Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 97 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Meeting at APL

14 November 2012

I'm at the Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland for a ChemCam science team meeting this week. The location was chosen, in part, to make traveling easier overall--it's between France and JPL. Some of the team members are supporting MSL tactical operations so that the rest of us can focus on the… Read More

Eight New Names for Titan Surface Features

13 November 2012

The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved names for seven montes and one fluctus on Titan (Mohini Fluctus, Doom Mons, Erebor Mons, Irensaga Montes, Mindolluin Montes, Misty Montes, Mithrim Montes, and Taniquetil Montes). For more information, see the IAU Gazetteer of… Read More

Sol 96 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Arm Complexity

13 November 2012

The plan for Sol 96 was dominated by continued arm activities, with little room for "opportunistic science." So my last shift as SUR (this week) was fairly easy. The plan included dropping another soil sample into the SAM instrument, with Mastcam and MAHLI support imaging. As we stepped through… Read More

Sol 95 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Preconditioning

11 November 2012

There was applause in the MSL SOWG meeting room and on the phone lines as the first SAM results on solid Martian material were announced. The instrument appears to be working well, and the team is busy analyzing the new data. The plan for Sol 95 therefore included another SAM "preconditioning"… Read More

Sol 94 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Driving in Flagstaff

10 November 2012

The fifth scoop of Martian soil was successful, and Sol 94 planning was focussed on processing the sample and delivering it to CheMin. The X-ray diffraction instrument will then analyze the sample overnight. There was enough power and time left for a couple Mastcam mosaics in the afternoon. I… Read More

Just Released: BETA version of PILOT 3

6 November 2012

Try out the new BETA version of PILOT 3. This version is still going through testing and bugs fixes, but here are a few intended improvements: We are adding one new instrument to the UPC database, Cassini VIMS. We are also greatly improving what's available for some older missions (Voyager,… Read More

Sol 91 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Dry Run

6 November 2012

I made it home to Flagstaff last night despite being detoured by a fire that closed I-15 near Cajon Pass. I verified that the web tools and phone access to the MSL tactical planning meetings worked well, and followed the SOWG meeting planning Sol 91. The tools are similar to those we have been… Read More

Sol 89 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Working from Home

4 November 2012

I served as SOWG Chair for my last MSL tactical shift on Mars time. It was bittersweet: I'll miss working with the whole team at JPL, but I'm looking forward to going home. We are learning how to more effectively operate the rover with most of the team being "remote" (working from their home… Read More

Sol 88 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Remote Remote

3 November 2012

We squeezed a lot of good science observations into the Sol 88 plan, and I'm happy with it. There were a lot of conflicting requests from the science theme groups, but we got most of them into the plan, including both arm and remote sensing activities. The only instrument that will not be… Read More

Sol 87 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Self Portrait

2 November 2012

The MAHLI "self portrait" of the rover that we planned on Sol 84 came out beautifully. Several other updates on the MSL mission are related to the news conference this morning, which included discussion of SAM atmospheric measurements. The SAM data indicate that much of Mars' atmosphere has… Read More