Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 1470-1472: Change of Plans

23 September 2016

Our drive went nicely and we are already about halfway to our next drill site! Our original plan to head toward an outcrop called “Karasburg” had to be changed because it turned out to be covered in sand and not very steep, making it a less-desirable science target. So instead we are… Read More

Sol 1469: Leaving Murray Buttes

22 September 2016

MSL drove over 87 meters on Sol 1468, toward an outcrop named "Karasburg."  The Sol 1469 plan includes another drive toward Karasburg, after ChemCam and Mastcam sample a local bedrock target named "Cacolo" and a patch of brighter material dubbed "Malembo."  Mastcam will also acquire… Read More

Name Approved for Feature on Mars: Taltal

20 September 2016

The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved the name Taltal for a crater on Mars. For more information, see the map for MC-24 in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. 

Sols 1467-1468: Finishing up at Quela

20 September 2016

The activities planned for Sol 1466 are going well so far--the only problem is that the ChemCam observation of the Quela drill hole wall is slightly out of focus.  So we'll try again on Sol 1467 with slightly modified ChemCam command parameters.  We're planning two sols today, and… Read More

Sol 1466: A new drill hole

19 September 2016

The second attempt to drill into Quela was successful, but there was a timing issue during sample manipulation in CHIMRA that resulted in premature halting of the Sol 1465 sequence.  So on Sol 1466 we'll pick up where MSL stopped and sieve the new sample, dump the unsieved fraction, and… Read More

Names Approved for 14 Features on Ceres

16 September 2016

The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved names for 14 craters on Ceres: Aristaeus, Begbalel, Braciaca, Cacaguat, Centeotl, Duginavi, Hakumyi, Hatipowa, Ialonus, Kiriamma, Laukumate, Megwomets, Razeka, and Xochipilli. For more information, see the Ceres map in the… Read More

Sol 1462: Drill Troubleshooting and Remote Sensing

16 September 2016

Unfortunately the Sol 1461 drilling activities did not complete as expected, so the Sol 1462 plan was focused on trying to understand the problem while also doing some remote sensing. The plan starts off with Mastcam multispectral observations of the target “Ekunha” on the nearby… Read More

Sols 1463-1465: Trying Again

16 September 2016

After doing the drill diagnostics, the team has decided to try drilling at Quela again over the weekend. Sol 1463 will start with ChemCam of some pebbles called “Omusati” and some veins called “Didimbo”. Mastcam will document both targets, and then do a tau measurement to… Read More

PILOT / UPC Data Release September 2016: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter - CTX

15 September 2016

The NASA/USGS PDS Imaging Node has added the following data to the Unified Planetary Coordinate (UPC) Database.  MISSION / INSTRUMENT: MARS RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER / CTX Release #38. Mapped Images: 1929. Unmapped Images: 1. Please visit PILOT to access/download the new release. 

Sol 1461: Time to drill

14 September 2016

It’s always an exciting day on Mars when you prepare to drill another sample – an engineering feat that we’ve become so accustomed to that I sometimes forget how impressive this really is!  Today’s plan just looks like a “typical” drill sol.  First… Read More