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21 May 2017

Sols 1702-1704: An island of science

The rover planners parked us in front of the one slab of outcrop – an island among ripples of sand – we could safely drive to from our Sol 1700 position, setting us up to continue our exploration of the Murray formation.

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18 May 2017

Sols 1700-1701: Optical depth measurements

Curiosity continues towards Vera Rubin Ridge with a 48 m drive. GEO decided for the touch-and-go option (instead of lengthening the drive like on Sol 1684) using APXS and MAHLI on “Ripple Pond,” a typical member of the Murray formation.

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15 May 2017

Sols 1698-1699: It’s Touch and Go on the Climb to Vera Rubin Ridge

The road to Vera Rubin Ridge, a feature believed to be enriched in the mineral hematite, is getting steeper, so we are stopping frequently to study the composition of the bedrock beneath our wheels.

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14 May 2017

Sols 1695 -1697: Observations of land, rover and sky

Curiosity continued her detailed investigation of the interesting suite of outcrops we have been picking our way across during the last week. As we climb up Mount Sharp, recently over slopes of 4-6 degrees, we have seen more varied outcrop structures and chemistries than the rest of the Murray formation, and such changes catch the collective eye of the team.

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9 May 2017

Sols 1693-1694: Remote science and onward!

Today we planned two sols, 1693 and 1694. On the first sol, we will conduct a suite of remote science observations before driving away and resuming our trek up Mount Sharp.

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Sol 1692: Science frenzy!

After the drive on Sol 1691, the workspace in front of the Curiosity rover had plenty of interesting rocks in front of us to keep us busy.

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Sol 1691: Stopped Short at Green Nubble

The weekend drive stopped a little bit short of the target, but that’s ok because it put the Curiosity rover in reach of some interesting cross-bedded rocks. We decided to do a “touch and go” plan for Sol 1691, quickly analyzing the rocks in front of us and then continuing on to the original drive destination.

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8 May 2017

Sol 1688 – 1690: Sand between our grousers

We’ve been getting some really interesting data down from our investigation of a large sand drift (megaripple), so we packed in many more observations to assess the full variability of the sandy materials before driving away and continuing our climb up Mt. Sharp.

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3 May 2017

Sol 1686: March to the Megaripples

Continuing the steady march up Mt. Sharp, Curiosity drove 18.3 m to bring us closer to a series of features being called megaripples, which are darker and larger ripples than were seen on the Bagnold Dunes.

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2 May 2017

Sol 1685: Touch and Go or Just Go (Again)?

Planning rover science activities is a dynamic process. Unlike yestersol’s plan, the Geology Theme Group decided to include an APXS and MAHLI “touch-and-go” in the plan, carrying out valuable contact science on the layered Murray bedrock.

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1 May 2017

Sol 1684: Touch and Go or Just Go?

Today was a day of tradeoffs. Should Curiosity focus on driving to get to a higher priority target sooner, or conduct contact science at the current location?

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30 April 2017

Sol 1681-1683: Kicking the Tires

After a drive of almost 29 meters, we are parked at a site suitable for a busy plan full of contact science on the Murray formation. GEO focused mainly on characterizing nearby flagstone – “Duck Brook Bridge” was like the typical Murray formation that was tan in color, and “Cliffside Bridge” and “Waterfall Bridge” were more coarse-grained and gray.

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27 April 2017

Sol 1680: Mesmerized by the Murray Formation

After a 30 meter drive on Sol 1679, we find ourselves near diverse outcrops of the Murray formation. We plan to drive on today across the Murray formation towards Vera Rubin Ridge.

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25 April 2017

Sol 1679: Another day of TAG (Touch and Go)

Our drive yestersol went as planned and added another 28.3 meters to Curiosity’s odometer. The science team was pleased to see that more interesting outcrop would be reachable by Curiosity’s arm from our new location, so we decided to plan contact science followed by an afternoon drive in the Sol 1679 plan.

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Sol 1678: A smooth planning day

Curiosity drove another 33 meters on Sol 1677, and again is surrounded by rocky outcrops partly covered by dark sand.

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23 April 2017

Sol 1677: Some Murray in hand

This morning we woke up to fresh images from Curiosity that showed our surroundings after an ~17 m Sunday afternoon drive. I always really enjoy days like this because, even after 1,676 sols and just under 16.1 kilometers of driving, it still thrills me to look at images from unexplored areas of Mars.

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20 April 2017

Sol 1674: Slipping into a new plan

In the Sol 1673 drive, the rover planners aimed us for a nice curb of Murray bedrock which we could investigate with targeted science (with Mastcam and ChemCam) and contact science (with APXS, MAHLI and the dust removal tool (DRT)) over the weekend.

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19 April 2017

Sol 1673: Planning with plenty of "Moxie"

There’s nothing like a day of technical difficulties to make you appreciate when it all works! The science team bounced back from yesterday’s challenging planning day with a vengeance, planning an amazingly full suite of observations of the rock – and sky! – around us.

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18 April 2017

Sol 1672: If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done!

On Tuesday, the science team had a “soliday”, a day without planning to allow the time when the science team plans activities on Earth to realign favorably with when the rover is ready to accept and execute those plans.

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17 April 2017

Sol 1671: More Rocks Out the Front Window

Meanwhile, back on Mars, Curiosity nailed the 34 meter drive to another rock exposure identified in orbital images. Ever since we observed possible mud cracks at Old Soaker the rover team has been pursuing the idea that Curiosity is exploring strata that represent occasional dry-lake periods.

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