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:
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:
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... '
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.
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.