Astrogeology Science Center

USGS Scientist Colin Dundas Quoted in Science Magazine: Gullies on Mars

8 January 2013

USGS Scientist, Colin Dunda, is working to determine what causes gullies on the surface of Mars. He was recently quoted in Science Magazine in reference to his talk given during the December 2012 Meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Sol 151 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Younger Rocks

7 January 2013

A short "bump" toward slightly younger rocks in front of the rover was planned for Sol 151, and no MAHLI observations were included so I had an easy day as PUL. The contact science activities in the current location went well, including the first brushing of the surface. In order to characterize… Read More

Sol 150 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: A Bit Rusty

5 January 2013

The short drive went well, so lots of "contact science" was planned for Sols 149 and 150. I was MAHLI/MARDI PUL1 for the first time since November for Sol 150 planning, and was a bit rusty. Fortunately, similar MAHLI observations were planned for Sols 149 and 150 (context and high-resolution… Read More

Sol 148 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Instrument Health

4 January 2013

Because MSL planning is "restricted" these days and we planned a drive on Sol 147, we could not accurately point at targets on Mars on Sol 148. So it was a good time to take care of some instrument health and calibration activities that are periodically needed, including heating of the ChemCam… Read More

Sol 147 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Snake River

2 January 2013

After the holiday hiatus, the MSL operations team sprang back into action to plan Sol 147 activities. The rover has been waiting patiently for more exciting duties, and she will be rewarded with commands to drive toward a sinuous outcrop named "Snake River." The science team studied the data… Read More

Sol 134 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Relatively Idle

25 December 2012

I was Science Uplink Representative (SUR) for the last time for Sol 134 planning. The MSL Project decided to combine the SOWG Chair and SUR jobs starting in the new year, so the SOWG Chairs will be working longer shifts. Sol 134 planning was restricted (data arrived too late to affect planning)… Read More

Sol 133 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Good Parking Spot

19 December 2012

I was Geology Science Theme Group Lead today for the first time in several weeks, and it ended up being a busy day. We had to pick the location we want to park the rover during the Christmas/New Year's holiday break, and drive there on Sol 133 so that we get the images taken from the new location… Read More

Sol 130 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: No Uncertainty

17 December 2012

Planning went more smoothly for Sol 130, mostly because there was no uncertainty about the use of the arm. The biggest decision was whether to use the arm to acquire more APXS and MAHLI data on another target before driving away. Once the data from the Sol 129 observations were verified as good… Read More

Sol 129 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Contact Science

16 December 2012

We have been waiting for the remaining soil sample in CHIMRA to be dumped before the arm instruments can be fully used again. The Sol 128 plan included cleaning the sample out of CHIMRA and taking Mastcam images to confirm that the cleaning was successful. If that went well, we could plan… Read More

Sol 126 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Back to Mars

13 December 2012

I'm back in Flagstaff after a nice vacation with my wife, catching up on what the rovers have been doing while I was away. MSL has been busy driving down into "Yellowknife Bay," pausing at a layered outcrop dubbed Shaler to acquire remote-sensing data. The rover is now on the floor of… Read More