Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 212 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Nothing to Do

20 March 2013

I'm scheduled as MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead again today, but there's nothing for me to do because the engineers at JPL are still working to recover from recent software anomalies. The latest fault was not serious, but delayed the return to nominal science operations. The instruments have been… Read More

Sol 210 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Clay Minerals

14 March 2013

I'm SOWG Chair again today, but because anomaly recovery continues we are not planning science activities. So I was able to watch the MSL press conference at NASA Headquarters this morning, during which the discovery of clay minerals and possible organic material in the first drill sample was… Read More

Sol 208 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Stay Patient

11 March 2013

I'm scheduled to serve as SOWG Chair today and tomorrow, but we won't be able to plan any new science observations because the recovery from the Sol 200 anomaly is not yet complete. Unfortunately, it appears that we won't resume normal science planning until next week. But the science team… Read More

Sol 206 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Sun Blasting Mars

6 March 2013

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!

Sol 205 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Still Recovering

5 March 2013

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

Sol 202 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Plan B

1 March 2013

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

Sol 201 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Memory Problem

28 February 2013

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

Sol 200 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Quiet Day

27 February 2013

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

Sol 197 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Two-Sol Planning

25 February 2013

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

Sol 196 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Power Limits

22 February 2013

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