Astrogeology Science Center

Sols 853-859: Christmas on Mars

29 December 2014

On December 19th, the MSL tactical team planned 10 sols (!) on Mars, so that everyone could take a nice break over the holidays.  That means that today we are assessing all of those sols of data, and checking out all of the “presents” that Curiosity acquired for us!   At the… Read More

Sol 843-852: Brushing

19 December 2014

The Sol 842 command sequences were successfully received by Curiosity, and all the data needed for planning were returned to Earth, including MAHLI images of the right front wheel. These and other data were thoroughly analyzed, and the slip risk assessment team concluded that it is safe to… Read More

Sol 842: Trying again...

18 December 2014

Unfortunately, the Sol 841 command sequences could not be sent to MSL because of a transmitter problem at the Deep Space Network (DSN) antenna.  This reminded me not to take for granted communications between Earth and Mars, even though such problems are rare.  Bad weather over a DSN… Read More

Sol 841: ChemCam Recovery

17 December 2014

I was happy to see that the Sol 840 MAHLI images we planned on Monday came out nicely.  There was no MSL tactical planning yesterday, because of the offset between Mars time and Pacific time, and planning started at 6 AM PST today.  We were hoping to be able to brush off one of the… Read More

Sol 840: High Tilt

15 December 2014

The 5-meter drive planned for Sol 837 placed the rover near dubbed "Whale Rock" as intended. Front Hazcam images show blocks that appear to have fallen from the outcrop and in-place bedrock patches; both can be reached by the arm instruments, so the Sol 840 plan includes MAHLI images from 25… Read More

Sols 835-836: Driving to Whale Rock

10 December 2014

 After a successful investigation of the Chinle outcrop, Curiosity is ready to move on to the Whale Rock outcrop.  Today we are planning two sols, and on the first sol we’ll finish up a few last targeted observations at Chinle.  The plan includes a ChemCam passive observation… Read More

Sol 833-834: New Results From The Murray Formation

8 December 2014

The main excitement today was that, as the team was busy planning for sols 833 and 834, NASA held a press conference to share some of the results of our recent investigations in the Murray formation, in the foothills of Mt. Sharp. The layered rocks that we have been observing tell the story of a… Read More

Sols 830-832: Investigating the Chinle Outcrop

5 December 2014

Well it was an exciting day for space exploration!  As we were working operations this morning many space enthusiasts on the team were keeping tabs on the launch and splashdown of the Orion capsule – the new spacecraft that might someday take astronauts to Mars.  It was fun to think… Read More

Sols 828-829: Looking Closer at the Chinle Outcrop

3 December 2014

  Today all three USGS bloggers were on MSL operations! I was on duty as the Science Payload Downlink Lead (sPDL) for ChemCam, meaning that it was my job to check all of the science data that we received to make sure the data looks good and to do a quick analysis of the results. Lauren was… Read More

Sols 826-827: Update on Curiosity from Ken Herkenhoff: Drive to Chinle

1 December 2014

The activities planned for the Thanksgiving holiday went well, and the data received so far look good, including MAHLI images showing the brushed target "Puente."  So we are ready to move on, and the Sol 826 plan includes a few ChemCam and Mastcam observations before a drive to the "Chinle"… Read More