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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The MAHLI image of the "schmutz" in the 2nd scoop trench (at lower left in photo) shows that it is brighter than anything else in the image, but it's still not clear what it is. In case it is debris from MSL, a nearby area of the same sandy ripple will be imaged by MAHLI to determine whether… Read More
The NASA/USGS Astrogeology Regional Planetary Information Facility (RPIF) has posted its first online exhibit. The title is 1961: USGS Astrogeology's First Published Lunar Map.