Sol 669 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ryan Anderson: One Mars Year!

23 June 2014

Happy new year everyone! As of around 3pm (Mars time) on sol 669, Curiosity will have been exploring Mars for a full martian year (687 Earth days). And what a year it’s been! We’ve driven a long way and done a lot of great science. We’ve measured the age of martian rocks, found evidence for flowing water, and even drilled into rocks formed in an ancient habitable lakebed.

Just as we wrap up our first Mars year of operations, we’re getting tantalizingly close to the edge of the landing ellipse. Over the weekend, our drive put us in a location with a limited view in front of us, so the plan today is to do a shorter drive to the top of a small ridge to get to a better vantage point. From there, we should be able to see much farther and plan some more long drives. Before we drive in today’s plan, ChemCam will zap two targets: a wind-blown ripple called Holt’s Ledge and a rock called Calef. (Any resemblance between this rock and our Keeper of the Maps, Fred Calef, is purely coincidental.)

Dates of planned rover activities described in these reports are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.