This week the data from MSL have been arriving later and later each day, as expected because Mars' day is about 40 minutes longer than Earth's day. The data arrived so late yesterday that no planning was possible, and now we are back in "restricted" planning. But the data look good, showing that… Read More
The Sol 533 toe dip went well, leaving the rover's front wheels on the crest of the dune. The Sol 534 plan was to drive over dune into Dingo Gap, but late in the day it was cancelled. The Rover Drivers had some concerns about the terrain and it was decided that delay the drive to Sol 535 in… Read More
The initial "toe dip" into the dune in Dingo Gap was planned for Sol 533. If it goes well, the rover will be commanded to cross the dune, probably on the left (south) side, on Sol 534. I'm catching up on the latest MSL plans after spending the day working MER tactical operations as… Read More
Using the images acquired of Dingo Gap beyond the dune, it appears that the gap can be safely traversed, and the Project decided to drive through the gap. But first, the weekend plan included lots of targeted science observations on Sol 530, APXS and MAHLI observations of the dune inside and… Read More
The USGS Astrogeology Science Center is hiring a permanent developer of planetary tools and/or cartographic products who can independently maintain a portfolio of externally funded projects related to NASA and international spaceflight missions. For more information visit our Careers page.
At the end of the Sol 528 drive, the rover "scuffed" the dune with its right front wheel, then backed away and took images of the scuff. These images were used to confirm that the arm instruments can be placed in the scuff, to examine the freshly-exposed material within the dune. So no rover… Read More
The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved the name Moanda for the Martian crater located at 35.93S, 320.0E. For more information, see the map of MC-26 in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.
In order to learn more about the sand dune in Dingo Gap, the rover will be commanded to drive up to it on Sol 528. Mobility tests on terrestrial sand dunes show that MSL can climb dunes, but we don't yet know that the feature in front of MSL is sandy throughout. Opportunity got stuck in… Read More
MSL drove about 15 meters toward Dingo Gap and returned post-drive images that were used to plan ChemCam RMI and Mastcam images from the new location. The Sol 527 plan also includes another drive toward Dingo Gap and reprocessing of some CheMin data. The post-drive data will be used to determine… Read More
The weekend activities went well, and lots of post-drive images were received, allowing planning of multiple arm activities on Sol 526. MAHLI and APXS observations of a rock named Reedy are planned, as well as MAHLI images of REMS hardware and the wheels. Then a drive of about 15 meters… Read More