Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 58 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: The Right Scuff

4 October 2012

The first wheel scuff went well, so we planned APXS (elemental chemistry) and MAHLI (close-up imaging) of the floor and sidewall of the scuff, as well as an undisturbed area just to the right of the scuff. These data should allow us to decide whether the ripple is suitable for the scooping using… Read More

Sol 57 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: First Scuff

2 October 2012

I'm back at JPL, serving as SOWG Chair planning Sol 57. The mission continues to go very well, with recent drives executed nearly perfectly. The rover is now positioned near a windblown ripple that is the current target of both scientific and engineering study. As I mentioned previously, we… Read More

Sol 51 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Back in Flagstaff

27 September 2012

I haven't been following the MSL mission for the last couple days, traveling back to Flagstaff to give a talk about Mars rovers for the Flagstaff Festival of Science today at Lowell Observatory.  I've been giving talks for the Festival for about 10 years, starting with an overview of the Mars… Read More

Sol 50 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Windblown Ripple Observations

25 September 2012

Yet another good drive on Sol 49, leaving the rover right next to a windblown ripple (right of center). It doesn't look like much, but it's the first one we've been close to so it was the target of ChemCam and Mastcam observations planned for Sol 50. We are currently searching for a larger ripple… Read More

Sol 49 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: 42 Meters!

24 September 2012

Today I served as the leader of the Geology Science Theme Group, which was fun because I had never done it before. The Sol 48 drive set a new record for MSL: 42 meters! We also heard the good news that APXS acquired high-quality data in only 12 minutes, during the middle of the day when the… Read More

Sol 47 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Out of Focus!

23 September 2012

"Mars time" is getting closer to PDT, with first shift starting around 6 AM today. Lots of good news and applause today: The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) received its first data from a Mars rock, the first MAHLI close-up images of the same rock, and the first mass spectrometer… Read More

Sol 46 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Perfect Bump

22 September 2012

The Sol 45 rover "bump" was executed perfectly, putting the rover in position to deploy the arm instruments to the rock "Jake Matijevic" and shoot it with ChemCam's laser. So the Sol 46 plan includes the long-awaited first use of the arm on a rock target. I look forward to seeing the close-up… Read More

Sol 45 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Bump Drive

21 September 2012

The high-resolution color images of "Jake Matijevic" show that one face of the rock is clean (dust-free) enough for detailed study using the instruments on MSL's arm. So the Sol 45 plan includes a "bump" (short rover drive) to get close enough to reach it with the arm. We also planned ChemCam… Read More

Sol 44 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Everything is Jake

20 September 2012

Once again, the rover planners (drivers) displayed their ability to position MSL accurately, leaving the rover right where we wanted. It looks like the rock named "Jake Matijevic" will suffice for the first examination of Mars by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and close-up imaging… Read More

Sol 43 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Transits

19 September 2012

A couple of transits of Mars' moon across the face of the sun were observed by Mastcam. These are similar to solar eclipses on Earth, but because the Martian moons are so much smaller than Earth's moon, they do not completely block the sun. But they are still fun to watch and scientifically… Read More