Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 33 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Flexing the Arm

9 September 2012

I arrived in Pasadena at about 10 PM last night, and went straight to JPL to catch up with the MSL team and start my transition to Mars time. My next shift starts at 9:15 PM tonight. I walked in during a science team meeting regarding "data management" which sounds boring but is very important to the team. In addition to the rover computer's ability to adjust the priority of various data products to be sent to Earth, each of the color cameras includes an 8 gigabyte buffer for storing raw images. So we can acquire panoramic mosaics of many images and return only small "thumbnail" versions of each image while storing the full-resolution images in the camera buffer. Once we have looked at the thumbnails, we can return just the full images of most interest. Obviously this is a nice capability to have, but it means we have to do more work to keep track of the data onboard the rover.

I stayed through the end of the SOWG meeting, and left JPL around 3 AM this morning. On my way out, I talked with Roger Wiens, the PI of ChemCam. His instrument has been working well, and he wanted to discuss the results of the RMI compression testing I mentioned last week. We were both too tired to have the conversation then, and agreed to talk later. But I summarized my conclusion that, while the test data in hand are useful in determining the optimum compression parameters, more test data are needed. Meanwhile, the focus of near-term rover activities will be checkout of the arm.