Today I served as the leader of the Geology Science Theme Group, which was fun because I had never done it before. The Sol 48 drive set a new record for MSL: 42 meters! We also heard the good news that APXS acquired high-quality data in only 12 minutes, during the middle of the day when the… Read More
"Mars time" is getting closer to PDT, with first shift starting around 6 AM today. Lots of good news and applause today: The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) received its first data from a Mars rock, the first MAHLI close-up images of the same rock, and the first mass spectrometer… Read More
The Sol 45 rover "bump" was executed perfectly, putting the rover in position to deploy the arm instruments to the rock "Jake Matijevic" and shoot it with ChemCam's laser. So the Sol 46 plan includes the long-awaited first use of the arm on a rock target. I look forward to seeing the close-up… Read More
The high-resolution color images of "Jake Matijevic" show that one face of the rock is clean (dust-free) enough for detailed study using the instruments on MSL's arm. So the Sol 45 plan includes a "bump" (short rover drive) to get close enough to reach it with the arm. We also planned ChemCam… Read More
Once again, the rover planners (drivers) displayed their ability to position MSL accurately, leaving the rover right where we wanted. It looks like the rock named "Jake Matijevic" will suffice for the first examination of Mars by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and close-up imaging… Read More
A couple of transits of Mars' moon across the face of the sun were observed by Mastcam. These are similar to solar eclipses on Earth, but because the Martian moons are so much smaller than Earth's moon, they do not completely block the sun. But they are still fun to watch and scientifically… Read More
The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved names for two features on Mars: Candor Colles and Ceti Labes. For more information, see the IAU Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.
The Sol 41 drive went well, but we are still on relatively featureless terrain. We planned another drive for Sol 42, and a huge Mastcam mosaic from the new position. It is pointed toward Glenelg and the surrounding area, and will be used to identify interesting targets for… Read More
The Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved the name Chesterton for the crater on Mercury located at 88.3N, 134.5W. For details, see the map of Mercury quadrangle H-1 in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.
Once again the drive went well and we planned another drive on Sol 41. The terrain is relatively featureless in this area, so we are focusing imaging plans on distant targets. We are on a relatively high plateau so the views toward the rim of Gale crater are better than they were from the… Read More