Sol 689 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Mars Science Conference15 July 2014
Many of the scientists on the MSL team are attending the 8th International Mars Science Conference this week on the Caltech campus in Pasadena. I was pleased to see that 2 of the first 3 speakers were USGS Astrogeology colleagues: The first speaker, Ken Tanaka, introduced the new global geologic map of Mars that was included in the packet of materials handed out to each registered attendee. Ken led the major mapping effort that culminated in the publication of this map, and received well-deserved applause when he presented it to the audience. The third speaker, Oleg Abramov, showed the results of his detailed modeling of the effects of impact bombardment on the early history of Mars, concluding that the crust of the planet was probably not completely melted, leaving open the possibility of habitable environments during that violent time.
With all this going on, I wasn't able to keep up with MSL operations, but my review of the latest project reports shows that the rover drove over 82 meters last weekend. The Sol 689 drive will be more limited because the terrain ahead is rough.
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.