Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Today's MSL Press Conference

  NASA held another live press conference this morning updating Curiosity's progress. The images and videos can be found on the MSL multimedia pages. In case you haven't heard Curiosity successfully completed her test movements. It looks like she will be going places. The first drive tracks give an indication of what the surface is like. It appears to be somewhat compacted since the tires do not sink too deeply into it. It's probably not as firm as asphalt but there are sections where the wheel cleats barely make a mark. It does appear to have a thin coating of loose material. The drivers will be checking for slippage. It wasn't mentioned but desert pavements can be formed by aeolian precesses which might explain why the wheels don't sink into the surface.
  The spectrum from the ChemCam experiment shows the composition of the rock dubbed Coronation. It appears to be a basalt similar to pyroxene. Hydrogen appears to have been present on the surface since it only showed up on the first "zap." It may be a contaminant sticking to the surface of the rock possibly associated with a widespread airborne material resting on the surface.

No comments: