Sol 560 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: At JPL3 March 2014
It's been a while since I traveled to JPL to serve as SOWG Chair for MSL planning, so I decided to spend a few days in Pasadena this week. I'm glad I did, because it would have been much more difficult to get the job done this morning from Flagstaff. Several options were "on the table" including contact science, a full set of MAHLI wheel images, targeted remote sensing, and a couple of drive direction choices. So the science team had to prepare contingency plans for these varied scenarios and react to updates from the engineering team regarding the risk of the rover slipping in response to arm motions and potential drive hazards. Once the rover state and nearby terrain were evaluated, we settled on contact science followed by a drive toward the west, and the rest of the planning day went very smoothly. The Sol 560 plan includes APXS and MAHLI observations of a rock dubbed "Secure" followed by a ~27-meter drive.