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Full Version: MSL - Stopover on the Road to Glenelg - Arm Commissioning
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elakdawalla
Rover drivers were tweeting yesterday that the 30.5-meter drive would be the last act of "Intermission." Sol 30 marks the start of Commissioning Activity Phase 2, when they'll check out the arm including MAHLI (yay) and, I think, scoop their first soil. As usual, keep discussion of previous images (through the navcam pan on sol 29) in the previous thread.
RoverDriver
I think scooping will be postponed.

Paolo
Explorer1
Any idea how close we are to Glenelg? There's no new route map, but since the terrain here is quite bland that's not a surprise.
fredk
We've driven about 100 m so far. (Total wheel turn distance, not crow-fly.) And Glenelg is about 400 m from the landing site.
mhoward
Looks like the arm works. Okay, let's continue driving! mars.gif (I'm kidding, just kidding.)
mhoward
Yay!
Explorer1
Visuals up for teleconference:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/telecon/index.html
Wow!

A MAHLI team member is on the conference, so now would be a good time to ask about the possibility of self-portraits.
nprev
My wife's comment on the pictures of the arm in action: "Is creation of genius."

Could not agree more. smile.gif
djellison
QUOTE (Explorer1 @ Sep 6 2012, 09:55 AM) *
now would be a good time to ask about the possibility of self-portraits.


We already know the answer. They're going to do it at some point.

During a first-time checkout of instruments is not the time.
Explorer1
Yeah, the video shows a belly-pan is going to happen very soon.
Doc
Watching the teleconference... sol 33 seems to be the day for a MAHLI self-portrait(?)
Doc
1 month or more till the first drill (no surprise there). The bright and semi-bright units at Glenelg will be the targets
centsworth_II
Judging by Google images, this should be an evocative image .
Click to view attachment
Doc
Distance travelled: 109m
Crow's distance: 82m
mcaplinger
QUOTE (Doc @ Sep 6 2012, 10:25 AM) *
sol 33 seems to be the day for a MAHLI self-portrait(?)

Depends on what you mean by self-portrait, but the belly pan is not what we think of as the self-portrait, nor do we call it the "MAHLI self-portrait" because it's not a self-portrait of MAHLI, but with MAHLI. Some people call the self-portrait of the rover taken with MAHLI the "Myspace image" but I'm too old to know what that means. huh.gif
Doc
QUOTE (centsworth_II @ Sep 6 2012, 08:34 PM) *
Judging by Google images, this should be an evocative image .


"Reach for the stars..." ;-)
Doc
QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Sep 6 2012, 08:38 PM) *
Depends on what you mean by self-portrait, but the belly pan is not what we think of as the self-portrait, nor do we call it the "MAHLI self-portrait" because it's not a self-portrait of MAHLI, but with MAHLI. Some people call the self-portrait of the rover taken with MAHLI the "Myspace image" but I'm too old to know what that means. huh.gif


Should have clarified... yeah I meant the belly pan though my ustream connection isn't as good as it should be so when I saw the MAHLI panning video I thought 'MAHLI will image Curiosity's portrait'
volcanopele
QUOTE (Explorer1 @ Sep 5 2012, 01:02 PM) *
Any idea how close we are to Glenelg? There's no new route map, but since the terrain here is quite bland that's not a surprise.

Maybe this will help?

http://www.uahirise.org/releases/msl-tracks.php
jmknapp
Leo Enright of Irish TV and of course Emily can always be counted on to ask the best questions at the telecons. From the one just concluded:


QUOTE
Emily Lakdawalla: Looking at the recent navcam pictures we've noticed that there are some dents on the wheels. I'm wondering if that was expected or surprising for you to see that--tiny dents.

Michael Watkins: Umm, yeah, I think, so we've seen small dents before in our test rovers, you know, up in the Mars Yard and when you're driving around.So I think it's probably, it's pretty much as expected. I think that there's nothing unusual about that. So it may have been associated with the touchdown event or otherwise driving across, you know, some of the pebbles and cobbles and stuff. So we've seen that before and so we're obviously going to try to take reasonable care of the wheels, but nothing unusual so far.

Matt Robinson: Em, this is Matt. It's benign, it's nothing that would cause us any angst or worry about the performance of the wheels or driving.


QUOTE
Leo Enright: My other question, much more generally, I hope, Joy, you won't mind me asking it. Scientists at the moment are kind of in the back seat, but you must have your nose pressed to the window looking all the time, and I just wondered, is there anything you've seen in the immediate locality so far that really interested you and that gave you a flavor for what you think is coming up, even though obviously at the moment the engineers are actually, you know, controlling the steering wheel. Was there anything that really caught your eye? I'm thinking particularly, I thought one stage I thought maybe there was some hint of a vein, a lighter vein in the soil. You know, is there something there that you particularly noticed and made you excited for the future?

Joy Crisp: So this is Joy, uh, there's two main things that have intrigued me, and I think most of the team. One would be the MASTCAM imaging of Mount Sharp and seeing the structures and layers and we're not sure what it all means, but it's pretty spectacular and not something we've ever seen before on Mars, and the other would be the rocks nearby, some of them are showing quite amazing textures that we've not seen before on Mars, some that look like they might have big mineral grains in them that are light in tone and in a dark matrix, umm, just eye-popping but we don't know what it means, so we need to examine rocks like that more thoroughly close up to get at what... how those rocks formed. But that's whats been exciting, to see things that we've not seen on Mars before.
xflare
I think this is the rock Joy Crisp is referring to

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/ra...1_DXXX&s=24
elakdawalla
jmknapp, xflare, you've made my blog-writing job considerably easier today smile.gif Thanks!

I had not noticed that rock. WOW.
drz1111
That rock looks like a dead ringer for a porphyritic basalt or andesite, with big ol' plag crystals. Its always dangerous to do armchair geology, but, wow.
Ant103
Sol 30 Navcams showing the extended robotic arm smile.gif.

Eyesonmars
Not sure where to put this question but here goes ...
Could the brush on the arm be used to clean the dust off the rover (cameras, instruments, etc) if need be ?
neo56
According to this abstract : http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EPS...PSC2012-326.pdf
an eclipse of the Sun by Phobos should occur inside the landing site ellipse on Sept 13, 16 and 17.
Does someone know if it is planned to image the Sun with the Navcam during these eclipses ?
djellison
QUOTE (Eyesonmars @ Sep 6 2012, 02:25 PM) *
Not sure where to put this question but here goes ...
Could the brush on the arm be used to clean the dust off the rover (cameras, instruments, etc) if need be ?


I would not do that. It's an abrasive tool. It would do far more harm than good.
Doc
QUOTE (xflare @ Sep 6 2012, 10:13 PM) *
I think this is the rock Joy Crisp is referring to

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/ra...1_DXXX&s=24


Goodness! blink.gif
Joffan
QUOTE (Ant103 @ Sep 6 2012, 03:04 PM) *
Sol 30 Navcams showing the extended robotic arm smile.gif.
Great to see the arm in action there, but it's definitely a "take me to your leader" sort of shot. Or perhaps, given the number of poker chips apparently stuck on Curiosity, "take me to your dealer" rolleyes.gif .
Deimos
QUOTE (Eyesonmars @ Sep 6 2012, 10:25 PM) *
Could the brush on the arm be used to clean the dust off the rover (cameras, instruments, etc) if need be ?

Don't scare me like that!

QUOTE (neo56 @ Sep 6 2012, 10:31 PM) *
...an eclipse of the Sun by Phobos should occur inside the landing site ellipse on Sept 13, 16 and 17.
Does someone know if it is planned to image the Sun with the Navcam during these eclipses ?

The 9/16 event is a near-miss. The 9/13 is a partial; 9/17 is annular but, shall we say, thermally challenging. It is possible these have come to the attention of the team, but no promises on outcome. And don't forget little Deimos! wink.gif
fredk
QUOTE (neo56 @ Sep 6 2012, 11:31 PM) *
Does someone know if it is planned to image the Sun with the Navcam during these eclipses ?
Mastcam has solar filters, not navcam. Solar pancams are common with MER, where they're used to fix the fine attitude of the rover, but I haven't noticed any solar filter images from MSL yet. But I'd love to see the sun during a Phobos transit with mastcam 100!
Deimos
QUOTE (fredk @ Sep 6 2012, 11:36 PM) *
... I haven't noticed any solar filter images from MSL yet.

Neither have I. huh.gif Ah well, good things come to those who wait. (And maybe even to those who pester people until they get good things ...)
Doc
Speaking of dented wheels, what exactly is the material used for Curiosity's wheels (heavy duty plastic or fiberglass)?
nilstycho
QUOTE (Doc @ Sep 6 2012, 03:55 PM) *
Speaking of dented wheels, what exactly is the material used for Curiosity's wheels (heavy duty plastic or fiberglass)?


QUOTE
Curiosity’s wheels are aluminum, 20 inches (0.5 meter) in diameter, which is twice the size of the wheels on Spirit and Opportunity. They have cleats for traction and for structural support. Curving titanium spokes give springy support. The wheels were machined by Tapemation, Scotts Valley, Calif. Titanium tubing for the suspension system came from Litespeed Titanium, Chattanooga, Tenn.


Mars Science Laboratory Landing Press Kit
jmknapp
An anaglyph of the interesting rock:

Click to view attachment

The piece in the background seems to be the same stuff--maybe it broke off the base piece leaving the relatively fresh surface?
Doc
QUOTE (nilstycho @ Sep 7 2012, 03:04 AM) *


Thanks nilstycho. Aluminium it is.
Pando
Contrast and color enhanced to bring out some interesting features. There is definitely some slight greenish tinge present in that rock.

Reckless
From sadly not a geologist, this looks a bit like andesite which on earth is often associated with tectonics but I noticed on Wikipedia that two meteorites were found with andesite in suggesting another method of producing it, maybe Curiosity has found another example.
I hope we get more information on this rock.
The meteorites in question are numbered GRA 06128 and GRA 06129 found in Alaska.

Roy
elakdawalla
You have to be careful with casual rock identifications. There are two major things that affect an igneous rock's appearance: composition, and the rate at which it cooled. The terminology can be confusing. Basalt, andesite, and rhyolite have very different compositions but can have very similar looking textures because the texture is controlled more by the cooling rate than by composition; those three are the names for the rocks with fine-grained textures. The same magmas would produce gabbro, diorite, or granite (respectively) if allowed to cool more slowly. You can't tell just by looking at a rock from a distance whether it's basalt or andesite. On Earth, most of our oceanic crust is basalt, while most continental crustal rocks have bulk compositions closer to the rhyolite end (very little Mg, Fe, but lots of Al and Si and lighter metals like K and Na), so when you come across a new rock you have to entertain the entire possible range of compositions as possibilities. On Mars, basically everything has a basaltic bulk composition; the safe assumption is that it's basaltic until your chemical analysis instruments (either remote sensing or in situ) tell you otherwise.

To understand how you can make andesitic magmas from basaltic parent rocks, look up "partial melting" and "fractional crystallization." Nobody should make statements about igneous rock composition until you understand what those two terms mean!
Zeke4ther
Thanks for that, Emily. I did a search and it was very enlightening. smile.gif

Though the processes would be similar, it made me think just how alien the Martian environment is and how it would effect what we see.
Doc
Judging from the size of the crystals, we can safely say that it is intrusive type of igneous. That at least should help identifying (or am I just kidding myself?)

We ought to keep a 'rock photojournal' for this voyage. I used to collect many rocks and id them when still a wee lad. Now its just MD for me sad.gif
Don1
Olivine is a green mineral.
Pando
I am curious - would a smaller gravity on Mars have an effect on how the rocks are formed? Most of the assumptions about rock compositions are made based on Earth-based geology, but how closely does it translate to the environment on Mars?
elakdawalla
Big crystals do have to form at depth, but you can have rocks with crystals that formed at depth but then the crystals were entrained in a liquid magma that reached the surface & cooled rapidly. (Look up "porphyritic")

The lower gravity doesn't change much, because most rocks form at depth under pressure. What does change is the depths at which certain kinds of rocks form. I was talking with some people who run a rock-squishing lab at APL and they told me their apparatus could crush rocks to the pressures encountered near the core of the Moon, at the base of the mantle of Mercury, but only in the upper mantle of Earth.

The lower air pressure does change the behavior of eruptions. On one end you get Venus where every kind of lava extrudes & doesn't explode; on the other end you get Io, where any trace of gas in a magma violently exsolves upon eruption, causing tall ash plumes. You'd expect volcanism on Mars to be more explosive than volcanism on Earth for that reason.
ngunn
QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Sep 7 2012, 10:30 PM) *
The lower air pressure does change the behavior of eruptions. On one end you get Venus where every kind of lava extrudes & doesn't explode; on the other end you get Io, where any trace of gas in a magma violently exsolves upon eruption, causing tall ash plumes. You'd expect volcanism on Mars to be more explosive than volcanism on Earth for that reason.


A brilliant and succinct explanation! I love the idea of a spectrum ranging from Venus to Io with all the other worlds in between.
Just one thing to add: liquids. Submarine eruptions here can find themselves in a Venus-like pressure regime. The same may once have been true on Mars.

EDIT: Maybe we should add Europa. What are eruptions like at the bottom of that ocean?
dvandorn
Considering that Sojourner's APXS identified some of the rocks it examined in Ares Vallis as andesitic, I can understand how someone might look at a basaltic rock on Mars like the one we've been discussing, with such large crystals, and make a preliminary identification of andesite.

-the other Doug
fredk
Hello there!
Click to view attachment
Cargo Cult
There's a self-portrait taken with MAHLI up - just the camera mast, and upside-down and with the dust-covered lens-cover on, but it's most definitely a curious robot peering at itself.

(Quick flipped and colour-stretched version...)

Edit: fredk beat me to it. Still, it's a Martian robot!
fredk
I do believe she winked at me...
Click to view attachment
CosmicRocker
QUOTE (fredk @ Sep 7 2012, 10:13 PM) *
Hello there! ...
It's clearly a smarter robot. It recognizes itself.
Oersted
My take... Yup, contrast-stretching etc. means that lomography has come to Mars!

Click to view attachment
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