John Bridges: Mars Science Laboratory Blog

This blog is a record of my experiences and work during the Mars Science Laboratory mission, from the preparation, landing on August 5th 2012 Pacific Time, and onwards...

In addition to the blog, you can find some amazing videos and other content related to the mission, at:

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/videos/index.cfm?v=49

John Bridges

19th August 2014 Sol 724

19th August 2014 Sol 724

Posted by jcb36 at Aug 19, 2014 08:55 PM |

We have started the condensed drilling procedures at Bonanza_King, having driven back out of Hidden Valley and its sandy deposits, to take another route.  You can see that the brush is working and we have just exposed the now familiar grey Mars beneath the oxidised red veneer, prior to drilling.  It  looks like some late fluids have cut through the sediments as shown by the light veins.

15th August 2014 Sol 720

15th August 2014 Sol 720

Posted by jcb36 at Aug 15, 2014 07:14 PM |

We have retraced our tracks in Hidden Valley, going back to a site called Bonanza_King. We are going to do a short drilling programme ('Condensed Drilling') here on some outcrop in the bright area in the Navcam photo.  Its important that we get analyses of the mineralogy of a representative selection of different rock types as we go up the stratigraphy of the sedimentary layers towards Mt. Sharp.

5th August 2014 Sol 710

5th August 2014 Sol 710

Posted by jcb36 at Aug 05, 2014 05:28 PM |

We are moving into a new sort of terrain as we enter Hidden Valley.  On this HiRISE image and the inset MAHLI image you can see the sand ripples that we are traversing.  This has benefits over the hard rocky terrain as there will be less wear on the wheels but we will monitor slippage carefully as we drive. 

31st July 2014 Sol 705

31st July 2014 Sol 705

Posted by jcb36 at Jul 31, 2014 01:48 PM |

We have been analysing the Windjana drill tailings for over 2 months now and have just dumped the drill tailings.

The long and repeat analyses by SAM and CheMin allowed us to look at the effects of degassing of samples over time (e.g. the noble gas argon, used in K-Ar dating) and to get the best XRD analyses.  Exposing the drilled powder samples to the X-ray source over several occasions allows us to track any potential changes e.g. in hydration state of the tailings and to get better 'counting statitics' from which mineral abundances are determined.  For that we fit the position and shape of the peaks to standard spectra here on Earth using what is called the Rietveld Method.

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