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29 June 2016

Sol 1386: Curiosity rover studying Trekkopje, checking the wheels

Our drive for the Curiosity rover in the Sol 1385 plan took us 66 meters, continuing our path south between the “Baynes Mountains” and “Helgas Dune.” The plan for Sol 1386 starts off with APXS and MAHLI observations of the target “Trekkopje,” followed by a short science block. Mastcam will start off the block with some atmospheric measurements, then ChemCam will join in the fun and analyze Trekkopje too. Mastcam …


28 June 2016

Sol 1385: Drive Curiosity rover, then drive some more

Not a lot to report today: these one-sol drive plans are pretty simple! (Well, as simple as driving a giant robot on another planet can be…) Yesterday’s Curiosity rover drive took us a little over 60m and we’re planning another drive in the sol 1385 plan. Before the drive, we have a short science block with a ChemCam observation of the target “Epembe” and a Mastcam mosaic of “Baynes Mountain” …


27 June 2016

Sol 1384: Curiosity Rover at Baynes Mountain

Our weekend Curiosity rover soliday plan was successful, putting us about halfway to our next likely drilling location. We are now in “unrestricted” planning again, meaning we will be getting data down overnight and can plan every day this week.


Sol 1382-1383: Curiosity Rover observes Phobos Transit and a “Soliday”

Curiosity rover’s contact science in the Sol 1380-1381 plan went well, so we’re back to driving in the weekend plan! Sol 1382 will start with a Mastcam video of Phobos crossing in front of the sun, plus a multispectral observation of the brushed target “Koes.” ChemCam will then analyze the targets “Koes,” “Kongola,” and “Rundu” and Mastcam will document those observations. After that, we will drop off some of the …


22 June 2016

Sols 1380-1381: Contact Science at “Koes”

The drive on Sol 1378 went well, and Curiosity drove ~44 m to the south, bringing our total drive distance to more than 13.2 km. We’re currently making our way through a gap in the Bagnold dunes (part of a dune is visible in the upper left of the drive direction Navcam frame).


21 June 2016

Sol 1378-1379: Making up for lost distance

Over the weekend, the rover stopped after about 17 meters of the planned 65 meter drive. The rover is fine, the drive just tripped one of the (very conservative) limits on how the rover’s suspension was expected to behave, causing Curiosity to stop and check in with Earth. Since there is nothing jumping out at us as a contact science target where we stopped, in today’s plan we will try to make up for some of the lost distance from the weekend plan.


18 June 2016

Sols 1375-1377: Another busy weekend

The Sol 1373 drive completed successfully, moving the rover over 31 meters toward the south.  There’s lots of bedrock exposed around the vehicle, but no flat patches large enough to brush in the arm workspace. So MAHLI will take images of an unbrushed target called “Andara” before the APXS is placed on it for an overnight integration.  Before these arm activities on Sol 1375, ChemCam and the Right Mastcam will …


15 June 2016

Sols 1373-1374: No touch, just go!

The 32-meter Sol 1371 drive completed exactly as planned, giving the rover a good view of the path toward the south.  So another ~30-meter drive is planned for Sol 1373, after some remote science observations.  We had the option of using the DRT and taking MAHLI images of the brush spot before the drive, but the science team decided to acquire more remote science observations rather than brushing the Stimson …


13 June 2016

Sols 1371-1372: Driving south

The weekend drive went well, and Curiosity drove ~ 32 m to the south.  This southward path will eventually take us through a gap in the active sand dunes that will be easier for Curiosity to traverse.  We’re planning another drive today, which will take us in the direction of the above Navcam image. Today’s two-sol plan consists of several ChemCam and Mastcam observations of the Murray formation to assess …


12 June 2016

Sols 1368-1370: On the road again

We received the engineering data that we needed to proceed with the final science activities at the Oudam drill site.  Today’s plan is focused on analyzing the pre-sieve dump pile and getting on the road again. The three-sol plan starts by moving the arm out of the way so we can target the workspace.  First we’ll acquire a ChemCam passive observation on the pre-sieve dump pile, followed by several ChemCam …


8 June 2016

Sols 1366-1367: Opportunistic contact science

The day started off with some changes to the sol path due to some holes in the downlink.  Unfortunately some engineering camera and MAHLI images from Sol 1364 were not fully transmitted, so the team worked quickly to rearrange the intended activities this week.  Fortunately that also meant that we could add in some opportunistic DRT, MAHLI and APXS activities on Sol 1366. The two-sol plan starts off with ChemCam …


6 June 2016

Sols 1364-1365: Analyzing drill sample

The Oudam drill campaign continues to go well, with sample acquired and ready for analysis.  Planning is now restricted, so we are planning 2 sols today.  On Sol 1364, ChemCam will acquire passive spectra of the drill tailings and a LIBS raster of the wall of the drill hole. Later that afternoon, the unsieved portion of the drill sample will be dumped on the ground and imaged by MAHLI from …


5 June 2016

Sols 1361-1363: Drilling Oudam

The MSL Rover Planners have all the data they need to drill (no “mini-drill” required), so the plan for this weekend focuses on drilling into the Oudam bedrock target.  The full drill is scheduled for Sol 1361, followed by MAHLI and Mastcam images of the new hole.  The rover will then rest until Sol 1362, when the drill sample will be transferred to the scoop for Mastcam imaging and sieved.  …


2 June 2016

Sol 1360: Preparing to drill

Arm work continues to go well, so preparation for drilling and sample analysis is the focus of the Sol 1360 plan.  First, CheMin will dump the Lubango and Okoruso drill samples out of their cells.  Then ChemCam and Mastcam will observe a bright vein named “Charlottenfelder” and a bedrock target called “Chameis Bay” before arm activities resume. MAHLI will take close-up images of the Oudam drill target and a single …


1 June 2016

Sol 1359: Cleaning CHIMRA (Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis device)

The remaining Okoruso drill sample was successfully dumped onto the ground on Sol 1358, so MSL is ready for a new drill sample.  In preparation, the Sol 1359 plan includes an arm preload test on “Oudam,” the next drill target, and cleaning out CHIMRA with imaging to verify that everything is clean. Before all the arm activities, ChemCam and Mastcam will observe the Okoruso dump pile and a bedrock target …


31 May 2016

Sol 1358: A Simple Plan

Our activities over the weekend went well, and after a couple of complicated multi-sol plans we get to do a nice simple one-sol plan today! The Sol 1358 plan starts with ChemCam observations of the targets “Otiiha,” “Otjihase,” “Otjikoto,” and “Otjimbingwe” to assess variations in the bedrock chemistry. Mastcam will document those targets, and then we will dump out our remaining Okoruso sample. APXS then has an overnight observation of …


30 May 2016

Sol 1355-1357: Coordinating with MRO

Our drive went well and Curiosity is now sitting on a nice patch of the Murray formation, putting us in a good position for a very busy holiday weekend! On Sol 1355, ChemCam has observations of the targets “Auchas,” “Kaisosi,” “Inamagando,” and “Horingbaai.” Mastcam will document those targets and then do some multispectral observations of the targets “Kunjas” and “Navachab,” plus a mosaic of the contact between the Murray and …


26 May 2016

Sols 1353-1354: Clear sailing

The Sol 1352 post-drive imaging shows that, while there are sandy ripples ahead, there are enough rocky patches that the rover should not have any problem driving toward the southwest.  This is what we were hoping, so we are planning to drive in that direction on Sol 1353.  But first, Mastcam will acquire stereo mosaics of the Murray-Stimson contact and a couple areas toward the west with nodular features.  After …


25 May 2016

Sol 1352: Scouting a path

We’d like to keep driving toward the southwest, but can’t see all of the terrain ahead from our current location.  So the Sol 1352 plan includes a short drive to give us a better view. Before the rover moves, Mastcam will acquire a large stereo mosaic of the “Breckhorn” ridge in front of the vehicle and extend the left Mastcam mosaic of the “Fracture Town” area to the west.  ChemCam …


23 May 2016

Sol 1350: Data processing delay

I’m SOWG Chair again today, and started browsing the latest data from MSL early this morning.  To my dismay, the post-drive images that we expected to receive in time for planning today were not available!  It turned out that the data were received on Earth, but the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter operations team had some problems processing and transferring it to us.  We waited as long as we could for the …