Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 26 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Mars Time

1 September 2012

The best news today was that analysis of more detailed ChemCam engineering data showed that the problems noted a few sols ago were very minor and now completely understood, so the instrument can now be used again! While we suspected that the problem was not serious, it was very nice to receive… Read More

Sol 24 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Autonomous Navigation

31 August 2012

The highlight of the Sol 24 plan is to test some of the software that will allow the rover to avoid obstacles automatically. If the test, involving taking images and processing them onboard the rover, is successful the rover will drive farther toward our goal, called Glenelg. This location will… Read More

Sol 25 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Sunlight Versus Shadow

31 August 2012

As predicted, we didn't receive enough data through MRO today to allow us to plan another drive. So while we wait for the images taken after the Sol 24 drive to arrive, we planned a bunch of images to be taken on Sol 25. I was MAHLI/MARDI Payload Uplink Lead 1 today, which means that my job was… Read More

Sol 23 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Planning Day

30 August 2012

The rover drivers are ready to test more advanced driving techniques and software, but we stayed put today to finish the last of the Mastcam characterization activities (the second half of the long-baseline stereo experiment). So we had more room for new science observations in today's plan than… Read More

Sol 22 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Late Data

28 August 2012

After a day off, I'm back on shift as SOWG Chair for 3 days. We had a scare this morning when the Sol 21 data we expected to receive through the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) was not received on time. Just as we were starting to put together contingency plans for Sol 22, most of the data… Read More

Sol 20 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: ChemCam Rasters

26 August 2012

Today we received data from the first ChemCam “rasters,” in this case 5 laser shots in a row on 3 different targets. We were glad to see this capability demonstrated on Mars, because we would like to use it a lot in the future. The laser is focused on a spot less than 1 mm across,… Read More

Sol 19 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Shooting Stereo

25 August 2012

We've started getting Mastcam characterization data on the ground, and the key focus test data have allowed us to modify the command sequences sent to acquire more characterization data with the focus quality needed to make use of them. It's nice to see my recent efforts paying off, but of course… Read More

Sol 18 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Speedy Data

24 August 2012

We have received all of the full-size MARDI images of MSL's descent, and they have been combined into a video. Watching this, with the audio from the mission support area dubbed in, brought a tear to my eye. The significance of landing successfully on Mars using an entirely new, incredibly… Read More

Sol 17 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Mastcam Mischief

23 August 2012

More cheers today when the rover planners (drivers) reported that the first MSL drive went perfectly. It wouldn't be much of a rover mission if we couldn't drive, so this was very good news. I feel extremely fortunate to be involved in yet another successful Mars rover mission--we are now 4 for 4… Read More

Sol 16 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Wiggling Wheels

22 August 2012

First the bad news: The REMS (meteorology experiment) team confirmed that two out of 3 wind sensors on one of the two booms on the remote sensing mast are permanently damaged and cannot be used. They are getting good wind data from the other boom and are working on getting as much information as… Read More