Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 2 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist, Ken Herkenhoff: Planning Report

7 August 2012
 Today I'm working as Science Uplink Representative again, planning
Sol 2 activities.  We now know exactly where MSL is, thanks to more good
work by the MRO HiRISE team:  They acquired a new image of the landing area
that shows not only the rover, but its heat shield, parachute, and descent
stage, all in the same image!
  So the MSL team is starting to plan where to drive, but I have not been
directly involved in those discussions because they have been occurring
during first shift.  Certainly we must move out of the area contaminated by
the landing rockets before analyzing samples of the soil.
        The plan for today includes deploying the remote sensing mast,
obviously an important activity, as we cannot use the mast cameras and
ChemCam instrument until the mast is deployed.  Once the mast has been
deployed, the navigation cameras will take a full, 360-degree panorama of
the terrain around us and another panorama of the rover deck.  Based on the
hazard avoidance camera  images received so far, the Navcam panorama should be spectacular!
        During one of the tactical planning meeting today, we were
interrupted by the Project Manager for a surprise visit from U.S.
Congressman John Culberson of Texas.  He was impressed by the mission
operations area and vowed to protect us from interference from NASA
Headquarters, so that we can do our jobs efficiently.  I'm not particularly
fond of politicians, but it was an honor to hear him thank us for our
efforts and we all applauded after his brief speech.  Hopefully he will
vote to restore funding for NASA's Mars Program in fiscal 2013!

Ken