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:
We are in an uneven area of terrain with sand-filled hollows so we have changed direction, out of Hidden Valley and via Trilobite Crater. The rover planners 'RP's' are cautious about slippage in sand. At a early stage in the Mars Exploration Rover's missions, in mid 2005, Opportunity became stuck with several wheels buried in the sand. It tok 6 weeks to get free, and we want to avoid that happening with Curiosity.
As we were performing a minidrill - thats the smaller test hole prior to a large full drill hole - the prongs that keep the turret and drill steady slipped by a small amount.. This caused the drilling to halt. It may be that Bonanza_King is softer than we have come across before. The drill is undamaged, but we now have to decide how to proceed and if possible get a sample.
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.
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.