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
Once again, the drive went well, and we are 20 meters closer to Glenelg, our near-term goal. The terrain surrounding the rover at the end of the Sol 39 drive is not as interesting as the previous location, so we didn't plan many observations besides those needed to support drive planning. … Read More
The drive went as planned, and left MSL next to a nice outcrop During the drive the DAN instrument monitored neutrons coming up from the subsurface and noticed significant variations along the way. It's not known (at least to me) what causes these variations, but possibilities include hydrated… Read More
With the successful execution of the last of the MSL arm checkout activities, the characterization phase is complete! Many first-time activities still lie ahead (like drilling, scooping, and delivering samples to the mineralogy and organic chemistry instruments), but the major capabilities of the… Read More
The ChemCam instrument was confirmed to be safe, but will not be used again until Friday to give the ChemCam team a chance to rest and regroup. The team met at the end of the planning day (7:30 PDT) to review the data received so far and to plan the next steps. By the time of this meeting I had… Read More
The checkout of the MSL arm continues to go well: The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer returned its first data, of its calibration target on the side of the rover. I was busy last night planning a bunch of MAHLI images to be taken as part of the verification that the arm can be accurately… Read More
There were more cheers and applause when MAHLI images of the belly of the rover were displayed. The camera, which can focus at distances from 2 cm to infinity, is working perfectly! It also took pictures of its calibration target, which includes a 1909 Lincoln penny. The arm checkout also went… Read More
The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved the name Yellowknife for the Martian crater located at 4.58S, 137.44E. For more information, see the map of MC-23 in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.
Over a month into the mission, there are still cheers at JPL when first-time activities are completed successfully. Last night, the latest successes included the first Chemin X-ray diffraction pattern (of an empty sample cell), and the first MAHLI image with its dust cover open. Previous images… Read More