12.13.2016 Now and Long Ago at Gale Crater, Mars
12.13.2016 Where's Boron? Mars Rover Detects It
10.03.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Murray Buttes'
10.03.2016 Butte 'M9a' in 'Murray Buttes' on Mars
09.19.2016 Ribbon Cutting
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 5)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 4)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 3)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 2)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 1)
08.26.2016 Out-of-this-World Records
03.30.2016 Erisa Hines
03.30.2016 Buzz Aldrin
02.12.2016 Women in Science
02.09.2016 Adam Steltzner, a JPL engineer
01.27.2016 Night Close-up of Martian Sand Grains
01.27.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at Martian Sand Dune
12.17.2015 Alteration Effects at Gale and Gusev Craters
12.17.2015 Full-Circle View Near 'Marias Pass' on Mars
12.11.2015 Surface Close-up of a Martian Sand Dune
12.11.2015 Martian Sand Disturbed by Rover Wheel
11.24.2015 Carbon Exchange and Loss Processes on Mars
11.17.2015 Chemical Laptop 1
Landing Accuracy on Mars: A Historical PerspectiveThis image illustrates how spacecraft landings on Mars have become more and more precise over the years. Since NASA's first Mars landing of Viking in 1976, the targeted landing regions, or ellipses, have shrunk. Improvements in interplanetary navigation tightened the ellipses between the 1997 and 2008 landings of NASA's Pathfinder and Phoenix.
NASA's Curiosity used those improvements, in addition to hypersonic guided entry similar to that used by astronauts returning to Earth during NASA's Apollo program, to further reduce the ellipse size and land just north of the slopes of Mount Sharp. The area of Curiosity's landing ellipse was just seven percent the size of the previous best landing ellipse for Phoenix. This guided entry technique also allowed a much heavier rover to land on Mars.
The background picture is from the European Space Agency's Mars Express overlaid with topographical data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA