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19 October 2016

Sol 1495: Full drill

The thumbnail of the Sol 1494 MAHLI image showed that the Quela dump pile had been moved by the wind again!


18 October 2016

Sol 1494: A windy sol

Windy conditions on Mars are interfering with science.


17 October 2016

Sols 1491-1492: Soliday at Sebina

With the weekend plan, we officially started our drill campaign on the target “Sebina,” so we will be staying in this location through the week. On Sol 1491 we dumped out the post-sieve sample from our previous drill hole at “Quela,” and did some brushing on Sebina, followed by APXS and MAHLI imaging. On Sol 1492, the rover did a lot of remote sensing, starting off with an early morning …


12 October 2016

Sols 1489-1490: 100 m of Mount Sharp!

Today’s plan is focused on bumping to our next drill location as we continue to systematically sample the Murray formation. The two-sol plan starts with a Mastcam tau and crater rim extinction observation to measure atmospheric opacity.


11 October 2016

Sols 1487-1488: Cleaning CheMin

While some of us enjoyed the Columbus Day holiday, Curiosity continued working on Mars.


9 October 2016

Sols 1484-1486: Dropping off samples to SAM

The Curiosity rover made another 40 meters of progress up the flank of Mt. Sharp on Sol 1482, and there were multiple bedrock blocks within reach of the arm for the weekend plan.


5 October 2016

Sols 1482-1483: Another touch and go

Curiosity drove another 35 meters on Sol 1480, stopping at a location with a layered bedrock exposure right in front of the rover. So the tactical planning team decided to take advantage of the touch and go option again. MAHLI will take pictures of the layered target “Cassongue” and of the rover wheels before the arm is stowed in preparation for another drive on Sol 1482.


3 October 2016

Sols 1480-1481: Touch and Go!

Curiosity drove 12.5 meters on Sol 1478, to an area with lots of nodules in the bedrock. The tactical planning team decided to exercise the “touch and go” option, so the arm will be deployed for contact science before driving away on Sol 1480.


1 October 2016

Sols 1477-1479: Rocky Road

Everything went well in our previous plan and we are making slow but steady progress over rough terrain toward our next drill location. We should get there by next weekend! Today’s plan starts off with a bunch of remote sensing on Sol 1477. Navcam has an atmospheric observation, followed by ChemCam analysis of the targets “Chadibe”, “Bobonong”, and “Dukwi”. Mastcam will document those targets once ChemCam is done with them, …


28 September 2016

Sols 1475-1476: Finishing up on Jwaneng

Finally, the rover will get some sleep in preparation for what will likely be a busy weekend.


27 September 2016

Sol 1474: Murray cross-bedding

The 16-meter drive on Sol 1473 completed perfectly, placing the rover in position for contact science on an outcrop of cross-bedded Murray bedrock. The primary goal for Sol 1474 is to characterize the cross-bedding and measure grain sizes using MAHLI, and we were able to squeeze in a lot of other good observations.  Before the arm is deployed, ChemCam will measure the chemical composition of the “Kopong” bedrock target, Mastcam …


26 September 2016

Sol 1473: In search of a contact science location

Over the weekend Curiosity drove 43 m to the south, in search of a good place for contact science.  Unfortunately, our present location is in a small valley, and we don’t have many good rock targets in the workspace.  After evaluating the Mastcam drive direction imaging, we decided to drive further to the southwest. This should put us in front of a small exposure of cross-bedding for contact science in …


25 September 2016

Sol 1470-1472: Change of Plans

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 heading toward a location where (we hope) the stratigraphy will be better-exposed. For this weekend’s plan, we start …


21 September 2016

Sols 1467-1468: Finishing up at Quela

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 our top priority is to finish up our investigation of the Quela drill hole and tailings before driving away.  There are a …


19 September 2016

Sol 1466: A new drill hole

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 drop some of the sieved sample into CheMin.  But first, ChemCam will acquire passive spectra of the Quela drill tailings …


16 September 2016

Sol 1462: Drill Troubleshooting and Remote Sensing

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 butte. ChemCam will analyze the targets “Cuasa” and “Cuimba,” and then Mastcam will document those targets and take an 8×3 mosaic of the butte, along …


14 September 2016

Sol 1461: Time to drill

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 we’ll image the intended drill target with MAHLI, then we’ll do a full drill of the target “Quela”, followed by more documentation imaging with MAHLI.  We’ll also …


13 September 2016

Sol 1460: Preparing to drill

Yesterday was sol 2 of the drill campaign at “Quela” and we did a lot of great remote sensing, contact science and wheel imaging (see the above RMI image showing fine lamination in some pebbles, and the MAHLI image of the wheels to monitor their health).  Today’s plan includes a science block and cross-contamination experiment to prepare for the drill sample.  Science activities include a Mastcam multispectral observation of a …


12 September 2016

Sol 1459: Characterizing the Marimba dump pile

Over the weekend, Curiosity completed analyses of the “Marimba” drill sample (our previous drill target), and dumped the post-sieve sample. Today’s plan is focused on MAHLI and APXS of the dump pile, and MAHLI imaging of the CheMin inlet to prepare for drill activities at our current location at “Quela.”  The plan also includes a number of remote sensing observations.  We’ll start with several atmospheric monitoring activities, including a Navcam …


10 September 2016

Sols 1456-1458: Settling in at Quela

We had a successful drive yesterday, and Curiosity is now parked at our next drill site, called “Quela”, right at the base of one of the Murray Buttes. The Sol 1456 plan starts with a Mastcam atmospheric observation, followed by ChemCam and Mastcam of “Quela” and a Mastcam mosaic of the workspace. After that, samples of “Marimba” will be dropped off in SAM for analysis. On Sol 1457 Mastcam has …