:

    Leave no trace… except for a giant nuclear SUV robot.

  7. SKR says:

    Let’s just hope it doesn’t find any water or the Planetary Protection Officer will shut down the drill.

  8. anansi133 says:

    +1 for gratuitous burning man comparison

  9. elix says:


    Frankly, I’m surprised nobody beat me to it.

  10. JIMWICh says:

    I propose that we send a tiny carwash to Mars.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but my internal neat freak is bothered by all that debris on the rover, kicked up during the landing.

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