[meteorite-list] Curiosity Rover Nearing Yellowknife Bay

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2012 15:59:02 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <201212112359.qBBNx2nn029687_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Curiosity Rover Nearing Yellowknife Bay
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
December 11, 2012

    * Layered Martian Outcrop 'Shaler' in 'Glenelg' Area <#1>
    * Curiosity Traverse Map, Sol 123 <#2>
    * Sol 120 Panorama from Curiosity, near 'Shaler' <#3>
    * Sol 120 Panorama from Curiosity, near 'Shaler' (Stereo) <#4>

Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

PASADENA, Calif. -- The NASA Mars rover Curiosity drove 63 feet (19
meters) northeastward early Monday, Dec. 10, approaching a step down
into a slightly lower area called "Yellowknife Bay," where researchers
intend to choose a rock to drill.

The drive was Curiosity's fourth consecutive driving day since leaving a
site near an outcrop called "Point Lake," where it arrived last month.
These drives totaled 260 feet (79 meters) and brought the mission's
total odometry to 0.37 mile (598 meters).

The route took the rover close to an outcrop called "Shaler," where
scientists used Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument
and Mast Camera (Mastcam) to assess the rock's composition and observe
its layering. Before departure from Point Lake, a fourth sample of dusty
sand that the rover had been carrying from the "Rocknest" drift was
ingested and analyzed by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM)

Curiosity ended Monday's drive about 30 percent shorter than planned for
the day when it detected a slight difference between two calculations of
its tilt, not an immediate risk, but a trigger for software to halt the
drive as a precaution. "The rover is traversing across terrain different
from where it has driven earlier, and responding differently," said Rick
Welch, mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,
Calif. "We're making progress, though we're still in the learning phase
with this rover, going a little slower on this terrain than we might
wish we could."

Curiosity is approaching a lip where it will descend about 20 inches
(half a meter) to Yellowknife Bay. The rover team is checking carefully
for a safe way down. Yellowknife Bay is the temporary destination for
first use of Curiosity's rock-powdering drill, before the mission turns
southwestward for driving to its main destination on the slope of Mount

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena,
manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project and the mission's Curiosity
rover for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed
and built the rover.

More information about Curiosity is online at
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl , http://www.nasa.gov/msl and
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ . You can follow the mission on Facebook
at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at:
http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster at jpl.nasa.gov

Received on Tue 11 Dec 2012 06:59:02 PM PST

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