05.15.2017 Putting Martian 'Tribulation' Behind
05.15.2017 From 'Tribulation' to 'Perseverance' on Mars
04.20.2017 Chemical Laptop Team
04.20.2017 Subcritical Water Extractor
04.20.2017 Chemical Laptop
04.20.2017 Atacama Landscape
03.30.2017 Measuring Mars' Atmosphere Loss
03.29.2017 Lifetime Achievement Award to Theisinger
03.29.2017 A Decade of Compiling the Sharpest Mars Map
03.21.2017 Break in Raised Tread on Curiosity Wheel
03.17.2017 COBALT/JPL team
03.09.2017 Back-to-Back Martian Dust Storms
02.27.2017 Swirling Dust in Gale Crater, Mars, Sol 1613
02.27.2017 Dust Devil Passes Near Martian Sand Dune
02.27.2017 Sand Moving Under Curiosity, One Day to Next
02.08.2017 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Observes Changes
01.26.2017 Mono Lake
01.25.2017 'Wing' Dike of Hardened Lava in New Mexico
01.25.2017 Blade-Like Martian Walls Outline Polygons
01.23.2017 Spirit And Opportunity By The Numbers
01.10.2017 Mars 2020 Rover - Artist's Concept
01.06.2017 Earth and Its Moon, as Seen From Mars
12.13.2016 Now and Long Ago at Gale Crater, Mars
12.13.2016 Where's Boron? Mars Rover Detects It
11.15.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, Stereo
11.03.2016 Schiaparelli Impact Site on Mars, in Color
10.17.2016 MAVEN Captures Rapid Cloud Formation
10.17.2016 Mars' Nightside Atmosphere
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Image Near Mars' South Pole
10.17.2016 Ultraviolet Mars Reveals Cloud Formation
10.05.2016 Dust Haze Hiding the Martian Surface in 2001
10.04.2016 Test of Lander Vision System for Mars 2020
10.03.2016 A Sharpened Ultraviolet View of Mars
10.03.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Murray Buttes'
10.03.2016 Butte 'M9a' in 'Murray Buttes' on Mars
Autonomous Selection of a Rover's Laser Target on MarsNASA's Curiosity Mars rover autonomously selects some of the targets for the laser and telescopic camera of the rover's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument. For example, on-board software analyzed the image on the left, chose the target highlighted with the yellow dot, and pointed ChemCam to acquire laser analysis and the image on the right.
Most ChemCam targets are still selected by scientists discussing rocks or soil seen in images the rover has sent to Earth, but the autonomous targeting provides an added capability. It can offer a head start on acquiring composition information at a location just reached by a drive. The software for target selection and instrument pointing is called AEGIS, for Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science.
The image on the left was taken by the left eye of Curiosity's stereo Navigation Camera (Navcam) a few minutes after the rover completed a drive of about 43 feet (13 meters) on July 14, 2016, during the 1,400th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars. Using AEGIS for target selection and pointing based on the Navcam imagery, Curiosity's ChemCam zapped a grid of nine points on a rock chosen for meeting criteria set by the science team. In this run, parameters were set to find bright-toned outcrop rock rather than darker rocks, which in this area tend to be loose on the surface. Within less than 30 minutes after the Navcam image was taken, ChemCam had used its laser on all nine points and had taken before-and-after images of the target area with its remote micro-imager (RMI) camera. The image at right combines those two RMI exposures. The nine laser targets are marked in red at the center.
On the Navcam image at left, the yellow dot identifies the selected target area, which is about 2.2 inches (5.6 centimeters) in diameter. An unannotated version of this Sol 1400 Navcam image is available as Fig. A.
ChemCam records spectra of glowing plasma generated when the laser hits a target point. These spectra provide information about the chemical elements present in the target. The light-toned patch of bedrock identified by AEGIS on Sol 1400 appears, geochemically, to belong to the "Stimson" sandstone unit of lower Mount Sharp. In mid-2016, Curiosity typically uses AEGIS for selecting a ChemCam target more than once per week.
AEGIS software was developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. ChemCam is one of 10 instruments in Curiosity's science payload. The U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory, in Los Alamos, New Mexico, developed ChemCam in partnership with scientists and engineers funded by the French national space agency (CNES), the University of Toulouse and the French national research agency (CNRS). More information about ChemCam is available at http://www.msl-chemcam.com/ .
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/LPGNantes/CNRS/IAS