Astrogeology Science Center

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

Three New Names Approved for Martian Features

27 August 2012

The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved names for two craters (Cayon and Fancy) and a serpens (Aeolis Serpens) on Mars. For more information, see the maps of MC-15 and MC-23 for Aeolis Serpens and MC-28 for Cayon and Fancy in the Gazetteer of Planetary… 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

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

Coordinates of Named Features on Io Updated to Voyager/Galileo SSI

20 August 2012

In 2012, the coordinates of the named features in the Io portion of the International Astronomical Union Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature were updated from values from historical sources to values in the Voyager/Galileo SSI control network. The purpose of this work was to facilitate the… Read More