Astrogeology Science Center

Update On HI-SEAS From USGS Scientist Oleg Abramov: Geological Exploration

6 May 2013

One of the many hats I wear on this mission is that of the Crew Geologist. My other roles include Health & Safety Officer, Information and Communications Technology Officer, EVA Planner, and Thermographer. That will probably be typical on future planetary exploration missions: due to the small… Read More

Update on HI-SEAS from USGS Scientist Oleg Abramov: Lava Tubes

20 June 2013

We discovered a lot of lava tube skylights of all shapes and sizes near our habitat, and were actually able to enter one of them on a recent EVA. I thought I’d give a summary of that EVA here, along with lots of photos we took along the way. . . Read more on the HI-SEAS website. . .

Sol 308 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Shaler

19 June 2013

The rover is approaching the last stop before hitting the road, an outcrop dubbed Shaler. We noticed the Shaler outcrop on our way into "Yellowknife Bay" but did not get close enough to study it in detail. So we plan study Shaler in detail before starting the traverse toward Mt. Sharp (Aeolis… Read More

Sol 303 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Nine Degree Tilt

12 June 2013

The approach to Point Lake on Sol 302 went well, allowing the arm to reach the outcrop of interest. However, the rover is tilted over 9 degrees, so we have to wait a sol to confirm that it is stable before planning contact science. Therefore, we could place MAHLI no closer than 10 cm from the… Read More

Sol 302 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Point Lake Outcrop

11 June 2013

I'm SOWG Chair again today, planning Sol 302. The Sol 301 drive went well, and we received images after the drive was complete showing the Point Lake outcrop. Unfortunately, they showed that the slopes near the most interesting part of the outcrop are large enough that we would have to spend an… Read More

Sol 301 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Recovery Sequence

10 June 2013

The MSL activities planned for last weekend went well, except for a ChemCam instrument problem on Sol 300. Fortunately, it's not serious and the Sol 301 plan includes ChemCam recovery sequences. If they go well we will be able to use ChemCam again on Sol 302. The Sol 301 plan includes another… Read More

Sol 291 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: The Drill Hole Walls

31 May 2013

I'm not on shift in any tactical operations roles, but have been helping finish up important observations in the "Cumberland" area before we drive away next week. In particular, I have been leading the effort to take MAHLI images of the drill hole walls at night, using the LEDs to illuminate the… Read More

Sol 289 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Heating Up

29 May 2013

Yesterday I was Geology/Mineralogy Science Theme Lead for the first time in months, so I was a bit rusty. We tried to fit some MAHLI imaging into the plan, along with overnight CheMin analysis of the Cumberland drill sample, but didn't have enough power. However, we were able to plan a… Read More

Sol 282 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Self Portrait

23 May 2013

I was MAHLI uplink lead again for Sol 282, and helped plan images of the SAM and CheMin sample inlets to verify that samples were delivered properly. The plan also included sample dropoff to CheMin and overnight analysis. It's nice to see that the updates to the MAHLI "self portrait" of the rover… Read More

Sol 280 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Drilling Success!

20 May 2013

The drilling at "Cumberland" went perfectly. The MAHLI images that we planned for Sol 279 came out well. So the plan for Sol 281 includes sieving of the sample and feeding some of it to SAM. This will happen late in the afternoon, when winds are expected to be low, to avoid loosing some of the… Read More