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

1st August 2015 Sol 1060

1st August 2015 Sol 1060

Posted by jcb36 at Aug 01, 2015 02:02 AM |

Successful drilling at Buckskin!  Like the other drill holes this is showing how thin red Mars is.

30th July 2015 Sol 1059

30th July 2015 Sol 1059

Posted by jcb36 at Jul 30, 2015 05:39 PM |

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.

17th July 2015 Sol 1047

17th July 2015 Sol 1047

Posted by jcb36 at Jul 17, 2015 01:18 PM |

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.

9th July 2015 Sol 1039

9th July 2015 Sol 1039

Posted by jcb36 at Jul 09, 2015 05:48 PM |

This MastCam image shows an important close up view of the Stimson sandstone - Pahrump mudstone contact. The light clasts may be sulfate like gypsum, and broken up fragments of the sulfate veins that we have been seeing since Yellowknife Bay.  This could be important for understanding the burial and alteration history of the sediments and origin of the veining. There are 2 likely possibilities for the veins either they formed through the alteration of the mudstones or they are the product of dissolution of a pre-existing evaporite salt layer. The association with mudstone (though not exclusively - as some veining is in the coarser sandstones) may indicate that the sulphate was derived through the alteration of the mudstone during burial heating.

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