Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 95 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Preconditioning

11 November 2012

There was applause in the MSL SOWG meeting room and on the phone lines as the first SAM results on solid Martian material were announced. The instrument appears to be working well, and the team is busy analyzing the new data. The plan for Sol 95 therefore included another SAM "preconditioning" activity to prepare for another scoop sample. The more complicated part of the plan involved lots of arm motion to process and drop the rest of the scoop 5 sample to the observation tray and measure it with APXS. This will allow results from various instruments to be compared, which will allow the team to more fully understand the detailed composition of the soil sample and to compare the calibration of the instruments. MAHLI images of the material on the observation tray will be taken to determine how much material is measured by APXS. It was nearly midnight in Flagstaff when my shift ended, almost like being on Mars time!