Author Topic: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread  (Read 824673 times)

Offline Don2

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1440 on: 06/08/2018 06:11 pm »

The significance of the Gale Crater's discoveries almost warrants reconsidering sending 2020 there.  All the same, similar if not better deposits at Gusev and the Jezero/Syrtis area.  I like to think Curiosity as a prelude to what 2020 may find.

That's an interesting thought. We know Gale Crater had a long lived lake and organics, so it would make an excellent sample return site. There are also clay and sulfate terrains that the rover hasn't reached yet. There is the upper mound material, and there is also supposed to be an RSL. Sample collection would go much more quickly at Gale Crater because the site is already well understood and the sample collection rover could head straight for the interesting places. Gale Crater is a warm, low altitude equatorial site which would make it easier to design the sample return lander. The only thing that Gale lacks is a layer of igneous rock which could be sampled for dating purposes.

All that said, I'd still like to go someplace else. Somehow it doesn't feel like progress when we go back to sites that have already been visited. And the Jezero Crater / NE Syrtis area offers a very ancient piece of crust with diverse minerals. However there is a case for sample return at Gale. At Gale, you know what you have, and it's awesome.

Offline Don2

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1441 on: 06/08/2018 06:33 pm »

I’d thought Exomars would be more suitable for this work. After all that’s what TGO & the rover are specifically designed to look into matters such as the ones related to this announcement.

TGO is definitely turning up at the right time with the right instrument payload. And if they find that the isotopes in the methane are different from the current atmosphere, then the race will be on to try to track down the source. The Exomars rover won't help, because it doesn't have an atmosphere sampling capability.

The significance of the annual variation is that a geochemical source would be more likely to produce at a constant rate, while a biological source would be more likely to vary with the seasons. It also means that the source is probably not near the equator, because seasonal variations are greatest close to the poles. The source is probably in the northern hemisphere, because methane levels peak at the end of northern summer. There is a lot of water ice close to the surface near the north pole. Some people have suggested that the area could be a habitat for microbes.

Offline Star One

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LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1442 on: 06/09/2018 08:58 am »

I’d thought Exomars would be more suitable for this work. After all that’s what TGO & the rover are specifically designed to look into matters such as the ones related to this announcement.

TGO is definitely turning up at the right time with the right instrument payload. And if they find that the isotopes in the methane are different from the current atmosphere, then the race will be on to try to track down the source. The Exomars rover won't help, because it doesn't have an atmosphere sampling capability.

The significance of the annual variation is that a geochemical source would be more likely to produce at a constant rate, while a biological source would be more likely to vary with the seasons. It also means that the source is probably not near the equator, because seasonal variations are greatest close to the poles. The source is probably in the northern hemisphere, because methane levels peak at the end of northern summer. There is a lot of water ice close to the surface near the north pole. Some people have suggested that the area could be a habitat for microbes.

No for the rover I was referring to the organics in the rock. Sorry I should have probably made that a bit clearer in my OP.

As a side point if there is microbial life on Mars it wouldn’t surprise me if and when it is DNA sequenced it will very similar/identical to life on Earth as I’ve a feeling that Mars & Earth are linked that life started on one & then was able to travel to the other. My money is on Mars first as recent studies have indicated it was superior to Earth for life wins ago so the Martians we’ve always been looking for are us.

Actually just found this article that says Exomars rover will be able to study methane.

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ExoMars could also shed considerable light on the origins of Red Planet methane, said Chris Webster, who led the new Curiosity methane study. The ExoMars rover will likely be able to characterize the carbon in methane molecules, determining how much of it is carbon-13, which contains one more neutron in its nucleus than a "normal" carbon-12 atom. (A methane molecule consists of a single carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms.)

"Even in relatively low methane abundances, they should be able to get the carbon-13 ratio," Webster, a senior research fellow at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, told Space.com, referring to the ExoMars team.

https://www.space.com/40831-future-mars-rovers-search-alien-life.html
« Last Edit: 06/09/2018 08:01 pm by Star One »

Offline Kaputnik

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1443 on: 06/10/2018 02:09 pm »
This is exciting stuff. The discovery of organics received some press coverage but I didn't learn about the seasonal methane detection until I read about it on NSF.
I presume that seasonal does not necessarily equate to biological. Could methane be trapped in polar deposits and simply released seasonally when these deposits thaw?
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Offline RonM

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1444 on: 06/10/2018 03:37 pm »
This is exciting stuff. The discovery of organics received some press coverage but I didn't learn about the seasonal methane detection until I read about it on NSF.
I presume that seasonal does not necessarily equate to biological. Could methane be trapped in polar deposits and simply released seasonally when these deposits thaw?

Yes, methane created by chemical processes deep underground could be trapped by a frozen surface, even at lower latitudes. So, the seasonal release doesn't mean biological activity. However, since there is a seasonal variation, biological methane is a possibility. I wouldn't bet on it, but there might be some microbes underground. Good for more exploration and research grants.

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1445 on: 06/11/2018 12:01 am »
This is exciting stuff. The discovery of organics received some press coverage but I didn't learn about the seasonal methane detection until I read about it on NSF.
I presume that seasonal does not necessarily equate to biological. Could methane be trapped in polar deposits and simply released seasonally when these deposits thaw?


That is one possibility.  However that just puts the question of the methane source one step further back. 
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Offline Star One

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1446 on: 06/18/2018 08:31 pm »
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New selfie from @MarsCuriosity rover shows the huge dust storm raging in the background. Processing: @_TheSeaning (link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/seandoran/42803766882/in/photostream/) flickr.com/photos/seandor…

https://mobile.twitter.com/coreyspowell/status/1008768321569935361

Online Blackstar

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1447 on: 06/20/2018 09:02 pm »

Offline Star One

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1448 on: 08/16/2018 08:11 pm »
NASA identifies 'foreign object debris' spotted by Mars rover

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There was some concern the rover might have dropped a piece of itself. "In fact, it was found to be a very thin flake of rock, so we can all rest easy tonight -- Curiosity has not begun to shed its skin," Curiosity team member Brittney Cooper declared, after a closer look. 

Curiosity got a better view of the rock by using its ChemCam to zoom in and identify it as a natural piece of the Mars landscape.

https://www.cnet.com/news/nasa-identifies-foreign-object-debris-spotted-by-mars-rover/#ftag=CAD-09-10aai5b

Offline hop

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1449 on: 09/19/2018 09:51 pm »
Memory trouble

Sols 2175-2176: Tell Us More, We Want to Help! Written by Ashwin Vasavada on 09.19.2018

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Over the past few days, engineers here at JPL have been working to address an issue on Curiosity that is preventing it from sending much of the science and engineering data stored in its memory. The rover remains in its normal mode and is otherwise healthy and responsive.

The issue first appeared Saturday night while Curiosity was running through the weekend plan. Besides transmitting data recorded in its memory, the rover can transmit "real-time" data when it links to a relay orbiter or Deep Space Network antenna. These real-time data are transmitting normally, and include various details about the rover's status. Engineers are expanding the details the rover transmits in these real-time data to better diagnose the issue. Because the amount of data coming down is limited, it might take some time for the engineering team to diagnose the problem.

On Monday and Tuesday, engineers discussed which real-time details would be the most useful to have. They also commanded the rover to turn off science instruments that were still on, since their data are not being stored. They're also preparing to use the rover's backup computer in case they need to use it to diagnose the primary computer. That backup computer was the rover's primary one until Sol 200, when it experienced both a hardware failure and software issue that have since been addressed.

While the engineers work to understand the problem, Curiosity's science team is using the time to pore over data gathered on Vera Rubin Ridge and come up with the best location for another drilling attempt. We're looking at any clues that tell us the rocks are weaker and better for drilling. As the JPL-based project scientist, I really enjoy watching our scientists from all over the world take on these challenges. And, I also get to witness the brainpower that JPL brings to bear when the rover has a technical issue. We're rooting for the engineering team 100%!

Offline Eosterwine

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1450 on: 10/01/2018 05:29 am »
No updates lately, but there was a data downlink 1st of October https://twitter.com/dsn_status/status/1046607917020008448 so Curiosity is still talking.

Offline Eosterwine

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1451 on: 10/04/2018 06:21 am »
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Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, this week commanded the agency's Curiosity rover to switch to its second computer. The switch will enable engineers to do a detailed diagnosis of a technical issue that has prevented the rover's active computer from storing science and some key engineering data since Sept. 15.

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7250

Offline Eosterwine

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1452 on: 10/13/2018 10:43 pm »
Some new images have arrived from Curiosity, the first in nearly a month

https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/raw/?s=2199&camera=FHAZ_

Offline Star One

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1453 on: 11/01/2018 07:55 pm »
Sol 2216: A Windswept Workspace

Today was the first day of planning with the full science team since Curiosity had an anomaly on sol 2172. It has been a over a month since we last looked at the "workspace," the region in front of the rover that the arm can reach, and there were some surprises in store for us! Before the anomaly, the rock was covered with gray-colored tailings from our failed attempt to drill the "Inverness" target, as seen in the Mastcam image from sol 2170. In the new image above, however, those tailings are now gone - and so is a lot of the dark brown soil and reddish dust. So while Curiosity has been sitting still, the winds have been moving, sweeping the workspace clean.

Later this week we plan to take advantage of this freshly-scrubbed surface by taking close-up MAHLI images of fine details in the rock, including the light-toned veins crisscrossing the outcrop that are peppered with interesting dark inclusions. Today we're easing back into science operations, taking MAHLI images with the cover open and closed to inspect how much dust is on the cover, a MAHLI image of the REMS UV sensor, a ChemCam observation of the vein target "Grange," and some Mastcam images of the nearby ripple field "Sandend" to look for more changes due to the wind.

In my role as a Long-Term Planner, I've got my eye on the road ahead, and I'm excited for Curiosity to drive to a new spot where we can successfully drill into the gray rock. Soon the wind won't be the only thing moving around here!

Offline robertross

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1454 on: 11/13/2018 12:48 am »
Sols 2229-2230: Preparing for more SAMple!
Written by Rachel Kronyak on 11.12.2018

Following a successful weekend of science activities at the "Highfield" drill site, today we're planning Sols 2229-2230. We're eagerly awaiting data from CheMin, which will tell us all about the mineralogy of our newest drill hole sample. We're equally as eager to get a Highfield drill sample to the SAM instrument for analysis. To prepare for SAM, on Sol 2229 we'll perform a preconditioning activity to get the instrument ready to receive and analyze sample. Although SAM is located inside the belly of Curiosity, we can see the instrument's inlet covers in the image above, which was taken by Mastcam late last week.

While the SAM preconditioning activity takes up the bulk of Sol 2229's power, we were still able to plan about four hours' worth of science activities! Today was my first Mastcam PUL shift since the anomaly, so I was very excited to see so many fantastic observations make it into today's two-sol plan.

We'll kick off Sol 2229 with a hefty 2 hour-long science block. In it, we'll analyze 4 targets with ChemCam: one down the inside of the Highfield drill hole, another along the drill tailings at the surface, a third on a nearby vein called "Fraser Castle," and a fourth on bedrock target "Flanders Moss." After that, we'll take Mastcam images of each ChemCam target to confirm where the laser shots hit. We'll also image targets "Sand Loch" and "Windyedge" with Mastcam. This pair of images is important for change detection purposes, which we frequently perform when the rover is sitting in the same location for more than a few sols. For change detection, we take the same 2 images around the same time of day to help quantify how the martian wind is changing the landscape around us.

Finally, for Mastcam, we'll take a few multispectral images - these images are taken using multiple camera filters. Experts on the science team use these images to help us interpret the composition of the local bedrock and surrounding areas. We'll take multispectral images of two targets to the side of the rover, "Loch Ba" and "Slate Islands." To wrap up the science block, we'll take some images with Navcam to look for dust devils. Later in the evening, we'll perform our SAM preconditioning activity before going to sleep.

Curiosity will wake up on Sol 2230 for another loaded science block! This time, we'll use ChemCam to perform a passive calibration activity, followed by another Navcam dust devil suite and repeat Mastcam change detection images. We'll then use Mastcam to make additional atmospheric observations in the form of tau and crater rim extinction measurements. Later on in the late afternoon, we'll take a final pair of Mastcam change detection images and perform a sunset tau measurement.

It was a busy day for the Mastcam team with all of our exciting change detection, multispectral imaging, and atmospheric measurements. I'm very much looking forward to these data products, as well as updates later this week on the status of our Highfield drill sample!

https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/mission/mars-rover-curiosity-mission-updates/?mu=sols-2229-2230-preparing-for-more-sample
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Offline Star One

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Re: LIVE: MSL Curiosity Post Landing SOL 1 onwards Update Thread
« Reply #1455 on: 11/29/2018 07:41 pm »
Sol 2245-2246: Hunting shiny things!

Curiosity woke up to Mr Rogers "Please would you be my neighbour" this morning to welcome InSight, and then got very busy at the Highfield drill site. Every plan has its personality, and the upcoming one is that of a gymnast - at least as far as the arm is concerned: Curiosity will dump the Highfield sample, which requires several MAHLI looks and an APXS operation, but the plan also requires swinging the arm out of the way so other instruments can have their unobscured look at the dump pile.

Of course, the main activity is to look at the Highfield dump pile with all instruments available. APXS will get the chemistry, and Navcam, Mastcam and MAHLI will have a close look. In addition, a Mastcam multispectral and a ChemCam passive observation will add to the information collected from the dump pile.
Not only the arm, but also ChemCam is very busy these two sols, as in addition to the dump pile activities, it will look at four samples, two of which are re-targeted. One of the samples that we try to get a better look at is "Little Colonsay." The planning team thinks it might be a meteorite because it is so shiny. But looks can deceive, and proof will only come from the chemistry. Unfortunately, the small target was missed in the previous attempt, and with the information from that, Curiosity will try again. Another very small target is the target "Flanders Moss," which shows an interesting, dark coloured coating, for which chemistry is required to confirm its nature. Two additional targets, "Forres" and "Eildon," are to add to the database of the grey Jura bedrock before we leave the Highfield site next week.

Beyond ChemCam, Curiosity will document the workspace with a Mastcam M34 mosaic, and of course document all ChemCam targets. Finally, the environmental observations continue with a crater rim extinction, Mastcam Tau and dust devil monitoring. …a busy two sols on Mars!

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