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13 June 2017

Sol 1727 Blog: Little bit of everything

After a successful drive, our parking spot included a nice patch of Murray bedrock to allow us to perform contact science (MAHLI and APXS) in today’s plan. Our target for contact science is ‘Jones Marsh,’ a dark patch of the Murray that you can see just above the rightmost corner of Curiosity’s mast shadow in the Navcam image.

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12 June 2017

Sol 1726: First Look at Vera Rubin Ridge

After great anticipation over the last few weeks, the drive in the current plan will bring us into position for stop 1 of our close look at the northern face of the hematite-bearing Vera Rubin Ridge. Mastcam will take a wide mosaic to begin documenting the sedimentary structure of the ridge.

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11 June 2017

Sol 1725: Curiosity’s four day weekend

On most weekends, Curiosity dedicates part of her efforts to do contact science – deployment of APXS, MAHLI, and sometimes the DRT – because multi-sol weekend plans have more time and power to fit in these more complex activities. Last weekend, however, time and power were dedicated to a more rare, and more complex, activity – analysis of a previously-drilled rock sample by SAM.

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8 June 2017

Sols 1722-1724: Leftovers for Dinner

Almost the entirety of the first two sols (1722 and 1723) are dedicated to a SAM analysis of a ‘doggy bagged’ sample from the Quela drill hole collected back in September 2016 (Sol 1464). Several times in the mission we’ve saved samples from our drill locations to analyze later.

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7 June 2017

Sol 1720: Rough Road Ahead

I was the Surface Properties Scientist, or SPS on staff today. The SPS has an interesting job, in that the SPS helps Rover Planners (called RPs) assess the terrain around the rover with safety in mind, first and foremost.

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Sol 1721: An easier planning day

MSL drove 26 meters on Sol 1720, as planned, to a location with blocks of bedrock in the arm workspace. Because the rover climbed another 3 meters in elevation, contact science has top priority for today’s plan, with driving next in priority.

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21 May 2017

Planning Sol 1705 – 1706: Rocky Road

Curiosity is continuing to make progress towards Vera Rubin Ridge along the Mt Sharp ascent route.  We planned two sols today, Sol 1705 and Sol 1706.  On our first sol, we will kick off the day with some remote sensing science on the bedrock in front of us, including ChemCam observations of targets ‘Turtle Island’, ‘Stony Brook’, and ‘Dike Peak’.  Turtle Island is typical Murray bedrock, Stony Brook has an …

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24 February 2017

Sols 1620-1622: A weekend full of remote sensing

On Sol 1619, MAHLI experienced a fault and did not finish its planned imaging, so unfortunately the subsequent arm and mobility activities did not execute. That means that the weekend plan is devoted to MAHLI recovery activities and a lot of remote sensing. I was the GSTL today, and although it was a challenging start to the day, we were able to put together a very full plan.

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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.

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2 September 2016

Sols 1450-1453: Communication challenges

Curiosity had a nice ~78 m drive on Sol 1448, which set us up for a lot of great science over the long (4-sol) weekend.  Unfortunately a problem with the Deep Space Network caused an entire Odyssey pass to be lost, so we didn’t receive the workspace images that we would have needed to do contact science.  Without those images we didn’t feel safe moving the arm. But the team …

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31 August 2016

Sols 1448-1449: No touch, just go

MSL roved 53 meters on Sol 1446, and ended up in an area with nice exposures of bedrock. We were interested in taking MAHLI close-up images of the bedrock but were concerned that they would not be very useful if the surface as dusty as it typically is.  We therefore considered using the ChemCam laser to clean off some of the dust and get chemical information before deploying the arm, but recognized that the …

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28 August 2016

Sols 1443-1445: A very power heavy and complex weekend plan

The drive planned on Wednesday did not execute due to an unanticipated flight software interaction.  However, the problem is now understood and we will attempt the drive again next week. Today’s three-sol weekend plan is focused on SAM activities and contact science.  On the first sol we’ll do a SAM pre-conditioning activity to prepare the sample cup prior to delivery of the Marimba2 drill sample.  We’ll also acquire a ChemCam observation of …

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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 …

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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 …

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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.

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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 …

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27 July 2016

Sols 1414-1416: Keep on truckin’

MSL drove over 45 meters on Sol 1412, to a location with lots of bedrock exposed but most of it is coated by dust. So again we decided not to deploy the arm and acquire lots of ChemCam data instead. LIBS observations of targets named “Okahandja,” “Swakopmund,” and “Walvis Bay” will be followed by another long-distance RMI mosaic. Then the Right Mastcam will image the ChemCam targets and acquire a 5-image mosaic of the Murray Buttes. The Left Mastcam will take a 7-image mosaic of the bedrock in front of the rover before the Sol 1414 drive.

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21 July 2016

Sol 1405-1408: Bimbe Conglomerates

“…we found ourselves in an awesome place to study the blocks and conglomerates at ‘Bimbe.’”

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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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