Curiosity Rover Report (Sept. 19, 2013): Leave the Driving to Autonav
Published on Sep 19, 2013
” As NASA’s Curiosity heads to Mount Sharp, the rover is using autonomous navigation to pick the best route.”
” Is that a rat on Mars?
A photo from the mast camera on NASA’s Curiosity rover reveals the dusty orange, rock-strewn surface of the Red Planet — and what starry-eyed enthusiasts claim is a dusty orange rodent hiding among the stones.
The photo, taken Sept. 28, 2012, depicts the “Rocknest” site, where NASA’s rover took a scoopful of sand, tasted it, and determined it was full of weathered basaltic materials — not unlike Hawaii, the space agency’s scientists said last year.
The “creature” was identified on the UFO Sightings Daily website, where its finder, ScottCWaring, held tight to his opinion: That’s one darn cute rodent on Mars.”
” The Curiosity rover has detected organic compounds on Mars, NASA scientists announced at a press conference today. But the source of these carbon-containing molecules, which are essential to sustaining life, is still up in the air. Using Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of instruments, researchers found traces of water, sulfur, and small amounts of organics in the form chlorine-containing compounds, though the researchers were quick to point out that they’re still trying to determine the source of the organics—they could very well could be from residual earth contaminants, the scientists warned. “[SAM] has made this detection of simple, organic compounds; we just don’t know if they’re indigenous to Mars or not,” said project scientist John Grotzinger. “
” Unlike the Apollo astronauts’ footprints on the moon, Curiosity’s trails will probably be wiped away by the planet’s frequent wind and sand storms. But there is still something so incredible about these little ephemeral marks we are making on another world. “
The report comes by way of the rover’s principal investigator, geologist John Grotzinger of Caltech, who said that Curiosity has uncovered exciting new results from a sample of Martian soil recently scooped up and placed in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument.
“This data is gonna be one for the history books. It’s looking really good,” Grotzinger told NPR in an segment published Nov. 20. Curiosity’s SAM instrument contains a vast array of tools that can vaporize soil and rocks to analyze them and measure the abundances of certain light elements such as carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen – chemicals typically associated with life. “