Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 23 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Planning Day

30 August 2012

The rover drivers are ready to test more advanced driving techniques and software, but we stayed put today to finish the last of the Mastcam characterization activities (the second half of the long-baseline stereo experiment). So we had more room for new science observations in today's plan than we have before, which was a challenge for the science team. Lots of good ideas were brought forward by the various science theme groups, including ChemCam measurement of rocks and soil, images of the sun and sky to look for clouds, even neutron spectrometer measurements of hydrogen up to 0.5 m below the surface. When the usual weather and radiation "background" observations were included, there was a lot to prioritize and fit in. But we did a pretty good job of fitting in everything we could. Unfortunately, there were enough little problems with recent ChemCam activities that we had to delete most of the ChemCam stuff from today's plan. On the brighter side, removing them gave the second shift crew much more confidence that they could get their job done in time to send the commands to the rover. And we continue to learn how to do our jobs better and get more science from MSL.