[meteorite-list] Curiosity Rover Preparing for Thanksgiving Activities

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2012 16:24:31 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <201211210024.qAL0OVQF006970_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Curiosity Rover Preparing for Thanksgiving Activities
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
November 20, 2012

Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars rover Curiosity completed a touch-and-go
inspection of one rock on Sunday, Nov. 18, then pivoted and, on the same
day, drove toward a Thanksgiving overlook location.

Last week, Curiosity drove for the first time after spending several
weeks in soil-scooping activities at one location. On Friday, Nov. 16,
the rover drove 6.2 feet (1.9 meters) to get within arm's reach of a
rock called "Rocknest 3." On Sunday, it touched that rock with the Alpha
Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) on its arm, and took two 10-minute
APXS readings of data about the chemical elements in the rock. Then
Curiosity stowed its arm and drove 83 feet (25.3 meters) eastward toward
a target called "Point Lake."

"We have done touches before, and we've done goes before, but this is
our first 'touch-and-go' on the same day," said Curiosity Mission
Manager Michael Watkins of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,
Calif. "It is a good sign that the rover team is getting comfortable
with more complex operational planning, which will serve us well in the
weeks ahead."

During a Thanksgiving break, the team will use Curiosity's Mast Camera
(Mastcam) from Point Lake to examine possible routes and targets to the
east. A priority is to choose a rock for the first use of the rover's
hammering drill, which will collect samples of powder from rock interiors.

Although Curiosity has departed the Rocknest patch of windblown sand and
dust where it scooped up soil samples in recent weeks, the
sample-handling mechanism on the rover's arm is still holding some soil
from the fifth and final scoop collected at Rocknest. The rover is
carrying this sample so it can be available for analysis by instruments
within the rover if scientists choose that option in coming days.

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

More information about Curiosity is online at 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 / D.C. Agle 818-354-5011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Guy.Webster at jpl.nasa.gov / agle at jpl.nasa.gov

Received on Tue 20 Nov 2012 07:24:31 PM PST

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