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12 July 2016

Sol 1399: Curiosity rover on the road again

We’re back in our familiar drive pattern, with a short science block followed by a drive.  In today’s pre-drive science block, ChemCam and Mastcam will be used to study the target “Arandis” to document the chemistry of the local bedrock.  Then we’ll acquire several Mastcam mosaics to study some blocky deposits and document laminations in the Murray formation.  A drive of about 45 meters is planned, followed by post-drive imaging …

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6 July 2016

Curiosity Update: Safe Mode

The Curiosity rover activities planned for Sols 1387 and 1388 completed successfully, and lots of good data were returned including a stunning Right Mastcam panorama of the “Murray Buttes” toward the southwest.  One of the images in this panorama shows a boulder that appears to be precariously balanced.  No, we don’t plan to drive right up next to it, but we’ll probably get closer looks as the rover proceeds toward …

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29 June 2016

Sol 1386: Curiosity rover studying Trekkopje, checking the wheels

Our drive for the Curiosity rover in the Sol 1385 plan took us 66 meters, continuing our path south between the “Baynes Mountains” and “Helgas Dune.” The plan for Sol 1386 starts off with APXS and MAHLI observations of the target “Trekkopje,” followed by a short science block. Mastcam will start off the block with some atmospheric measurements, then ChemCam will join in the fun and analyze Trekkopje too. Mastcam

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21 June 2016

Sol 1378-1379: Making up for lost distance

Over the weekend, the rover stopped after about 17 meters of the planned 65 meter drive. The rover is fine, the drive just tripped one of the (very conservative) limits on how the rover’s suspension was expected to behave, causing Curiosity to stop and check in with Earth. Since there is nothing jumping out at us as a contact science target where we stopped, in today’s plan we will try to make up for some of the lost distance from the weekend plan.

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12 June 2016

Sols 1368-1370: On the road again

We received the engineering data that we needed to proceed with the final science activities at the Oudam drill site.  Today’s plan is focused on analyzing the pre-sieve dump pile and getting on the road again. The three-sol plan starts by moving the arm out of the way so we can target the workspace.  First we’ll acquire a ChemCam passive observation on the pre-sieve dump pile, followed by several ChemCam

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30 May 2016

Sol 1355-1357: Coordinating with MRO

Our drive went well and Curiosity is now sitting on a nice patch of the Murray formation, putting us in a good position for a very busy holiday weekend! On Sol 1355, ChemCam has observations of the targets “Auchas,” “Kaisosi,” “Inamagando,” and “Horingbaai.” Mastcam will document those targets and then do some multispectral observations of the targets “Kunjas” and “Navachab,” plus a mosaic of the contact between the Murray and …

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23 May 2016

Sol 1350: Data processing delay

I’m SOWG Chair again today, and started browsing the latest data from MSL early this morning.  To my dismay, the post-drive images that we expected to receive in time for planning today were not available!  It turned out that the data were received on Earth, but the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter operations team had some problems processing and transferring it to us.  We waited as long as we could for the …

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Sols 1348-1349: A smoother route

Our drive on Sol 1346 was successful and brought us to a location with a view of the rugged ridges of the area we’ve been calling “Fracture Town”. In fact, from our current location, we decided that those ridges may be a bit too rough for comfort, so we are planning a slight change in course that will take us a bit south of our original path. The new path …

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23 April 2016

Sols 1320-1322: Drilling at Lubango

The contact science activities on Sol 1319 went well, and we analyzed another DRT location with MAHLI and APXS.  The drill pre-load test suggested that the Lubango block might have moved slightly, but the RPs feel comfortable to go ahead and drill in the weekend plan. I was on duty as GSTL again today, and it’s always exciting when we get to drill a new sample on Mars.  In addition …

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21 April 2016

Sol 1318: DRT at Lubango

The bump on Sol 1317 went well, and we’re ready to start our drilling campaign at the “Lubango” fracture zone.  After a lot of discussion this morning, the plan evolved to include contact science at three targets near “Lubango.”  First we’ll use the DRT to clear off a fresh surface.  This DRT location is slightly offset from the intended drill location, so we’ll use MAHLI to image both the DRT

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