Sol 662 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Resuming MSL Blog18 June 2014
I’m hoping to be able to resume blogging about MSL soon, but it will be difficult to report very frequently because of continuing personal and professional commitments. Fortunately, two other members of the MSL science team have volunteered to help with this blog: Ryan Anderson and Lauren Edgar. Ryan is a USGS post-doctoral fellow and member of the ChemCam science team, who previously blogged about planetary science for the American Geophysical Union. Lauren recently accepted a USGS research scientist position, and will be moving from Arizona State University to Flagstaff this fall. Both have been heavily involved in MSL mission operations and data analysis since the rover landed in 2012, and I’m very pleased that they are willing to spend some of their time contributing to this blog. You’ll be hearing from them soon.
The top priority for MSL continues to be the traverse toward the base of Aeolis Mons (Mt. Sharp). Progress has been good since leaving The Kimberley, including a 129-meter drive on Sol 662. We successfully planned a rapid traverse sol last week, in which scientific observations are limited in favor of maximizing drive distance on days when only a few hours are available for planning before commands must be sent to the rover. In this way, we can make progress on days that would previously have been restricted due to the offset between Earth and Mars time.
Dates of planned rover activities described in these reports are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.