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
More than 400 years after its discovery by Galileo, the largest moon in the Solar System – Ganymede – has finally claimed a spot on the map. Read More. . . Also see the video on the multimedia library page.
I'm SOWG Chair again for another 2-sol plan, and it's been a more hectic planning day. The Sol 540 drive went well, about 71 meters total. A shorter (~23 m) drive is planned for Sol 542, allowing some time for pre-drive targeted Mastcam stereo imaging and MAHLI images of the wheels. Because the… Read More
I'm SOWG Chair today for a 2-sol plan. Planning is restricted again, as we won't receive the data from Sol 540 until late Tuesday. So we're planning a ~73-meter drive on Sol 540 and untargeted remote science on Sol 541. Before the drive, we've planned big Mastcam mosaics of the walls of the… Read More
This week the data from MSL have been arriving later and later each day, as expected because Mars' day is about 40 minutes longer than Earth's day. The data arrived so late yesterday that no planning was possible, and now we are back in "restricted" planning. But the data look good, showing that… Read More
The Sol 533 toe dip went well, leaving the rover's front wheels on the crest of the dune. The Sol 534 plan was to drive over dune into Dingo Gap, but late in the day it was cancelled. The Rover Drivers had some concerns about the terrain and it was decided that delay the drive to Sol 535 in… Read More
The initial "toe dip" into the dune in Dingo Gap was planned for Sol 533. If it goes well, the rover will be commanded to cross the dune, probably on the left (south) side, on Sol 534. I'm catching up on the latest MSL plans after spending the day working MER tactical operations as… Read More
Using the images acquired of Dingo Gap beyond the dune, it appears that the gap can be safely traversed, and the Project decided to drive through the gap. But first, the weekend plan included lots of targeted science observations on Sol 530, APXS and MAHLI observations of the dune inside and… Read More