Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 170 - 171 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Preload Testing

27 January 2013

Preparations for the first drilling activities continue to go well. The focus of the Sol 170 and 171 plans was to test the ability of arm to press the drill against the surface. Four targets were selected for the "preload" testing, and the arm was left pressed against one of them overnight, to… Read More

Sol 169 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Staying Put

25 January 2013

I was MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead again today, planning images of potential drill targets. We still need more information before we can start drilling, and there are more tests to be done before the first drilling activity. So it looks like we will be in the same place for several weeks!

Sol 168 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Ninth Anniversary

24 January 2013

Today is the 9th anniversary of Opportunity's landing on Mars. Her twin Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit, sent her last transmission to Earth in 2010, after over 6 years of successful operation on the surface of Mars. Not bad, considering the nominal mission lifetime of the MER rovers was 90 days.… Read More

Sol 167 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Ready to Drill

23 January 2013

We have arrived at John Klein, the location selected for the first use of the drill! There are multiple potential drill targets in front of the rover, which must be flat as well as scientifically interesting. The Sol 167 plan includes a MAHLI mosaic of the area that can be reached by the drill,… Read More

Sol 160 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: A Bright Rock

16 January 2013

The Sol 159 "bump" went well, and we received the images we needed to plan ChemCam, MAHLI, and Mastcam observations in the new location. As MAHLI uplink lead for Sol 160, I was focused on planning close-up images of a bright rock that apparently was broken and freshly exposed by the rover wheel. … Read More

Sol 159 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Concretions

15 January 2013

For Sol 159, we planned MAHLI imaging of one more rock outcrop before stowing the arm and driving about 1 meter backward. The goal of this short "bump" is to allow us to use the arm instruments to investigate spherical objects in the rock that some team members have interpreted as… Read More

Sol 158 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: An Exciting Sol

14 January 2013

I was SOWG Chair for Sol 158 planning, and it was an exciting sol. On Sol 156, there was a minor problem with the arm that caused the team to preclude more arm contact science until the anomaly was better understood. Fortunately, good work in the testbed at JPL yesterday verified that the… Read More

Sol 153 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Advance Planning

10 January 2013

I was MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead again for Sol 153 planning, but there were no MAHLI or MARDI observations in the plan, so I focused instead on advance planning for Sol 154. Now that the duration of the daily tactical process has been reduced to 11 hours, part of the science team spends a couple… Read More

USGS Scientist Colin Dundas Quoted in Science Magazine: Gullies on Mars

8 January 2013

USGS Scientist, Colin Dunda, is working to determine what causes gullies on the surface of Mars. He was recently quoted in Science Magazine in reference to his talk given during the December 2012 Meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Sol 151 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Younger Rocks

7 January 2013

A short "bump" toward slightly younger rocks in front of the rover was planned for Sol 151, and no MAHLI observations were included so I had an easy day as PUL. The contact science activities in the current location went well, including the first brushing of the surface. In order to characterize… Read More