Astrogeology Science Center

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Date published: October 27, 2020

Curiosity Blogs: Sol 2925: Maybole, up close and personal

The short drive or "bump" that was planned for Sol 2924 went well, placing the rover on a relatively steep slope right next to the Maybole outcrop. Every time we prepare to deploy MSL's arm, the risk of the wheels slipping due to the change in the vehicle's center of gravity must be assessed. 

Date published: October 27, 2020

Dr. Sherman Shou-Chou Wu Remembered

Dr. Sherman Shou-Chou Wu, a revered pioneer in the field of planetary photogrammetry and topographic mapping, passed away at the age of 92 on August 22, 2020. He was a long-term employee at Astrogeology Science Center and remembered for his amazing contributions.

Date published: October 26, 2020

Curiosity Blogs: Sols 2921-2923: On the Road Again!

We are finally planning to drive away after finishing up at the Groken drill hole location, so it was an exciting planning day for me as SOWG Chair.  

Date published: October 26, 2020

NASA to make an announcement about the Moon today

NASA will make a big announcement today. It regards an “exciting new discovery” about the Moon which “contributes to NASA’s efforts to learn about the Moon in support of deep space exploration”.  Get the scoop here:: https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

Date published: October 21, 2020

Curiosity Blogs: Sol 2918: A short but sweet day of planning

The science team decided to stay at the Groken drill location a little bit longer to let SAM have a taste of this interesting sample. See it in the Hazcam image below.

Date published: October 15, 2020

Terror on Mars: The Asphyxiation of Opportunity

The Ghostbusters are not afraid of ghosts and the robotic explorers of our time are not afraid of the challenges encountered in space.  Rovers just go. They follow issued commands, and do their work, but eventually die alone.

Date published: October 4, 2020

The truth about a terrifying lava skylight where only the trained should lurk

A lava skylight is not seen by most people as being particularly scary since it is just an opening in the roof above a lava tube from which the flowing lava can be seen. Dr. Laszlo Kestay, a volcanologist at the Astrogeology Science Center, explains this genuinely scary skylight that some people believe resembles a doorway to hell.

Date published: September 21, 2020

Curiosity Blogs: Sols 2887-2889: Ok CheMin, now it’s your turn!

We’ve been talking a lot about SAM analyses of the “Mary Anning 3” sample, but in today’s 3-sol weekend plan, it’s CheMin’s turn to shine.  The weekend plan is focused on dropping off part of the “Mary Anning 3” sample to CheMin and analyzing what minerals are present.  The plan also includes preparing SAM for upcoming analyses by cleaning GC columns 1 and 2, and a script update.  

Date published: September 14, 2020

Curiosity Blogs: Sols 2880-2882: MSL's SAM TMAH AOK!

Our SAM TMAH experiment was successful! For those who don’t speak fluent rover team alphabet soup, as we described the other day, the SAM TMAH experiment is a long-awaited...

Date published: September 4, 2020

Curiosity Blogs: Sols 2874-2876: No sample dropoff to SAM

At the beginning of tactical planning today, we expected the weekend plan to include dropoff of some of the drill sample to the SAM instrument, but it was later recognized that the detailed requirements for the dropoff and SAM analysis could not be met today.  So the arm and SAM activities had to be removed from the plan, freeing up power for other observations.

Date published: August 26, 2020

Curiosity Blog on Sols 2860-2863: The Dog Days of Summer

Curiosity is still at the Mary Anning drill location, investigating the chemistry and sedimentary structures in this vicinity.  As we continue to dig into the science at this location, the team is having some fun with naming targets.  Today the team decided to name a nearby ChemCam target “Tray,” after paleontologist Mary Anning’s faithful dog helped her with fossil hunting.

Date published: August 17, 2020

Planetary Mapping an Undeniable Tradition at ASC

Planetary geologic mapping began in 1962 at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and continues today at the Astrogeology Science Center (ASC).  Geologic maps depict the distribution of rocks and sediments at the surface of a planet. They provide a standardized, easy-to-interpret format to assist both scientists and enthusiasts in understanding the geologic evolution of a planet.