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:
Here is the latest HiRISE image of Curiosity. It shows the rover on the Naukluft Plateau where we have been for the last few months. We are now driving south - back onto the Murray formation lacustrine mudstones and on to the Hematite Ridge within a year.
The full image can be seen at:
Here is the Oudam drillhole and the nearby dump piles for material that has been analysed by CheMin. Curiosity is now producing a fast turnaround for drilling and analysing - essential to link mineralogy to ChemCam and APXS analyses.
We are working on a ChemCam team-led model to link the silica-rich mineralogy to the fluid history in this part of Gale. For instance were the fluids acid (to give a 'fluid on steroids' type ability to dissolve rocks) or near-neutral, which could still dissolve rocks, but more slowly?
We are studying an area called Fracture Town. The aim is to follow up identification of opal to check the extent to which silica has been remobilised by fluids in the sediments. Intriguingly we have found both detrital silica - a mineral called tridymite - probably brought in from silica-rich volcanic rocks, and amorphous silica/opal which might have formed in the sediments.
Opal has also been identified at some of potential ExoMars landing sites so we hope that studying in in Gale with Curiosity will help us understand those occurrences as well.
Sol 1337 means that we have just reached our second martian year since landing in 2012, Here is a birthday cake to the mission from the ChemCam team in Toulouse.
In martian calendar terms we are at aerocentric longitude Ls (L sub s) = 150o which is southern hemisphere, late winter.