Welcome back to the first full day of operations after conjunction and the fifth anniversary of landing! Curiosity remained healthy over the month long break, so without missing a beat, Curiosity is ready to resume the Vera Rubin Ridge imaging campaign and the trek up Mt. Sharp.
First in this plan, several drill feed tests will be performed and will take up the bulk of the plan's time. The GEO group resumes regular science activities by investigating a couple of targets with Mastcam to look for changes over conjunction, including "Bodge Sands" and "Machias Bay." ChemCam will target "Huckins Ledge" and "Mackerel Ledge," with Mastcam providing additional imaging of those targets. Tuesday is a "soliday" to adjust the timing of the slightly longer Mars day back to a regular Earth schedule, so there will be no tactical planning.
Waiting for conjunction to finish requires patience from everyone, but it is especially frustrating for ENV. Unlike the GEO group who can confidently know that all the science in front of them before conjunction will still be there once regular communication resumes, the weather on Mars keeps happening regardless of whether we actively direct Curiosity to observe or not. So as ESTLK, I included several cadence observations in this first plan back to ensure that the gap of environmental observations was as short as possible. Navcam will image for clouds (like the clouds in the above image from Sol 1758), scan for dust devils across the crater basin, and measure the LOS extinction of dust towards the crater rim. REMS will continue its usual five-minute, top-of-the-hour blocks along with seven hour-long extended blocks, including two HRIM (High Resolution Interval Mode) measurements. DAN will take a long passive measurement.
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.
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!