Curiosity update: Science frenzy!

FRB_547614436EDR_F0630100FHAZ00302M_-br2Sol 1692, May 9, 2017, update by MSL scientist Rachel Kronyak: After the drive on Sol 1691, the workspace in front of the rover had plenty of interesting rocks in front of us to keep us busy.

Today I served as the Payload Uplink Lead-1 (PUL-1) for Mastcam, which means that I worked closely with the Geology Theme Group and other Mastcam PULs to make sure the images we take best capture the requests of the science team. Much to our delight, today’s plan is chock-full of fantastic Mastcam mosaics!

The plan starts off with several ChemCam observations to analyze the targets “The Maypole,”  “Weaver Rock,” and “The Cleft,” along with their corresponding Mastcam documentation images. We will then take a series of Mastcam mosaics on the targets “Ox Hill,” “Old Tom,” “Bear Island,” and “Bowden Ledge” to characterize sedimentary structures and bedding features. We will also take a Mastcam image of yesterday’s… [More at link]

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Curiosity: Northwest by north

1690-navcam-northSol 1690, May 8, 2017. As Curiosity continues southeast toward Vera Rubin Ridge, it is slowly but surely climbing. A look behind the rover with the Navcam shows, beyond the Murray Formation slabs and rocks which Curiosity is currently driving across, the floor of Gale Crater and its rim, about 30 kilometers (21 miles) away. The small dark bump almost due aft is the landmark dubbed Ireson Hill.

Choosing a driving route has been tricky: note the rover’s tortuous tracks over the sand megaripples at right. Click the image to enlarge it.

Sol 1690 raw images (from all cameras), and Curiosity’s latest location.

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HiRISE: Channel deposits on Hellas Planitia

tumblr_op8nrdWjCn1rlz4gso1_1280Channel deposits on Hellas Planitia. Beautiful Mars series.

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Opportunity: Looking up at Winnemucca in color

1P547469622ESFCZ00P2585L5M1_L4L5L5L5L6Sol 4723, May 7, 2017. Pressure from the advancing season means that Opportunity is not going to drive up and investigate Winnemucca mesa at close range, so mission scientists chose to use the Pancam in high-resolution mode to image it from the head of Perseverance Valley, about 400 meters (1300 feet) away. The result is a near real-color image (Holger Isenberg). Click image to enlarge it.

Winnemucca caught attention when Pancam red-sensitive grayscale images back on Sol 4679 (March 23) showed it to have a bright surface, which is probably caused by accumulations of reddish dust.

Opportunity raw images, its latest mission status, location map, and atmospheric opacity, known as tau.

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THEMIS: Hale Crater’s central ridge

Hale Crater's central ridge (THEMIS_IOTD_20170509)THEMIS Image of the Day, May 9,. 2017. Rather than a central peak, Hale Crater contains a complex ridge of peaks. This VIS image shows a portion of the ridge.

More THEMIS Images of the Day by geological topic.

 

 

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Curiosity update: Sand between our grousers

1686ML0087720020700897E01_DXXX-br2Sol 1688-90, May 8, 2017, update by MSL scientist Abigail Fraeman: Today was a Friday so we put together a three day plan to cover the weekend activities, or in Mars-speak, sols 1688 – 1690. We’ve been getting some really interesting data down from our investigation of a large sand drift (megaripple), so we packed in many more observations to assess the full variability of the sandy materials before driving away and continuing our climb up Mt. Sharp.

Over the weekend, we are planning to take APXS and MAHLI observations that focus on the materials inside the area of sand that was scuffed by the wheel (“Little Notch”), and also some bright undisturbed materials (“Cold Ledge”). We will also take MAHLI only observations of different undisturbed portions of the megaripple at “Schoolhouse Ledge” and “Man of War Brook”. In addition to contact science, we will take many Mastcam… [More at link]

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HiRISE: Colorful impact ejecta from Hargraves Crater

ESP_049818_2005The collision that created Hargraves Crater impacted into diverse bedrock lithologies of ancient Mars. As a result, the impact ejecta is a rich mix of rock types with different colors and textures.

The crater is named after Robert Hargraves who discovered and studied meteorite impacts on the Earth. [More at link]

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Curiosity: Profiling Amphitheater Valley

1688-mastcam100Sol 1688, May 6, 2017. Using its 100-mm lens, the Mastcam shot a 14-frame profile of finely layered outcrops making up the target Amphitheater Valley. While the outcrop is not continuous, in several places cross-bedding appears within the layers, suggesting they were deposited under flowing water or as windblown dune sands. Click image to enlarge it.

Sol 1688 raw images (from all cameras), and Curiosity’s latest location.

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Opportunity: Pancam scopes the valley entrance

4722-23-valley-leftSols 4722-23, May 6-7, 2017. Over two days, the Pancam took a multi-frame set of images to show the entrance to Perseverance Valley in false colors (reconstructions by Holger Isenberg).  The northern half of the valley is above, the southern part is below. Click either image to enlarge it.

Opportunity raw images, its latest mission status, a location map, and atmospheric opacity, known as tau.

4722-23-valley-right

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HiRISE: Aram Chaos

tumblr_op8ndwsCp31rlz4gso1_1280Splendor in the rocks. (Aram Chaos) Beautiful Mars series.

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