Sol 72 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: MRO is back18 October 2012
MRO is back--we received over 400 Mbits of data through the orbiter yesterday! The amount of data relayed through MRO will decrease once the orbiter's instruments are operating again (they were turned on this morning), but in the meantime we're enjoying the flood of data. Among the new data were 810 ChemCam laser shots acquired on Sol 71--a new record for a single sol. For Sol 72, we planned a raster of ChemCam laser shots of the bright particle "Schmutz2" in the second scoop trench. And the much-anticipated first mineralogical analysis by CheMin was planned to run into the early morning of Sol 73.
"Mars time" is rough for those of us on first shift these days: The daily "science discussion" started at 10 PM PDT, and I wasn't done with SOWG Chair duties until 7:30 this morning. It didn't seem fair that I got caught in morning rush hour traffic on my way home! But I've realized that this may be the last time I'll work on "Mars time" in my career--it looks like there will not be another NASA spacecraft landed on Mars this decade--so I'm trying to enjoy it. In fact, I'm getting used to being a Martian, even though sleeping during the day is difficult.