Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 379-380 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Hectic Day

30 August 2013

Autonomous navigation continues to work well, and Curiosity completed another long drive on Sol 378. However, the left rear wheel ended up on a ~6 cm rock, which is larger than allowed for safe deployment of the arm. The concern that the wheel might slip off the rock while the arm is moving around, perhaps damaging the arm, caused a change in plans. The original plan was to use the arm to drop more of the Cumberland drill sample into SAM for another evolved gas analysis (2 sols worth of activities). Instead, we decided to drive about 15 meters to an area with fewer large rocks and try again. So it was a hectic day for me as SOWG Chair, but we recovered nicely from the situation. If the drive goes well, we will have a better view of the path ahead. We are planning 2 sols today, then 3 sols tomorrow to get us through the Labor Day holiday weekend.