Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 67 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Getting the Scoop

13 October 2012

Less than half of the ChemCam data acquired on Sol 66 have been received so far, but it looks like the activities we planned before the decontamination heating went well. So we requested another titanium calibration target observation in Sol 67, and the theme groups requested a new 3x3 LIBS… Read More

Sol 66 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Decontamination Time

12 October 2012

The Sol 66 plan includes the second scooping activity on the same sandy ripple, again intended to be used to flush out the CHIMRA system, removing any remaining terrestrial contamination. This won't take the entire sol, and there were a couple blocks of time available for science observations. … Read More

Sol 65 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: First-Time Activities

11 October 2012

There was applause again today when the successful completion of the first CHIMRA sieving and processing of soil was announced. While it was expected that it would take months to get through all of these "first-time" activities, this latest achievement reminds me of how complex MSL is. There… Read More

Sol 64 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Opportunistic Science

10 October 2012

After much analysis and discussion, the MSL project decided that the bright object on the ground is benign and that we can therefore proceed with the long-anticipated first sample manipulation activities. These activities are complex enough that there was not room in the Sol 64 plan for… Read More

Sol 63 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Bright Object

9 October 2012

When I arrived at JPL Monday evening, the discussion was still centered on the bright object seen the previous sol. The Sol 62 plan was revised late in the planning day to acquire more images of this object. The resulting Mastcam and RMI images show that is not a screw, as initially feared, but… Read More

Sol 62 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Graveyard Shift

8 October 2012

I took a break over the weekend to visit my family. While I was away, MSL successfully acquired its first scoop of Martian soil, from the wind ripple we have been working at for several sols. "Mars time" (the local time at MSL's location) and PDT are nearly the same again, so that the planning… Read More

Sol 59 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Before the Descent

5 October 2012

The data from Sol 58 show that the ripple is suitable for scooping, so the Sol 59 plan includes a short rover drive to position the rover near a part of the ripple that has not been disturbed yet. The MAHLI images of the wall are beautiful and show that the interior of the ripple is mostly… Read More

Sol 58 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: The Right Scuff

4 October 2012

The first wheel scuff went well, so we planned APXS (elemental chemistry) and MAHLI (close-up imaging) of the floor and sidewall of the scuff, as well as an undisturbed area just to the right of the scuff. These data should allow us to decide whether the ripple is suitable for the scooping using… Read More

Sol 57 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: First Scuff

2 October 2012

I'm back at JPL, serving as SOWG Chair planning Sol 57. The mission continues to go very well, with recent drives executed nearly perfectly. The rover is now positioned near a windblown ripple that is the current target of both scientific and engineering study. As I mentioned previously, we… Read More

Sol 51 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Back in Flagstaff

27 September 2012

I haven't been following the MSL mission for the last couple days, traveling back to Flagstaff to give a talk about Mars rovers for the Flagstaff Festival of Science today at Lowell Observatory.  I've been giving talks for the Festival for about 10 years, starting with an overview of the Mars… Read More