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

21st May 2015 Sol 992

21st May 2015 Sol 992

Posted by jcb36 at May 21, 2015 10:50 PM |

In a  first for the mission we have successfully climbed a slope at Mt. Stimson.  This is to look at a  contact between two types of rock which show a change in environment as coarser material was channeled into the fine muds of the the Pahrump rocks.

Having seen the Curiosity 'scarecrow' in action at the jpl Mars yard in Pasadena, I know that the rover is capable of going up steep slopes e.g. 20 degrees.  As we progress through the Mt. Sharp foothills we will do more driving like this.  However, it will always be slow as the rover planners who check and plan the daily drive are cautious about slippage over sandy terrain.

You can see the Mars Yard on my sol 48 entry:

http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/physics/research/src/res/planetary-science/mslblog/monday-24th-september-sol-48

 

12th May 2015 Sol 983

12th May 2015 Sol 983

Posted by jcb36 at May 12, 2015 05:33 PM |

A stunning image of sunset over the Gale Crater Rim!  The sort of long wavelength scattering so characteristic of our Earth's red sunsets has not occurred.

Ehlers et al. 2014 Applied Optics, who studied this strange effect says: 'Unlike Earth, the atmosphere of Mars is dominated by micron-size dust aerosols, and the sky during sunset takes on a bluish glow.  ... Our findings show that while wavelength selective extinction can cause the sun’s disk to appear blue, the color of the glow surrounding the sun as observed from Mars is due to the dominance of near-forward scattering of blue light by dust particles... '

 

and see:

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1810

8th May 2015 Sol 979

8th May 2015 Sol 979

Posted by jcb36 at May 08, 2015 08:22 PM |

This Mastcam panorama shows our current location at Mt. Shields and our route on to Mt Sharp via Logan's Pass.  We are planning contact science on the outcrops on the lower part of Mt. Shields.  As usual there a range of things we can learn from this - the conditions underwhich the sediments interacted with water, but also the compsoition of pebbe;last could tell us about the igneous differentiation of the ancient Mars crust. 

27th April 2015 Sol 968

27th April 2015 Sol 968

Posted by jcb36 at Apr 27, 2015 11:11 PM |

We are situated at Mt. Shields, having driven along Logan's Run.  I am Geo Science team Lead today, and we are preparing a 2 sol plan.  This involves determining a series of images and small drives to examine the layers in this coarse-grained rock, which are reminiscent of some of the early Peace Vallis river deposits, a different environment from the surrounding lake deposits of Pahrump.

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