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10 March 2017

Sols 1634-1635: Back to nominal MAHLI planning

Curiosity drove about 29 meters toward the south on Sol 1632, and is in a good position for weekend activities.

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5 March 2016

Sols 1273-1274: Driving up to the Naukluft Plateau

We are planning only 2 sols today because tactical operations will transition to nominal next week (working all 5 weekdays). On Sol 1273, Mastcam will acquire a multispectral image of the contact between the Murray and Stimson geologic units.  This set of images, taken using all of the Mastcam filters, will be acquired just after noon, when the illumination of the contact should be better than in previous images.  Then …

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4 January 2016

Sol 1214: Catching up after the holidays

While the science team took a break from operations over the holidays, we sent up plenty of commands to keep Curiosity busy over Sols 1205-1213.  Curiosity acquired a number of change detection and environmental monitoring observations over the holidays, and we’re just starting to assess all of the great data that was returned. In today’s plan we’ll wrap up our investigation at this particular location (on the lee side of …

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23 October 2015

Sols 1143-1145: Last observations at Greenhorn and driving away

After a successful investigation focused on alteration zones around fractures, it’s time to move on.  We’re still chewing on data from the “Greenhorn” and “Big Sky” drill samples, but we can wrap up a few last observations in this area and drive away in today’s 3-sol plan. On the first sol, we’ll acquire MAHLI images on the pre-sieve dump pile and the nearby target “Vandalia,” with overnight APXS on the …

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20 October 2015

Sol 1140: Zapping the drill hole wall

The ChemCam RMI images of the drill hole planned yesterday were successfully acquired and received, and were used today to plan 2 parallel LIBS rasters down the hole.  The additional LIBS raster should be useful in measuring variations in chemistry among individual sand grains and in detecting thin veins.  ChemCam and Mastcam will also observe a target dubbed “Marshall” to see whether silica enrichment extends along other fractures near the …

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21 May 2015

Sol 991: Taking the high road

By Lauren Edgar After assessing a few different drive paths to deal with the challenging terrain, the team decided to drive uphill to avoid crossing the ripples near Jocko Butte.  On Sol 990, Curiosity drove 53 m back towards Mt. Shields, which puts our total odometry at 10,749 m.   The goal of today’s plan is to climb uphill towards an interesting geologic contact.  It’s the same contact that we would …

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31 March 2015

Martian Chronicles is Back!

Good news everyone: this blog is coming out of retirement! For a while now, I and two other USGS scientists on the Curiosity team, Ken Herkenhoff and Lauren Edgar, have been posting brief updates on what the Curiosity rover is up to, over at the USGS Astrogeology website. Now, through the wonders of the internet (and some behind the scenes work by the USGS and AGU webmasters) those updates will …

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17 May 2011

5th Mars Science Laboratory Landing Site Workshop Info

Hi folks, I don’t have much time to write a full post since I have some last minute changes to make to my talk before tomorrow morning, but I wanted to share some info about the workshop for those who want to play along at home. First, if you’re on the Twitter, there are several people at the meeting or following it online, using the hashtag #MSLsite. Speaking of following …

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29 April 2011

Gale Crater Videos

Yesterday I participated in a telecon about Gale Crater, one of the potential landing sites for MSL. It’s a fascinating place to talk about and would make for a spectacular mission. Ok, this is true for all four finalist landing sites, but the scenery at Gale, with its 5km tall mountain of layered rocks would be particularly great. One of the presenters at yesterday’s telecon, Dawn Sumner, posted two very nice videos on YouTube covering much of what she talked about. The videos also serve to show off a very-cool new open-source 3D visualization and GIS tool called Crusta being developed by a student at UC Davis.

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22 April 2011

New CO2 Reservoir Discovered on Mars

If you’ve followed Mars science for long, you know that the question of where the atmosphere went is a major one. Evidence points to liquid water on the surface of Mars, and that’s only possible if the atmospheric pressure is high enough and the surface temperature is warm enough. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere would increase both temperature and pressure, so a lot of scientists have been looking for carbonate rocks that might be trapping the CO2 that used to be in the atmosphere.

Well, this week a new article in Science reveals that there is a huge amount of CO2 trapped as dry ice near the South Pole!

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