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28 May 2017
Raul Grijalva, the ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, sent a hot letter this week to the Secretary of the Interior. It was about the removal of the first line of a USGS press release last week. The press release was about a newly published paper showing a dramatic increase in coastal flooding as sea level rises, and I wrote about it last week here. Even Richard Nixon …
25 May 2017
After Curiosity’s 14.6 m drive, the GEO group decided against arm activities due to a lack of compelling targets and in deference to making the next drive longer. So GEO science activities relied on Mastcam and ChemCam. On Sol 1707, ChemCam will capture a raster of the ‘White Cap Mountain’ bedrock target (the white bedrock left of center in the bottom quarter of the above Navcam image), as well as a …
21 May 2017
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.
18 May 2017
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.
15 May 2017
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.
9 May 2017
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.
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.
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.
8 May 2017
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.
6 May 2017
The Curiosity rover planners executed another great drive to park us in front of a megaripple in order to study its physical and chemical characteristics, which we can compare and contrast to the sands we investigated during our recent Bagnold dune campaign.
3 May 2017
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.
2 May 2017
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.
1 May 2017
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?
30 April 2017
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.
27 April 2017
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.
25 April 2017
Curiosity drove another 33 meters on Sol 1677, and again is surrounded by rocky outcrops partly covered by dark sand.
23 April 2017
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.
14 April 2017
Curiosity’s drive on Sol 1664 was halted after the rover had driven less than 2 meters because the angle of the left bogie slightly exceeded the suspension limit.
The Curiosity rover drove about 24 meters on Sol 1662, and another drive is planned for Sol 1664. Before the drive, lots of targeted remote sensing is planned…
11 April 2017
Earthquakes are felt by people somewhere on the globe just about hourly (see this USGS list of felt earthquakes in just the last 24 hours). Some places are particularly prone to them–think Japan, Indonesia, Chile, Italy, California–while some stable parts of the continents will go generations, or even millennia, without anyone there feeling any quaking of the ground. But even in, say, California, where “felt” earthquakes occur daily, most individuals go months …