Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 706 Update on Curiosity from MSL Scientist Lauren Edgar: Scenic Route

31 July 2014

Today we planned contact science (APXS and MAHLI) on a rock target named Thimble, and an extra MAHLI image of an adjacent rock named Poleta. These observations will give us good chemical and textural information for the rocks that we’ve been driving across. We also planned a ~30 m drive… Read More

Sol 705 Update On Curiosity From MSL Scientist Lauren Edgar: Hidden Valley

30 July 2014

Today we are planning Sol 705, and Curiosity is just about to drive down from the Zabriskie Plateau into Hidden Valley, where the terrain should be much easier to traverse. The Sol 705 plan includes a bump towards targets named Resting Spring and Thimble, to prepare for contact science tomorrow. … Read More

Sol 704 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Off-Planet Driving Record

29 July 2014

I should have mentioned yesterday that the Opportunity rover recently broke the off-planet driving record that was previously held by the 1973 Lunokhod 2 lunar rover. It will be a long time before the 40-km record is broken, even at the rate MSL is moving. But Curiosity made almost 30 meters of… Read More

Sol 703 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: In a Better Position

28 July 2014

After the 13-meter drive on Sol 702, MSL is in a better position to see the terrain ahead. But the front wheels are perched on rocks, so it is not safe to deploy the arm. Therefore, I didn't have much to do as MAHLI/MARDI PUL1 today, just the normal post-drive imaging. Because the view ahead is… Read More

Sol 697 - 698 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ryan Anderson: Holding Off

24 July 2014

No science uplink was sent to the rover for sol 697 or 698 because the engineers are investigating an issue with the rover's backup computer. The primary computer used in day-to-day operations is healthy, but we are holding off on science operations until we are sure the backup is healthy, just to… Read More

Sol 696 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ryan Anderson: Using Every Instrument

21 July 2014

We’re slowly picking our way across the rugged cap-rock of Zabriskie Plateau. Over the weekend we drove 23.4 m while also managing to use every single instrument on the rover! For the Sol 696 plan we will be doing two quick APXS integrations on targets Wildrose and Surprise, along with… Read More

Sol 693 - 695 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: South Park

19 July 2014

There isn't time today to plan 3 sols of activities before commands for Sol 693 must be sent to the rover, so no activities are being planned for Sol 693. The plan for Sols 694 includes MAHLI and APXS observations of South Park, ChemCam of Johnnie and Mastcam images of both targets. Another… Read More

Sol 692 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Bizarre Environment

18 July 2014

Another good day at the International Mars Conference, with back-to-back talks by USGS Astrogeologists: First, Colin Dundas showed evidence in Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE images for the ongoing formation of gullies, involving seasonal carbon dioxide frost (dry ice) but not necessarily… Read More

Sol 691 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Plasma!

17 July 2014

Some of the MAHLI images taken during the Sol 687 ChemCam LIBS measurements of Nova captured the plasma generated by the laser! The Sol 690 drive completed as planned, totaling nearly 30 meters over relatively rough terrain. Another rapid-traverse sol was planned today, with ChemCam and Mastcam… Read More

Sol 690 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ryan Anderson: The First Billion Years

16 July 2014

Today was another day of fascinating science at the 8th International Conference on Mars! The theme today was The first billion years and I was struck with the growing number of people suggesting that Mars was never particularly warm or wet in its past. Bob Haberle gave a nice summary of the… Read More