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Curiosity Rover Nearing Yellowknife Bay

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#1    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:10 PM

Curiosity Rover Nearing Yellowknife Bay



www.nasa.gov said:

Posted Image

The NASA Mars rover Curiosity used its Mast Camera (Mastcam) during the mission's 120th Martian day, or sol (Dec. 7, 2012), to record this view of a rock outcrop informally named "Shaler." Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS  › Full image and caption  › Latest images   › Curiosity gallery  › Curiosity videos



This map traces where NASA's Mars<br />
rover Curiosity drove between landing<br />
at a site subsequently named "Bradbury<br />
Landing," and the position reached<br />
during the mission's 123rd Martian day,<br />
or sol, (Aug. 10, 2012).<br />
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of<br />
Arizona <br />
<a href='http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia16459.html' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>› Full image and caption</a>
This map traces where NASA's Mars
rover Curiosity drove between landing
at a site subsequently named "Bradbury
Landing," and the position reached
during the mission's 123rd Martian day,
or sol, (Aug. 10, 2012).
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of
Arizona
› Full image and caption
Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

PASADENA, Calif. -- The NASA Mars rover Curiosity drove 63 feet (19 meters) northeastward early Monday, Dec. 10, approaching a step down into a slightly lower area called "Yellowknife Bay," where researchers intend to choose a rock to drill.

The drive was Curiosity's fourth consecutive driving day since leaving a site near an outcrop called "Point Lake," where it arrived last month. These drives totaled 260 feet (79 meters) and brought the mission's total odometry to 0.37 mile (598 meters).

The route took the rover close to an outcrop called "Shaler," where scientists used Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument and Mast Camera (Mastcam) to assess the rock's composition and observe its layering. Before departure from Point Lake, a fourth sample of dusty sand that the rover had been carrying from the "Rocknest" drift was ingested and analyzed by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument.

Curiosity ended Monday's drive about 30 percent shorter than planned for the day when it detected a slight difference between two calculations of its tilt, not an immediate risk, but a trigger for software to halt the drive as a precaution. "The rover is traversing across terrain different from where it has driven earlier, and responding differently," said Rick Welch, mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We're making progress, though we're still in the learning phase with this rover, going a little slower on this terrain than we might wish we could."

The NASA Mars rover Curiosity used its<br />
Navigation Camera (Navcam) during the<br />
mission's 120th Martian day, or sol<br />
(Dec. 7, 2012), to record the seven images<br />
combined into this panoramic view.<br />
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech <br />
<a href='http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia16459.html' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>› Full image and caption</a><br />
<a href='http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia16552.html' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>› Stereo view</a>
The NASA Mars rover Curiosity used its
Navigation Camera (Navcam) during the
mission's 120th Martian day, or sol
(Dec. 7, 2012), to record the seven images
combined into this panoramic view.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
› Full image and caption
› Stereo view
Curiosity is approaching a lip where it will descend about 20 inches (half a meter) to Yellowknife Bay. The rover team is checking carefully for a safe way down. Yellowknife Bay is the temporary destination for first use of Curiosity's rock-powdering drill, before the mission turns southwestward for driving to its main destination on the slope of Mount Sharp.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project and the mission's Curiosity rover for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the rover.

More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ . You can follow the mission on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .    


Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

2012-392



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#2    bison

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 03:51 PM

I'm told that rocks are unlikely to have perchlorates, which can destroy organic compounds. As such, they are probably much better places to look for organic compounds than the loose soil that has so far been examined.
Perchlorates have been discovered elsewhere on Mars, and are, on the basis of preliminary evidence, suspected to exist at the recently visited 'Rock Nest' site.
Its strongly suspected that the organic compounds detected in samples at 'Rock Nest" were created by reactions of chemicals in Curiosity's test chamber, when they were heated. They may be considered  weak evidence of the existence of organic substances on Mars. The source of the carbon in these compounds is of particular interest, as it indicates the presence of an element necessary for organic compounds. They do not yet appear to have determined if the carbon is native to Mars, or if it is a contaminant, brought from Earth on Curiosity.






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