Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 89 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Working from Home

4 November 2012

I served as SOWG Chair for my last MSL tactical shift on Mars time. It was bittersweet: I'll miss working with the whole team at JPL, but I'm looking forward to going home. We are learning how to more effectively operate the rover with most of the team being "remote" (working from their home institutions rather than in residence at JPL). The transition to remote operations is going well, but we are still working to find better ways to communicate. We have multiple videoconferencing lines set up, but it impossible for the tactical leadership to call in to all of them. We are also using internet chat rooms for the various groups, which is easier to follow. We also schedule tagup meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page at key points in the planning process. The techniques we are using will continue to evolve as we get more experience with remote operations.

Sol 89 planning went well, with the biggest challenge being how to get the data we need to proceed with SAM and scooping activities later this week. Mars Odyssey is not available this week for data relay, and MRO won't go right over MSL on Sol 89. So we won't get much data from MSL until Sol 90. If all goes well, we will have just enough information to allow us to proceed with the Sol 91 plan.