ExoMars landing site 2: This time it’s geological

It’s been nine months since the last workshop about where the next rover will land on Mars. During that time there have been some fantastic space firsts, including the European Space Agency landing on a comet, and NASA testing a spacecraft that will take humans back into deep space. But we’ve always kept one eye […]

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ExoMars landing site 1: Europe goes to Mars

If you had to pick just one place to find life on Mars, where would you go? For the last twenty years, exploring Mars has been a case of “follow the water” – a search that boils down under the martian atmosphere in my northern vernacular to “has tha nowt moist?” The thinking goes that […]

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Mars mission to Iceland – Part 6

The Final Close-Out Our fieldtrip to analogue Mars is almost over. We have returned from our field site for the final time and are now packing our EVA equipment and samples for the return to Earth. It’s going to be sad to leave behind such a wonderful place, but we’ve managed to collect a wealth […]

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Mars mission to Iceland – Part 5

“With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour” *** MASTER ALARM – CODE 003 *** After two long and very productive EVAs, our surface operations were hampered by one of our field laptops deciding it’d had enough. And not just a “have you tried turning it off and on […]

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Mars mission to Iceland – Part 4

“Do robots dream of duct-taped shoes?” With near frostbitten fingers, grit-ridden eyes, and a sometimes strange smell in our dust samples, I can safely say that I feel that little bit closer to being a proper (analogue) astronaut. The radio silence over the last few days has been down to us making the most of […]

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Mars mission to Iceland – Part 3

> BEEP “Is it on? I love this guy!” > SYSTEM STATUS. OK. > SO THE MEATBAGS HAVE SWITCHED ME ON. ABOUT TIME. > ENVIRONMENT STATUS. INDOORS. > HUH? > … > OK, PRECIPITATION HEAVY OUTSIDE. IN MY PRESENT CONFIGURATION I’M BETTER IN THE DRY. SO IS THE CAR BATTERY POWERING ME. ALTHOUGH, IT WOULD […]

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Mars mission to Iceland – Part 2

“Oh Hey – There is Orange Soil” Two main discoveries on Day 3 of our analogue mission to Mars: (1) Despite looking for Mars we’ve found an awful lot of the Moon. This isn’t that surprising given that our EVA’s today were mainly over dark basaltic lava flows searching for good alteration targets for our […]

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Curiosity – base maps

Since my last post I’ve had a few requests for maps of the Bradbury Landing site, and the larger Gale Crater area. So I thought I’d share some of these maps as best I can. The maps are just screenshots from my Gale GIS project, showing different data at different zoom levels. I’ve omitted grids, […]

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Curiosity – a bit of geological context

Well, here we are then… Curiosity has landed safely in Gale Crater on Mars. You know, I’ll never get tired of writing that. So much has been already written about the mission, the people, and what’s going to happen over the next few days, weeks and years. And I loved reading them all. But I […]

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Curiosity GIS

Well, it’s time to get tooled up for the upcoming landing of Curiosity on Mars. I’ve been putting together a GIS of the landing site, using as many data products as I can find, which hopefully will come in handy later on. Everything was done by importing all the HiRISE data into ArcGIS 10, fiddling with […]

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