The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved the name Peace Vallis for a small valley near the Mars Science Laboratory landing site in Gale crater. For more information, see the IAU Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.
Yet another good drive on Sol 49, leaving the rover right next to a windblown ripple (right of center). It doesn't look like much, but it's the first one we've been close to so it was the target of ChemCam and Mastcam observations planned for Sol 50. We are currently searching for a larger ripple… Read More
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