Author Topic: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread  (Read 730750 times)

Offline Star One

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1400 on: 03/22/2017 08:15 PM »
MARS SCIENCE LABORATORY MISSION STATUS REPORT
A routine check of the aluminum wheels on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has found two small breaks on the rover's left middle wheel-the latest sign of wear and tear as the rover continues its journey, now approaching the 10-mile (16 kilometer) mark.
The mission's first and second breaks in raised treads, called grousers, appeared in a March 19 image check of the wheels, documenting that these breaks occurred after the last check, on Jan. 27.
"All six wheels have more than enough working lifespan remaining to get the vehicle to all destinations planned for the mission," said Curiosity Project Manager Jim Erickson at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "While not unexpected, this damage is the first sign that the left middle wheel is nearing a wheel-wear milestone,"
The monitoring of wheel damage on Curiosity, plus a program of wheel-longevity testing on Earth, was initiated after dents and holes in the wheels were seen to be accumulating faster than anticipated in 2013. Testing showed that at the point when three grousers on a wheel have broken, that wheel has reached about 60 percent of its useful life. Curiosity already has driven well over that fraction of the total distance needed for reaching the key regions of scientific interest on Mars' Mount Sharp.
Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada, also at JPL, said, "This is an expected part of the life cycle of the wheels and at this point does not change our current science plans or diminish our chances of studying key transitions in mineralogy higher on Mount Sharp."
Curiosity is currently examining sand dunes partway up a geological unit called the Murray formation. Planned destinations ahead include the hematite-containing "Vera Rubin Ridge," a clay-containing geological unit above that ridge, and a sulfate-containing unit above the clay unit.
The rover is climbing to sequentially higher and younger layers of lower Mount Sharp to investigate how the region's ancient climate changed billions of years ago. Clues about environmental conditions are recorded in the rock layers. During its first year on Mars, the mission succeeded at its main goal by finding that the region once offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life, if Mars has ever hosted life. The conditions in long-lived ancient freshwater Martian lake environments included all of the key chemical elements needed for life as we know it, plus a chemical source of energy that is used by many microbes on Earth.
Through March 20, Curiosity has driven 9.9 miles (16.0 kilometers) since the mission's August 2012 landing on Mars. Studying the transition to the sulfate unit, the farthest-uphill destination, will require about 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) or less of additional driving. For the past four years, rover drive planners have used enhanced methods of mapping potentially hazardous terrains to reduce the pace of damage from sharp, embedded rocks along the rover's route.
Each of Curiosity's six wheels is about 20 inches (50 centimeters) in diameter and 16 inches (40 centimeters) wide, milled out of solid aluminum. The wheels contact ground with a skin that's about half as thick as a U.S. dime, except at thicker treads. The grousers are 19 zigzag-shaped treads that extend about a quarter inch (three-fourths of a centimeter) outward from the skin of each wheel. The grousers bear much of the rover's weight and provide most of the traction and ability to traverse over uneven terrain.
JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, and built the project's rover, Curiosity. For more information about the mission, visit:
http://mars.nasa.gov/msl/
2017-079
Guy Webster
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-354-6278
guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

https://marsmobile.jpl.nasa.gov/news/2017/breaks-observed-in-rover-wheel-treads

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1401 on: 03/23/2017 05:23 AM »
Here's the image that goes with the update.

Offline Star One

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1402 on: 03/23/2017 06:36 AM »
Mars rover spots clouds shaped by gravity waves

Quote
Well into its fifth year, the rover has now shot more than 500 movies of the clouds above it, including the first ground-based view of martian clouds shaped by gravity waves, researchers reported here this week at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. The shots are the best record made so far of a mysterious recurring belt of equatorial clouds known to influence the martian climate.

Understanding these clouds will help inform estimates of ground ice depth and perhaps recurring slope lineae, potential flows of salty water on the surface, says John Moores, a planetary scientist at York University in Toronto, Canada, who led the study with his graduate student, Jake Kloos. “If we wish to understand the water story of Mars’s past,” Moores says, “we first need to [separate out] contributions from the present-day water cycle.”

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/mars-rover-spots-clouds-shaped-gravity-waves

Offline Star One

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1403 on: 06/01/2017 10:24 AM »
‘HALOS’ DISCOVERED ON MARS WIDEN TIME FRAME FOR POTENTIAL LIFE

MIGRATING SILICA REVEALS LIQUID WATER LINGERED LONGER ON RED PLANET

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WASHINGTON, DC — Lighter-toned bedrock that surrounds fractures and comprises high concentrations of silica — called “halos”— has been found in Gale crater on Mars, indicating that the planet had liquid water much longer than previously believed. The new finding is reported in a new paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

“The concentration of silica is very high at the centerlines of these halos,” said Jens Frydenvang, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Copenhagen and lead author of the new study. “What we’re seeing is that silica appears to have migrated between very old sedimentary bedrock and into younger overlying rocks. The goal of NASA’s Curiosity rover mission has been to find out if Mars was ever habitable, and it has been very successful in showing that Gale crater once held a lake with water that we would even have been able to drink, but we still don’t know how long this habitable environment endured. What this finding tells us is that, even when the lake eventually evaporated, substantial amounts of groundwater were present for much longer than we previously thought—thus further expanding the window for when life might have existed on Mars.”

http://news.agu.org/press-release/halos-discovered-on-mars-widen-time-frame-for-potential-life/

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1404 on: 06/04/2017 07:32 AM »
Curiosity Peels Back Layers on Ancient Martian Lake

A long-lasting lake on ancient Mars provided stable environmental conditions that differed significantly from one part of the lake to another, according to a comprehensive look at findings from the first three-and-a-half years of NASA's Curiosity rover mission.


https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/curiosity-peels-back-layers-on-ancient-martian-lake
"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1405 on: 07/12/2017 01:30 PM »
Quote
NASA’s new algorithm to conserve Curiosity’s wheels
by Lee Cavendish, 30 June 2017

The rough terrain of the Red Planet has produced problems for the Mars rover, but a new algorithm can now help reduce the effect

https://www.spaceanswers.com/solar-system/nasas-new-algorithm-to-conserve-curiositys-wheels/

Offline catdlr

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1406 on: 08/02/2017 08:37 PM »
Curiosity’s First Five Years of Science on Mars

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Published on Aug 2, 2017


Five years of Martian discoveries after seven minutes of terror.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxvODcuFb1s?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1407 on: 08/02/2017 08:37 PM »
Rover POV: Five Years of Curiosity Driving on Mars

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Published on Aug 2, 2017

Five years of images from the front left hazard avoidance camera (Hazcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover were used to create this time-lapse movie. The inset map shows the rover's location in Mars' Gale Crater. Each image is labeled with the date it was taken, and its corresponding sol (Martian day), along with information about the rover's location at the time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0nPFaBU98k?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

Offline catdlr

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1408 on: 08/02/2017 08:38 PM »
A Guide to Gale Crater

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Published on Aug 2, 2017

The Curiosity rover has taught us a lot about the history of Mars and its potential to support life.  Take a tour of its landing site, Gale Crater.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-uAz82sH-E?t=001

Tony De La Rosa

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1409 on: 09/06/2017 10:27 PM »
In situ detection of boron by ChemCam on Mars

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Abstract

We report the first in situ detection of boron on Mars. Boron has been detected in Gale crater at levels <0.05 wt % B by the NASA Curiosity rover ChemCam instrument in calcium-sulfate-filled fractures, which formed in a late-stage groundwater circulating mainly in phyllosilicate-rich bedrock interpreted as lacustrine in origin. We consider two main groundwater-driven hypotheses to explain the presence of boron in the veins: leaching of borates out of bedrock or the redistribution of borate by dissolution of borate-bearing evaporite deposits. Our results suggest that an evaporation mechanism is most likely, implying that Gale groundwaters were mildly alkaline. On Earth, boron may be a necessary component for the origin of life; on Mars, its presence suggests that subsurface groundwater conditions could have supported prebiotic chemical reactions if organics were also present and provides additional support for the past habitability of Gale crater.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2017GL074480/abstract;jsessionid=1486F968F76584896B762BB83AFBA60A.f02t04

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1410 on: 09/18/2017 08:24 PM »
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover climbing toward ridge top

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has begun the steep ascent of an iron-oxide-bearing ridge that’s grabbed scientists’ attention since before the car-sized rover’s 2012 landing.

“We’re on the climb now, driving up a route where we can access the layers we’ve studied from below,” said Abigail Fraeman, a Curiosity science-team member at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“Vera Rubin Ridge” stands prominently on the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp, resisting erosion better than the less-steep portions of the mountain below and above it. The ridge, also called “Hematite Ridge,” was informally named earlier this year in honor of pioneering astrophysicist Vera Rubin.

“As we skirted around the base of the ridge this summer, we had the opportunity to observe the large vertical exposure of rock layers that make up the bottom part of the ridge,” said Fraeman, who organized the rover’s ridge campaign. “But even though steep cliffs are great for exposing the stratifications, they’re not so good for driving up.”

The ascent to the top of the ridge from a transition in rock-layer appearance at the bottom of it will gain about 213 feet (65 meters) of elevation — about 20 stories. The climb requires a series of drives totaling a little more than a third of a mile (570 meters). Before starting this ascent in early September, Curiosity had gained a total of about 980 feet (about 300 meters) in elevation in drives totaling 10.76 miles (17.32 kilometers) from its landing site to the base of the ridge.

Curiosity’s telephoto observations of the ridge from just beneath it show finer layering, with extensive bright veins of varying widths cutting through the layers.

“Now we’ll have a chance to examine the layers up close as the rover climbs,” Fraeman said.

https://astronomynow.com/2017/09/18/nasas-curiosity-mars-rover-climbing-toward-ridge-top/

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1411 on: 10/26/2017 04:17 PM »
Engineers hopeful Mars rover’s drill can return to service

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Engineers have started testing a new way to use the Curiosity rover’s drill to bore into Martian rocks after a motor in the device stalled late last year, but ground teams are still months away from the first chance to resume drilling operations.

The rover has not used its drill since Dec. 1, 2016, when engineers noticed a problem with the drill feed mechanism, a motor which is supposed to extend the drill bit to touch the surface of Martian rocks. Two fang-like contact posts on each side of the drill bit press on the rock for stability, then the drill feed motor pushes the bit onto the rock before percussive and rotating mechanisms start boring into the target to collect a powder sample.

With the drill feed mechanism no longer reliably working, managers have decided to keep the drill bit in its extended position. That raises concerns over the stability of the drill while in use because the prong-like extensions on each side of the bit will no longer be in contact with the rock.

Curiosity touched its drill bit directly onto a Martian rock Oct. 17, according to a press release from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The rover was commanded to press the drill bit downward, then applied smaller sideways forces, according to a statement.

A force sensor took measurements during the test. Engineers want to avoid applying too much side force while the drill is in use to ensure the bit does not get stuck in the rock.

“This is the first time we’ve ever placed the drill bit directly on a Martian rock without stabilizers,” said JPL’s Douglas Klein, chief engineer for the mission’s return-to-drilling development. “The test is to gain better understanding of how the force/torque sensor on the arm provides information about side forces.”

https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/10/25/engineers-hopeful-mars-rovers-drill-can-return-to-service/

Offline ByStander

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1412 on: 10/27/2017 10:45 AM »
I can't find any version of Curiosity's traverse map more recent than sol 1830, which is 27 days out of date.

It looks like it's not being updated any more. Does anybody know what the reason is?

Offline dsmillman

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1413 on: 10/27/2017 03:47 PM »
I can't find any version of Curiosity's traverse map more recent than sol 1830, which is 27 days out of date.

It looks like it's not being updated any more. Does anybody know what the reason is?

Try here:

http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?showtopic=7442&st=1080&start=1080

Offline ByStander

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1414 on: 10/28/2017 02:41 PM »
Thank you.

I'm still puzzled that the 'official' map appears to be neglected. Raw images are still posted on most days, so they are still attending to the public-facing part of the project.

Tags: updates