After a 30 meter drive on Sol 1679, we find ourselves near diverse outcrops of the Murray formation. We plan to drive on today across the Murray formation towards Vera Rubin Ridge.
I helped the ENV (Environmental) group to train a new ESTLK (ENV Science Theme Lead and Keeper-of-the-Plan) today. Unlike the GEO group, ENV combines the two roles into one to reduce staffing and because the required duties are lighter in ENV. The ENV plan was relatively straightforward as we are in unrestricted sols, which allow for planning (and driving) every day of the week. This makes time for science, a precious commodity, so ENV frequently cuts back on opportunistic science as long as the regular cadence of recurring ENV observations can be maintained. To stay on the usual cadence, ENV planned a Navcam zenith movie and supra-horizon movie, like the clear-sky image pictured above from Sol 1675. The normal complement of background RAD measurements, hourly REMS observations, plus 8 hour-long blocks of extended REMS observations were included. One long DAN passive observation, along with a post-drive DAN active observation were planned.
Unlike the previous few sols, GEO decided to forgo a touch-and-go (see Sol 1679) to instead sample the large array of outcrops of the Murray formation. Four ChemCam 5x1 rasters, with accompanying Mastcam images, were planned on several targets, including laminated bedrock "Trenton Bridge," bedrock targets "Brown's Brook" and "Beach Cliff," and a pebble named "Norwood Cove." A Mastcam mosaic of the sedimentary structures at "Birch Spring" was also planned. Finally, Navcam requested a single frame to complete the 360 mosaic acquired on Sol 1679. After the drive, which is expected to be about 30 m, a ChemCam AEGIS activity plus Mastcam deck monitoring were included with the ENV activities mentioned above.
Dates of planned rover activities described in these reports are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.
December 4, 2023
It is not unusual for things to not quite go according to plan when commanding a robotic rover more than 370,000,000 km (233,000,000 miles) away on Mars.
December 4, 2023
We have a three-sol plan today packed with many MAHLI observations! MAHLI will acquire images of the "Sequoia" drill hole, drill hole tailings, CheMin inlet, and the REMS UV sensor.
November 29, 2023
Mars has just emerged from its solar conjunction period, when sending commands to all Mars spacecraft was not safe for three weeks since the Red Planet was behind the Sun as seen from Earth.
November 6, 2023
Today we reached an exciting milestone on Mars, with the planning of our 4000th sol of exploration with the Curiosity rover (covering almost 11 years and 3 months)!
November 6, 2023
Today we begin the final countdown into Mars solar conjunction (when Mars is effectively on the other side of the sun and we can’t reliably communicate with Curiosity) – only two more planning sessions after today.
October 31, 2023
Mondays are scary enough, so the team was extra spooked when the morning's downlink showed our incoming power state as lower than what we planned.
October 27, 2023
The Curiosity rover team has been preparing for the start of the Solar Conjunction in November.
October 26, 2023
Today, the MSL team picked back up with our plan to drop off a sample of rock powder drilled from Sequoia to the SAM instrument using our robotic arm.
October 24, 2023
Over the weekend, the activity to prepare SAM to receive and analyze the "Sequoia" drill sample did not quite go as planned, so we had to rearrange today’s plan, and those of the rest of the week, to retry it.
October 20, 2023
We are all excited to see what the mineralogy of our 39th drill hole on Mars will be.
October 19, 2023
The target 'Sequoia' has been successfully drilled! The image today is one of my favourites – the shadow of the rover mast, and the perfectly drilled target in the background... it doesn’t get much better than that!
October 16, 2023
We are just at the first steps of the next drilling campaign, as regular readers of this blog will certainly have spotted already.
October 16, 2023
It's been an exciting week in space – Conor already mentioned the news from OSIRIS-REX on Wednesday and just before I logged on for my shift this morning the Psyche spacecraft launched. But the week isn't over and weekends on Mars have lots of room for excitement.
October 12, 2023
Planning today started 90 minutes later than usual thanks to the data downlink containing the information we needed to assemble the plan not arriving on Earth until just before 9:30 PDT.
October 9, 2023
After the drive this weekend, Curiosity has arrived at another light-toned band that we hope to evaluate for drilling before solar conjunction begins next month.
October 9, 2023
Unfortunately the drive we’d hoped to complete on sol 3969 didn’t execute due to a well understood issue, so we’re going to try again today.
October 9, 2023
Winter is almost half over in Gale, but this rover doesn’t hibernate! The last time we stopped for more than a few sols was at the Ubajara drill site back in early May, almost 1 kilometer and 150 sols ago.
October 3, 2023
HiRISE images of Gale crater show that Curiosity is driving through a section of layered rocks on Mt. Sharp, and the layers consist of alternating bands of light and gray/dark rocks.
September 29, 2023
Welcome to another weekend in Gale crater, Mars! As Abigail Knight described in Wednesday’s blog, we elected not to drive last plan while we waited for the workspace imaging from Navcam and Mastcam to arrive on Earth.
September 28, 2023
Our exploration of the light-and-dark-toned bands continues today as Curiosity has completed another successful drive and now has a promising block of light-toned bedrock in its latest workspace.
September 25, 2023
Despite a few bumps in the road, Curiosity tenaciously pushed on and has finally arrived at the intriguing light- and dark-toned bands.
September 25, 2023
When I opened the workspace imagery this morning, I was happy to see some nice big rock outcrops in reach of the rover and started to pick some nice targets for contact science with APXS, before realizing that one of the rear wheels is perched on a rock.
September 22, 2023
Curiosity speeds towards an exciting new region, specifically close to an area that, from orbit, has visible light and dark banding.
September 19, 2023
Coming in to planning today, we were greeted with another spectacular view back down Mt. Sharp and the distant crater rim visible through the haze.
September 15, 2023
Some days, the process of preparing a plan to be uplinked to our intrepid rover goes beautifully smoothly, with everyone and everything working together in near-perfect synchrony. Other days, it can feel like the entire universe is conspiring against us. Planning today was definitely one of the latter.
September 13, 2023
Our view out of the window, in this case the front hazard camera, is spectacular today, as you can see above.
September 12, 2023
Curiosity is making good progress towards our next potential drill location in a region of alternating light and dark banding.
September 11, 2023
Curiosity continues its bumpy travels across the bedrock blocks this weekend. We got the good news this morning that we would be able to safely do contact science in the plan!
September 7, 2023
The rover is currently driving across bumpy terrain consisting of rounded bedrock sticking up between dark sand and drift as she drives south, and slightly uphill, along the Mt. Sharp Ascent Route.
September 5, 2023
The team knew coming into planning today that there would be a discussion about which activities should take the highest priority.
September 5, 2023
Most long weekend plans are packed with lots of fun science, and this weekend’s plan - to get us through the US Labor Day holiday - was no exception.
September 1, 2023
Today, we’re back on track with planning with a lot of discussions about the degree to which we should copy and paste the original plan intended for sols 3932 to 3933.
August 29, 2023
In the next 2 sols we are wrapping up our mini campaign at the upper Gediz Vallis Ridge.
August 28, 2023
Curiosity successfully navigated the numerous resistant, dark boulders (once included in the Gediz Vallis ridge deposit and the focus of our recent investigations), 20 degree slopes and broken up bedrock to cover a distance of ~65 m back towards our planned ascent route up Mount Sharp in the weekend plan.
August 28, 2023
We decided to forgo our usual drive to fit more science in while we are still on our upper Gediz Vallis ridge (uGVr) waypoint. We want to be absolutely certain that we've collected all the data we want to have before we drive away.
August 23, 2023
While Southern California was hunkering down during a rare hurricane-ish weather event, our contrasting dry and cold rover was working through the weekend plan we sent up last Friday.
August 21, 2023
The Gediz Vallis Ridge has been a long-term, and, at times, seemingly impossible goal of the Curiosity Rover mission.
August 17, 2023
Curiosity had a successful drive on Monday and is now positioned at the transition between lighter and darker-toned materials with a myriad of exciting geologic targets to investigate in the coming sols.
August 15, 2023
Since leaving the “Jau” crater cluster, we have been driving to an area at the base of the ridge which appears to mark a contact between the underlying “sulfate unit” bedrock and the overlying ridge.
August 14, 2023
In this weekend's plan, Curiosity is behaving much as you would as you climb a mountain.
August 10, 2023
Curiosity continues her steady winter drive through the Kalavryta quadrangle with her sights set on the Gediz Vallis ridge ahead!
August 8, 2023
To start the first plan of its 12th Earth year on Mars, Curiosity brushed the rock target "Ouranoupoli" and acquired an APXS analysis as well as MAHLI and Mastcam images.
August 4, 2023
We’re planning a special weekend today – Saturday is the 11th (Earth) anniversary of Curiosity’s landing!
August 3, 2023
We start this two-sol plan with a nap to save up power. After waking up in the afternoon, we do a short block of imaging.
August 2, 2023
Today we wrapped a single-sol plan for sol 3906. Our planning for this sol was primarily constrained by power.
August 1, 2023
Curiosity will start off the morning on Sol 3905 with an APXS touch-and-go observation of target “Novo Paraiso” (a junction of polygonal fractures on a flat block of bedrock in the rover’s workspace) along with MAHLI imaging of the same target.
July 31, 2023
Our Thursday drive on sol 3901 was successful and put us ~30 meters further from Bradbury Landing!
July 27, 2023
The plan for Sol 3900 starts with Navcam and Mastcam measurements of dust in the atmosphere and a Mastcam mosaic of a nearby crater.
July 26, 2023
The rover engineers yet again did a fantastic job navigating Curiosity through this tricky terrain of fractured blocks and sand.
July 24, 2023
Today’s single sol plan takes us further into our road trip through the Jau crater cluster.
July 24, 2023
Curiosity is working her way through the “Jau” crater cluster, with the goal of trying to understand how all of these small craters formed and have since been eroded.
July 20, 2023
Today we only planned one sol because Thursday is a "soliday," a day off for the rover to allow Earth and Mars time to resynchronize.
July 18, 2023
Today we planned a two sol “Touch and Go” plan.
July 17, 2023
We did indeed do a touch and go in Wednesday’s plan, and at downlink we learned that both the touch (contact science on target “Sounion”) and go (a ~15 m drive) completed as planned.
July 13, 2023
A blue hue inches over the horizon illuminating a sea of rocks scattered across the landscape like the scales of a fish.
July 11, 2023
This weekend, Curiosity went into runout and was unable to execute the Sols 3882-3884 plan.
July 10, 2023
Happy Friday, Earthlings! Few things are better than planning an action-packed weekend on Mars.
July 6, 2023
While many of us were up late watching fireworks here on Earth, Curiosity wrapped up a very busy weekend on Mars.
July 5, 2023
Our latest assessment period over sols 3872 and 3873 was a “touch and go” plan: some contact science and other observations, followed by a drive.
June 29, 2023
We made it! We are peeking up over the edge of the ridge that we have been trying to climb for a few weeks now.
June 27, 2023
We started planning today with the great news that our drive was successful!
June 23, 2023
Today we started planning at a location short of our intended drive end position.
June 22, 2023
Time, it never seems to pass at a constant rate.
June 21, 2023
Curiosity is currently trekking east along a small detour due to recent challenges on steep, rocky, sandy terrain.
June 20, 2023
Hearing today’s drive completed as planned for the third time in a row was a refreshing change from last week when Curiosity was struggling to get up a rocky and sandy slope
June 14, 2023
It appears that Curiosity’s recent traverse has turned a new leaf as this is the second successful drive after lots of slipping and sliding.
June 14, 2023
After several attempts to drive through difficult terrain, Curiosity successfully completed a drive of about 11 m on Sol 3857!
June 13, 2023
Curiosity has been diligently driving uphill through a canyon but the terrain right near the crest has proven to be challenging due to a combination of steep slopes, bumpy bedrock, and fine-grained sand.
June 9, 2023
This blog covers two planning shifts this week, for a total of four sols of activities.
June 5, 2023
There’s a special sort of hopeful-nervousness I feel on a weekend with a challenging drive.
June 5, 2023
Today, when the team came in for planning our 3-sol weekend plan, we discovered the terrain had bitten us once again and ended the drive early.
May 31, 2023
What do you do when you are driving through challenging terrain? Well, hit a new record!
May 30, 2023
If you have ever had the experience of hiking up a sand dune, you can recall the feeling in your legs as you worked extra hard to stay stable and make forward progress as the sand shifted and moved beneath you.
May 24, 2023
May has been a busy month for Curiosity.
May 23, 2023
Curiosity successfully wrapped up the “Ubajara” drill campaign over the weekend with some imaging of the drill tailings.
May 22, 2023
The biggest question coming into today’s plan was whether or not the SAM team wanted to go ahead with their Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) experiment on the Ubajara sample after getting the results from the Evolved Gas Analysis (EGA) performed in Wednesday’s plan.
May 18, 2023
As I’m writing this, it’s about 8:30 pm on sol 3831 in Gale crater: ~16 hours after our SAM instrument ran its EGA experiment (which Abigail described so clearly in yesterday’s blog!).
May 16, 2023
Curiosity is still hard at work analyzing results from the Ubajara drilled sample.
May 16, 2023
We are in the midst of our 38th successful drill campaign, analyzing the “Ubajara” bedrock, a sample of what we have been referring to as the “above Marker band” bedrock.
May 12, 2023
Drilling campaigns force us to sit and stop, whilst the “Ubajara” drill sample is analyzed.
May 11, 2023
Coming in for sol 3825 planning today, the team was very excited to see that we successfully drilled a new hole on the Ubajara target.
May 9, 2023
A lot of preparation goes into assessing a potential drill site on Mars, and the “Ubajara” target got the usual treatment.
May 5, 2023
We continue our triage of the “Ubajara” potential drill site in this plan.
May 3, 2023
Tactical planning started an hour and a half later than usual this morning, because we had to wait for better-illuminated Navcam images of the Ubajara block.
May 2, 2023
Our weekend drive got us into a good position to attempt to examine a block we might attempt to drill.
May 1, 2023
We arrived this morning to Curiosity at a new location with some bright toned, and more rounded rocks in our vicinity.
April 26, 2023
I am ‘shadow’ Geo science team lead (GeoSTL) today, helping a new colleague to learn the details of the role.
April 25, 2023
We have cleared the canyon! The accompanying Left Navcam image shows the view back down the canyon, showing all those tricky rocks we had to climb over.
April 24, 2023
It always feels great to reach the top of a mountain, especially when the path was challenging. While the top of Mt. Sharp still looms above Curiosity, the team was very excited to see that in the last drive the rover successfully reached the top of the canyon that it has been climbing for the past few weeks.
April 19, 2023
To quote our project scientist, Ashwin, it was clear when we assessed our downlink that Curiosity had almost literally taken “two steps forward and one steps back” during the drive in our previous plan.
April 18, 2023
Curiosity is carefully and patiently driving up a local canyon, named Marker Band valley, across a variably tilting surface that is scattered with horizontally banded bedrock and patches of sand.
April 17, 2023
Here in Toronto, the weather feels like summer. But in Gale Crater it’s coming towards the end of Autumn.
April 13, 2023
After a short bump in yesterday’s plan to get to a better workspace, Curiosity is poised to get a detailed look at the next stratigraphic unit in this small canyon.
April 12, 2023
As you can see in the above image, the terrain our rover drivers is navigating is challenging - slippery sand surrounding big, wheel-unfriendly rocks.
April 10, 2023
As Ken noted in his recent blog, our beloved rover spent much of the last week completing a software upgrade while the science team met virtually to synthesize and discuss results.
March 31, 2023
An issue at a Deep Space Network station prevented the Sol 3785 plan from being sent to Mars, so none of those planned activities occurred.
March 29, 2023
Signs of spring are all around as most of us come on shift from various locations within the northern hemisphere today.
March 27, 2023
Due to some delayed downlink of images, we didn’t receive all the information we needed in time to do contact science today.
March 24, 2023
Curiosity is ten and a half years into operating in Gale cater, a concept that before and even a few years after landing seemed to be an impossible dream.
March 22, 2023
Monday's planned drive positioned Curiosity with a new workspace to investigate.
March 20, 2023
Our Tapo Caparo drill campaign is officially concluded and our wheels are turning again!
March 17, 2023
With a jam packed three-sol plan on her plate, Curiosity won’t have time to kick back and relax this weekend!
March 15, 2023
Today, we finally leave Tapo Caparo and begin something new. But... actually, we are not going very far.
March 13, 2023
Today’s 2-sol plan wraps up our remaining drill campaign and workspace liens at Tapo Caparo.
March 10, 2023
Curiosity has spent the last week or so balancing power constraints to enable remote science and environmental observations, along with the analyses of the “Tapo Caparo” Marker band drilled sample with the rover’s internal CheMin and SAM instruments to determine mineralogy and composition.
March 8, 2023
What a contrast! When I look to my right, snow is accumulating on my window (yes, I am under the roof, if you are wondering) and in front of me are pictures of a beautiful red landscape!
March 7, 2023
We had another later start to planning today, and again are planning only a single sol. In a lot of ways, the plan is similar to yestersol’s.
March 6, 2023
This morning’s plan started a bit uncertain as we waited for the SAM team to decide whether to proceed with further analysis of the Tapo Caparo drill sample.
March 3, 2023
Curiosity is in the middle of a drill campaign at Tapo Caparo to characterize the rhythmically laminated unit of the Marker Band.
March 1, 2023
One of my favorite parts of mission operations is working with colleagues to react quickly to new information, both from the rover and from our ground systems on Earth.
February 28, 2023
Today we planned a single sol plan.
February 27, 2023
The tactical operations team was very happy this morning because it appears that a sample of the Tapo Caparo bedrock was successfully acquired!
February 24, 2023
Yesterday, on our weekly day off from planning, the team awaited Drill Sol 1 triage data to confirm if Tapo Caparo seemed more drillable.
February 22, 2023
We continue to drive along the Marker Band and found ourselves this morning (as planned) in an area of strongly laminated bedrock.
February 21, 2023
After a holiday/soliday weekend, we’re back to work with today’s single sol plan, and there’s a lot to pack into it.
February 17, 2023
Today, I was heading for my computer when my colleagues went off to celebrate the end of the working week.
February 15, 2023
The team was eagerly awaiting our downlink this morning to hear how the drill attempt from Sol 3742 went.
February 13, 2023
Today we are drilling the Dinira target! The scientists and engineers have been closely working together to adjust the drilling strategy to give us the best shot of a successful drill while also managing the wear and tear on our hardware.
February 10, 2023
The team is taking a little time to work through the best strategy for drilling here, so today’s plan just focused on collecting additional contact science and remote sensing data from around the future Dinira drill target.
February 8, 2023
In Monday's two-sol plan we completed a short drive to another drill location as we continued our attempt to acquire a sample of the Marker Band for potential analysis by SAM and CheMin.
February 6, 2023
Curiosity successfully followed her tracks and is back near the Encanto drill site! With a beautiful workspace in view, the science and operations team had a busy day of planning on the “Marker band” surface.
February 5, 2023
Today we made a three-sol plan for the weekend including contact science, lot of imaging, and a long drive back toward the previously attempted marker band drill target, Encanto.
February 1, 2023
The drive in our last plan took us to an area that appeared somewhat smoother and brighter from orbit (as well as from drive direction imaging) on the so-called “Marker band” that we have been investigating.
January 30, 2023
The Sol 3727 drive went well, positioning the rover at the transition in the Marker Band that was the goal of the drive.
January 27, 2023
Today we came in to see another really beautiful workspace.
January 25, 2023
Your blogger is a little tired right now… I am just back from a field trip to the salt flats in Botswana, guided by colleagues from BUIST University, walking, viewing and sampling in 38 °C heat.
January 23, 2023
Despite giving it the “old college try,” Curiosity’s attempt to drill into the Marker Band at the “Encanto” site did not reach sampling depth.
January 20, 2023
In the previous plan, Curiosity conducted a preliminary assessment of the potential drill target “Encanto” (as seen in the above MAHLI image) and today we received the data.
January 18, 2023
Yesterday’s plan executed successfully including a short bump that placed us in front of an interesting block that may just contain our next drilled target!
January 17, 2023
Curiosity's science and engineering team members were back at it today after a holiday long weekend, while Curiosity itself was ready and waiting after its own soliday weekend.
January 16, 2023
We received the data that we had been missing during Wednesday’s planning, so we hit the ground running today, ready to plan for contact science and our drive onto the Marker Band in this new location!
January 11, 2023
At this point in the mission, the team is very good at responding to tactical surprises.
January 10, 2023
Mastcam image of the 3708 workspace.
January 6, 2023
Curiosity is continuing to make the most of the new year – both on Earth and on Mars which recently entered Mars Year 37, only a few days before the new year on Earth.
January 3, 2023
The team came into our first day of planning for 2023 to learn that all our holiday activities had executed as expected!