Astrogeology Science Center

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. If MSL exceeds its one-Mars-year lifetime by a similar factor, it will outlive me! Speaking of MSL, the first nighttime MAHLI images are available. Images were taken with the white-light LEDs as well as ultraviolet LEDs. The latter are used to look for fluorescent minerals. As shown here, the MAHLI calibration target includes a fluorescent swatch that confirms that the UV LEDs are working. Fluorescence of the Martian surface is not obvious, but analysis continues...