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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 …
22 August 2016
Sols 1439-1440: Target names that start with Q
Our weekend drive halted a little bit early, but everything is looking good and we will continue to drive in today’s plan. We will start off the Sol 1439 plan with ChemCam observations of the layered rock targets “Quibala” and “Quibaxe.” Mastcam will then image Quibala, followed by a whole bunch of mosaics documenting the stratigraphy in the nearby buttes as well as the locations called “Quibaxe,” “Quipungo” and “Quicombo.” …
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 …
23 March 2016
Sol 1291: Another curveball
Mars is certainly keeping us on our toes this week, and reminding us how challenging it can be to do remote operations on another planet. We use two satellites in orbit around Mars to relay data: Mars Odyssey (ODY) and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). On Sol 1290, the ODY pass relayed data that showed the rover status was healthy. However, the MRO pass was not received due to an …
5 May 2015
Sols 976-977: Onward to Jocko Butte
by Ryan Anderson With our weekend contact science done, it’s time to hit the road again. The sol 976 plan includes some final Mastcam mosaics of the interesting outcrops that we have been studying, plus a Mastcam multispectral observation of the target “Albert” that ChemCam zapped over the weekend. After that, we will drive about 60 m, to a location west of “Jocko Butte”. After the drive we have post-drive …
15 April 2015
Sol 957: Fine Views and Limited Downlink
by Ken Herkenhoff MSL drove about 65 meters on Sol 956, then took some nice images of the path ahead. As we continue to drive each sol, acquiring images of the terrain around us is important to the science team. We don’t want to miss anything! So the Sol 957 plan includes ChemCam RMI and Mastcam images of outcrops to the south and a Mastcam image of the windblown …
16 May 2011
Utah Mars Analogs
Greetings from Los Angeles! I’m in California this week for the 5th and final MSL Landing Site Workshop. Since that is sure to provide some tasty blog-fodder, I thought I should sit down and write about my trip to Utah two weeks ago.
Why did I go to Utah? Because the latest MSL camera team meeting was held in Moab, and I was hoping to give a brief presentation about some work I’ve been doing on the side (in all my copious free time) with the calibration data for the Mastcams. Unfortunately, I can’t write about what happened at the business part of the meeting because then I would have to kill you. Or more likely Mike Malin would kill me. It turned out there wasn’t time for me or my adviser to give our presentations, but it was still a great trip because after the “sit in a room all day and watch powerpoint presentations” part of the meeting, came the field trip!
28 February 2011
Spectacular Lava Lake Photos
Here’s a little something to keep you occupied while I try to do All The Things this week. The Big Picture has a spectacular series of photos of the world’s largest lava lake in Nyiragongo Crater in Africa. Enjoy!
15 February 2011
Latest Stardust NExT Images
Images are still trickling down from the successful flyby of comet Tempel 1 last night. Here is the latest image: You can start to see some details in this one! I was amused to see that the NASA website listing the new images claims that this was taken from a distance of 587.8 trillion miles away! If something looks wrong about that number to you, you’re right. That’s equivalent to …
20 January 2011
The Winds of Saturn are Blowing
Wow! That’s a big storm! And it’s even more dramatic to see a storm like this on Saturn, which is usually pretty uniform in color. This thing is really stirring up the atmosphere.