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10 December 2019

NASA’s treasure map for water ice on Mars

NASA has big plans for returning astronauts to the Moon in 2024, a stepping stone on the path to sending humans to Mars. But where should the first people on the Red Planet land? A new paper published in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters will help by providing a map of water ice believed to be as little as one inch (2.5 centimeters) below the surface.


5 October 2019

Sols 2546-2547: Brrrr – Is It Frosty?

Communicating with Curiosity requires creating a plan and transmitting it through various networks, including the Deep Space Network. Sometimes, one of these networks is down, and our plan does not get to the rover.


2 October 2019

Sol 2545: SAM Clean-Up and a Potpourri of Remote Sensing and Environmental Observations

Curiosity is continuing through its list of analysis details that take place after taking a drill sample. Today’s main activity is a SAM gas chromatograph column clean-up. Meanwhile, there is time to take environmental observations and more remote-sensing data.


30 September 2019

Sol 2540-2542: Go, SAM, go!

Curiosity’s late afternoon view: This image was taken by the Front Hazard Avoidance Camera onboard NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2536 (2019-09-25 00:12:06 UTC). It shows the same view as the image in the sols 2538-2539 blog, just in a very different light!


26 September 2019

Sols 2538-2539: An Intermission Filled with Remote Sensing

Today started off with the news that yestersol’s plan did not fully complete. There was an issue in the set of planned SAM activities that resulted in those activities not completing. While we diagnose the issue, we are taking a break from drill activities and filling the plan with lots of remote science.


24 September 2019

Sols 2536-2537: SAM Wet Chemistry Experiment

Searching for organic molecules in rocks on Mars is no easy task. Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument is designed to analyze the chemical composition of gases, which it creates by slowly heating rock samples in an oven.


20 September 2019

Sols 2533-2535: SAM’s Starring Role!

Planning for this past week has centered on analyzing the high potassium drill sample, Glen Etive 2, using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument.


19 September 2019

Sol 2531 – 2532: Three Portions to Inlet 1 and Straight on till SAM

In Monday’s plan, we did portion drop tests of our ‘Glen Etive 2’ drill sample, and this morning we were greeted with nice images of the sample piles.


17 September 2019

Sols 2529-2530: #23!

Please welcome our 23rd drill hole on Mars! Coming in at ~43 mm depth, and both the rover and new drill hole are happy and healthy!


11 September 2019

Sol 2524: The Tail(ings)-end of the Glen Etive 1 Drilling Campaign

The focus of Curiosity’s activities since returning to operations after conjunction, now that Mars has safely moved out from behind the sun, is to finish up the analyses associated with the drilling campaign at ‘Glen Etive 1.’


23 August 2019

Sols 2506-2508: Until we meet again

Today was the final opportunity to actively command Curiosity before the Sun comes between us and Mars. Most of the instruments are safely stored for the solar conjunction break, but intrepid Navcam was available for some last-minute science observations.


22 August 2019

Sols 2504-2505: Packing up for our journey behind the Sun

The days leading up to a big trip can be hectic. There are preparations to be made, belongings to be packed, extra work to do in anticipation of being away from the computer. And it’s no different for a robot on the surface of Mars.


20 August 2019

Sol 2502-2503: Science to Exhaustion

Mars is about to be hidden behind the Sun, so Curiosity is rushing to get science done before communications are temporarily lost.


16 August 2019

Sol 2499-2501: More SAMple analysis

Conjunction is the few-week period when Mars goes behind the sun and we stop communicating with our spacecraft that are there. Our last planning day before conjunction will be next Friday, and thinking about that fast approaching day feels very similar to thinking about getting ready to leave for vacation.


14 August 2019

Sols 2497-2498: SAM is GO for analyzing the Glen Etive drill sample

The attached Navcam image shows the view of the Mount Sharp summit from Curiosity’s current location on Mars.


13 August 2019

Sols 2495-2496: A slight change of plans

It’s the end of another week on Mars, and today we put together a 3 sol weekend plan for Curiosity. Given the RSM-related issues that we incurred this past week, we are still being cautious, but the diagnostic testing that ran in the last plan was successful.


12 August 2019

Sols 2492-2494: Just Another Week on Mars…

It’s the end of another week on Mars, and today we put together a 3 sol weekend plan for Curiosity. Given the RSM-related issues that we incurred this past week, we are still being cautious, but the diagnostic testing that ran in the last plan was successful.


8 August 2019

Sols 2489-2491: A Change in the Weather (Observations)

Over the weekend, Curiosity successfully dropped off a portion of the Glen Etive drill sample. But for some reason, the sequence was interrupted, so no images of the portion were acquired.


5 August 2019

Sol 2488: Success on the 22nd Drill Hole; Happy Landing Day-On to Year 8!

On Sunday morning the team received the message that Curiosity’s latest drill hole was successful at ‘Glen Etive.’ This is the 22nd full-depth drill hole on Mars, and we can celebrate its success on this final day of Earth-year 7 of the mission.


2 August 2019

Sols 2485-2487: Affirm-Etive: We are GO for drilling at Glen Etive 1!

Late during planning yesterday, we got the go ahead to proceed with full drilling at ‘Glen Etive 1.’ We received the results of the APXS and ChemCam compositional analysis of the prospective drill target, as well as the MAHLI imaging of the area both before and after a preload test (see the accompanying image).