Editor's note: This blog is reposted with permission from the United States Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center website. Images have been added by me. My favorite place to browse these images is midnightplanets.com. My favorite place to follow the rover's driving progress is curiositylog.com. Read this for an introduction to Herkenhoff's blog posts. --ESL
Sol 438: Driving to Cooperstown (29 October 2013)
Last weekend's 3-sol plan included back-to-back drives on Sols 436 and 437. This is the first time in the mission that this has been attempted. There was no tactical planning on Monday to allow Mars and Earth time to synch up, but the rover drivers reviewed the available data before giving their go for the second drive. There was applause during the SOWG meeting when the rover drivers announced that both drives had completed successfully!
This morning, planning started at 6:00 PDT, earlier than usual, to give us enough time to complete planning before the commands must be sent to the rover this afternoon. So we are sort of back on Mars time today, which is exciting enough that I had no trouble getting up before dawn. I'm MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead today, planning the usual images after another drive toward the second waypoint, called Cooperstown.
Sol 440: Low Scarp (31 October 2013)
The rover is very close to a low scarp that is the target for contact science this weekend. The Sol 440 plan includes a bunch of targeted ChemCam and Mastcam observations, followed by a short drive (or "bump") to the low scarp dubbed "Cooperstown." The planning schedule is tight, so we started at 7 AM this morning to give us time to check all the command sequences before they have to be sent to the rover this evening. I'm SOWG Chair today and tomorrow. If the Sol 440 drive goes well, we will be planning lots of remote sensing and contact science for the weekend.
Sol 441 - 443: Deploying the Arm (1 November 2013)
Planning started at 6:30 this morning to allow enough time to plan 3 sols before we have to send the command sequences to the rover by 19:00 this evening. The science theme groups requested lots of good observations, expecting that they wouldn't all fit into the plan. It was therefore a hectic day, but all of the science observations made it into the plan! After taking lots of ChemCam and Mastcam data, the arm will be deployed to acquire MAHLI images and elemental chemical data using APXS. On the last sol, the arm will be stowed in preparation for an upgrade of flight software that will take all next week.
Flight Software Upgrades (7 November 2013)
There are no science observations planned this week while the rover flight software is upgraded. This upgrade was planned well in advance, and if all goes well science and drive planning will resume on Monday.
Editor's note: an unexpected software anomaly occurred during the upgrade. Here is a November 8 JPL release regarding the warm reset, and a November 12 release stating that the rover was out of safe mode and ready to return to work. --ESL
Sol 451: Recovering (12 November 2013)
I'm SOWG Chair today, but focused on tomorrow's plan because Sol 451 is dedicated to recovering from last week's software anomaly. So far, the recovery is going well and we are planning to resume normal science operations on Sol 452. We have received lots of data acquired during the Cooperstown contact science campaign and are happy with the results.
Editor's note: Curiosity departed Cooperstown with a drive today, sol 453, resuming her drive toward Mount Sharp.