Planning started at 6:30 this morning to allow enough time to plan 3 sols before we have to send the command sequences to the rover by 19:00 this evening. The science theme groups requested lots of good observations, expecting that they wouldn't all fit into the plan. It was therefore a hectic… Read More
The rover is very close to a low scarp that is the target for contact science this weekend. The Sol 440 plan includes a bunch of targeted ChemCam and Mastcam observations, followed by a short drive (or "bump") to the low scarp dubbed "Cooperstown." The planning schedule is tight, so we started at… Read More
Last weekend's 3-sol plan included back-to-back drives on Sols 436 and 437. This is the first time in the mission that this has been attempted. There was no tactical planning on Monday to allow Mars and Earth time to synch up, but the rover drivers reviewed the available data before giving their… Read More
The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved the name Sitrah for a crater on Mars. For more information, see the map of MC-24 in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.
The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved the name Dollfus for a crater on Mars. For more information, see the map of MC-19 in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.
MSL planning is still restricted, so we won't get confirmation of the drive planned for Sol 431 in time for planning Sol 432, which is therefore an untargeted-remote-sensing sol. The 432 plan also includes an overnight test of CheMin's ability to analyze sample while communicating with the MRO… Read More
In 2013, the coordinates of the named features in the Mercury portion of the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature were updated from values from the Preliminary MESSENGER control network to values in the MESSENGER Team system. This new set of coordinates was derived using ArcMap version 9.3.1 and the… Read More
I forgot to mention previously that, unlike at other NASA Centers, JPL employees work for Caltech, not NASA directly. So they were not as immediately affected by the government shutdown as NASA and USGS employees. Therefore, because many of the people responsible for operating the rovers are at… Read More
I apologize for the gap in these updates— the USGS web servers were turned off during the government shutdown. Thanks to support from the MSL Project Scientist and my supervisor, I was permitted to support MSL tactical operations during the shutdown. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to… Read More
I'm in Pasadena this week for an MSL team meeting, but may have to return home tomorrow if the government is shut down. I'd hate to miss the meeting and associated discussions with my colleagues, but as a USGS civil servant I will be required to stop working and cut my trip short. Therefore, I… Read More