This blog is a record of my experiences and work during the Mars Science Laboratory mission, from the preparation, landing on August 5th 2012 Pacific Time, and onwards... I will also post updates about our other Mars work on meteorites, ExoMars and new missions. You can also follow the planetary science activities with @LeicsPlanets Professor John Bridges, School of Physics and Astronomy
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 […]
The Precipice drilling campaign has been curtailed because of a drill fault. The MSL rover engineers have been conducting a series of diagnostic tests to determine the cause and to prevent it happening again. We have been using the opportunity to examine sand movement rates (using HazCam images) in the current martian environment.
We have started our 19th drill or scoop. Curiosity now aims to drill at regular elevation intervals (25 m) as we progress up through the Murray formation. This will give us a representative set of mineral and compositional analyses so that we can track any environmental changes. In this HazCam image we are using the […]
We have found an iron meteorite – called Egg Rock. Curiosity was close enough to determine that it is composed of iron, with some nickel.The textureson the urface shows regmaglypts wher the atmosphere ablated the iron. It seems to have s fresh, unweathered surface suggesting it fell relatively recently in the Mars past, long after […]
Curiosity has been drilling at Sabina as we continue our Murray formation investigations. Meanwhile Trace Gas Orbiter has successfully been placed in orbit. The TGO will follow up the discovery of methane in the Mars’ atmosphere made by Curiosity’s SAM and Mars Express, and ground-based observations in the infrared spectrum of methane in the atmosphere. […]
This MAHLI mosaic view of Curiosity and Murray Butte no. 12 is where we have just been drilling Quela – the 14th drillhole on Mars. This also marks the beginning of Curiosity’s 2nd extended mission on Mars: 14 drill holes and 15 m driven so far…
We have got down a new self portrait of Curiosity from MAHLI. This shows the Murray Butte number 12 – where we have just been drilling – in the ChemCam mirror. The drill (succesful at second attempt) is at Quela. You can see how red and oxidised the tailings are, suggesting changing environmental conditions as […]
We are heading toward a new drill site at the base of one the the buttes. These are the landforms that dominate the landscape at this point in the traverse – The Murray Buttes.These are formed by a cap of hard aeolian rock that has been partially eroded back, overlying the Murray mudstone.