I have been traveling this week to a meeting of the HiRISE (the big camera that has been taking images of rovers from orbit, science team, so am catching up with what MSL has been up to. Drive progress has been good, requiring some discipline on the part of the MSL science team to resist diverting… Read More
The Sol 549 drive brought the rover close enough to the outcrop dubbed Bungle Bungle to allow MAHLI and APXS measurements, so the Sol 550 plan focuses on contact science. First, ChemCam will zap and image the outcrop, then the arm will be deployed. After the contact science has completed, the… Read More
The rover drove over 100 meters on Sol 548, so it is time for another full set of wheel images to monitor wear. Because the MAHLI wheel imaging sequences have been used many times before, it was a relatively easy day for me as MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead. After the wheel imaging is finished, the… Read More
Testing on Earth has shown that driving backward should reduce wear on the front and middle wheels, so the Sol 547 drive was the first long, 100 meters, backward drive. It went very well, and the terrain ahead looks good, so another long drive is planned for Sol 548, again mostly backward.
Monday was a holiday (Presidents' Day) for some of us, but not for the MSL tactical team. The activities planned for last weekend went well, including a 47-meter drive, so the Sol 546 plan focused on imaging of the wheels at 4 positions.
Another busy 2-sol plan--Sol 544 will begin with a bunch of MAHLI activities: Imaging of the inlet for SAM's tunable laser spectrometer, the standard wheel imaging, and images from various angles of a spot in front of the rover to measure the photometric behavior of the surface. The first and… Read More
More than 400 years after its discovery by Galileo, the largest moon in the Solar System – Ganymede – has finally claimed a spot on the map. Read More. . . Also see the video on the multimedia library page.
I'm SOWG Chair again for another 2-sol plan, and it's been a more hectic planning day. The Sol 540 drive went well, about 71 meters total. A shorter (~23 m) drive is planned for Sol 542, allowing some time for pre-drive targeted Mastcam stereo imaging and MAHLI images of the wheels. Because the… Read More
I'm SOWG Chair today for a 2-sol plan. Planning is restricted again, as we won't receive the data from Sol 540 until late Tuesday. So we're planning a ~73-meter drive on Sol 540 and untargeted remote science on Sol 541. Before the drive, we've planned big Mastcam mosaics of the walls of the… Read More
This week the data from MSL have been arriving later and later each day, as expected because Mars' day is about 40 minutes longer than Earth's day. The data arrived so late yesterday that no planning was possible, and now we are back in "restricted" planning. But the data look good, showing that… Read More