by Cat Ellen, contributing writer

Mars Teams Focus on Comet Siding Spring

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

With the recent arrival of NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN), five scientific missions at Mars are now joining forces to observe the Comet Siding Spring, expected October 19, 2014. From the skies: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, and MAVEN each have their assigned observation objectives. And providing ground support, the two working rovers–Curiosity and Opportunity–plan to take measurements and send observational data back to their respective teams.

  • Read more about the plans for Comet Siding Spring

Oppy Still Working

RAW image from the Back to Front Hazcam, Sol 3800 (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

RAW image from the Back to Front Hazcam, Sol 3800 (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

“The Little Rover That Could” continues to take photos on Mars, taking driving instruction from the team back on Earth, and perform scientific analysis. And after 3800 Sols (a solar day on Mars, roughly 24 hours and 39 minutes), the view from NASA’s Opportunity rover looks fantastic.

Currently, Opportunity is headed towards “Marathon Valley” while taking photos on the west rim of Endeavour Crator. Oppy’s team intends to have the rover collect panoramic images of the ejecta field of a small crater named “Ulysses.” Also, the rover has been taking twilight test photos help the team prepare for the Comet Siding Spring expected on October 19, 2014.

Since the flash memory reboot in early September, Opportunity has driven an additional 0.14 miles this past month, displaying a total mission odometer at 25.34 miles. In addition to driving and photography, Opportunity continued to use the Rock Abrasion Tool brush, collect some material attempt to process scientific observations and calculations. And although the rover occasionally still experiences anomalies with the Flash file system, the team reports Oppy is “otherwise in good health.”

Want More?

  • Mars Exploration Program
  • Mars MAVEN mission
  • Twitter: @MarsRovers, Spirit and Oppy
  • Twitter: @MarsCuriosity
  • Twitter: @MAVEN2Mars
  • Twitter: @NASAJPL
  • Facebook: NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover
  • Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter


Cat Ellen
Cat Ellen

Cat Ellen is a technical writer by trade, an occasional copy editor
and beta reader, and has a passion for teaching ATS bellydance and
numerous textile arts, notably drop spindle and card weaving.