Sol 196 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Power Limits22 February 2013
Planning was more difficult today because of power limitations. The top priority for Sol 196 is to drop some of the drill sample into SAM and analyze it overnight. SAM is the largest instrument on MSL, and it requires lots of power to run. As usual, the tactical science team proposed some additional observations, but it quickly became apparent that they would not fit into the plan. Even after making the difficult decision to remove them during the SOWG meeting, we still didn't have enough power. Fortunately, we got an updated power prediction late in the meeting that was more favorable--based on analysis of the latest telemetry from the rover, it became clear that the initial estimate of the battery charge at the beginning of Sol 196 was too low. The change in the power prediction allowed us to keep all of the SAM activities in the plan!