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19 October 2016

NASA: September 2016 was Hottest on Record

It was by a razor thin margin over 2015, but this September was the hottest on record based on NASA GISS data. NOAA does a separate analysis and puts it as number two after last Sept. NOAA did report that the land temps. in Sept. were the hottest on record, beating last year. Here is the stunning statistic: September 2016 was the 381st consecutive month with above average global temperatures. …


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 …


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.


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 …


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 …


13 September 2016

Hottest August On Record- NASA

NASA announced Tuesday that August 2016 was the hottest August ever measured on Earth, with records going back to 1880. It also ties July for the hottest month ever measured. Much of the Northeast U.S. also had the hottest August on record as well. It is now virtually certain that 2016 will pass 2015 as the hottest year on record. Notice in the image below how much hotter 2015 was …


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 …


8 September 2016

OSIRIS Launches Toward Asteroid. It Will Bring Back a Piece of it!

I did a satellite interview with NASA Scientist Lucy McFadden Thursday about the launch of the OSIRIS probe. If all goes well, it will do something never done before, and bring back a few pieces of an asteroid orbiting the sun. You can see the interview below:


29 August 2016

Sols 1446-1447: Back on the road

The MSL activities planned for last weekend went well, and the rover’s batteries have enough energy to proceed with another drive on Sol 1446. We started the day looking at the beautiful new Mastcam images of the nearby buttes, then got down to planning the details of the 2-sol plan.  On Sol 1446, Mastcam will extend coverage of previously-planned mosaics, and ChemCam will use its laser to measure the chemistry …


20 August 2016

Sol 1436: Smooth sailing

We are making good progress with our drives (we’re already approaching our next drill site!) and the road in front of us is looking pretty smooth. As usual we have a busy weekend planned. Sol 1436 starts off with ChemCam and Mastcam of the layered rock targets “Conda” and “Savungo.” Mastcam then has a mosaic of one of the buttes, and another mosaic of an interesting feature within the Murray …


17 August 2016

Sol 1433: Butte-iful scenery

Yestersol’s drive went nicely, so today the plan looks quite similar, with a remote sensing block followed by another 50 meters of driving! The Sol 1433 plan starts with ChemCam and Mastcam of the target “Klein Klipneus.” After that, Mastcam has a couple of mosaics to continue admiring the scenery (a.k.a. studying the stratigraphy of the Murray Buttes). Then Curiosity will drive and collect post-drive imaging, followed by an untargeted …


15 August 2016

Another Melted Record- NASA Says July Hottest Month Ever Measured on Earth

From Gavin Schmidt at NASA on Twitter this afternoon: Every month in 2016 has set a new record in the NASA data, but July 2016 was not just a record for July, it was the hottest month recorded. NOAA data comes out later this week (They do an independent analyses). Raw data is here: GLOBAL Land-Ocean Temperature Index in 0.01 degrees Celsius base period: 1951-1980 sources: GHCN-v3 1880-07/2016 + SST: …


14 August 2016

Sols 1429-1431: Power limited

MSL drove over 45 meters on Sol 1428, closer to the Murray Buttes. I helped select ChemCam targets again this morning, and was glad to see that some of them made it into the weekend plan.  The primary constraint on planning today ended up being power–we tried to fit more into the plan than the rover’s batteries could support!  But we were still able to include a lot of good …


11 August 2016

Sol 1428: Walking *and* chewing gum on Mars

The tactical team decided that driving has higher priority, so critical post-drive imaging is focused on supporting mobility planning. Overnight, CheMin will perform another analysis of the Marimba drill sample, to improve the quality of mineralogical data.


10 August 2016

Sol 1427: Driving away

After successfully completing the drilling activities at Marimba, it’s time to get back on the road.  Today’s plan is focused on targeted remote sensing and driving.  The plan starts with a Navcam movie to monitor the atmosphere, followed by Mastcam documentation of several autonomously selected ChemCam targets.  Then we’ll acquire a couple of ChemCam observations and Mastcam multispectral imaging of the Marimba pre-sieve dump pile before driving away.  After a short …


One Minute Satellite Imagery from GOES 14

The GOES 14 is sending back one minute imagery again. This satellite is a spare but is the only U.S. weather satellite that can send back images once a minute. GOES-R launching in November will be able to send back an image every 30 seconds, at higher resolution, with lightning data as well. This is a sneak peak at the future that will arrive soon!


9 August 2016

Sol 1426: Bringing in the data at Marimba

Today’s plan is focused on retrieving CheMin data from the overnight analysis of the Marimba drill sample and MAHLI and APXS observations of the drill hole and cuttings.  The plan starts with a short science block for atmospheric monitoring, followed by CheMin data readout.  Then we’ll do a short Mastcam change detection activity before dumping the pre-sieved drill sample.  After we dump the sample, we’ll acquire Mastcam, Navcam and MAHLI …


8 August 2016

Sol 1421: Determining drill activities at Marimba

On Sol 1420 we planned a full drill hole on the target “Marimba” to characterize the composition of the Murray mudstone in this location.  However, we came in early this morning to find that the drill hole didn’t penetrate very far into this rock target, as seen in the above MAHLI image.  We’re trying to evaluate why this drill hole is different, and what prevented the drill from completing as …