The 5th August marks 5 Earth years since the successful landing of Mars Science Laboratory. During the landing I was at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. We were all nervous but the signals for successful atmospheric entry, parachute deployment, Skycrane operation and then landing all came through. The first image of Mt Sharp […]
Mars Science Laboratory Blog
No new photos from Mars Science laboratory. Why? We have reached Solar Conjunction – this is the time in the planets’ orbits when Mars is obscured from the Earth by the Sun. During this period communications between Mars Science Laboratory and Earth via the orbiters like MRO are very limited. We have parked for conjunction […]
This Navigation camera image gives feel for the slopes of Aeolis Mons that we are climbing now. Daily drives often now ascend ~2 m and we have more battery recharging days. We are just a few drives from Vera Rubin Ridge (VRR) where we will test the ‘ground truth’ for the orbital identification of the […]
After 4.5 years, 16.2 km of driving and 1679 martian days (sols) the Curiosity Rover has reached the point here we are starting to leave the Bagnold dunes in Gale Crater. We have driven parallel to these basaltic dunes for the first part of the mission then cut through them at the Bagnold crossing. The next big […]
The second Bagnold Dunes campaign is now drawing to a close. We have a sieved (150 micron) sample of the dune in the internal cache which will be used for SAM isotope and organic analyses, and CheMin mineral identification. Here we see an array (a ’10 by 1′) of ChemCam laser shots captured by MastCam.
We are continuing the Bagnold Dunes campaign, with stops 3 and 4. This NavCam view shows the Curiosity robotic arm for the team’s examination. Here we have checked the position of the MAHLI cover (seen at the bottom of the robotic arm turret) and all is as planned for future operations.
We have been examining Ireson Hill and found this unusual 10-15 cm diameter rock- called Passagassawakakeag ! The shape is an almost perfect Dreikanter. That’s a German word for a sample in desert or periglacial environments formed by the abrasion of blown sand. Dreikanters typically have a pyramid shape with flat wind-abraded facets.
We have started the second part of the Bagnold Dunes campaign. This NavCam image shows Bagnold dunes in front of Ireson Hill. This first in the current dunes campaign is Called Mapleton. Good news for the MSL team is that ChemCam is back in operation after having an electrical fault. We have started with a […]
We have found another (the 4th) meteorite. The fist sized sample called Ames_Knob – which was analysed by ChemCam – turns out to be composed of Fe and Ni metal. This iron meteorite looks like it fragmented in the martian atmosphere, producing fragments like Ames_Knob and Egg_Rock, Lebanon and Littleton. It is notably fresh and […]
I am Geo-Min Science theme lead for todays plan. As usual after 4 years of operations we are doing 3 sols of planning at one go. The plan will actually be executed on Mars in about a week’s time. We have recently identified some extraordinary cracking patterns in the mudstone. We hope to put APXS and the ChemCam […]