Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 604 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Test Results from the Mars Yard

18 April 2014

Thursday was the last day of the MSL science team meeting, and the discussion shifted from science results to analysis of wheel wear, both on Mars and on Earth. The engineers at JPL have done a lot of testing in the Mars Yard and compared the results with the many images of the wheels on Mars. … Read More

Sol 603 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Seeking a Drill Site

17 April 2014

While most of the MSL science team met at Caltech to discuss recent results and plans for the near future, the tactical team planned a 65-meter drive toward the southeastern side of Mount Remarkable, near the site chosen for the next drilling campaign. The rover will pause in the middle of the… Read More

Sol 602 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Mount Remarkable

15 April 2014

I'm attending a 3-day meeting of the full MSL science team, so I'm less focused on rover operations than usual this week. After lots of interesting discussion of scientific data and hypotheses today, we did spend some time discussing where to drill and acquire a rock sample. The choices have… Read More

Sol 601 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Closest Approach

14 April 2014

On April 14th, Mars made its closest approach to Earth this year. In addition, by chance, Earth's moon is totally eclipsed on the same night, very close in the sky to similarly red Mars. What a beautiful sight! Mars' proximity to Earth makes radio communications easier in general, but relay of… Read More

Sol 598 - 600 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Preconditioning

12 April 2014

It was a busy day for the tactical uplink team, planning 3 sols to get MSL through the weekend. I was MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead, and focused on MAHLI imaging of the ChemCam window to determine how much dust is on it. We've taken such an image before when the window was in shadow, and wanted to try… Read More

Sol 597 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Runout Sequence

11 April 2014

Unfortunately, the set of commands sent to the rover for Sol 596 were not received, so the rover correctly responded by executing the runout sequence that is appended to every day's command bundle. After confirming that the rover is healthy, the tactical team sent an only slightly modified… Read More

Sol 596 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Approaching an Outcrop

10 April 2014

The surface near the rover isn't very interesting, so planning for Sol 596 focused on driving toward the outcrops up to 50 meters away. During the drive, the rover will stop and acquire DAN, Hazcam and MARDI data on the striated unit before moving on. So it was an only slightly busier day for me… Read More

Sol 595 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: In Opposition

8 April 2014

Mars is at opposition today, so Mars will rise at sunset and be visible all night here on Earth. On Mars, Earth is not visible because it is too close to the Sun. The MSL Sol 595 plan is dominated by a drive along the edge of The Kimberley outcrop with Mastcam and Navcam stereo imaging at 4… Read More

Sol 594 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Staying Put

7 April 2014

The rover will stay put on Sol 594 and acquire lots of ChemCam and Mastcam data on interesting nearby rocks. I'm not scheduled in a tactical operations role today, but I'm following along because I'll be MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead tomorrow.

Sol 591 - 593 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Data Campaign

5 April 2014

Planning for the weekend focused on investigating the troughs in front of the rover with ChemCam, Mastcam and MAHLI, then driving about 12 meters along the edge of the Kimberley outcrop and taking mid-drive measurements of subsurface hydrogen (water ice) content with DAN and imaging the outcrop… Read More