Rather than continue with recovery efforts, MSL will be shut down due to intense solar activity. A big "coronal mass ejection" is predicted to hit Mars on Sol 207, so the rover will be commanded to go to sleep to avoid problems like the Sol 200 anomaly. Space weather can by nasty!
The engineering and instrument teams are working to set up MSL's "B" computer with all the parameter settings needed to resume science operations. It looks like this process will take all week, so we have to be patient while they check everything out. At the same time, an anomaly response team… Read More
As the MSL engineering team continues to study the Sol 200 anomaly, tactical science planning has been cancelled through this weekend. The rover has two computers, and has been running on the A side until yesterday, when commands were sent to boot up the B side. The rover is safe in this… Read More
During Sol 200, MSL was unable to save data to part of its memory, so the rover stopped what it was doing and waited for more instructions. The engineering team at JPL is analyzing the available telemetry to determine how to recover from this anomaly, and the Sol 201 plan was cancelled. The… Read More
I'm scheduled as MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead 4 days this week. The first planning day, for Sol 200, was rather quiet for me, with just a single MAHLI activity (pulling old images out of the camera's memory and preparing less-compressed versions). Most of the rover power continues to be used to… Read More
For the first time, I was SOWG Chair for a 2-sol planning session on Saturday. Earlier this month, the MSL project stopped scheduling tactical operations on Sundays, to give the team a break once a week. So we've been planning 2 sols at a time on Saturdays, which can be challenging, but it went… Read More
Planning was more difficult today because of power limitations. The top priority for Sol 196 is to drop some of the drill sample into SAM and analyze it overnight. SAM is the largest instrument on MSL, and it requires lots of power to run. As usual, the tactical science team proposed some… Read More
After taking a break from tactical operations for an MSL science team meeting (and a bit of vacation) last week, I'm back on as SOWG chair for Sol 195 planning. The most exciting part of this plan is "feeding" some of the first drill sample to Chemin. There wasn't much room to add additional… Read More
I was happy to see that first drill sample was successfully acquired on Sol 182, as shown in one of the MAHLI images I helped plan. The whole team is very excited about this news!
The "mini-drill" test went well, so Sol 182 planning focused on the first full drilling activity. As MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead again, I concentrated on planning MAHLI images of the drill target, to be taken both before and after the drilling. A lot of effort had already gone into planning these… Read More