Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 280 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Drilling Success!

20 May 2013

The drilling at "Cumberland" went perfectly. The MAHLI images that we planned for Sol 279 came out well. So the plan for Sol 281 includes sieving of the sample and feeding some of it to SAM. This will happen late in the afternoon, when winds are expected to be low, to avoid loosing some of the… Read More

Sol 277 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Drill, Baby, Drill!

17 May 2013

I was MAHLI uplink lead today, planning 3 sols to get us through the weekend. It was a busy day--lots of MAHLI images were planned, both before and after drilling the Cumberland target. A SAM measurement of the atmosphere and SAM "preconditioning" in anticipation of the second drill sample… Read More

Sol 276 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Roving Records

16 May 2013

Because the critical data from yesterday's plan won't be received until around noon Pacific time, MSL tactical planning starts later than usual today. Even though the MSL project made the transition to "Earth time" planning months ago, the schedule is still allowed to shift a few hours when… Read More

Sol 275 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: On the Cumberland Trail

15 May 2013

It's good to see that the activities we planned over the weekend went well--the rover is now in position to drill the target "Cumberland." I'm MAHLI payload uplink lead for Sol 275, and helped plan MAHLI images of the potential drill target. These images are intended to confirm that the target is… Read More

Sol 270 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Planning Three Sols

10 May 2013

Today we planned 3 sols (271-273) in one day for the first time on MSL. I was nervous about leading the science team as SOWG Chair through this challenging planning day, but it went smoothly. In fact, planning Sol 270 yesterday was more hectic, in part because of the variety of activities we… Read More

Sol 269 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: New Software

9 May 2013

I was SOWG Chair today for the first time since the conjunction stand-down. A new version of flight software has been installed on the rover, and many of the Sol 269 activities focused on acquiring images needed to evaluate the precision of camera pointing on the "B" computer running the new… Read More

Update On HI-SEAS From USGS Scientist Oleg Abramov: Geological Exploration

6 May 2013

One of the many hats I wear on this mission is that of the Crew Geologist. My other roles include Health & Safety Officer, Information and Communications Technology Officer, EVA Planner, and Thermographer. That will probably be typical on future planetary exploration missions: due to the small… Read More

Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Planning Resumes

1 May 2013

Both Mars rovers survived conjunction, when they could not be reliably commanded for most of April. Opportunity had some computer issues, but is now back under sequence control and a short drive was planned today. MSL (Curiosity) is healthy and the first post-conjunction tactical planning is today.… Read More

Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: A Bit of Data

25 April 2013

For most of April, while Mars is behind the Sun as seen from Earth, no commands are being sent to MSL. Before the start of the solar conjunction stand-down, the rover was programmed to acquire radiation and weather data every day. The Sun interferes with radio waves that pass close to it, but we… Read More

Update on HI-SEAS from USGS Scientist Oleg Abramov: First Week on Mars

22 April 2013

It’s impossible to fully appreciate something at the moment it’s happening. That’s particularly true for an experience like this. Since we arrived at the HI-SEAS hab, every day has been a whirlwind of activity. For myself, this included setting up and troubleshooting computers and… Read More