Happy Anniversary Curiosity!

curiosity_1yearonmars

The Mars rover Curiosity landed on the red planet 1 year ago today close to the time of this post.  You can join NASA in the anniversary celebration on NASA TV at 10:45 a.m. EDT (8/6).

During the year Curiosity drove just over one mile. The map shows where Curiosity has been and how far it traveled each day since landing at Bradbury Landing last August 6th. On August 1, 2013 the odometer reading was 1.05 miles at the end of Martian day 351.

curisoity map day354

 

 

 

4 Days Until Curiosity Celebrates 1st Anniversary on Mars

4 Days Until Curiosity's 1 year anniversary on Mars

Foothills of Mt. Sharp

Next Tuesday is the 1 year anniversary of Curiosity’s landing on Mars. Curiosity will celebrate the day by continuing to drive slowly toward Mt. Sharp. Mt. Sharp is a little over 3 miles high and is in the center of Gale Crater. It began the 5 mile journey to the foot hills of Mt. Sharp on July 7 and should arrive in 9 months to a year. So far Curiosity’s farthest distance traveled in one day was on July 21 when it went 100.3 m.

Curiosity Rover's Self Portrait at 'John Klein...

Curiosity Rover’s Self Portrait at ‘John Klein’ Drilling Site, Cropped (2013) (Photo credit: Euclid vanderKroew)

The distance traveled yesterday was 85.14 m. NASA had hoped it would travel at least 110m per day.  Maybe by next Tuesday Curiosity will break another record but with a top speed over flat hard ground of  just .09 mph that might be asking a little too much.

Spray Pattern of Icy Geysers of Enceladus

Cassini, which has been orbiting Saturn since 2004, discovered jets of water ice and organic particles shooting out from Saturn’s moon Enceladus in 2005. Scientists thought the amount of the spray changed over time but they couldn’t show until now that the spray changed in a pattern that could be easily recognized.  After using infrared data from Cassini’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) and other data gathered over time they were able to see the changes and recognize a pattern.  When Enceladus is closer to Saturn the stronger gravitational pull of the planet makes the openings smaller and therefore less is sprayed out. (Look at the south pole of Enceladus in the picture below-right insert.)When Enceladus is further away from the planet less gravity allows larger openings so the spray escapes in larger quantities.

Enceladus has the most spray when it is farther away from Saturn in its orbit.

Enceladus has the most spray when it is farthest away from Saturn in its orbit (left insert) and the least spray when it is closest to Saturn (right insert).