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16 July 2016

Sols 1402-1404: A juicy weekend plan for Curiosity

Not surprisingly, this is a very power-hungry plan, so we had to trim down some activities during the SOWG meeting. But we managed to get almost everything into the plan, and have set ourselves up for the possibility of more contact science on Monday. Should be a fun weekend in Gale crater!

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14 July 2016

Sol 1401: Curiosity checks out blocky deposits

The drive on Sol 1400 went well, and Curiosity drove approximately 13 meters along the edge of the blocky deposit “Bimbe.”  Today’s plan involves a number of ChemCam and Mastcam observations to assess the composition and textural properties of three large blocks in the deposit.  We’ll also acquire a Mastcam mosaic to document the eastern edge of the deposit, and a Navcam observation to search for dust devils.  Then Curiosity …

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13 July 2016

Sol 1400: Curiosity approaching the “Bimbe” blocky deposit

Today’s plan starts with some Mastcam mosaics…

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12 July 2016

Sol 1399: Curiosity rover on the road again

We’re back in our familiar drive pattern, with a short science block followed by a drive.  In today’s pre-drive science block, ChemCam and Mastcam will be used to study the target “Arandis” to document the chemistry of the local bedrock.  Then we’ll acquire several Mastcam mosaics to study some blocky deposits and document laminations in the Murray formation.  A drive of about 45 meters is planned, followed by post-drive imaging …

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6 July 2016

Curiosity Update: Safe Mode

The Curiosity rover activities planned for Sols 1387 and 1388 completed successfully, and lots of good data were returned including a stunning Right Mastcam panorama of the “Murray Buttes” toward the southwest.  One of the images in this panorama shows a boulder that appears to be precariously balanced.  No, we don’t plan to drive right up next to it, but we’ll probably get closer looks as the rover proceeds toward …

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4 July 2016

Sol 1389-1391: Holiday Weekend, Good Luck Juno!

Today we put together a three sol plan to take us through the holiday weekend. On Sol 1389 we do contact science with APXS and MAHLI on the target “Outjo.” SAM also will begin an analysis of some of the “Mojave2” sample that was collected a while ago. Sol 1390 starts off with a long science block. This was originally split into two blocks, but during planning we decided it …

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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 …

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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” …

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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18 April 2016

Sols 1313-1315: Full MAHLI wheel imaging

Tactical planning was a bit hectic today as we reacted to yesterday’s change in the near-term science goals, but the team quickly determined what is feasible and put together a good plan.  There are no good brushable targets in the arm workspace, so the DRT will not be used.  Rather, we selected 3 targets for MAHLI imaging and APXS measurements of natural surfaces.  I’m MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead today, and have …

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14 November 2015

Sols 1164-1165: Brushing “Swartkloofberg”

The rover drove over 38 meters on Sol 1162, as expected.  We are transitioning out of restricted planning, so only 2 sols are being planned for this weekend.  There were so many good ideas for activities this morning that the team had to decide which to remove from the plan to leave enough charge in the rover’s batteries to enable nominal planning on Monday.  Still, the plan is a very …

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26 October 2015

Sol 1146-1147: A View of Meeteetse

The weekend drive was successful, placing us nicely on an overlook of the “Meeteetse” area. The focus for Sol 1146 is to get some good color stereo images of the whole area, including “Big Sky,” “Greenhorn,” and “Meeteetse”. Mastcam will take a 16×3 mosaic of the Meeteetse area, plus a 12×1 right-eye mosaic of some nearby resistant ridges. It will also measure the amount of dust in the atmosphere by …

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14 August 2015

Sols 1075-1077: Time for SAM!

We had another successful drive on sol 1074, putting us in a good position for the weekend! The main activity for the weekend is using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument to analyze some of the recent drill sample that we collected. SAM activities will take up all of sol 1075. On sol 1076, we will use MAHLI to check on the health of our wheels, and SAM will …

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13 August 2015

Sol 1074: Crazy Mountain

The 47 meter drive on sol 1073 went exactly as expected, putting us in a good position for the sol 1074 plan. It’s a pretty simple plan today, with time for a single ChemCam observation of a target called “Crazy Mountain”. I got to pick the name for this target (one of my favorite parts of being involved in operations), and it seemed fitting since the target is on a …

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