After I finished my SOWG Chair shifts last week, I took some time off to celebrate my son's birthday. While I was away, the MSL planning schedule transitioned into "late slide sols" because data from the rover arrive late in the day Pacific time. In order to preserve the ability to send commands… Read More
The Sol 561 drive went well, and the rover is in a good location for MAHLI wheel imaging, so the Sol 562 plan includes 4 sets of wheel images. We had just enough power to add a few science observations, including Mastcam and ChemCam RMI observations of dunes near the base of Aeolis Mons ("Mt.… Read More
At the beginning of tactical operations this morning, the plan for Sol 561 was to take a set of MAHLI wheel images. But the nearby terrain was not ideal for wheel imaging, and a safe path ahead was visible, so we decided to drive toward the west again. This didn't leave much power for other… Read More
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… Read More
I have been traveling this week to a meeting of the HiRISE (the big camera that has been taking images of rovers from orbit, science team, so am catching up with what MSL has been up to. Drive progress has been good, requiring some discipline on the part of the MSL science team to resist diverting… Read More
The Sol 549 drive brought the rover close enough to the outcrop dubbed Bungle Bungle to allow MAHLI and APXS measurements, so the Sol 550 plan focuses on contact science. First, ChemCam will zap and image the outcrop, then the arm will be deployed. After the contact science has completed, the… Read More
The rover drove over 100 meters on Sol 548, so it is time for another full set of wheel images to monitor wear. Because the MAHLI wheel imaging sequences have been used many times before, it was a relatively easy day for me as MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead. After the wheel imaging is finished, the… Read More
Testing on Earth has shown that driving backward should reduce wear on the front and middle wheels, so the Sol 547 drive was the first long, 100 meters, backward drive. It went very well, and the terrain ahead looks good, so another long drive is planned for Sol 548, again mostly backward.
Monday was a holiday (Presidents' Day) for some of us, but not for the MSL tactical team. The activities planned for last weekend went well, including a 47-meter drive, so the Sol 546 plan focused on imaging of the wheels at 4 positions.
Another busy 2-sol plan--Sol 544 will begin with a bunch of MAHLI activities: Imaging of the inlet for SAM's tunable laser spectrometer, the standard wheel imaging, and images from various angles of a spot in front of the rover to measure the photometric behavior of the surface. The first and… Read More