Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 84 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: SAM I Am

31 October 2012

We continue to prepare for the first delivery of a sample of Mars to SAM, the big analytical chemistry instrument on MSL. CheMin already analyzed its first soil sample, and SAM is next. The SAM "pre-conditioning" was successful, so the next scoop of soil will be delivered to SAM. As MAHLI PUL… Read More

Sol 83 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Shifting Gears

30 October 2012

The MAHLI images of the rocks right in front of the rover came out nicely and are being processed to enable APXS placement on one or both of them. The Sol 83 plan focused on SAM and CheMin activities, in preparation for the next scooping and delivery of soil to those instruments. So there wasn't… Read More

New Names for Five Paterae and One Cavus on Mars

29 October 2012

The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved names for five paterae and one cavus on Mars: Eden Patera, Euphrates Patera, Ismenia Patera, Oxus Patera, Oxus Cavus, and Siloe Patera. For more information, see the IAU Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.

Sol 82 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: CHIMRA Cleaning

28 October 2012

MSL operations have gone well while I was in the Bay Area: the team applauded the successful completion of CHIMRA cleaning today. As a bonus, almost 1 gigabit of data were received on Sol 81! I was MAHLI payload uplink lead for Sol 82 planning, and had to scramble to get up to speed after being… Read More

Sol 75 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Week Off

23 October 2012

I'm not at JPL for the rest of the week, but was glad to see that the ChemCam shot at the soil near MSL went as planned on Sol 74. Since then, more observations of the ChemCam calibration targets have been successfully acquired, which is good news because the calibration is long overdue. Also, a… Read More

Sol 74 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Squeezing More In

21 October 2012

As the MSL operations team gets more experience, we are getting more aggressive. In addition to the long-planned arm activities (4th scoop of soil), we added MAHLI images of the far side of the ripple we are scooping, Mastcam mosaics, and ChemCam LIBS observations of a nearby patch of soil during… Read More

Sol 73 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: CheMin Online

20 October 2012

The team applauded the first results from CheMin, which show that the instrument is working well, measuring abundances of minerals in the sandy first sample delivered to it. The CheMin scientists thanked the Surface Sampling Subsystem team for doing such a good job delivering the first sample,… Read More

Sol 72 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: MRO is back

18 October 2012

MRO is back--we received over 400 Mbits of data through the orbiter yesterday! The amount of data relayed through MRO will decrease once the orbiter's instruments are operating again (they were turned on this morning), but in the meantime we're enjoying the flood of data. Among the new data were… Read More

Sol 71 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Observation Tray

17 October 2012

The third scoop of soil was successfully acquired, and partly processed by CHIMRA, dumping part of it on the observation tray. So MSL is back on track despite the unavailability of MRO data relay and other communications problems. MRO has exited safe mode and is expected to resume relaying MSL… Read More

Sol 69 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Pushing Data

15 October 2012

The command sequences prepared for Sol 68 were not received by MSL due to a problem with a radio transmitter at a Deep Space Network ground station. But enough data were received from earlier sols that we were confident that we could resume scooping on a new site, where contamination was not seen… Read More