Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 35 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Belly of the Rover

11 September 2012

There were more cheers and applause when MAHLI images of the belly of the rover were displayed. The camera, which can focus at distances from 2 cm to infinity, is working perfectly! It also took pictures of its calibration target, which includes a 1909 Lincoln penny. The arm checkout also went well, leaving the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) facing its calibration target for a long integration. Unfortunately, ChemCam suffered a command error on Sol 34 and was shut down by the rover computer. This also prevented the rest of the planned remote sensing observations from being acquired that sol, and the remote sensing mast (RSM) from being used on Sol 35. So the Sol 35 plan was rather simple, including more APXS integration on its calibration target followed by retraction of the arm. Even though we couldn't use the RSM, we could still plan a test of Mastcam's video capability, as it doesn't matter where the cameras are pointed for this test. We are all hoping that recovery from the ChemCam error will be rapid, and that we will be able to use it and the rest of the instruments on the RSM tomorrow.