[meteorite-list] Curiosity Rover Explores 'Yellowknife Bay'

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2012 09:52:28 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <201212191752.qBJHqSvI012769_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Curiosity Rover Explores 'Yellowknife Bay'
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
December 18, 2012

Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

PASADENA, Calif. -- The NASA Mars rover Curiosity this week is driving
within a shallow depression called "Yellowknife Bay," providing
information to help researchers choose a rock to drill.

Using Curiosity's percussive drill to collect a sample from the interior
of a rock, a feat never before attempted on Mars, is the mission's
priority for early 2013. After the powdered-rock sample is sieved and
portioned by a sample-processing mechanism on the rover's arm, it will
be analyzed by instruments inside Curiosity.

Yellowknife Bay is within a different type of terrain from what the
rover has traversed since landing inside Mars' Gale Crater on Aug. 5,
PDT (Aug. 6, UTC). The terrain Curiosity has entered is one of three
types that intersect at a location dubbed "Glenelg," chosen as an
interim destination about two weeks after the landing.

Curiosity reached the lip of a 2-foot (half-meter) descent into
Yellowknife Bay with a 46-foot (14-meter) drive on Dec. 11. The next
day, a drive of about 86 feet (26.1 meters) brought the rover well
inside the basin. The team has been employing the Mast Camera (Mastcam)
and the laser-wielding Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) for remote-sensing
studies of rocks along the way.

On Dec. 14, Curiosity drove about 108 feet (32.8 meters) to reach rock
targets of interest called "Costello" and "Flaherty." Researchers used
the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and Mars Hand Lens Imager
(MAHLI) at the end of the rover's arm to examine the targets. After
finishing those studies, the rover drove again on Dec. 17, traveling
about 18 feet (5.6 meters) farther into Yellowknife Bay. That brings the
mission's total driving distance to 0.42 mile (677 meters) since
Curiosity's landing.

One additional drive is planned this week before the rover team gets a
holiday break. Curiosity will continue studying the Martian environment
from its holiday location at the end point of that drive within
Yellowknife Bay. The mission's plans for most of 2013 center on driving
toward the primary science destination, a 3-mile-high (5-kilometer)
layered mound called Mount Sharp.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project is using Curiosity during a
two-year prime mission to assess whether areas inside Gale Crater ever
offered a habitable environment for microbes. NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in
Pasadena, manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in

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 Wed 19 Dec 2012 12:52:28 PM PST

Help support this free mailing list:

Yahoo MyWeb