Sol 691 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Plasma!17 July 2014
Some of the MAHLI images taken during the Sol 687 ChemCam LIBS measurements of Nova captured the plasma generated by the laser! The Sol 690 drive completed as planned, totaling nearly 30 meters over relatively rough terrain. Another rapid-traverse sol was planned today, with ChemCam and Mastcam observations of a bright rock dubbed "Limekiln" before the drive. Meanwhile the presentations at the 8th International Mars Conference continued to impress: This morning, the SAM team reported that analyses of the Cumberland drill sample show evidence for organic carbon compounds on Mars, probably benzocarboxylic acids. As exciting as those results are, I was even more interested in the afternoon presentations on the Martian polar deposits, which have long been thought to record global climate changes like Earth's ice ages. As usual, the oral presentations were followed by 2 hours of poster presentations (a fresh set of 100 each day). These poster sessions give all of us a chance to discuss new results in detail and plan future observations and analysis.
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.