Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 540 - 541 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Small Valley

11 February 2014

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

Sol 537 -539 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Traversing the Dune

7 February 2014

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

Sol 534 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: No Drive

5 February 2014

The Sol 533 toe dip went well, leaving the rover's front wheels on the crest of the dune. The Sol 534 plan was to drive over dune into Dingo Gap, but late in the day it was cancelled. The Rover Drivers had some concerns about the terrain and it was decided that delay the drive to Sol 535 in… Read More

Sol 533 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Toe Dip

4 February 2014

The initial "toe dip" into the dune in Dingo Gap was planned for Sol 533. If it goes well, the rover will be commanded to cross the dune, probably on the left (south) side, on Sol 534. I'm catching up on the latest MSL plans after spending the day working MER tactical operations as… Read More

Sol 530 - 532 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Going for It

3 February 2014

Using the images acquired of Dingo Gap beyond the dune, it appears that the gap can be safely traversed, and the Project decided to drive through the gap. But first, the weekend plan included lots of targeted science observations on Sol 530, APXS and MAHLI observations of the dune inside and… Read More

Sol 529 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: The Scuff

30 January 2014

At the end of the Sol 528 drive, the rover "scuffed" the dune with its right front wheel, then backed away and took images of the scuff. These images were used to confirm that the arm instruments can be placed in the scuff, to examine the freshly-exposed material within the dune. So no rover… Read More

Sol 528 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Looking Back at Purgatory Dune

29 January 2014

In order to learn more about the sand dune in Dingo Gap, the rover will be commanded to drive up to it on Sol 528. Mobility tests on terrestrial sand dunes show that MSL can climb dunes, but we don't yet know that the feature in front of MSL is sandy throughout. Opportunity got stuck in… Read More

Sol 527 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Over the Dune?

28 January 2014

MSL drove about 15 meters toward Dingo Gap and returned post-drive images that were used to plan ChemCam RMI and Mastcam images from the new location. The Sol 527 plan also includes another drive toward Dingo Gap and reprocessing of some CheMin data. The post-drive data will be used to determine… Read More

Sol 526 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Dingo Gap

27 January 2014

The weekend activities went well, and lots of post-drive images were received, allowing planning of multiple arm activities on Sol 526. MAHLI and APXS observations of a rock named Reedy are planned, as well as MAHLI images of REMS hardware and the wheels. Then a drive of about 15 meters… Read More

Sol 523 - 525 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Heading for the Chute

25 January 2014

Late yesterday, the strategic drive team decided that it would be best to head west, through the chute, because the terrain beyond appears safer for driving. So the Sol 522 drive (toward the south) was pulled from the plan and the rover stayed put. The plan for the weekend includes targeted… Read More