Astrogeology Science Center

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

Sol 15 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: New Insight

21 August 2012

The MSL mission continues to go very well, with the first movement of the rover wheels planned for tomorrow. The tactical operations team continues to take on more challenges, planning more and more scientific observations each day. I spent most of the day on strategic planning of the… Read More

Sol 14 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: ChemCam Team Rocks!

20 August 2012

Having completed the SOWG Chair shifts assigned to me over the past 4 days, I didn't have to get up before dawn this morning. After trying (unsuccessfully) to sleep in, I went straight to the ChemCam room at JPL to see how the first Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) data… Read More

Sol 13 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: All-Star Crew

19 August 2012

I served as SOWG Chair again today, planning Sol 13 activities for MSL. The tactical planning team is getting better at getting everything done in time to send commands to the rover, so we were able to fit more new scientific observations into the plan today. Fortunately, the science team was led… Read More

Sol 12 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Mars Time

18 August 2012

Those of us supporting MSL tactical mission operations are living on "Mars time." A day on Mars, or "sol" is about 40 minutes longer than a day on Earth, but our workday doesn't shift exactly 40 minutes later each day because the tactical schedule is tied to the receipt of data from the orbiters… Read More

Sol 11 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: ChemCam Testing

16 August 2012

I served as SOWG chair again today, planning Sol 11 of the MSL mission. All is going well, but slowly--we continue to confirm that instruments are working and to get ready for more ambitious activities. Today's plan was so full of stuff that we have to do to realize the full potential of MSL that… Read More

Sol 10 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Science Kickoff

15 August 2012

After a nice vacation in Flagstaff, I returned to JPL in time for Sol 10 planning. I was scheduled this time as Science Operations Working Group (SOWG) Chair, with responsibility for leading the discussion of data received the previous sol and deciding what to do the next sol. This job is part of… Read More

Sol 3 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Navcam Panorama

8 August 2012

Another good day on Mars: MSL's remote sensing mast was successfully deployed, and a Navcam panorama acquired. Not all of the images have been sent to Earth yet, but those that have been received are very useful for planning future observations. In addition, more full-resolution descent… Read More

Sol 2 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist, Ken Herkenhoff: Planning Report

7 August 2012

Today I'm working as Science Uplink Representative again, planning Sol 2 activities. We now know exactly where MSL is, thanks to more good work by the MRO HiRISE team: They acquired a new image of the landing area that shows not only the rover, but its heat shield, parachute, and descent stage,… Read More