10 August 2012

Sol 3 to 4: Colorful Gale

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Last night we received the thumbnail version of the 360 degree Mastcam panorama, and it looks great! Unfortunately since it was a canned sequence, they could not tell it to point at the mound, so the upper part of Mt. Sharp remains unseen, but it is great to see the rest of our surroundings in color. The thumbnails are 1/8 the resolution of the full Mastcam images (and those images were taken with the wide-angle rather than the zoomed-in Mastcam camera), but it will take a while for the full images to all be downlinked. Still, not a bad view:

The thumbnails don’t match the resolution of the Navcam full frames, so Emily put together this great composite, using the Mastcam color on the Navcam image of the lower mound:

Mastcam thumbnail color overlaid on the Navcam full-resolution view of the base of Mt. Sharp and the geologic promised land that awaits Curiosity.

Things will be very quiet for the next few days as the engineers update the rover’s flight software. It will mean no new science uplink (and I don’t think much downlink either but I could be wrong) for the rover until the update is finished, but I am actually looking forward to it because that means I can’t possibly be stuck in second-shift uplink, and can instead attend the science discussion meetings. Tomorrow is technically my day off, but after spending my time on uplink since landing, I am starting to feel disconnected from the science team, so I will be heading in to JPL around 1am tomorrow to attend my first science theme group meeting since landing night. That means I won’t be getting much sleep tonight, but the slow pace during the software update will mean that I should be able to get a decent amount of sleep tomorrow night.

Stay tuned! We should get some lovely color pictures tomorrow before things go quiet for a few days!