John Bridges: Mars Science Laboratory Blog
In addition to the blog, you can find some amazing videos and other content related to the mission, at:
This fantastic new selfie has just been returned. It is a mosaic of images from MAHLI taken over our recent drill site at Buckskin. Buckskin has turned out to be very silica rich and very hydrated. They key to where the water is locked in the rocks will be in the detail of the ChemCam and CheMin analyses.
You can see more MAHLI images over Buckskin here:
Successful drilling at Buckskin! Like the other drill holes this is showing how thin red Mars is.
We have started drilling at Belkin, first a minidrill hole before the main drill hole. Belkin has been chosen because this sedimentary horizon has some very high silica enrichments. That may have occurred as the Gale sediments were altered by subsurface fluids after burial. As the basaltic composition was altered (as we saw from the clay and Fe oxide at Yellowknife Bay) ultimately a lot of silica is released which can be precipitated at horizons like this.
The science team is considering the next drill target. ChemCam and APXS results suggest that the sediment compositions are changing within the Murray Formation, with more altered compositions.
This NavCam view, from Marias pass, looking toward the crater rim shows how we have started to gain some elevation, we are currently at about -4440 m, we landed on Bradbury Rise at -4500 m.