The next target for Curiosity is Windjana. Image Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech
A few Martian days after taking the first asteroid picture (see yesterdays post)Curiosity arrived at a place called “Windjana”.
Windjana is a about 60 cm wide (about 2 ft) on the right half of the image and is a target for a close-up examination and perhaps a drilling to see what’s inside. Have to like being able to do that. Another remarkable thing about this picture is how clean Curiosity is after 609 Martian days.
The sandstone target’s informal name comes from Windjana Gorge in Western Australia. If this target meets criteria set by engineers and scientists, it could become the mission’s third drilled rock and the first that is not mudstone.
The rock is within a waypoint location called “the Kimberley,” where sandstone outcrops with differing resistance to wind erosion result in a stair-step pattern of layers. Windjana is within what the team calls the area’s “middle unit,” because it is intermediate between rocks that form buttes in the area and lower-lying rocks that show a pattern of striations.
Mars Science Laboratory
The Mars rover, Curiosity takes the first image of an asteroid from Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Texas A&M
The Curiosity has taken the first image of an asteroid taken from the surface of the Red Planet.
You will notice the asteroids and stars are streaks thanks to the 12 second exposure and the planetary rotation. The Martian rotates about its axis in 24.6 hours, only slightly longer than it does here on Earth.
The other object is the little moon Deimos. The image was taken on Sol 606 or 20 April 2014 (PDT).
Here is the non-annotated version. The moon Deimos appears larger than it normally would because brightness bloating.
Here’s part of NASA’s description
The Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has captured the first image of an asteroid taken from the surface of Mars. The night-sky image actually includes two asteroids: Ceres and Vesta, plus one of Mars’ two moons, Deimos, which may have been an asteroid before being captured into orbit around Mars. The image was taken after nightfall on the 606th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (April 20, 2014, PDT). In other camera pointings the same night, the Mastcam also imaged Mars’ larger moon, Phobos, plus the planets Jupiter and Saturn.
I’m looking for the image with the planets.
In the meantime here’s the full article from NASA.
Mars driving map. Click for larger. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
Here’s a update to Curiosity’s journey on Mars. Looks to be something around 5 kilometers (3.1 miles). Just a guess, I’m sure the actual odometer reading is available on the website, except I couldn’t locate it after a moderate bit of searching. The Where is Curiosity page has a lot of great stuff and would seem to be the best place to find it. I could try to sift through the archives and see if I can figure it out, that’s a lot of work, maybe I will look around some more first.
If anybody knows what the distance traveled (so far) is OR where to look, please let me know in the comments, Just curious is all
This map shows the route driven by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover from the “Bradbury Landing” location where it landed in August 2012 (the start of the line in upper right) to a major waypoint called “the Kimberley.” The rover reached the Kimberley with a 98-foot (30 meter) drive on the 589th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars (April 1, 2014).
The Kimberley (formerly called “KMS-9″) was selected as a major waypoint for the mission because of the diversity of rock types distinguishable in orbital images, exposed close together at this location in a decipherable geological relationship to each other.
The base image for this map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. North is up. The dark ground south of the rover’s route has dunes of dark, wind-blown material at the foot of Mount Sharp. The scale bar at lower right represents one kilometer (0.62 mile).
The first color image returned by the rover Spirit in Jan 2004. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.
It’s hard to believe but true, this year marks 10-years of roving the red planet. The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit landed on Mars on 4 January 2004 (UTC).
The image above was taken on 6 January 2004 by the rover Spirit. At the time this was the highest resolution image returned from another planet. It is still one of the best images taken.
A month after the image was taken Spirit used the RAT or Rock Abrasion Tool to drill into a rock dubbed Adirondack (on 6 Feb 2004).
In May of 2009 Spirit got stuck in soft soil. The soil consisted of iron sulfate which does not provide very good traction.
Problems with the flash memory were evident a few months later in October. Then in late November and into December problems with the wheels on Spirit began to crop up.
In January 2010 Spirit stopped roving and became a stationary science platform. In addition to the previously mentioned problems during 2009, communications problems were also occurring. The last contact with Spirit was on 22 March 2010, although later unsuccessful attempts were made until May 2011.
Spirit’s mission was ended on 25 May 2011.
The matching rover, Opportunity landed on Mars on 25 January 2004 (UTC) and is still conducting science and yes roving.
Just incredible. See a complete time-line from NASA.
As an aside: I meant to publish this back on 05 Jan, but for some reason it never made it on the queue. Oh it was my fault all right. Good thing these rovers were a set.
You may remember we had a post about the condition of the wheels on Curiosity back on November 28 (see Curiosity-Update).
A wheel from Curiosity showing wear and tear. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
The condition of the wheels also caught the attention of Curiosity’s team back here on Earth (from NASA):
Left-Front Wheel of Curiosity Rover, Approaching Three Miles
The left-front wheel of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows dents and holes in this image taken during the 469th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars (Nov. 30, 2013). The image was taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera, which is mounted at the end of Curiosity’s robotic arm. By that sol, Curiosity had driven 2.78 miles (4.47 kilometers). An uptick in the pace of wear and tear on the rover’s wheels in the preceding few weeks appears to be correlated with driving over rougher terrain than during earlier months of the mission. Routes to future destinations for the mission may be charted to lessen the amount of travel over such rough terrain.
BTW, we are having something of an ice storm here. Power is still on for the moment, the wires are getting bigger all the while though and a slug of rain is about to hit again and that will add to the fun. I have no place to go thankfully.