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2012

From Mars Curiosity to Times Square: Happy New Year

From Mars Curiosity to Times Square: Happy New Year - December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve revelers watching giant screens in New York's Times Square saw a special Happy New Year greeting from Mars, currently 206 million miles away.

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Curiosity's Martian Holiday

Curiosity's Martian Holiday - December 21, 2012

Curiosity will spend the holidays at a location on Mars dubbed "Grandma's House."

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PDF: Transcript (26.56 KB)
Mars in a Minute: How Do Rovers Drive on Mars?

Mars in a Minute: How Do Rovers Drive on Mars? - December 18, 2012

The "keys" to NASA's Mars rovers are in the capable hands of the official rover drivers. Learn how they operate the vehicles from millions of miles away in this 60-second video from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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Arm Movement for Taking a Self-Portrait

Arm Movement for Taking a Self-Portrait - December 11, 2012

This animation shows how the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at the end of the arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was positioned for taking multiple images that were later combined into a self-portrait of the rover. The animation was made using software that rover planners use to design Curiosity's movements.

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Rover Results at Rocknest

Rover Results at Rocknest - December 07, 2012

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover team wraps up its scientific study at Rocknest.

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Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite on Mars Curiosity

Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite on Mars Curiosity - December 04, 2012

How samples are delivered and then tested in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite on the Mars Curiosity rover.

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Curiosity Roves Again

Curiosity Roves Again - November 29, 2012

After spending six weeks doing science investigations at Rocknest, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is on the move again to Point Lake and a place to try out the drill.

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Animation of Curiosity Rover's First 'Touch and Go'

Animation of Curiosity Rover's First 'Touch and Go' - November 20, 2012

Animation shows NASA's Mars Curiosity rover touching a rock with an instrument on its arm, then stowing the arm and driving on.

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Wind and Radiation on Mars

Wind and Radiation on Mars - November 15, 2012

Curiosity monitors radiation and spots elusive whirlwinds on Mars.

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SAM Sniffs the Martian Atmosphere

SAM Sniffs the Martian Atmosphere - November 09, 2012

NASA's Curiosity rover uses SAM to make the most sensitive measurements ever to search for methane gas on the red planet.

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First CheMin Results

First CheMin Results - November 01, 2012

NASA's Curiosity rover gets its first taste of Mars and finds plagioclase feldspar, pyroxene, and olivine minerals.

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Working with Curiosity's ChemCam Laser

Working with Curiosity's ChemCam Laser - October 26, 2012

Curiosity uses its ChemCam laser to explore a tiny cluster of rocks nicknamed

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Mars Soil Sample Delivered

Mars Soil Sample Delivered - October 19, 2012

NASA's Curiosity rover delivers its first soil sample to its chemistry and mineralogy instrument.

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Here's the Scoop!

Here's the Scoop! - October 12, 2012

Curiosity shakes up a scoopful of dirt, dusts off the sampling system and investigates a shiny object on the surface of Mars.

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Curiosity's First Scoop of Mars, in Vibration Movie

Curiosity's First Scoop of Mars, in Vibration Movie - October 08, 2012

This video clip shows the first Martian material collected by the scoop on the robotic arm of NASA's Mars Curiosity rover, being vibrated inside the scoop after it was lifted from the ground on Oct. 7, 2012. The clip includes 256 frames from Curiosity's Mast Camera, taken at about eight frames per second, plus interpolated frames to run at actual speed in this 32-frames-per-second version. The scoop was vibrated to discard any overfill. Churning due to vibration also serves to show physical characteristics of the collected material, such as an absence of pebbles. The scoop is 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) wide, 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) long.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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Rover Gets Set to Scoop

Rover Gets Set to Scoop - October 04, 2012

NASA scientists and engineers prepare Mars Curiosity rover for its first scoop of soil for analysis.The rover's ability to put soil samples into analytical instruments is central to assessing whether its present location on Mars, called Gale Crater, ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

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Test Scooping for Mars Rover Curiosity

Test Scooping for Mars Rover Curiosity - October 04, 2012

This video, presented at four times actual speed, shows a test using an engineering model of the soil scoop for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. The scoop dips to about 1.4 inches (3.5 centimeters) deep. This test took place at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., in 2011.

Curiosity's scoop will collect soil samples to be sieved, processed and delivered to analytical instruments inside the rover.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Mars Streambed

Mars Streambed - September 28, 2012

Curiosity science team member Sanjeev Gupta explains how rounded pebbles spotted by the rover are convincing evidence of an ancient streambed on Mars.

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River Fans on Earth and Mars

River Fans on Earth and Mars - September 27, 2012

Curiosity science team member William Dietrich explores the relationship between river fans found in California's Death Valley on Earth and similar fans in Gale Crater on Mars.

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Tribute to Jake

Tribute to Jake - September 20, 2012

NASA's Curiosity heads to rock target "Jake," named in honor of Mars Science Laboratory engineer Jacob Matejevic.

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Living on Mars Time

Living on Mars Time - September 13, 2012

NASA Curiosity flight director David Oh updates us on the rover and his family's experience on Mars time.

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Curiosity Working Its Arm

Curiosity Working Its Arm - September 06, 2012

This simulation shows planned movements of the arm on NASA's Curiosity rover for round one of its robotic arm checkouts, expected to run on Sol 33 (Sept. 8, 2012). This so-called

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Stopping and Stretching

Stopping and Stretching - September 06, 2012

NASA's Curiosity rover takes a short breather on her trek to Glenelg to check out her arm instruments.

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Messages from Mars

Messages from Mars - August 31, 2012

Curiosity sends home special messages before heading onto the Martian plain towards her first target.

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Students Reach for the Stars with will.i.am

Students Reach for the Stars with will.i.am - August 28, 2012

Musician will.i.am addresses students at JPL during an event celebrating the first time in history that a recorded song has been beamed back to Earth from another planet.

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Curiosity Communicates with Help From Its 'Friends'

Curiosity Communicates with Help From Its 'Friends' - August 27, 2012

This animation shows how NASA's Curiosity rover communicates with Earth via two of NASA's Mars orbiters, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and Odyssey, and the European Space Agency's Mars Express. The rover sends the signals to the orbiters, which then passes them on to Earth. This allows for more data to be transmitted at a faster rate.

The paths of the orbiters around Mars are shown, in addition to the location of Curiosity within Gale Crater. The movie then switches to the perspective of the rover, showing the route of MRO overhead.

Back on Earth, the signals are picked up by large antenna dishes at NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN), which has three complexes in Goldstone, Calif., Madrid, Spain and Canberra, Australia. The DSN sends the information to Curiosity's mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Calif.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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A Landing Site with a View

A Landing Site with a View - August 27, 2012

This color panorama shows a 360-degree view of the landing site of NASA's Curiosity rover, including the highest part of Mount Sharp visible to the rover.

The images used for the panorama were taken by the rover's Mast Camera on Aug. 8 and 18, 2012.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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Interplanetary Voicemail

Interplanetary Voicemail - August 27, 2012

Members of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission listen to a voice message from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in the mission support area at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The message, which had been sent to Mars and back, was played for the team on Aug. 27, 2012.

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Flex, Zap, Roll

Flex, Zap, Roll - August 24, 2012

Curiosity performs a series of firsts this week -- flexing its arm, laser-zapping a rock and rolling on its wheels.

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Dropping in on Mars in High-Res

Dropping in on Mars in High-Res - August 23, 2012

This movie from NASA's Curiosity rover shows most of the high-resolution frames acquired by the Mars Descent Imager between the jettison of the heat shield and touchdown. The video, obtained on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT), covers the last two-and-a-half minutes before touchdown in Gale Crater.

Audio recorded from mission control can be heard, counting down the critical events.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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Lab Testing of Curiosity's Laser

Lab Testing of Curiosity's Laser - August 22, 2012

This short video clip shows final testing of the mast unit of the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument for NASA's Curiosity before it was installed on the rover. An iron pyrite crystal was used as a target, located about 2.5 meters (8 feet) from the instrument. The laser was fired, first at 3 Hertz (pulses per second) and then at 10 Hertz. The last spark was captured as a still image to better display the size and shape of the plasma, or ionized gas. The test, performed at Earth's atmospheric pressure, took place at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, which assembled and tested the instrument.

Image credit: LANL

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Planning Curiosity's First Test Drive

Planning Curiosity's First Test Drive - August 22, 2012

This simulation shows the first test drive of NASA's Curiosity rover. This tool, called the Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP) helps engineers plan the rover's drives, modeling pebbles and bumps in the terrain. The visualization component of the RSVP tool is called Hyperdrive.

The tool shows the sped-up plan for the drive; the actual drive took place at 7:17 a.m. PDT (10:17 a.m. EDT) on Aug. 22, 2012, and lasted about 16 minutes. The drive demonstrated that the wheel actuators, or motors, are working.

To start its forward drive, Curiosity's drove about 3 feet (90 centimeters), rotating its wheels 180 degrees, before stopping to take pictures of the wheels. It then continued forward another 12 feet (3.6 meters), totaling 15 feet (4.5 meters) of forward motion. The rover then rotated 120 degrees, stopping again during the turn to take more pictures. Finally, Curiosity rolled backward 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) and snapped more pictures from its final location. The total drive distance was nearly 23 feet (7 meters). Curiosity is now about 20 feet (6 meters) from its landing site, called Bradbury Landing, and more than 16 feet (5 meters) from the scour mark called Goulburn, which scientists are currently investigating.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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First Drive Celebration

First Drive Celebration - August 22, 2012

Team members celebrate in JPL's Curiosity Surface Mission Support Area when images are received confirming Curiosity's first drive on Mars on Aug. 22, 2012.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Planning Curiosity's First Arm Moves on Mars

Planning Curiosity's First Arm Moves on Mars - August 21, 2012

This animation depicts movements of the robotic arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity as commanded for Aug. 20, 2012, the first time the arm was used on Mars. The animation is derived from visualization software that rover planners use in developing the commands sent to the rover.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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What It's Like to Land On Mars

What It's Like to Land On Mars - August 21, 2012

This video steps viewers through a portion of the choreography needed to land NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars. It starts with a computer simulation from NASA's Eyes on the Solar System program and uses actual images from Curiosity's Mars Descent Imager. It ends with a high-resolution color image from Curiosity's Mast Camera.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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Instrument Check-Out

Instrument Check-Out - August 17, 2012

Curiosity remains busy on Mars by checking out her instruments and getting ready for her first test drive.

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PDF: Transcript (14.76 KB)
ChemCam Field of View

ChemCam Field of View - August 17, 2012

This animation depicts the location of the ChemCam instrument at the top of the mast on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity and the field of view of the instrument's camera, called the Remote Micro-Imager. In the animation, the camera is pointed at ChemCam's calibration target on Curiosity's deck.

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Heat Shield, Meet Mars

Heat Shield, Meet Mars - August 17, 2012

This sequence of images shows the heat shield from NASA's Mars Science Laboratory hitting the ground on Mars and raising a cloud of dust. The images were taken by the Mars Descent Imager on the mission's Curiosity rover while the rover was still suspended on a parachute, after the spacecraft had jettisoned the heat shield.

A dark spot, the shadow of the heat shield, enters the scene from lower left, moving toward the center. The bright heat shield itself is also apparent just before the shadow and hardware meet in the impact on the surface. The area of ground visible in the images is about six-tenths of a mile (1 kilometer) across. The frames shown here are cropped portions of full-frame images from the Mars Descent Imager.

The sequence includes 25 frames, repeated in five run-throughs for this presentation. The action is full speed in the first, fourth and fifth run-throughs. It is one-half and one-eighth speeds in the second and third run-throughs.

At the time the heat shield hit the ground, the spacecraft photographing it was nearly two miles (about 3,000 meters) above the ground and 68 seconds away from its own touchdown.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems

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Where were you when Curiosity landed

Where were you when Curiosity landed - August 15, 2012

Where were you when Curiosity landed

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President Obama Calls Curiosity Team

President Obama Calls Curiosity Team - August 13, 2012

President Obama phoned the team at JPL on Monday, Aug. 13, to congratulate them on the successful landing of Curiosity. "It's inspiring to all of us. Photographs that are coming back are going to be remarkable and amazing," President Obama said.

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Dropping in on Mars: A Rover's Eye View

Dropping in on Mars: A Rover's Eye View - August 10, 2012

This movie from NASA's Curiosity rover shows all the "thumbnail" (low-resolution) frames acquired by the Mars Descent Imager between the jettison of the heat shield and touchdown. The video, obtained on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT), covers the last two and a half minutes before touchdown in Gale Crater. Full resolution images will be returned to Earth over the next several months as Curiosity begins its scientific exploration of Mars.

The original image from MARDI has been geometrically corrected to look flat. The video plays at about four frames per second.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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Surface Operations Begin

Surface Operations Begin - August 10, 2012

Mars Science Laboratory team member Jessica Samuels gives a progress report on Curiosity's first days on Mars.

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PDF: Transcript (171.72 KB)
Curiosity's First Low-Resolution Color Panorama

Curiosity's First Low-Resolution Color Panorama - August 10, 2012

This movie shows the first 360-degree panorama in color of the Gale Crater landing site taken by NASA's Curiosity rover. It was made from thumbnail versions of images taken by the Mast Camera.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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Up, Down and All Around Curiosity

Up, Down and All Around Curiosity - August 09, 2012

This movie begins with an expansive 360-degree view from NASA's Curiosity rover, showing the surrounding terrain within Gale Crater, then zooms in on the rover's deck. The full-resolution images were taken by the rover's Navigation camera.

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Curiosity Bids Goodbye to Heat Shield

Curiosity Bids Goodbye to Heat Shield - August 08, 2012

This video of thumbnail images from the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) on NASA's Curiosity rover shows the heat shield dropping away from the rover on Aug. 5 PDT (Aug. 6 EDT). It covers the first 25 seconds of MARDI observations as Curiosity descends toward the surface of Mars.

The video starts in darkness because there is no illumination inside the aeroshell.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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Zooming in on the Scene of Curiosity's Landing

Zooming in on the Scene of Curiosity's Landing - August 07, 2012

Follow along on a tour of the landing scene of NASA's Curiosity rover in this video made up of images from two NASA orbiters. The movie begins with a global image from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, then switches to views from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. As we zoom closer and closer into Gale Crater, the components of Curiosity's landing system come into view: The heat shield was the first piece to hit the ground, followed by the back shell attached to the parachute, then the rover itself touched down, and finally, after cables were cut, the sky crane flew away to the northwest and crashed

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

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Curiosity Pre-Launch Mast Test

Curiosity Pre-Launch Mast Test - August 07, 2012

This video shows the mast of NASA's Curiosity rover deploying in a pre-launch test. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Curiosity Has Landed

Curiosity Has Landed - August 06, 2012

Relive the nail-biting terror and joy as NASA's Curiosity rover successfully landed on Mars the evening of Aug. 5 PDT (morning of Aug. 6 EDT).

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Transcript (PDF)
Explore Mars With Curiosity

Explore Mars With Curiosity - August 06, 2012

This animation shows the approximate true position of NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars. A 3-D virtual model of Curiosity is shown inside Gale Crater, near Mount Sharp, Curiosity's ultimate destination. Like any wise hiker heading out on a trip, Curiosity will do a self-check to make sure her tools are working before she makes her way to the foot of Mount Sharp. This animation is derived from a virtual rover experience where the public can be an explorer and follow in Curiosity's journey day by day. Using the Unity game engine plug-in, the public can see what Curiosity is up to and follow in her footsteps as she explores.

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Curiosity's Descent

Curiosity's Descent - August 06, 2012

The Curiosity Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) captured the rover's descent to the surface of the Red Planet. The instrument shot 4 fps video from heatshield separation to the ground.

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'Top Gun' Tests Radar for Mars

'Top Gun' Tests Radar for Mars - August 04, 2012

Between 2006 and 2011, engineers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., conducted a series of aerial tests on the radar that will be used to land NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars. Using a NASA Dryden F/A-18 Hornet and a Eurocopter AS350 helicopter, they tested the radar's performance at different altitudes and velocities over a simulated Martian terrain in the Southern California high desert.

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Phoning Home: Communicating from Mars

Phoning Home: Communicating from Mars - August 04, 2012

How will we know if Curiosity has landed safely on the surface of Mars?

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Great Convergence of Spacecraft around Mars

Great Convergence of Spacecraft around Mars - August 04, 2012

This artist's animation shows how orbiters over Mars will monitor the landing of NASA's Curiosity rover.

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Curiosity Speaks

Curiosity Speaks - August 04, 2012

The artist's animation depicts how NASA's Curiosity rover will communicate with Earth during landing. As the rover descends to Mars, it will send out basic radio-frequency tones that go directly to Earth. NASA's Odyssey orbiter will then relay more complex UHF radio signals from the rover to Earth.

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Communicating with Curiosity

Communicating with Curiosity - August 04, 2012

This artist's animation shows how NASA's Curiosity rover will communicate with Earth via two of NASA's Mars orbiters, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Odyssey. As the rover descends to the surface of Mars, it will send out two different types of data: basic radio-frequency tones that go directly to Earth (pink dashes) and more complex UHF radio data (blue circles). Odyssey will pick up the UHF signal and relay it immediately back to Earth (seen as a beam of small blue circles). Meanwhile, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will record the UHF data and play it back to Earth at a later time.

Back on Earth, the rover's signals are picked up by large antenna dishes at NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN), which has three complexes in Goldstone, Calif., Madrid, Spain and Canberra, Australia. The DSN sends the information to Curiosity's mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Calif.

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Flying Over Mars

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Flying Over Mars - August 04, 2012

This animation shows NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter flying over NASA's Curiosity (shown in pink) as the rover lands on the Red Planet. The video is slowed down as the orbiter approaches the landing site for better viewing. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will capture data during Curiosity's entry, descent and landing for later playback to Earth. Its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera will attempt to take an image of Curiosity as it descends to the surface (green).

HiRISE is one of six instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates the orbiter's HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft.

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Curiosity's Hazard Cameras Ready for Action

Curiosity's Hazard Cameras Ready for Action - August 03, 2012

This animation shows the location of a set of Hazard-Avoidance cameras on the back of NASA's Curiosity rover. Each camera is protected by a clear dust cover, shown here popping off.

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Popping the Lid off Curiosity's Hazard Cameras

Popping the Lid off Curiosity's Hazard Cameras - August 03, 2012

This video shows an engineering test for NASA's Curiosity rover, which took place during Assembly, Test and Launch Operations (ATLO), a project phase that occurs when all components are integrated, tested and launched. During the test shown here in slow motion, the clear dust covers on the Hazard-Avoidance cameras were popped off.

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The Science of Curiosity: Seeking Signs of Past Mars Habitability

The Science of Curiosity: Seeking Signs of Past Mars Habitability - July 24, 2012

Unlike previous rovers sent to Mars, Curiosity is a robot chemist seeking evidence of past habitability on Mars.

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PDF: Transcript (7.2 KB)
Mars Dune Buggy

Mars Dune Buggy - July 03, 2012

NASA engineers take the Curiosity test rover to California's Mojave desert to learn how to drive on Martian sand dunes.

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Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror

Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror - June 22, 2012

Engineers who designed the entry, descent and landing system for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity candidly talk about the new landing system, and describe the challenges of Curiosity's final moments before touchdown on Aug. 5, 2012, at 10:31pm PDT.

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How Hard Is It to Land Curiosity on Mars?

How Hard Is It to Land Curiosity on Mars? - June 07, 2012

Curiosity's dramatic landing on Mars is the most difficult and nail-biting part of the whole mission. This 60-second video from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows what it takes to touch down successfully.

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Curiosity Rover Sampling System Scoop Test

Curiosity Rover Sampling System Scoop Test - May 24, 2012

Curiosity will be a rolling geology lab on Mars. See how engineers take a soil sample using her stunt double.

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How Do You Land on Mars?

How Do You Land on Mars? - April 13, 2012

Landing a spacecraft on Mars is one of the trickiest things we do. This 60-second video explains how it's done, and the three landing systems we use at the Red Planet.

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Where Does Your Curiosity Lead?

Where Does Your Curiosity Lead? - April 11, 2012

Curiosity is a big part of what it means to be human. It's also the name of NASA's next Mars rover. This 60-second video from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows how one type of curiosity can inspire another.

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Robotic Arm Target Practice

Robotic Arm Target Practice - April 10, 2012

Engineers use Curiosity's body double to practice robotic arm placement.

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The Cruise to Mars

The Cruise to Mars - March 19, 2012

The long journey to Mars through the harsh environment of space confronts the Curiosity navigation team with a long list of challenges to get the spacecraft safely to its destination.

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Landing Practice

Landing Practice - March 06, 2012

How do you prepare to land a one-ton rover lightly on the surface of Mars? Practice!

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Launching a Mars Rover

Launching a Mars Rover - January 26, 2012

Video of the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Nov. 26, 2011, onboard an Atlas V rocket.

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Launching Curiosity to Mars

Launching Curiosity to Mars - January 26, 2012

Mission team members share their excitement and reflections on the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover.

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Curiosity Tweaks Course to Mars

Curiosity Tweaks Course to Mars - January 12, 2012

NASA rover makes first big maneuver en route to August rendezvous with Mars.

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PDF: Transcript (168.19 KB)

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